Just Shy’s Complete Camping Planning Guide

This guide has been 5 years in the making.  This year marks our 5th annual camping trip with the kids and it always requires a lot of planning on my part.  In our case, we take 100% of the food we eat on the trip because the place we love to go has very few restaurants an no grocery stores within 30 minutes.  The cabin does come equipped with a full kitchen so we take advantage of it and cook all our own meals.  In this posting, I will supply all the documents you need to fully plan out the best camping vacation ever!

(Also if you look at the Category called Campfire Food under Recipes, you will find some wonderful food to cook on a campfire.  You can find the Categories listed on the lower right-hand side of the blog home page.)


Helpful Tips
Let’s start with some really helpful tips to make your trip the best it can be:

  • Start planning your meals long in advance.  To achieve the best results, you really have to review the plan more than once.
  • Use the planning sheets to decide on the menu, then write out the detailed ingredients list.  Nothing ruins a meal faster than a key ingredient or condiment that is forgotten at home.
  • When using an ingredient in more than one meal, be sure to take special note so you will buy a large enough quantity of that item for all the meals.  (For example, if you use eggs for ingredients and breakfast, be sure to bring enough for everything.)
  • Visualize the meal in your mind.  Think of all the condiments and items your family normally eats during the meal.  Picture yourself sitting at the table eating it and you will be surprised at the number of extra items you will remember.
  • Organize your packing by item type using the labels provided.  This really helps with unpacking and searching for the items once you arrive.
  • Know what items are already supplied by your lodging provider.  Most cabins or hotels with kitchens or kitchenettes supply some base staples such as sugar, salt and pepper, coffee, coffee filters, pots and pans and dishes.  However, that is not always the case.  When in doubt, bring it with you.
  • Bring any cooking tool or pot for meals which require specialized items (for example, marshmallow roasting sticks, cast iron skillet for campfire cooking, or charcoal for grilling).  I can’t tell you how many times I have brought a bottle of wine with me on a trip only to realize, there is corkscrew.
  • When cooking over an open fire, use the grill screen out of a charcoal grill or bring one from home.  A grill screen helps to keep the food level and cook more evenly.  Start your fire long before you are ready to cook because lots of very hot wood coals make the heat higher.
  • Don’t forget other items such as: Bug Spray, Sunscreen, First Aid Kit, Medications, Life Vests (if you will be swimming in a lake), and other essential items.



The first document is a list of labels to use while packing.  I use a paperclip to clip the label onto the top of the reusable bag for easy sorting.

The second document is a blank form for creating your own menu and item list for grocery shopping and packing.

This document is a sample menu created by using the above document.  Feel free to use this menu or just review it so you can see how I filled in the blank document.


Follow these easy steps and you will have Happy Campers!