A good camping trip doesn't just happen; planning ahead of time will save a lot of headaches and ensure the safety and enthusiasm of all campers. Any camper who has shown up to a camping trip and realized he or she forgot something important can attest to the value of prior proper planning. A checklist is a great way to stay organized before the trip and ensure all items get packed away. Laying out necessary items on the floor and checking them off the list will ensure no necessary items get left behind.
The organizer of the camping trip will benefit from thinking carefully about the people who will be coming along on that trip. If, for example, children will be camping along with adults, it will be necessary to think about daily activities that will hold the interest of the children and still be rewarding for the adults. Safety is, of course, a primary concern of any camping trip, but safety with children is even more essential. The kids on the trip will need to be educated about fire safety, wilderness safety, and water safety if any bodies of water are nearby. Children should be encouraged to use the buddy system at all times to prevent them from getting lost in the woods.
Think about the type of camping trip to ensure fun and safety. Car camping will require different tools, accessories, and activities than a backpacking trip, in which the camper will carry all of his equipment on his back. Car campers should remember to bring comfortable chairs; while sitting on a log or on the ground can be fun and comfortable for a little while, longer camping trips will require more comfortable seating arrangements. Backpackers will need to think carefully about food and how to cook that food. Backpacking stoves are small and very light, but the car camper can use a larger stove with two burners instead of one.
The tent is the home away from home on a camping trip, and the quality and size of that tent can dictate how enjoyable the trip will be. Make sure the tent is seam-sealed to prevent leaks, and don't forget to bring the rain fly. Inspect the tent beforehand to find out if any tears or rips exist, and if any mold has grown in the tent during storage. The tent should be appropriately large or small for the number of people who will be sleeping in it, and if it is being used on a backpacking trip, it should be light enough for daily transport.