Last week I finally went on a camping trip, after a whole year of not leaving my city because of COVID concerns. Getting out into the outdoors is a way I help ensure my mental health wellbeing, and camping provides that extended benefit that goes beyond a day hike. Check out the view of the beach from the tent!
Weekend trips give me lot of positivity, but besides pandemic worry, there can be a bit of a hurdle to getting them to happen because it’s something that needs organisation. Something more important always seems to come up.
It’s a lot like organising to do things like training, or team building. You know they bring benefit and you always feel better for doing them, but when you’re really busy it can be easy to let them go. To reduce the barrier and make it easier to fit these beneficial breaks into routine business, my team has a few ‘rules’ that we use. I use exactly the same approach for ensuring I fit in mini camping breaks to the routine of life, and that the benefit is maximised as stress is minimised.
Start thinking about it early
Our team work diary looks ahead about 6 months, and small trips like this should be on a similar time scale. That doesn’t mean you need to have everything sorted out this early, but I do start discussing ideas and looking at prices. For really busy holiday periods I might need to book campsites three months in advance, and I like some time to do some research beforehand.
Have a ‘master’ checklist for packing
Checklists are great for repeated, complex actions and packing for a camping trip is definitely one of those things. Forgetting something small like a torch or stove fuel can easily ruin a trip or at least make things uncomfortable, plus having a standard list makes the process much quicker. Anything I forget on the trip, I add to the list so eventually I never really leave anything behind.
Keep it simple
When thinking about what you want to achieve from events like training sessions, sticking to a few simple objectives is much more likely to succeed than trying to pack in too much. I take a similar approach to the activities I plan for my camping trips. Beach paraphernalia is limited to a book (or notebook if I plan to write), swimwear and snorkel (but only if I know there is a good snorkel spot). Evening ‘entertainment’ is usually one boardgame.
Don’t make it a break from your good habits
To make camping trips fit into your usual lifestyle more easily, stick to your good habits that you value whilst you are away. Otherwise, it becomes a break from your routine of rather than part of your routine. If you value healthy eating and exercise for example, try to continue this by pre-making a meal that you can heat up and staying active. If you value saving money, consider bringing a sandwich for the trip rather than automatically driving towards the big yellow ‘M’ by the side of the road.
Get back into your normal routine
Don’t let the trip mess up the following week of your established routine. Unpack as soon as you get back, and no matter how late it is put on a load of washing. Attend to things like drying out a wet tent before you pack them back up, to make the next trip easier. I keep a few lunch portions in the freezer for weeks when I can’t do my usual Sunday meal prep, giving me no excuse not to eat well and frugally just because I was away.
Do you have any camping or trip hacks to share?