There’s just something exciting about planning a camping trip. Choosing where you want to explore, what sights to see, what campsite to stay at, what food to bring, and more can give you something to look forward to. One of the best feelings is that stoke you have to head out on an adventure you’ve been planning.

However, I’d be lying if I said that I don’t love a last-minute camping trip. It may sound stressful at first since you won’t have all your ducks in a row before leaving on your adventure, but there is something exciting about that, right? Living life on the edge sometimes can be good for you (more on that below).

I always try to leave some room for surprise and spontaneity in my life and I think a last-minute camping trip is a perfect way to do that.

However, before you jump into your first last-minute camping trip, there are some tips I have to share with you to ensure that experience isn’t a complete disaster. I want your last-minute camping trips to be fun and exciting, not stressful and nightmarish.

Here’s how to do a last-minute camping trip like a pro.


One benefit of a last-minute camping trip is that you’ll have more accurate information about the weather. Trying to gauge the forecast 10 or more days out just doesn’t promise much in the way of accuracy. But, when you’re only looking a couple of days out, you have a much better idea of what kind of weather you can expect.

That makes things easier in terms of knowing what clothes to bring and what gear you may need.


To make it easy for you to hop onto a last-minute trip anytime your heart desires, keep your camping necessities ready to rock and roll, at all times. If you have an RV, this means getting your RV back to shape with all its supplies after each camping trip so you don’t have to rush prepping for a last-minute escape. And if you’re a tent camper, this means putting everything back together after your adventure and ready to unroll for the next one (think things like washing sheets, camping towels, etc.).

If you have basics such as toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, and water always on hand, you’ll be good to go. The rest can be thrown together pretty quickly, especially when you’ve got the list below to reference. Check out all of the necessary gear you’ll near here!


Whether you’ve planned your trip three months in advance or three hours, you will likely need the same gear for camping, so it’s a good idea to keep as much of it ready as possible, and the rest you can throw together in minimal time.

Here are the key things you want to have ready to go:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillows
  • Sleeping pads
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Knife
  • Bug spray
  • Rope
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Sunscreen
  • Ax
  • Utensils for eating
  • Plates
  • Cooking stove
  • Fuel for stove
  • Matches
  • Firestarter
  • First aid kit


I love tasty camping food just as much as the next person, but when you’re throwing together a trip last-minute you just don’t have the time to put together those extravagant and delicious camping meals.

But don’t let that stop you from going on your trip and still being able to eat good food. More complicated doesn’t always mean better.

Start by taking a look at what you already have in your house so that you only have to spend minimal time grocery shopping (if at all).

Here are some quick and easy ideas for food to take with you on this trip, some of which you may already have at home:

  • Oatmeal
  • Overnight oats
  • Granola
  • Milk
  • Avocado toast
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cereal
  • Canned soup
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Bagels
  • Hummus
  • Vegetables (both for snacking and for cooking)
  • Crackers
  • Fruit
  • Potatoes
  • Meat
  • Other breakfast foods
  • Pasta sauce and noodles
  • Sandwich makings
  • Rice

There is no need to make your camping meals complicated when you don’t need to. Something quick and easy means no stress and means more time to enjoy yourself out in nature. At the end of the day, you’re just making sure that you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs. You can take a couple of days off of “fun” eating and just eat what you need.


If you’re trying to send it last-minute to a popular camping destination you might find it difficult to secure a reservation. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great campsite to reconnect with nature even on short notice.

Instead of looking for campsites near popular destinations, find a quieter campground where you’ll be more likely to find a camping spot at the last minute. You can go somewhere you’ve been before and try something new.


If your schedule allows, consider taking your last-minute camping trip during the week rather than on the weekend. This gives you better luck in reserving a campsite and also means you won’t have to deal with nearly as many people as you would on the weekend.


I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely had those trips where I packed so far in advance that I kept thinking of things to add to my bags and by the time the trip actually happened, I had far more packed than I could possibly ever need.

The benefit of last-minute camping is that you don’t have time for that. So, take advantage of this opportunity to pack light and bring only what you need. That may mean whatever you have clean and ready to go. You don’t have to plan outfits that are Instagram-worthy – just gather together the necessities, which include:

  • 1 outfit for each day
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Pajamas
  • Coat
  • Sweatshirt
  • Sweatpants
  • Additional layers (for top and bottom)
  • Hiking boots
  • Tennis shoes

And that’s pretty much it! If you’re going somewhere cold, you’ll need to bring things like gloves, hats, and scarves, but keep it all to a bare minimum.


With this last-minute decision, it may be best for you to opt for a place to camp that isn’t too far from home. This means less stress for you, especially if you realize that you’ve forgotten something important.


If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to get all of your camping gear together last-minute, then consider staying at cabin. Many campgrounds offer the option to stay in a Deluxe Cabin that has (nearly) all the amenities you need, including things like:

  • Electricity
  • Private showers
  • Grills
  • Fire pits
  • Kitchenettes
  • Patios
  • Porches
  • TVs
  • And more

In addition to Deluxe Cabins, most campgrounds offer several types of cabin camping that offer different camping experiences. An easy getaway to a cozy cabin may be just what you’re looking for on your last-minute trip.


If you are the type of person who needs everything to go according to plan, then I’m just going to come out and say it: you should not go on a last-minute camping trip. First off, there isn’t much planning involved with a last-minute camping trip as it is just that – last minute.

Also, it is inevitable that at some point, something will go differently than you hoped. And you have to be flexible and ready to change or get creative with what your camping looks like. Otherwise, the trip will be miserable for you and any fellow campers as well.

Related: 5 Health Benefits of Camping