Sometime waking up on morning two of a camping trip means a whole regiment
of chores and duties to perform just to get the day in motion. Your cooking
flame is not available at the quick turn of a knob and your wet socks can't be
tossed in the dryer for quick dry.
Life in the outdoors is wonderful, but it does have its limitations. However,
there are a few things you can do the night before that makes the next day's
camp a bit easier -- and allows you more time for the serious stuff such as
fishing, hiking, or lounging with a good book!
Here are some suggestions for tasks you can complete, or at least start, at
the end of your day that will make the next morning go a bit quicker and
1. Once your fire has served its purpose, pile the coals to one side covering
the embers under a layer of insulating ash. The next morning there are usually
enough embers still glowing so you can start the fire that much quicker. Another option is to turn over a glowing log and let those embers smolder underneath throughout the night. Be advised that winds can re-start a fire so use common sense if it's breezy.
2. It never hurts to make sure there is a supply of firewood available for
that first warming/cooking fire of the day. Firewood in various sizes should be
on hand and that pile should be covered in case of nighttime rain or heavy
1. I love hash browns in the morning with my eggs and bacon. Preparing them,
however, is not an exciting morning task. I also think hash browns taste better
when grated from a partially cooked potato. That's my secret and one I prepare
for the night before by wrapping the spud in aluminum foil and burying it in
the hot/warm coals of the evening fire. It's a slow cook process that, with
practice, you can get your timing down to where it's a perfect cook the next
morning. The spud grates or slices easily and it has a bit of a campfire taste
2. We all know that a watched pot never boils. That certainly seems true at
a campfire. That's why I always cover the lid on the big hot water pot and set
it in the fire ring next to hot embers. By morning, it might just have enough
remaining heat that re-heat time is cut in half -- or more!
3. During cold weather camping I always bring along a cooler. I use it to
keep things from getting too cold. In really cold weather, I've even buried the
cooler in the snow to keep it insulated against freezing. Those who enjoy a
higher level of comfort during cold-weather camping may just put the cooler
back in the car.
1. Again, being more of a hard-core, cold-weather camper, I find a warm pair of
socks and under layers a real treat in the morning. To ensure that I have a
toasty set of clothes to slip into, I put the next day's under wardrobe in a
stuff sack and it becomes my pillow. Wrinkles be damned, I have some body
temperature-warm clothing in the morning.
2. Sometimes, depending on the season, you can drive the dampness out of
clothing by hanging it in the tent at night. Also, smaller cloth items that are
just damp from body perspiration, or too many trots through a stream, can be
pushed to the bottom of your sleeping bag where moisture can be wicked away --
use this method with synthetic bags, not down. Common sense and experience will
tell you if something is too damp to dry in this fashion.
Prepping For The Next Day
1. This is what camping's all about! Sitting around the fire making sure that
all your lures are ready to go; that your rifle or bow has been inspected and
ready for the next day. If you have the luxury of a cabin, it's often easier to
prepare the lunches and snacks for the next day's outing ahead of time.
2. Sometimes those chores we should have done right away such as rinsing out
a boat, re-fueling a motor, repairing something damaged during the day,
whatever, doesn't get done right away on return to camp. It's better to take
the time later that evening to maintain or fix gear than to have to do it the
These are pretty common tasks that really don't take up much time. However,
getting them out of the way the night before means your great camping adventure
the next morning can just get underway that much sooner!
Be safe out there and enjoy the outdoors!
Shop The Sportsman's Guide for a great selection of Camping Accessories!
Tom Watson is an award-winning writer who lived in Alaska for 16 years, 12 of which were on Kodiak Island. He is a frequent contributor to "Camping Life," "Canoe & Kayak" magazines, author of three books:" Sixty Hikes within Sixty Miles of Minneapolis," "Best Tent Camping-Minnesota," both by Menasha Ridge Press, and "How to Think Like a Survivor," by Creative Publishing International. He's also an avid kayaker, camper, naturalist, writer, and photographer residing in western Minnesota. He will write a weekly column on camping tips for sportsmansguide.com.