Setting Up Your Campsite in 4 Steps

Finding the perfect campsite for your outdoor adventure can be a daunting task—but don't worry! Setting up a campsite doesn't have to be a hassle, as long as you plan ahead and take into consideration the elements you’ll need to make the experience enjoyable. With some preparation and basic steps, you can create the perfect campsite and make the most out of your camping trip. Our Camping Experts have put together four essential steps to make your campsite comfortable and fun for everyone!

1. Find a Spot

A flat area with a set-up camp

Before you set up your campsite, you’ll need a place to camp! If you’re able to choose your own spot, look for high, flat ground—this will ensure water doesn’t collect underneath your tent or pool around your site. Flat ground also makes it easier to set up your campfire, chairs, and everything else you need to camp in comfort.

You should also take a look around the area for any potential hazards. Look around for any steep drops, holes, or other terrain you may trip on. It’s also a good idea to look above and make sure there are no dead or decaying trees that may fall near your campsite.

2. Set Up Your Tent

With the perfect campsite picked out, it’s time to get the tent ready. First, pitch the tent—since every tent sets up differently, it’s best to follow the guide included with your tent. Wondering which tent will work best for your camping trip? Check out our Expert tips for choosing a camping tent.

When the tent is pitched, you’re ready to set up the inside. A bad night of sleep can ruin your trip, so make sure you have everything you need to stay comfy! A sleeping pad offers a soft cushion between you and the ground and is a great way to make the inside of your tent comfortable to sit and sleep on. Next, lay down your sleeping bags. While there are plenty of types of sleeping bags to choose from, our Camping Experts love The North Face One Bags. These sleeping bags have a unique three-in-one system, giving you three different temperature ratings—perfect for those who camp throughout the year. Don’t forget camping pillows and blankets to keep you comfy and warm!

A family getting the inside of their tent ready

With the sleeping area set up, you can add a few more items to make the inside of your tent feel like home. A headlamp is a must for walking around in the dark or going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. You can store the headlamp in your tent’s overhead storage—this way it can double as a light to illuminate the interior like a lightbulb. If you’re bringing electronics along, a power station will keep everything charged and powered. The Goal Zero Yeti 500x is a great option for the inside of your tent.

3. Set Up Your Camp Kitchen

A camp kitchen with Jetboil cookware

With the tent ready for the night, it’s time to set up everyone’s favorite part of camp: the camp kitchen! Whether you’re cooking over the campfire or using a portable stove, you’ll need space to prepare your food—a folding table is a great option. There are also some cook stations built for serious camp cooking, like the GCI Outdoor Master Cook Station which includes a sink and plenty of room to prep and cook. Make sure you bring along some cookware. If you’re looking for an all-in-one set, the GSI Outdoors Bugaboo is our Experts’ favorite and includes a few pots and pans, four mugs, four plates, and four bowls. Don’t forget a Jetboil and some coffee grounds to make delicious camp coffee!

4. Add the Final Touches

A campsite dinner table with GCI Outdoor chairs

With everything else set up, you can add the final touches to your campsite. Set up a few camping chairs around the campfire to enjoy time with friends and family. If you want to relax and “hang out” add a few hammocks near your campsite. There are also plenty of options for lighting your campsite including string lights and portable lanterns. Want some more inspiration for camping with your family? Check out our expert guide to everything you need for family camping.

Setting up the perfect campsite doesn't have to be difficult! With a little bit of planning and some essential gear, you can create a comfortable and safe campsite that you can enjoy with your family and friends. From choosing the right spot to setting up a camp kitchen, the steps above will help you set up a campsite perfect for any camping trip. For more help planning your camping trip, stop by your local SCHEELS. Our experts will help you find the right camping gear and get out there—it's time to enjoy the great outdoors!

Ryan Garcia, a Camping Expert at The Colony, Texas SCHEELS