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Camping Essentials - How to Prepare for a Safe and Enjoyable Experience

Family taking a selfie at their campsite.

Who is excited for the start of the camping season? We certainly are! Within the Nevada Irrigation District are numerous campgrounds where you and your friends or family can get out into nature, sleep under the stars, and reconnect without the distractions of daily life. 

NID believes the great outdoors is an excellent place for families and friends to spend quality time together and create memories to last a lifetime. Our mission is to provide safe and stunning campgrounds combined with great customer service, amenities and activities for you, your family and friends to enjoy.  Everyone will find fun and adventure.  Whatever your preference, our campgrounds, lakes and trails have something for you. 

Camping is great because it's a relatively inexpensive getaway, but you’ll need to be prepared. We want to make it easy for you, so we've created a list of what you'll need to pack and a little guidance on meal planning.


If you want to camp at one of our campgrounds, you must make reservations. Depending on where you camp, there will be plenty of activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming. The camping season typically runs from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend.

There is a fee for the use of the campgrounds. The price varies by the campground.

Given that our campgrounds are in an area that is typically vulnerable  to fire danger, it is essential that you note any restrictions in effect at the time of your camping trip. Also, there could be power outages if there are high winds. Finally, if the air quality is poor, it may not be suitable for camping.

Tents set up at a campsite.

Camping Essentials List

Have you ever gone on a camping trip, only to arrive and realize you forgot to pack the tent? Or maybe something else vital? It happens. Having a list ensures that your trip gets off to a good start. Here's what you'll need if you're camping at one of the campgrounds within the Nevada Irrigation District:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Pillow
  • Flashlights
  • Bottled Water
  • Appropriate & Extra Clothing
  • Sunscreen
  • Toilet Paper, Napkins, Extra Towels
  • First Aid Kit 
  • Campsite Reservation Confirmation 

Some extras that will make your trip even more enjoyable:

  • Camp Stove/Grill And Fuel
  • Cookware 
  • Bowls, Plates, Utensils 
  • Coffee (the instant stuff will do)
  • Biodegradable Soap 
  • Trash Bags
  • Bug Protection
  • Hand Sanitizer

Now, a note about water. Many campsites have a place where campers can get water, but don't assume this is the case. Check before you go. If it doesn't, you'll want to plan on bringing your own - and bring lots of it! Make sure to research ahead of time to find a place you can  get to quickly, if you should need to refill.

image: Food cooking on a campfire with RV and picnic table in background.

Camp Meals

Camping doesn't have to be all hot dogs and burgers. Your meals can be just as good as a home-cooked meal. It just takes a little preparation, the right pan, and a good heat source, and maybe some foil and tongs.

Tips for Meals While Camping

First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure you have a good stove or grill. If you use a camp stove, you'll want to make sure you have propane and a flat surface to set it on. Check to make sure your campsite has picnic tables; if not, you'll want to bring a folding table. 

Also, cook what you know. And with that, remember that sometimes simple is best. Determine how many meals you're going to need while camping. It could be that the first meal ideas that pop into your head are best. For example, oatmeal for breakfast is quick and easy, plus healthy and filling. It also makes a great hot breakfast since, often, the mornings can be a little chilly in the foothills, even in summer.

Camping meal prep will also make mealtime a lot easier. You can pre-chop most of your fruits and vegetables at home and bring them with you in a cooler. You can also precook some meals to reheat at your campsite. For instance, chili is a great, hearty meal that you can easily reheat on a camp stove. Although, it does bring up another point - washing dishes. Remember that whatever you bring, you will need to wash the dishes with biodegradable soap. So, you might also want to consider meals that are easy to clean up - maybe another reason hot dogs are so popular for camping.

You also might want to consider meal ideas that are easy for on-the-go activities. For example, if you know you're going to be hiking, prepacked sandwiches, trail mix, and energy bars are a great lunch option.

Camping Meal Ideas

We've already mentioned a few ideas, such as oatmeal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and chili for dinner. Here are some more ideas broken down by meal:


  • Cereal
  • Sausage and Eggs
  • Breakfast Bars
  • Pancakes
  • Granola and Yogurt with Berries
  • Frittata 


  • Hamburgers
  • Tacos
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Salad
  • BLT Sandwich
  • Turkey or Chicken Wraps


  • Pork and Beans
  • Nachos
  • Spaghetti
  • Brats 
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Red Beans and Rice with Smoked Sausage

Enjoy Your Camping Trip

The Sierra Nevada area is a beautiful, expansive place to go camping. You, your friends and family are sure to have a great time as long as you take all the camping essentials with you. 

A caveat during the summer months: Fire restrictions may be imposed due to weather conditions, PSPS events, power outages or poor air quality. If deemed necessary, campfires and charcoal fires will not be permitted. In severe cases, propane use may be restricted as well. Always check with the campground before traveling to find out if there are restrictions and plan accordingly.

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