Pinterest camping has turned into one of our favorite places to find outdoor-related inspiration and hacks (it's been the inspiration for my posts how to stay warm when camping in the cold and how to start a campfire, and I use it almost exclusively to find content to share on my Facebook and Twitter feeds). It offers a wealth of recipes, destination ideas, hiking/backpacking/camping tips and of course gorgeous "memes" that remind me why I started the Outdoor Book Club in the first place. (Have you followed me there yet?) Lots of people use Pinterest to plan weddings; why not use it to plan your big adventure?
Four stages of camp planning: Fantasize, Plan, Experience, Share
Any planned adventure starts with an idea. Maybe you heard a friend rave about her camping trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes and want to have a similar experience. Perhaps you read an article, saw a picture or even had a dream about backpacking. That's when you start fantasizing about what an awesome trip you would have if you were the one planning the experience.
Once you decide you're at least somewhat serious about making your epic adventure happen, that's when you start planning. You look at your calendar, you research campsites, starting taking inventory of your gear, look up recipes and think about who you'll invite along. For many of us, planning is our strong suit and can be one of the best parts of camping. Pinterest makes it even more fun and inspiring.
The third stage is that you actually go on the trip. You use all the tips and resources you found, and take lots of pictures. You lose yourself in the beauty of the great outdoors, hike to places you've never seen, enjoy the warmth of a campfire with some amazing food and friends. You bring back a Petoskey stone from the beach, lots of gorgeous pictures and, after months or maybe years of wanting, found a sense that you've rediscovered your inner heroine.
How to use Pinterest for camping planning
I'm assuming here that you have a basic understanding of how Pinterest works. So I'll only give you a simple warning (which you probably already know, but bears repeating): Pinterest can be extremely addictive. You can spend hours and hours there, falling down one rabbit hole after another, your brain tweaked up on projects and ideas that might sound amazing and mind-blowing, but will in all likelihood, never happen. Planning your camping trip is no exception. So either accept that's your fate, or put a time limit on your browsing. Let's get started!
Create your boards
Boards help you organize your pins into categories like recipes, activity ideas, gear, inspiration and more. Don't go overboard with pinning everything that you find inspiring or interesting, otherwise you'll have a hard time finding the information you really need to plan your camping trip. Often using the "favorite" option is a good alternative to pinning everything you like. Questions to ask as you begin to create boards:
For example, if you're planning a backpacking trip to Isle Royale, you might want to create boards called (here are links to some of my boards):
Follow other people's boards
In order to find the best and most useful information, you need to start following boards and people. There are probably at least a handful of people who have started similar projects as yours.
Now you might not love every single one of their pins, but that's the beauty of Pinterest. You add the pins you do love to your own board. Once you've followed a board (or person), his or her pins will start populating in your home feed (similar to Facebook). Now each time you login to Pitnerest you'll have a fresh crop of camping, hiking and outdoorsy pins ready to peruse (and pin on your own boards).
Use the general search option to get started
This is as good a place as any to start your journey. Type in a keyword, like "hiking" or "camping" and you're off. Once you find a couple of good pins, you'll be well on your way to creating some truly inspiring boards. You can also start pining photos from some of your favorite outdooors sites. Found a helpful blog post on your destination that you want to revisit later? Pin it. Discover an inspiring travel photo? Pin it.
Make sure that you use the "related pins" option. Here's where you'll find some of your best stuff. (Remember what I said earlier about rabbit holes?) This really is the most awesome way to find the best pins. You'll move around the underworld of Pinterest, finding new and wonderful things on a variety of boards.
Got friends who camp? Follow them on Pinterest!
The best way to find the friends you already have through Facebook or Twitter is to click your name in the top right corner of the homepage, then use the Find Friends option in the drop-down menu. You can decide which friends you want to follow. To "tag" a person to a pin, simply use their Pinterest username with the "@" symbol.
Group boards are your friendHave you decided to bring along family members or a group of friends? Bring a little communal inspiration to a board, and invite them to add their own pins. This will keep everyone inspired and on the same page.
Pay it forward & create a post-trip boardPinterest is not only a great place for fantasizing & planning, but for organizing and sharing your adventures. After you come back from your camping trip, make sure you create another board where you can share photos and experiences of the trip (and help the next woman who comes along who's using Pinterest to plan her trip).
What are your favorite boards when it comes to the outdoors? Share in the comments below.
Jill Hinton Wolfe