8 Essential Tips for Mountain Camping Success

Rilor Staff
Update: April 7, 2023
Table of Contents

In this mountain camping tips and guides, we will teach you the essentials for a successful, safe camping-on-the-summit experience. So if you are new to this pursuit, you should check this one out. 

A Quick Overview

What's better than hiking mountains? That would be camping in those mountains!

You see, mountain camping is one of the most pleasurable adventures you can ever try. Being able to settle down on an elevated ground will let you experience the fresh breeze of the wind that you can't feel while you are on the bottom. At the same time, the scenery that awaits you there could remove all the fatigue that you sustained from the hike. 

Sure! These things are worth looking forward to. That's why many of our staff here in Rilor Wilderness are quite greedy when it comes to these mountain camping trips, especially in the areas of Montana, Missouri, and Colorado. There are great mountains there. Meanwhile, my personal favorite is the Olympic National Park in Washington, United States. It had a number of different camping spots to try. 

But similar to other outdoor expeditions, mountain camping requires a lot of preparation. But don't get discouraged. After all, these preparations and planning will help you complete the trip safely and conveniently. If you don't want stress or accidents along the way, we suggest that you follow the guidelines that we listed here just for you. 

Foolproof Tips For Mountain Camping

Here are some of the practical tips we want to impart to any individual who is interested in mountain camping.

Prepare A Checklist

Just like any other trip, mountain camping requires campers to identify what they need for the trip. Of course, not all trips will have the same requirements. The things that you are going to bring will actually depend on the duration of your trip, the weather and existing conditions of your destination, and the number of people you are with. 

For a basic mountain camping checklist, refer to the following recommendations:



Cooking And Eating

  • Portable stoves (including fuel cans)
  • Pans and pots
  • Grill and racks (optional)
  • Coffee maker (optional)
  • Water bottles
  • Water filters
  • Mugs, cups, and eating utensils
  • Food container 
  • Coolers
  • Disposable bags 
  • Biodegradable washing soap
  • Sponge

Personal Items

  • Toiletries
  • Hygiene products

Emergencies / Survival


  • Maps 
  • Compass 
  • GPS devices

Research Your Destination

One of the essential preparations for mountain camping is knowing your destination. Keep in mind that not all destinations are the same. Camping in the mountains can be a lot of fun. But the adventure could head south if you are not prepared for the terrain and the possible wildlife and weather conditions you could encounter along the way. 

Several things should be included in your research. For example, you need to understand the weather patterns in your destination. In some cases, the weather in the area could change within the day. So it would be better if you could prepare your clothing and shelter to take into account the possible changes. 

Also, you should understand the terrain. Some areas are more technical than others. So if it is your first time, then go with a beginner-friendly location to camp. Don't challenge yourself on your first hike. We also recommend that when pitching your tent, it should be on the leeward portion of the mountain. It is in this part where the wind isn't that strong. Notably, the weather here is gentler than on the other side. 

Don't forget to check the area where you can pitch your tent. Of course, it should be in a place where you can be a victim of landslides, avalanches, or flooding. Don't put your tent directly under large trees because you are in danger if they suddenly snap.

Be Mindful Of The Weather

Hiking and mountain camping will expose you to the elements. The weather is prone to changes, and it can be difficult to navigate the terrain if you are not prepared for it.  

Just because the weather on the ground is temperate doesn't mean that the top is warm, too. Most of the time, they are covered by strong winds, low temperatures, and snowy or rainy conditions. During the night, the temperature on the mountaintop can significantly drop. 

Notably, most of the weather forecasts are for the valleys. Mountain weather forecasts may vary, so it is better that you contact the land managers, national parks, or any local authorities to inquire about the weather. They are in a position to tell what you have to expect in the mountains. 

Nourishment Matters

Aside from the gear and skills, it is also essential for mountain campers and hikers to be healthy and strong. Always remember that you are dealing with high altitudes here. And in these areas, it is easy for the body to get exhausted, given that the level of oxygen gradually decreases as you ascend. 

To combat fatigue, you need to be hydrated at all times. That's why it is important that you bring an ample amount of water on your trip. At the same time, water filters, stoves, and pots are important here. If you can see clean water sources, you will be able to filter or boil them for consumption. 

Also, don't forget to energize yourself with food. Eat snacks and meals that are high in protein, potassium, and calories. They are the ones that can help restore your energy to complete the trip. They can also aid in muscle recovery and the reduction of muscle cramps and headaches. 

Because of this, it is essential that you plan where you are going to eat on the trip. Plan for your breaks and the food that you are going to consume. Meal planning is an integral part of every successful camping trip. 

Prepare For The Sudden Changes In Temperature

As I've mentioned, the weather on the mountain is always unpredictable. Even if you reach your destination in sunny conditions, there's no guarantee that it will remain warm and cozy there all day. 

The morning could be comfortable and breezy. But during the afternoon and the evening, the terrain could become rainy and windy. There's also a possibility that the temperature could just drop suddenly. 

Hence, you should pack all the essential gear to adapt to the potential changes in the temperature. Make sure that you have the necessary layers that you can wear if the temperature gets chilly. At the same time, your shelter should be capable enough to protect you against the elements. Don't hesitate to invest in 4-season tents if you think that the atmospheric condition is a bit challenging. 

Have A Reliable Lighting Source

Mountain camping will certainly detach you from various amenities that a normal campground offers. Hence, we strongly suggest that you carry a reliable lighting source with you. This could be in the form of lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps. 

Now, lanterns can be bulky, so that could be your last choice. Your primary options here are headlamps and flashlights. Flashlights are great, especially if you have those high-lumen units that can run for extended periods even if it is raining. However, there's a disadvantage to relying on these flashlights alone. Essentially, they limit the mobility of your hands. And it is tricky if you are cooking or doing errands at your campsite. 

Hence, a headlamp is an excellent addition to your trip. Attached to your head, these headlamps can provide guaranteed illumination without restricting the movement of your hands. 

Learn How To Carry Your Backpack

You'll be surprised that many people don't know how to carry their backpacks when hiking.

Of course, a lot of you would say that you simply have to strap the bag on your back, and you are good to go. In normal situations, this way of carrying your pack is just fine. But when it comes to climbing mountains, that's not completely acceptable. 

Be mindful of how you carry your backpack to ensure that you don't sustain back, neck, and shoulder pain. While you are ascending, a heavy pack could put pressure on your posterior. Hence, we recommend that you adjust the strap of your backpack from time to time so that your shoulders get comfortable. 

This is also the part where you need to invest in a high-quality, properly fitted backpack. These packs should have an ergonomic design that would let you lift heavy loads conveniently. 

Don't Solo 

Mountain camping is fun. But it can expose you to lots of challenges. And some of those challenges could actually pose a threat to your life. Hence, we suggest that you don't go on the trip alone, even if you are confident in your skills. Tag a companion or two in the expedition so that you can have someone to rely on if emergencies are to occur. 

Besides, there's strength in numbers. Believe it or not, you can deter the presence of potential attackers just by showing that you have company with you. Whether it is a two-legged or four-legged threat, you can back them off if you are in a group. 

While we encourage solo camping or hiking, this doesn't mean that it applies on extreme and distant terrains such as mountain ranges. The situation there is different on the ground, and it can expose you to situations that you might not survive if you are just alone.

Check other checklists and other camping guides that we have prepared for you:

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