Boy Scout Troop 604
Occasionally, trailheads and/or campsites are closed. Sometimes these closures are seasonal (due to muddy roads, endangered species, etc.). Sometimes they’re closed due to unforeseen issues (i.e. recent fires).
It is a good idea to check several times with the forest service – once while you’re in your early planning stages and again several weeks prior to your trip date – to be sure there aren’t any closures.
For if you are camping is a developed cars campsite (i.e. San Antonio), this generally isn’t a problem. But if your going to an undeveloped area (i.e. In the desert at Red Rock Canyon), you will need to bring all your water with you. If you’re not sure, call the agency that oversees the area your going to and check.
If you’re going to an area that has no water, or you aren’t sure, bring water with you. Since you don’t usually have space or weight constraints when car camping, this shouldn’t be a problem. The rule of thumb is 1 gallon per person per day for drinking. You will also need water for meal clean-up. This amount will depend on what your meals are, but 1 gallon per meal should be sufficient.
With the increased fire dangers in Southern California, more and more places are restricting or even eliminating campfires (and maybe even charcoal fires). You will need to check ahead of time with the agency that oversees the area your going to.
Even if campfires are allowed, at least one adult will need a valid campfire permit. These can be obtained at any ranger station and are free of charge. If you are planning on picking on picking one up the morning of your trip, call ahead to be sure the ranger station will be open. Many aren’t open early on the weekends.
You also need to be prepared with fire safety items like buckets for water and a shovel. You will also want a hatchet and/or a camp saw for cutting wood. If you are car camping, be sure to bring some wood along. Don’t forget to take advantage of campfires for teaching younger Scouts about fire safety (Fireman Chit) and knife/ax/saw safety (Totin’ Chip).
How To Plan a Camping or Backpacking Trip