Every camping trip is a learning experience, and this one ranked as one where I could stand to learn a lot. Here are five things I’ll do differently the next time I go boat camping.
 Double-check the packing list. Getting wet wood to burn wouldn’t have been an issue had I remembered to bring aboard one key item: a portable propane grill. It would have made cooking a lot easier at the campsite. I had the spare tank with me and … the grill? Never made it aboard.
 Allow for a weather day. I should have scheduled an extra day on either end of the trip to account for any unexpected weather, which in this case showed with a vengeance. A day after calling it quits, the local weather was 58 degrees and sunny.
 Store supplies off the boat. This is especially true when the boat is sitting on the trailer under the waterlogged sky. Unless it’s shrink-wrapped, any boat is going to be vulnerable to the elements. On this trip, all the stuff stowed under my trailering canvas got soaked.
 Leave a float plan. I made the decision to go but, because of the spontaneity, didn’t tell anyone where I was launching and when I expected to be back. Had anything gone wrong, I could have been stuck for hours. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers a free float-plan download at floatplancentral.org.
 Keep the camera handy. By burying the digital on the bottom of the gear bag, I missed out on way too many photo opportunities with bald eagles.