Camping Essentials

Camping is a quintessential summer activity. I’ve been camping since before I could walk and summer wouldn’t be complete for me if I didn’t sleep on the ground at least once. While the idea of packing for a camping trip can be overwhelming, a good packing list will ensure your trip runs smoothly. Let’s start with the essentials…

Tent– Big enough for your entire clan- the packaging should tell you how many people the tent will sleep comfortably.
Footprint– Place the footprint under your tent to keep the moisture out. A sheet of plastic or tarp will also work for this purpose.
Lighting– Flashlights, headlamps or lanterns…it’s dark out in the wilderness at night.
Extra batteries– For when you realize not one of your flashlights work.
Chairs or Sitting Pad-They make super tiny lightweight backpacking chairs, but I typically just find a rock.
Water– Used for cooking, cleaning and drinking. Plus a water filtration system if you plan on drinking out of local sources.
Food- Enough for your trip
Sleeping bag and sleeping pad or air mattress– Something to sleep in and something to sleep on.
Pillow– Totally optional. When backpacking, I usually just shove some clothes in one of my bags and use it as a pillow instead of carrying something extra.
Insect repellent with deet– Because mosquito bites are itchy.
Fire starters– Make your own at home; grab an old egg carton and cut into 12 individual starters. Fill each hole with dryer lint and then melt wax over the lint. Put one or two under your kindling and light.
Matches- To start your campfire.
Trash bags– Pack it in, pack it out.
Propane Stove– They make small compact versions for backpacking.
Pots/pans/cooking utensils– Tin foil also works for cooking over an open flame.
Plates/bowls/silverware/cups– I love the origami dishware. It’s lightweight, easy to use and easy to clean.
Toiletries– Brush, brush, brush.
Towels– For bathing and swimming.
TP– For when you gotta go.
Hand sanitizer– For after you go.
Maps/GPS/Compass– So you don’t get lost.
Multi-tool– You’ll always need it.
Playing cards and other games– Good old fashioned fun.
Poncho or raincoat– Never fails to rain when you go camping.
First aid kit– Just in case.

For backpacking you will also need a trowel to bury your waste and some ziplock bags to carry back your TP in…LEAVE NO TRACE!!

If planning on swimming or kayaking bring necessities for those activities. For hiking essentials, please see Anatomy of a Day Hike.


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