Exchanging the five-star hotel room vacation for a five-billion star camping trip can be a truly rewarding experience. However, it can also be an awesome catastrophe if not properly packed and prepped. Campers must be well-prepared in order to have a successful trip. Camping can be done many ways from truly roughing it, meaning no modern conveniences, to luxury camping in an all-equipped recreational vehicle.
The bare basics
- 1 ea. – jacket, shirt, pants, underclothing, hat
- 2 pr. – socks
- 1 sleeping bag
- 1 jackknife
- 1 pack of matches
- 1 canteen for water
Yes, that’s all. Nature and know-how provide the rest. So before roughing it, be sure to have the know-how.
- tent– be sure your tent has stakes, poles, ties, etc. Always be sure you have enough of each and even a couple of extras. Tent poles bend and stakes get broken.
- Hammer/mallet – of course, a large rock works well for hammering in stakes too.
- Axe, saw – staying warm means firewood and it doesn’t chop itself.
- Knife, multi-purpose tool – axes and saws aren’t great for cutting fishing line.
- Ropes, twine, bungee cords – anything that can be used to tie down, tie off or tie up will be useful at some point. Clothesline is also necessary.
- Tarps – it is good to have at least one small tarp, approximately 5’ x 7’, and one large, approximately 12’ x 16’.
- light givers– the campfire is great but you can’t take it with you on an evening hike and torches are just dangerous. Flashlights, lanterns, or even glow sticks can be used to safely light things up.
- Sleeping bags – these are essential. Air mattresses, air pumps, pillows and sheets are optional.
- Water and food – a good supply of drinking water and food is necessary but can also take up a lot of space. Freeze bottled water and line coolers with these rather than loose ice. Be sure to store non-cooler food in sealed containers to keep moisture out and unwelcome critters away.
- Dishware – many campers use paper plates and cups with plastic utensils. One pot for the fire will suffice; however, a standard camping set is better.
- Storage stuff – zipper baggies and tight-sealing containers are always useful, as is aluminum foil and plastic wrap, for food storage. It is advisable to have a dirty clothes bag and trash bags, of course.
- First aid kit – this needs to include more than just band-aids and neosporin. A camping first aid kit also needs an antiseptic cleanser, cotton pads, gauze, first aid tape, tweezers, pain relievers and a bee sting kit, as a short list.
- Change of clothes – it is best to pack clothing that can be easily worn in layers and that is made of fabric that dries out quickly, like cotton.
- Towels, dishcloths and rags – towels for swimming and bathing, as well as for after-rain dry outs, are good to have on hand. Also have a few rags handy for quick clean up jobs.
- Toiletries – toilet paper is a must. Also pack toothbrush and toothpaste, comb and all-in-one shampoo, conditioner and body wash.
Banishing basics, let’s talk luxury
- coffee maker– yes. This is a luxury item. For basic camping, one can always take instant and boil water in a basic pot.
- Portable cook top – again, a luxury as one can always cook over the fire pit.
- Utensils – can openers, measuring spoons and cups, tongs, spatulas and other kitchen or grill accessories can be packed as needed.
- Extension cord – some camping areas do have power that campers can access.
- Sunscreen & bug repellents – this includes citronella candles as well as the standard sprays and lotions.
- Tools – duct tape, a screwdriver and a wrench are not on the basic camping list but can be very useful at times.
- Entertainment – campers never regret packing playing cards or board games for the inevitable rainy day. Books, a radio and a puzzle can go a long way too. Don’t forget a camera and a pair of good binoculars for nature walks and bird watching.
- Extra toiletries – luxury camping includes hair dryers, razors and styling products.