Over half of all campers admit to forgetting things when they go camping. While this might sometimes be something simple or unproblematic, there are some items that you would not be able to go without. So, what are the most important things to bring on a camping trip?
Below, we lay out a list of the most important items for such a vacation and why you should never forget each one. Use this list to help you create a camping checklist with which to ensure you are never in trouble while on vacation.
Shelter and Warmth
It is hard to forget the most important piece of gear: The tent.
Still, a tent is not only one item, so before you put it in your bag or car, get it out and check you have everything you need. Leaving a peg bag at home, or not having an inner liner, might mean you are left cold or with a tent that is not secured in the wind.
Of course, you will also want to remember the sleeping bag. Make sure you air it out before you go, too. Check for mold or dirt, and ensure you are comfortable and wrapped up each night.
When you check the sleeping bag, also ensure you put a sleeping pad, air mattress, or another comfortable base layer into your kit too. Nobody wants to sleep on the cold floor.
While not camping essentials per se, food is essential for you to survive in the wild outdoors. You do not want to have to take a drive back to the closest shop when you realize you left the rice and beans at home.
At the same time, check you brought a portable stove, as well as the fuel for it. You will also want to look through your cookware to see if it is all clean and rust-free.
When it gets toward nighttime, having good lighting can help reduce frustration from things you cannot find in the dark. While a good campfire can illuminate some of the night, you cannot put it inside your tent, so bring electric lighting with you. You can hang a good camping lantern in communal areas or inside your tent, for example, for a nice, clear glow to see your pitch with.
For when you need to get up in the middle of the night and answer a call or nature or fix a loose peg, you need your hands free. To prepare for such a situation, add a headlamp to your camping checklist. You will appreciate the simplicity of this item and how it can make everything so much easier when you are fumbling around in the darkness.
Whether or not you need navigation aids depends on what kind of camping you plan to do. If you think you will go hiking, or plan to pitch up in the wilderness, make sure to have these ready.
First of all, pick up a high-quality recent map of the area. Unfold it to where you are going to be going, and place it inside a dedicated plastic folder. This will keep it safe from rain or falling into a puddle, ensuring you have information on your location at all times.
Alongside your map, carry a compass with you too. The woods can often all look the same, and being unable to see which direction you are headed through the canopy can put you in real danger. Paired with a dedicated GPS device (not your smartphone), you can find your way out of any navigational situation with ease.
When packing for camping, you need to remember that the destination is not made for humans. It is a wilderness where you might end up having a trip or a fall, or accidents might happen. Ensure you include a first aid kit packed among everything else.
Before you go, check the first aid kit itself. You should at least have the following items in it, to ensure you have the basics for most issues:
- Pain relief
- Safety pins
- Saline eye wash
- Sanitizing wipes
While not a part of a first aid kit, you should also pick up some sunscreen. You are likely to be outside in the sun a lot, so having this will help you avoid sunburn.
Depending on where you go, insect repellant might mean the difference between good rest and sleepless nights. On the more extreme end, check where you are going and also pack bear spray if these animals are likely to be in the area.
Ensure you bring plenty of layers instead of a simple coat. You want to wrap up both warm and dry and have several changes in case the weather turns bad for a day or two.
Make sure you pack a waterproof coat too. Even if things get a bit windy and wet, you might need to leave your tent now and then for short stints. You do not want to return to your shelter soaking wet.
Of course, you also want hardy and comfortable shoes for your trip. Things that will not end up damaged from walking around in nature while also supporting your ankles. Picking up boots with good traction is your best bet, though if you are on a budget aim for any form of ankle support and high-quality tread.
Gadgets and Gizmos
There are many other options for things you can bring that will help you in many minor ways. If you are not an experienced camper, each one might help you avoid problems.
For example, a multi-tool could help if something goes wrong with the tents, or if you need to create kindling for a campfire. You can also choose to pick up a fire starter if you think you are likely to run out of matches or lighters fast.
Preparing for Your Next Camping Trip
The above items should help make your camping trip the most relaxing vacation ever. Of course, there is still more to learn about places to go, things to do when you get there, and so much more. This is why we have several posts with such information for you to peruse.
We have many articles written by experts who should be able to help you out. So make sure to check our other blog posts and find out what else you can do to make this a camping trip you will never forget.