When you’re planning a camping trip, you’ll probably be wondering how much stuff to take. Do you take the entire house or do you take the minimum only to discover that you forgot a much needed item. There is no hard set rule on how much, or how little, equipment and supplies you should take because it depends on the trip itself. You need to put some thought into what is absolutely necessary and then add from there. Just make sure you do not overload yourself or the vehicle.
A Camping Tent
For tent camping, a primary piece of equipment is, of course, the tent. A tent may require additional items like rope, poles, stakes, and tools for assembling it. You can reduce or eliminate some of the items by investing in a self-assembling tent. This type has all the necessary components in one integrated unit to create a sturdy structure.
Such tents are not exactly “self-assembling”, but they can be very quick to pack, unpack and set up which can be very useful for cold weather camping. They are also easy to haul to your location. It is preferable to have one that uses waterproof material and strong seams that resist tearing.
A Sleeping Bag or Air Mattress
Unless you are just planning a day trip, you will probably need something to sleep on. Maybe you’ve seen some movies were cowboys just sleep on the ground with a log for a headrest. It may look adventurous and some people actually enjoy it, but it can be really hard on your back and can prevent a good night’s sleep. If you are planning on hiking the next day, a stiff neck and sore back can hinder the trip.
There are many different kinds of sleeping bags and inflatable mattresses (air mattresses). If you want to use an air mattress, make sure it is self-inflating. Unless you enjoy being light headed, you will not want to blow it up with your lungs. You may also be out of luck if it requires an external power source. Many air mattresses come with built in, battery powered air pumps. If you are going to use a sleeping bag, make sure it has a durable exterior, good insulating material and is waterproof.
You will probably want to take some equipment for cooking. You could take some ready-to-eat meals that do not require any preparation, but many people find cooking outdoors very enjoyable. However, you do not want to overburden yourself with equipment that is time consuming to unpack, clean and repack, so it’s best to keep the cookware to a minimum. A lightweight camping stove, a multi-purpose pan, and a few utensils should do nicely. If you decide to bring plastic utensils, be sure to dispose of them properly. Keeping the outdoors clean for others to enjoy should be part of the camping experience.
A First Aid Kit
You should always be prepared for the unexpected mishap and a first aid kit is essential. Some important things to include in a first aid kit are:
- Bandages. Band-aids, wrap around gauze and pads.
- An anti-bacterial/disinfectant cream or spray for treating scrapes.
- Aspirin. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen could be used as aspirin substitutes for peoplewith sensitive stomachs.
- Bug bites cream or spray.
- Moleskin for treating blisters
- A multi-purpose knife or at least some scissors.
- Some sanitary towelettes.
A Supply of Water
The quality of a campsite’s water supply can vary greatly, so be prepared to bring some of your own water. Since water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, you are going to be limited on how much you can haul. You should at least bring enough bottled water for drinking, cooking and any emergencies like cleaning scrapes and cuts. Depending on your destination, you may find yourself with limited access to fresh water, so it is very important to plan ahead for your water needs.
A Dependable Flashlight
A good flashlight can be the most important item in your possession at night. Before leaving for a camping trip, make sure your flashlights have fresh batteries. In fact, you may want to take some spare batteries just in case. The last thing you what is to be away from the campsite at night and discover that your flashlight’s batteries are dead.
As an alternative to a battery powered flashlight, you could bring a rechargeable flashlight. The only downside is that you will need some kind of power source, like the cigarette lighter in a car, to recharge it.
Just Bring Essentials
One of the most important things to keep in mind is to just bring the essentials. If you try to bring all the comforts of home, you will find yourself hauling around a lot of extra weight that requires more work to pack and unpack. The saying “less is more” definitely applies to packing for a camping trip.