If you have never been camping before it may feel a little daunting to plan the trip. What do you take with you? Will you forget something? What is necessary and what is not? Questions like these can make you decide against the trip entirely and just tan and tent in your back yard.
But planning a camping trip is easier than you think. The secret is lists, just a couple. Lists clarify things so that you’re not taking unnecessary stuff and forgetting the things you need.
What Your Lists Should Be.
The first list has to do with the trip itself. You need to decide where you are going, howmany are going, and how you’re going to get there. Once you know that you’ll know what is required for your trip–are you camping in the bush? Then you’ll need firestarter but dead wood will be plentiful. An organized campsite? The place will tell you if they supply wood, showers, and the like. How many people will tell you how much food to bring, if you are responsible for them, and whether or not you want to contribute to group fun by packing extras like cards or Frisbees. How you’re going to get there is important because it tells you how much room you have to pack your camping gear in. Not much room means just the essentials. An SUV with just you means all the gear you need plus luxuries if you desire.
The second list is the actual stuff you are going to take with you. Below are two lists–one that is for a trip where you need just the essentials, and the other list is the one you can pick and choose from to make your trip more enjoyable and comfortable. Keep in mind that list “A” can also be pared down if you want to rough it survivalist-style. It was created for those who want to camp and enjoy themselves with a certain amount of comfort in mind. If you want to print the list out as a checklist, click here.
List “A”–The Essentials
- Tarp for over tent
- Tarp for under tent
- Sleeping bag
- Air mattress or camping foam pad
- Mattress liner (can be emergency blanket, blanket, etc.)
- Clothing you can layer
- Personal gear (shaving kit, medication, tampons, what have you)
- First Aid Kit
- Toilet paper
- Towel, face cloth, cup towel, dish cloth
- Camp stove
- Kitchen gear: pot, frying pan, can opener, large spoon, bowl, egg flipper, sharp knife, tongs
- Paper plates and plastic cutlery
- Camp chair
- Extra tarp (in case it rains or someone forgets theirs)
- Emergency entertainment (book, deck of cards, what have you)
- Camping shovel and axe
If you are a list maker like I am, you can break a lot of these down into smaller lists so you don’t forget a single thing. This is a generic list. It may vary a little with where you are going and what you decide is or isn’t necessary, but if you take everything on this list you will camp with a degree of comfort and more success than if you go without them.
The following list–list “B”–is also great for camping. You don’t need to take these, but if you can and do, camping will be even more comfortable. If you want to print out the list as a checklist, you can do so by clicking here.
List “B”–The Extras
- An extra backpack for hiking trips, picnics, etc.
- Folding camping table
- Your own pillow from home (camping pillows can be uncomfortable)
- Gazebo or screen tent for kitchen
- Camp heater (make sure it’s tent-safe)
- Sewing repair kit
- Extra kitchen gear–different sized pots and pans, different sized mixing bowls, full set of cooking utensils, paper towel, biodegradable dish soap
- Emergency survival kit (if you are far from civilization)
- Food treats–spices for kitchen, snacks for yourself
- Washing basin for dishes and/or yourself
- If tent is large, folding chair for inside
- Radio or CD player
- Heavy work gloves (awesome for protection against fire and splinters when toting wood)
- Camp shower kit
- Marshmallow or weiner-roasting forks
- Plastic garbage bags for emergency ponchos, holding dirty laundry, packing out garbage, etc.
- Personal camping knife, cup hooks, string
Of course there is no end to what you can take; this is a great first two-part list if you don’t know where to start. Don’t be afraid to modify it, and don’t worry if you’ve left something home you meant to take with you. If you are with others someone is sure to be able to help out, and you will be amazed at how adaptable you can be when you forget something you thought you needed.
Don’t forget that camping is always an adventure–your attitude toward it is more important than your gear! Have fun!