Having the right supplies is essential for any successful camping trip. While the specifics of your packing list might differ slightly depending on where your adventure takes you, the basics remain the same. Safety, shelter, and food are your top priorities when you are in the middle of the wilderness, so packing the right items, and understanding how to use them is important to protect yourself (and your sanity) while you are seemingly miles away from civilization. Here are the Top items you can’t camp without:
Tent: While this may seem rather obvious, this is one of those cases where quality matters. Buying a quality tent can make all the difference if the weather doesn’t cooperate, so be sure to do your research and find one that meets your needs. In addition to your tent, be sure to have the proper accessories to go with it. There are tons of products on the market, and only you will know what will get utilized in your vacation style. Avoid spending extra money on things you won’t use, and invest it instead in items that you will. A good tent footprint is helpful but might not be a necessity. A waterproof patch kit is easily packable (and cheap), and can make all the difference if you actually need it. Keep a few extra stakes handy, and you should be good to go.
Sleeping Bag: Again, based on your personal comfort level, but another example where you get what you pay for. If you are camping in Yosemite, any old sleeping bag just won’t cut it when it comes to staying warm at night. Be sure to read the fine print, and understand that sleeping bags are not all one and the same. If you know that you will feel every little pebble, spend a little extra and purchase a camp mat or air mattress. If you go the inflatable route, be sure to remember the air pump. Get comfortable, and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to explore the great outdoors.
First Aid Kit: Having access to basic medical supplies is important when you are camping, and even if you never need to use it, just having it nearby can help you relax, knowing you are prepared to provide basic first aid when you (or someone else) needs it. These inexpensive kits can literally be a lifesaver.
Flashlight: Whether you have to stumble in the dark to the campground bathroom, or you have a case of the midnight munchies, or you find yourself caught on the trail after sundown, having a good flashlight (and plenty of batteries) can save the day. Keep one in the car’s glove box, and keep another one in your possession throughout the trip. Even if you plan on settling in way before the sun goes down, a flashlight should automatically go into your day pack…every single time.
Swiss Army Knife: The Swiss Army Knife is a useful tool with multiple purposes. It takes up next to no space, and you can do a variety of things with its tactical and survival functions. It even opens wine bottles!
This list is certainly not all encompassing, but definitely covers the basics. If you are planning a camping trip, spend a little time learning about your gear, how it functions, and the proper way to store it. Check the weather before you go, and make sure that you pack your clothing accordingly. Staying warm is the first step in staying safe, so remember, in camping, and in life, quality counts.
Let us know what gear you must have on your camping trips in the comments section below!