Camping for the First Time? Don’t Forget These Things!

Shelter

It seems obvious, but if you’re going camping, don’t forget the tent!  Now the not obvious part, is to make sure that you have all the things that go with the tent.  Do you have the ropes? Poles? Rainfly? Stakes?  Ground Cloth?  Missing any one of these items will render your tent useless, and your outing, shall we say… Memorable?

Do you need a hammer or sledge to put your stakes in?  Don’t forget that either!

Sleep

Let’s face it, this is make or break.  If you don’t sleep well, the rest of the trip will not be fun either.  To ensure a good night’s sleep bring a sleeping bag designed for the outdoors.  The one with a superhero or princess that grandma gave you?  Leave it at home, trust me.  You will want a sleeping bag that has some kind of a temperature rating.

Don’t forget the pillow either!  You can bring the one you use at home, but a travel pillow will work just as well, and if you have a long car ride before you get to camp, you may be bringing the travel pillow anyway.  If you’re super tough (or you forgot your pillow!) you can stuff your clothes in the storage bag that you brought your sleeping bag in.  I don’t recommend this, but it’s good to keep in mind for emergencies.

A sleeping pad can make the difference between being miserable and being comfortable when camping.  You can use a piece of foam (closed cell, not the egg crate kind), or a special camp sleeping pad.  Either way you want something between you and the sucking cold that the ground becomes after dark.

Those dirty, sweaty, grungy clothes that you wore all day? Please don’t wear them to bed.  Bring a separate set of clothes to sleep in.  It will keep your sleeping bag cleaner, and you’ll be so much more comfortable in warm comfy clothes, as you snuggle into your nest of coziness.  I also can’t say enough about having a separate set of warm socks and a warm hat.  Even in the height of summer, night can be cool.

Odds and Ends

Flashlight (check batteries)

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Book

First Aid Kit

Sense of Adventure

Cell Phone/Camera (charger, earbuds, etc.) – This is controversial. I always bring my cell phone, not so I can call for help, although that does come in handy (IF your phone still has a charge and IF you have service.)  Some people like to listen to their own tunes in the woods.  Truthfully, I don’t get that.  I love hearing the birds, frogs, wind, rain, whatever is making the camping trip interesting.  No, the reason that I bring my cell phone is so that i can capture a small part of all the awesomeness that I find along the way.  Kids laughing and playing a non-electric game? *snap*, great vista? *snap*, cool bug? *snap*

Camping at its Finest
Relaxing by the Fire

You May Not Need This, But I Do!

Think about the things that *YOU* need to survive the day/night/weekend…

Dental appliance, and case

Contact case and solutions

Hard glasses case

Extra Blanket

Meds/ Vitamins

Comfy Chair

Coffee and a travel mug

Camping food
Dutch Oven Cobbler

Food – Camping food is the best!  (but only if you can eat it)

Eat more, drink more – Don’t be surprised if you’re more hungry or thirsty than usual (fresh air and sunshine!)

Snacks – eat whatever you want, YAY!

A plan for cooking your food – oh yeah, that cool recipe that you saw on Pinterest?  Don’t forget to pack it.

Lighter or matches – planning on cooking on charcoal or wood? or a stove that’s not self lighting?

Stove – ALWAYS have a backup plan.  Spending a weekend cooking over a fire sounds SO romantic, until it starts raining

Clean up, Aisle 6! – Bring paper towels, spray cleaner, dish detergent, sponge, bleach, tubs to wash dishes in, garbage bags