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Camping is one of the most adventurous and fun experiences anyone can have, but it’s important to plan carefully. Any time you are headed into an environment that’s “off the beaten path” you’ll need to bring along supplies to keep you safe and comfortable. It’s also a good idea to think about things you’d like to do while camping. Maybe you don’t need to bring fishing poles, books, or marshmallows along, but they can take your camping trip to the next level.
Before you get your list of camping supplies together and begin making purchases, there are a few things you’ll want to consider:
Are you camping near water and will it be drinkable?
You can check the campsite’s website for information about water supplies or you can contact the park ranger’s office if you’re camping in the state park. If you’re camping in the true wilderness, you’ll want to bring along a water filtration device.
What’s the weather like where I’m camping?
If you’re camping in an area known for inclement weather, you’ll need to plan carefully. Even if you’re headed somewhere with pristine conditions and the weather forecast is calling for nothing but sunny skies and comfortable temperatures, make sure you’re prepared for an unexpected change in conditions, just in case.
Will I have access to a shower and other facilities?
Keeping clean during a camping trip, even a short one, can have a major effect on how much fun you have. Make sure you know what facilities you’ll have access to and plan accordingly. Obviously, if you won’t have a toilet and/or shower nearby you might need to bring a different stock of items than if you’re staying a campsite with full bathroom access.
Are campfires allowed?
Ahead of time find out if campfires are permitted at the campsite. In addition to enhancing the general fun of camping, it also plays a major role in how you dress and how you’ll prepare meals.
What activities are on the agenda during my camping trip?
There’s plenty to do while camping and what you choose to do will affect what you pack. If it’s a relaxing camping trip, you might bring along books and games. If you’re planning to be adventurous, you might need hiking boots or climbing equipment. Your agenda dictates a decent portion of the list of things you need for camping.
Am I parking near my campsite or hiking in?
Camping items are quite heavy so knowing how close to your campsite you can park will dictate the type of items you will bring. If you have to hike any distance to your campsite, you’ll want to keep your list of things you need for camping as lightweight as possible.
Should I prepare for any emergency situations?
There are safety issues to think of in every camping situation. You need to know what they are in the location where you intend to camp. Some camping can be relatively care-free, but there are other situations that are downright dangerous. Plan accordingly and make sure you have what you need to stay safe.
Now that you know what to think about, here’s a list of items you need for camping:
Your tent is arguably your most important camping supply. Make sure you invest in one suitable for the environment in which you intend to camp.
How do you know which tent is the right one? There’s the backpacking tent, the two-person tent, the three-person tent, the bubble tent, single-wall tents, and even the enormous family tent, to name but a few. This guide will help you understand the key qualities to look for when buying a tent.
You’ll need to stay warm and dry while sleeping, even if you’re in a tent. Nothing is more camp-ready than a quality sleeping bag.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit will come in handy in a variety of situations. You never know when you’ll be faced with a burn, scratch, or cut.
Are you going on a camping trip and you want to be able to prepare food that’s a little more sophisticated than campfire hot dogs? For that, you’ll need to bring along the proper equipment. Start with a camping stove and some pans for cooking over the campfire. Having a camping table with a sink is a great idea too. Don’t forget about camping chairs and many important coolers for camping to keep your food fresh.
Rope and Tarps
Rope and tarp can come in handy in a variety of ways when camping, from hanging your food up away critters to creating a shelter to drying wet clothing. A tarp is your best friend when you face a sudden and unexpected rain shower.
Lantern, Flashlight or Headlamp
Any of these devices will come in handy when trying to see your way around a dark campsite at night, but they can also be used if you need to view something in a smaller space. In all honesty, you should be traveling with a flashlight in your vehicle most of the time anyway.
Alternate Weather Wear
No matter how carefully you’ve checked the weather, make sure you have a backup plan. Nothing ruins a trip faster than not having the right clothes for the weather. The last thing you want is to be freezing cold or dripping sweat during a camping trip.
It’s a no-brainer when you’re going camping. Even if you don’t think you’ll need one, you will. Pack it. There are plenty of great options, but if you’re a beginner, just look for something basic and functional.
A few final tips:
- Make sure you know the area where you’re camping. Do a bit of research and familiarize yourself with the common risks and what to expect before you go. This includes knowing what to expect in terms of local wildlife and taking some time to learn about how to avoid attracting and how to protect yourself in the event you encounter one of these critters.
- Make sure someone knows where you are going who is not along with you. Even if you’re camping in a group, it’s best that someone off-site knows your whereabouts.
- Don’t bother bringing anything you haven’t tested before. Make sure you unbox and try out all new camping gear before heading out into the wilderness. Gear that doesn’t function as intended is as good as no gear at all.
Be respectful. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t respect nature while you’re camping. It doesn’t matter if you’re a die-hard nature lover or a conventional city slicker when you’re out in the wilderness to be respectful and do all you can to protect and preserve the environment. That way you’ll be able to return again and again.