There’s nothing like a camping trip to escape from everyday life. Setting up a tent in the wilderness creates an outdoor oasis to enjoy the fresh air, open spaces, and serenity of nature.
However, a successful camping trip requires preparation. You need to pack all the essential items whether you’re renting a rustic cabin, backpacking across mountains, or pitching a tent in your local state park. Running to the store might not be an option once you reach your destination. Use this checklist to be ready for your next trek to the great outdoors.
A good way to stay organized is by packing your gear in clear plastic bins or labeling your containers. Not only will this keep your gear protected from wildlife and the elements, but it will also allow you to easily know what is in each bin. This really comes in handy when you reach your campsite and it’s time to set up.
Also, pack your car the day before your trip starts so you don’t have to rush when leaving. This extra packing time allows you to experiment with how items fit into your car while limiting fellow campers from adding last-minute items.
Clothing and accessories
You’ll want to pack proper clothes depending on the time of year. Packing layers of seasonal-appropriate clothing will keep you comfortable. While you’ll want to pack lightweight clothing for a summer trip, consider adding a hoodie or sweatpants in case the temperature drops at night. If you have the space, bring one extra set of clothes—you’ll never know when this may come in handy.
Don’t fold your clothes when packing, but roll them instead. This saves on space and allows you to easily sort through your outfits. Additionally, put your clothes inside a trash bag inside your backpack or travel bag—this will add an extra layer of protection from moisture.
If precipitation is in the forecast, don’t forget to pack rain gear like ponchos and hats, and make sure to bring extra socks—there is nothing worse than walking around with wet feet. If you have space, bring along newspaper to help dry out your shoes. Crumpling newspaper and placing it inside your shoes helps absorb moisture.
Save a trash bag or two for dirty clothes. This helps your other gear stay clean, and you will have everything that needs to be washed in one place.
Don’t forget to pack:
- Seasonal clothing
- An extra set of clothes
- Hiking boots
- Fanny pack
Food and hygiene
Plan your meals ahead of time so you only pack the food and cooking utensils you’ll need. This will help save space and avoid overpacking. You can also prep your meals to reduce the mess and cooking time. If you plan on bringing along condiments, opt for individual packets to help save space. To keep food cold, fill and freeze jugs of water. This will provide drinking water once the ice begins to melt.
You can opt for disposable plates and silverware or create a mess kit for each camper with their own reusable eating utensils, plate, and cup.
It is important to leave your campsite free of litter, so bring along trash bags. This will help keep animals from getting into your trash and leaves the campsite tidy for the next camper.
Don’t forget to bring along all the personal hygiene items you may need. You can pack individual toiletry bags for each member of your household with personal items like toothbrushes, soap, and deodorant. Keep these bags together so they don’t get misplaced.
Don’t forget to pack:
- Cooking utensils
- Eating utensils
- Disposable plates and cups
- Reusable plates and cups
- Garbage bags
- Camping stove and fuel
- Water container
- Water purification system or tablets
- Dehydrated or prepared meals
- Coffee and coffee press
- Antibacterial wipes
- Bathroom tissue
- First-aid kit
- Bug spray
- Lip balm
When planning your campsite’s layout, always consider how glamorous you want it. Your campsite is a blank canvas, and you can set it up any way you like. You could go the “back to basics” route and keep things minimal, or you can bring along the comforts of home with an elaborate setup.
You’ll want to pack everything that will keep you comfortable at night. Some campers will opt to sleep under the stars and just need a sleeping bag. Others will want a tent for a little privacy and protection from the elements. Don’t forget pillows—inflatable pillows can help save room—and blankets to stay comfy.
Finally, make sure to charge any batteries you may need on your trip beforehand. You may even want to pack extra batteries and a charger to be prepared for the unexpected.
Don’t forget to pack:
- Tent Stakes
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Camping chairs
- Hatchet or saw
- Dry bags
- Mosquito net
- GPS system
- Portable shower
- Batteries and charger
- Phone charger
Need more help planning your camping trip? These hacks will help you enjoy your next visit to Mother Nature.