word Al Woods
Camping is the best way to escape from a hectic city and connect with nature and your loved ones. It’s fun and it introduces you to the brand new experiences. What is more, camping is good for your mind and body: it always means a lot of exercise and getting a deep and sound sleep.
But before you dive into your gorgeous camping adventure, you need to thoroughly prepare for it. Having a well thought out camping checklist will help you not to miss any detail, and make your holiday comfortable and smooth. Let’s get down to business.
Undoubtedly, it’s your number one gear. There are lots of options to choose from: tents come in different sizes, shapes, and designs. What you should really pay attention to is the tent seasonality. The most practical solution is to get a 4 season tent. They are sturdy enough to withstand high winds and heavy snowfalls, and are okay for use in the summer as well.
Choosing your sleeping bag, pay attention to its season rating first of all. Ratings range from season 1, designed for summer camping, to season 4, designed for cold winter nights. You might also hesitate about choosing between synthetic and down sleeping bags. Synthetic sleeping bags are cheaper and easier to clean. However, synthetic insulation doesn’t retain heat like natural down. Down sleeping bags are much lighter than synthetic ones and compress to a smaller size when packed. On the downside, they easily absorb moisture and lose their insulating properties.
A sleeping pad provides extra comfort and insulation from the ground. If you don’t use a sleeping pad, you may feel cold.
While a camping pillow might seem trivial and is frequently overlooked, it can make a difference: you’ll feel comfortable like in your bed at home.
Camping table and chairs
Camping table benefits you in many different ways: although it is typically associated with food, you can also use it for playing games and storing stuff.
Light source and extra batteries
Don’t forget to take headlamps, flashlights and extra batteries to your campsite. Also, consider a camping lantern. Unlike flashlights that burn out quickly and aren’t able to light a large space, camping lanterns are light enough to be taken on the most intense of hikes, and become very helpful if you are outdoors at night.
Communication & Safety
It’s always best to be prepared for emergencies, but it’s not enough that you carry a first-aid kit on your camping trip. Make sure you have a way to call for help in case you get into a camping accident or find yourself lost in the woods. You should always carry around a handheld CB radio (or citizens band radio) for emergency communication when there’s no mobile reception where you are. A satellite navigation device will also come in handy in these situations.
Stove and fuel
You can prepare food quicker on a stove than over the fire, and save fuel at the same time. In the winter, a tent stove will keep you warm and dry. Also, remember about matches and a lighter.
- pots with lids
- frying pan
- food containers
- bowls, plates and cups
- eating utensils
- cooking utensils
- cutting board
- tin and bottle openers
- dish-washing basin and sponge
- paper towels
Undoubtedly, it’s up to your taste, but it’s a no-brainer that your camping food should be nutritious, high in protein and fat. Go for eggs, flatbreads, tinned fish, rice, noodles, cheese, beef, chicken, fruit and vegetables, chocolate, peanuts, protein bars etc. It’s a good idea to pre-cook your main meals. Apart from the food of your choice, don’t forget about the following:
- beverages like juice or milk
- coffee and tea
- salt and pepper
- cooking oil
Clothing & Footwear
Clothes for warm weather camping
Go for breathable underwear, socks, a couple of T-shirts, moisture-wicking long-sleeves and quick-dry pants. Pants and long-sleeves might seem an insane idea for the hot weather, however, they will protect you against insect bites and irritating plants. In addition, take care of a lightweight hat or visor, and comfortable footwear. However, keep in mind that nights are cooler, so prepare a sweatshirt and sweatpants for nighttime sleeping. Finally, pack a raincoat in case it rains.
Clothes for cold weather camping
If you plan winter camping, prepare to dress in layers. The standard outfit typically includes midweight base layers, fleece pants, a warm coat, and a waterproof jacket and pants. Don’t forget accessories like warm socks, a hat, gloves and sunglasses. When it comes to footwear, go for waterproof materials, rubber lowers (around the bottom of your foot) and leather uppers (around your ankle).
Health & Hygiene
Another important part of your camping checklist should include insect repellent, basic toiletries and medication. Bring a toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, soap, shampoo and toilet paper. Also, don’t forget lip salve to protect your lips either from cold or sunrays. Talking about medication, pack your prescription medicine if you are taking some, and remember to prepare a first aid kit. Make sure your first aid kit contains the following items:
- antibacterial ointment
- moleskin for blisters
- antiseptic wipes
- headache reliever
- antihistamine for allergic reactions
- antacids for stomach ache
- sunburn relief gel or lotion
Of course, it depends on what kind of camping entertainment you’re into, however, here are some ideas about what to bring to your campsite to make it even more fun:
- sports/fishing equipment
- games (cards, chess, twister etc.)
Tools & Repair
Finally, don’t overlook these useful items when you go camping:
- duct tape (your superhero when it comes to on the go repairs)
- mallet (you can use it to put the pegs in, especially on stony ground)
- sewing kit
- safety pins
- extra guylines and strings (useful for binding, adding extra guylines in bad weather, or as a clothesline)
Final Thoughts and Tips
- If you’re camping with others, the great thing is that you can divide the list and share the weight.
- Knowing the climate of the region well will help you decide what items you’ll need and what you can drop out.
- If it’s possible, always go for lightweight gear and categorize the items according to the frequency of use. In other words, whatever you’ll be taking out often has to be easily accessible.
- Remember that the weight of your backpack shouldn’t be over 20% of your total body weight.
We hope that this camping checklist helps you get ready better and faster. Have an amazing trip!