What to bring on a camping trip
So you’ve decided to take advantage of the perfect weather and your kids’ school break. What better way to experience the great outdoors and get away from the digital world than a camping trip. But what if you haven’t been camping in ages and your kids have NEVER been camping? This can be a challenging family vacation, but definitely one worth tackling.
How do you begin to decide what to bring on a camping trip with the family?
First, decide how “hardcore” you’re going to go. Is your trip going to be totally unplugged, miles into the wilderness, or are you going to stay at a campground with hot and cold running water, wifi, and a convenience store?
For the former, your camping checklist will be a bit more, shall we say, basic. Things like a camp stove and folding chairs are out of the question if you’re going to be lugging everything on your back to the middle of nowhere. That said, I’ll start the list of what to bring on a camping trip with necessities for any kind of camping and then add two more categories: rustic camping and modern campground camping.
The first thing you’ll want to do is check the date you’ll be going. Are the national or regional parks open? Is it the high season for family camping? Can you reserve a space at the campground or is it okay for you to pitch your tent anywhere on the park on that date? There’s nothing more disappointing than “winging it” and finding that all spaces are full or the gates are locked.
Once you’ve got that out of the way, you’re ready to start checking off the rest of the list.
*Note: food is not on this checklist. You need to plan for every meal and pack accordingly. Remember – canned food is heavy and you have to haul out the empty cans with you if you’re hiking. Think light!
- Sleeping bag for each camper
- Tent(s), poles, stakes
- Ground cloth(s) for under your tent
- Extra tarp, ropes, poles, and stakes for daytime shade
- Basic eating utensils, plates (paper if possible), cookware (and pot handle)
- First aid kit
- Flashlights/headlamps and extra batteries
- Prescription medications
- Toothbrush and toiletries, toilet paper
- Small day packs for short hikes
“So now you know what to bring on a camping trip… If this is your only vacation for the year, I would strongly recommend the less challenging campground camping, during which it is easier to maintain harmony among the campers.”
- Folding chairs
- Cooler and ice
- Extension cord
- Table cloth
- Folding table
- Sleeping pads/yoga mats for each camper
- Repair kit for inflatable pads, etc.
- Chargers for cameras and other electronics
- Coffee maker or French press
- Camp stove and fuel
- Bikes and toys
- Tool kit
- Duct tape
- Biodegradable soap for dishes and personal use
- Clothes for hot and cold temps
- Rain gear
- Insect repellant
- Small shovel
- Satellite phone for emergencies
- 2 liters of water per camper per day or personal water purifier/purifier tablets
So now you know what to bring on a camping trip. I won’t call it the most exhaustive list, but you’ll notice how short it is for the rustic, “off the grid” camping. If this is your only vacation for the year, however, I would strongly recommend the less challenging campground camping, during which it is easier to maintain harmony among the campers.
Happy camping. Oh, and and watch out for bears!