When heading out for a few days of living off the land, it’s important to prepare thoroughly for any situation you may encounter. Weather, landscape, and temperatures can all play major roles in determining what types of items you bring, and even how long you plan for your trip to last.
So what exactly are the essential items to bring when communing with Mother Nature? Read on for a list of the most important – and oft forgotten – camping supplies that will make for an enjoyable and stress-free camping trip.
Since you’ll be living exposed to the elements, you’re going to need to invest in quality shelter. Unless you’re planning on camping in an RV, you’ll need to bring a sturdy tent that will hold up under myriad types of weather.
Depending upon how many people are joining you on your trip, you may wish to consider bringing additional tents. Maybe consider bringing a separate smaller tent for the kids – this will give them a sense of independence and adventure by having their own little refuge to play in. Just be sure to set it up as close to the adults as possible, so you can hear them if they need you.
Another important form of shelter to bring is a tarp. Whether you’re using it underneath your tent to provide additional protection from water, or hanging it over a picnic table to create shade and a comfortable eating space, a tarp can provide protection from the elements and keep your area much cleaner.
Make sure to pack bungee cords and/or rope to hang or attach your tarp to a tree, your camper, or another object. Bungees and nylon cord can also come in handy as a clothesline for wet items!
There’s nothing worse than being inadequately prepared for sleeping outdoors. Make sure you get a well-insulated sleeping bag – not only will you be warm and cozy when the nighttime temperature drops, but you will also have the cushioning you need for a good night’s sleep on the ground. If the temperatures are warm, you can simply sleep on top of the bag and enjoy the nighttime breezes. Bring extra blankets to sleep with (or on); some campers even bring cots for ultimate comfort!
Cookware & Cutlery
Whether this means beat-up old dishes or paper plates to burn in the campfire, you’re going to need supplies to cook with and eat off of. If you’re bringing a propane stove for more elaborate meals, remember a pot and a skillet, along with any utensils you may need to cook with. Bring a nonstick pan for easy clean up, along with a large spoon, tongs, and flatware to eat with. Longer barbecue tongs are great for grasping items thrown into the campfire to cook, such as whole potatoes or ears of corn. Make sure to bring a cooler to store your perishables and cold drinks. And don’t forget the paper towels – these can be burned after use for easy and eco-friendly clean up.
Lights and Batteries
You may not be planning on exploring any caves on your trip, but you WILL need to counter the darkness of the evening when your fire has died down. Make sure to pack a flashlight for each person, and plenty of batteries. Bring a lantern for greater illumination, and some matches and candles in case your lights stop working or your batteries run out more quickly than you anticipated.
Especially if you’re camping with kids, you’re going to want to bring some entertainment with you. If you’re camping near a beach, be sure to pack things like shovels and pails for sandcastles, snorkels, and beach towels. If you plan to hike, bring the appropriate footwear and lots of sunscreen. And for lazy days just sitting by the tent, a deck of cards or a board game is always a good bet.