Camping in the great outdoors is a great way to “escape” everyday life where you have to show up at work, answer your phone, and other not-so-exciting activities. Just being around God’ s creation is relaxing and will give you a feeling of peace. However, forget some of your camping essentials and things might not be so peaceful at your campsite (especially if you’re married or have kids!). To make sure you don’t miss any of those things that are essential to your camp trip, here’s a list of the most important things to bring camping.
Camping Essentials Item #1 = Shelter
The first item that is a camping essential is some sort of shelter. If you’re tent camping, this would be your tent, if you’re RV camping there’s a good chance you won’t forget this one. Your tent will keep you nice and cozy at night and shelter you from any rain that comes while you’re asleep. It’s very important to check your camping gear before you leave home to make sure you have your tent, the poles, a rain fly, and any stakes needed to set it up. Without all of the necessary parts, a tent isn’t much good.
Essential Item #2 = Sleeping Bags
Depending on where you go camping, it’s essential to bring along something to sleep in. If you’re in a hot area, then a simple sheet might do just fine. However, if you’re camping in one of my favorite spots up in the mountains you’re going to need something a little heavier.
Sleeping bags are an essential part of camping anywhere it gets cold at night. To have maximum fun while camping you’re going to need lots of sleep and being cold all night doesn’t help the situation. Make sure you have camping sleeping bags that are thick enough to keep you warm, or extra blankets if you don’t think the bag alone is going to cut it.
If you’re married then grab two similar sleeping bags (not mummy bags) and zip them together to make one big sleeping bag. This will help you stay warm and is much more fun =)
Oh yeah, don’t forget camping sleeping pads or cots either. Some nice thick pads will help you sleep at night instead of hoping that rock poking into your back will just go away. A nice camping cot will keep you up off the cold ground and give you a nice, flat surface to sleep on.
Camping Essentials Item #3 = Food & Water
Unless you plan on eating only what you kill (good luck!) then you’re going to need to bring some food. Foods like chips and fruit are a great snack to have and since they don’t need to be kept cold they won’t take up any of your valuable cooler space. Other camping essentials like steak (yes, steak is essential!) will need to be kept as cold as possible. These items should be placed in the cooler and covered in ice so there’s no risk of spoiling.
Water is another camping essential that must not be overlooked. Soda or juice alone just won’t cut it. Staying hydrated is very important if you want to have a fun camping trip, dehydration will make you lethargic and is just all around unhealthy. If you’re camping with kids, staying hydrated is key to keep them happy and having fun.
Personally, I just drink water to stay hydrated (not to enjoy it) so I don’t keep it in the cooler. Instead I put other tasty drinks in the cooler that I want to enjoy (sports drinks, beer, juice, etc). If you keep your water in the shade it should stay cool enough to be sufficient.
Camping Essentials Item #4 = Camp Cooking Supplies & Utensils
Part of the fun of camping is building a campfire and cooking meat over it (or other stuff I guess). Or if that’s not your pot of tea you can bring a camp barbecue or camp stove and cook on that. Having one of these is really handy anyway, as it can be hard to cook waffles or eggs over a campfire. Make sure you have pots, pans, your camp stove/barbecue and don’t forget extra propane!
One of the most frustrating things is cooking a nice juicy steak, then not having a plate to put it on, or a knife & fork to eat it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still eat it without these things, but it’s more enjoyable to be prepared. Make sure you have forks, spoons, knives and any other flatware you may need before you head out. Having several flippers and campfire cooking sticks is a good idea too (especially if you plan on roasting marshmallows). Take a look at my campfire cooking equipment guide for more ideas.
Stay Organized With A Checklist
It’s very hard to remember all your camping essentials off the top of your head. Do that enough times like I have and you’re bound to forget things every trip (I forgot my sleeping bag one time…whoops!) Instead, make a camping essentials checklist that you can reference and check off the items you’ve already packed. This will help you have maximum fun while camping since you won’t be worrying about forgetting something or bummed when you find out what you did forget. You can get ideas from my tent camping checklist.