What to take camping

What do you need for camping?

You are planning a holiday in the wild - you are going camping. And while journeying into the unknown is part of nature’s allure; the best adventures are those supported by meticulous planning. So before you head off into the great outdoors, ask yourself – what do you need for camping?

Below are some basic things you’ll need for camping – if you’re looking for something more detailed check out our ultimate camping checklist post.  For any single moms who might be apprehensive about camping with kids for the first time, check out this great piece over on esme.com on conquering the fear of camping

Put a roof on it

It’s not a campsite without a place to lay your head, so first thing’s first: How and where do you plan to sleep? Seasoned campers may choose to sleep under the stars, but if it’s your first time sleeping amongst the trees, chances are you’re going to want a tent. Before you even leave your house, you should attempt a dry run at assembling your tent. You definitely don’t want to be stuck in a windstorm trying to pitch your tent for the first time ever.

Some additional tips: Be sure to bring all relevant accessories (like tent poles and stakes) along with you. You’re also going to want a tarp to put underneath your tent. This protects against moisture which can get trapped between the tent and the ground, even on a hot summer night. Also, your tent should have a rain fly: If there’s any chance it’s going to rain, be sure to set that up. If your tent doesn’t come equipped with a rain fly, bring an extra tarp to put over your tent in case of a storm. Check out this Wikihow page for more tent-pitching tips.

Make a House a Home

When you venture into the great outdoors, your tent becomes your new home, in a sense. So you’ll want to equip it as such. Here’s one essential you shouldn’t pass on: Lighting. Battery powered flashlights, camping lanterns or headlamps are just a few lighting options. Headlamps are especially useful: Affixing a light to your head gives you an extra hand when you’re cooking, cleaning, or even making a late-night run to the toilet! Be sure to bring extra batteries.  National Geographic provides more information.

Sleeping bags are another necessity; make sure your bag is rated adequately for the temperatures you will be faced with on your excursion.

Here are some non-essentials to ease your transition from city to nature: folding chairs (to set around the fire), a folding table (for meal prep), sleeping pads (provide a bit of cushion, as well as a barrier between your body and the cold earth!), a camping pillow, and extra blankets or cushions. You’ll survive if you skip these add-ons, but if you have the space, they’re a definite camping-lifestyle upgrade.

Get your grill on

Even in the middle of the woods, there are a plethora of ways to tackle cooking. The most obvious is to roast your food atop the fire, but there are other options. Depending on your meal plans, you might opt for a propane gas mini-stove or a larger, 2-3 burner barbecue-type grill.  The Independent can help you choose.

Besides the grill, don’t forget to bring matches or a lighter, a propane tank (if necessary), and cooking utensils, including: pots and pans, a spatula or wooden spoon, aluminium foil, plates, cups, cutlery, can opener and paper towels. A cutting board and knife can come in handy too, and if you’ve got bottles of wine in tow, don’t forget a corkscrew!

You’re definitely also going to want at least one cooler for drinks, and probably one for food. And don’t forget garbage bags, dish detergent, and a sponge for clean-up.

Chow Time!

It's best to plan your meals ahead of time.

Check out our tips for campfire cooking and amazing recipes for every meal!

We like to make a pit stop at a local grocery store when we’re en route to our campsite to pick up any food we plan to eat while we’re away. It’s also good to have basics on hand like salt, pepper, sugar, tea, coffee and olive oil. And don’t forget ice to stock your coolers! You can often buy firewood either at your campsite, or at the local grocery.

Dress for the weather

We all know weather can change in a flash; when you’re out camping, you’re exposed to the elements, so be sure to prepare accordingly. Research the weather ahead of time and be sure to dress in layers. Besides the regulars (boots, socks, underwear, shorts, pants, T-shirts, flannels), it’s smart to include things like a hat for sun protection, and a rain coat in case of storms.

And don’t forget these add-ons: A Swiss Army knife, ropes or cords, first aid kit, sunblock, mosquito repellent, lip balm, toilet paper, bath towel, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, razor, hairbrush, contacts, glasses, etc. Check out The UK Campsite Checklist for more ideas.

And remember: The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to tackle all of nature’s hurdles. So make your list and hit the trails. It’s time to enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer!