I’ve gone camping in the past, but not very consistently. I camped in Nevada a couple times, and it was always miserable. Well, one time wasn’t miserable, and that’s because we went on a 4-wheeling adventure and the people I was with drank too much on one of the pit stops, so we had to stay at someone’s house they knew near by. There was real dinner, showers and a real bed. That one was fine. The rest though… really sucked.
When I moved to Washington, camping was an expected activity among my friends. I decided to give it another shot. It turns out that 1) when you’re near water, 2) the weather isn’t scorching hot, and 3) the people you’re with aren’t assholes, camping is a lot more fun. As a result, I’ve warmed up to the whole idea, and recently went on a girls only camping night! It was so fun, and I feel like a total tough girl for surviving all by myself (read: no men around to help me set up my tent).
Now that I’ve gotten a little more used to camping, I wanted to share an easy to follow camping pack list for anyone else who might be new to camping and isn’t sure where to start. This is a list I’ve compiled after several camping trips in the last year or so. A more serious/experienced camper might have more items or different types of items. Make sure to check your weather report and ask other people in your camping group what they suggest. If it weren’t for J’s cousins, who knows what would still be missing from my list, or how much money I would have wasted on over-priced and unnecessary camping supplies!
For Your Body:
Tooth Brush/Tooth Paste
A LOT of bugspray – either store bought or homemade
Eye Makeup Remover – I like to wear a little bit of makeup, even while camping because it makes me feel more comfortable
Face/Body Wash Wipes – I buy these in the travel size so they don’t all dry out
If you’re going to wear makeup too, I’d strongly suggest this tinted moisturizer or this 70 SPF facial sunscreen.
For Your Clothes:
Everything you’d normally bring on vacation, except clothes you wouldn’t want to get dirty
An extra set of clothes, and a few extra undergarments of all kinds
A set or two of PJs – You have to carry everything around yourself, so I only bring one set of PJs. No one sees them anyway.
Comfortable Shoes/Sneakers/Boots depending on the time of year
2 Towels – One for laying out on, one to dry off with
Warm layers – These fleece lined tights were so clutch when it got unexpectedly cold. They take up very little room with a huge impact under jeans or pj pants.
For Your Entertainment
Book or magazine – a real one, so you don’t have to worry about sun glare or your tablet’s battery dying.
Glow Sticks – They’re fun and keep people from getting lost from the group after a few drinks. You can get a huge variety at the dollar store.
A card or interactive game, like Phase 10 or Guestures
For Your Food
Ice Chest + Ice, Ice and Ice – I use a small ice chest like this one when it’s just me (I bought it for road trips over 10 years ago)
Food For Meals – Examples:
– Hot Dogs & Buns
– Sandwich Supplies (Don’t forget condiments!)
– Prepped Ahead Burritos (bring a pan that you could prop above the fire)
– Already Hardboiled Eggs, or a pot and extra water to cook them over the fire in the morning
Snacks throughout the day – you probably won’t feel like sitting in front of the fire to cook a hot dog, or make a sandwich when you haven’t been able to wash your hands properly in two days. Examples:
– Granola Bars
– Chopped-Up Strawberries
– Prepped Carrots
– Lunchables (my secret trick)
Water! One trick is to freeze half of your water bottles before you go. This will work to keep your cooler cold, and it will be really nice on the last day or two to have refreshing, ice cold water.
Electrolytes Drinks – I also like to pack vitamin water or powerade
Iced coffees – I buy the Starbucks Mocha ones, but I think there are more options these days.
Beer – This is technically optional, but I’ve never gone camping without it, so… :)
For Your Tent:
A Tent :) – with enough room to put your luggage inside
A self inflating mat or air mattress – This will keep you off the cold ground and uncomfortable rocks.
Camping Chair – you can only lay in the sand for so long before you just want a chair.
A small flash light! I’m afraid of the dark so I don’t know why it took me so long to realize how important this is. Once the sun goes down, there are no street lights to come on!
It seems like a lot of stuff to bring, and it is. That’s why it’s important to pack light items and make sure you have a good way to carry it. Something I’ve noticed since I’ve become more adventurous, is that people who camp, love to share their supplies. If you have a friend or co-worker who is outdoorsy and you want to go camping but don’t want to spend the money on a sleeping bag or tent right away, simply ask to borrow it. After I bought my sleeping bag, a friend scolded me for not just borrowing one of hers. By now, I decided that I needed one. But in the past I totally borrowed from people. In fact, last weekend I borrowed the self-inflating mat because I forgot my air mattress. It was a total lifesaver!
You don’t need to spend a million dollars to get this list going. But the money you do spend, and the energy you spend nicely asking to borrow some things, will be worth every penny as long as you’re going with nice, supportive people and can take a deep breath and relax the real-world stressors away!
Do you think there’s something I’ve forgotten or did this list help you? Leave a note in the comments!