Camping is an unbelievably enjoyable way to spend time throughout the summer. It can look quite daunting, and maybe even intimidating, at first. But I’m here to break it down so you know what to pack for you next camping trip.
Every camping experience is entirely different, and all camping spots have their own pros and cons. There are few factors you want to consider when packing for camping:
- What is the weather going to be like?
- What is the forecasted low temperature for nighttime?
- What sorts of activities do you want to experience?
- What season is it?
There are many lively and entertaining activities to enjoy while camping, regardless of the time of year. However, having a general plan or itinerary is a must for good packing.
No matter the time of year, or the length of stay, this article has everything you need to pack for camping. From basic essentials to fun camping games, this is what you need to pack for camping.
What to Pack for Camping
There are several shelter options for camping. You can choose a tent, tent trailer, travel trailer, or RV—to name a few. Consider your budget and camping season when making a choice. Starting with a classic tent is always an affordable and easy-to-pack-for option. However, there are still a few things to consider when choosing a tent.
For a stress-free set up, make sure that your tent is weatherproofed and has a simple pieces and instructions. Consider how much space you require inside your tent and what the sleeping arrangements will be to make sure you will have plenty of space. A few other things to look for are a front-door awning (so you can put your shoes on without being rained on), clips in the ceiling (to hold lanterns up), a hidden hole (to run any necessary power cords through), and solar powered lighting on the outside (creating a subtle glow in the dark night).
If you are a single camper, or just going camping with one other person, then a simple dome tent will be perfect for you. A dome tent doesn’t have enough height for you to stand comfortably, so do keep that in mind. However, if you have older children, a dome tent is a great option to give them some independence in the great outdoors.
In order to pack the right sleeping bags, you need to know what the weather will be like. Sleeping bags are rated for comfort at a certain temperature degree, and that temperature rating will help you make the best choice.
For a sleeping bag in the summertime, you'll want to look at how breathable the sleeping bag material is, how thick it is, and how small it rolls up.
For a little bit more comfort, look for a sleeping bag with a rounded pillow top. You also want to look for 2-way zippers and a zipper guard to make sure the zipper doesn’t get stuck. Packing a lightweight sleeping bag makes transportation easier, too.
It is nice to have a sleeping bag that is so poufy you don't need to pack a pillow!
An air mattress is an item that you want to invest in. Sleep is incredibly important—especially when you are on a camping trip. You don't want to be missing out on fun experiences because you're tired!
A couple things you want to look for when selecting an air mattress are the height of the mattress, what it is made out of, how small it folds up, and whether it come with it’s own pump or not.
Think of your comfort and your desired sleep. An air mattress is worth the investment!
Unless you have been camping before, you might not fully understand just how dark it really gets out in the wild.
Take my word for it—it gets REALLY dark when you're camping. Make sure to pack some lanterns.
If you pack multiple lights, you can keep your campsite lit up fairly well.
Bringing a good cooler will relieve a lot of camping stress. Just make sure that there is enough space in your cooler for the amount of time you'll be camping (aka the amount of FOOD you'll need)!
Some coolers have cupholders on the top, wheels at the bottom, and electric temperature control settings.
You may find it easier to bring a few small, easily transportable coolers instead of one big one. Even if you have a fridge inside your trailer, a cooler is still handy for all your outings!
Camping involves sitting outside, enjoying the weather, having bonfires, and simply just being. All those things involve sitting. Comfortable, lightweight, durable, and weather resistant camping chairs are unquestionably an important part of what to pack for camping.
Look for chairs with cupholders, ones that recline, ones that include a foot rest, and ones that are connected to each other.
Some camping chairs even have an optional umbrella! This makes it much more comfortable to enjoy the sunshine.
Camping is much livelier with music! Make sure to pack your wireless Bluetooth speaker for your next trip. But if you don't have a speaker, then here are a few things to consider: What is the sound quality like? Are the speakers meant for both indoor and outdoor use? If it is a set of multiple speakers, how far apart from each other do they need to be placed for optimal sound? What is the battery capacity?
If you want your speaker to be more subtle and blend into the natural background, there are many options!
Some speakers feature LED lights, can be controlled by remote/wireless control, and arevcompatible with Google Assistant. All these features will make your camping experience that much more fun!
A first aid kit should be one of the first things you pack for camping. Having a first aid kit with you ensures safety—and sometimes even survival.
Before you leave, make sure that your first aid kid has enough supplies for all campers.
I always make sure to bring an anti-itch cream for bug bites in my camping supplies. An anti-itch cream will provide gentle relief from all kinds of bug bites.
Speaking of bugs, bug spray is something you are going to want to pack for camping. Make sure to look for something that will provide long hours of relief from a variety of different bugs.
With bug spray, always follow the directions on the bottle for proper application. Also, make sure to use a bug spray without deet.
Getting a sunburn is never the plan, but sometimes it does happen. Having some after-sun care products in your bag can make all the difference. Look for a product that has Aloe Vera in it because of its has healing properties for your skin.
Do not forget sunscreen! The higher the SPF the better. A sunscreen that is light, non-greasy, and water resistant is ideal.
Batteries and propane
If you’ve never camped, you’d be surprised at how many batteries you will need and how many camping accessories and tools run off of propane.
Those awful times when the lanterns die have taught me to always bring back up batteries.
Don’t forget to pack the propane along with the batteries, especially if you're bringing camping stoves, heaters, coffee makers, and more. Small propane tanks are handy for camping, and I would even recommend bringing an extra. You don't want to run out of propane halfway through making bacon!
Going camping is so much fun! There are countless adventures to be had and areas to explore. Making sure to pack everything you need will make your camping trip so much smoother and enjoyable.