Preparation is essential for any camping trip, whether your staying for a week or just one night, having the necessary camping gear to sustain you and your family is the number one priority. While there are many things available to take with you on your camping trip, some are more important than others. Lets take a look at the top items to bring with you when visiting the outdoors.
1. Camping Tent / Shelter
Shelter is the most important part of any excursion into the outdoors, being well protected and ready for any type of weather that may arise is your number one priority. Since tents come in such a wide variety of styles, sizes and materials, your choice of a weather sturdy and durable tent is essential. Most tents are rated for using a season rating, 2 season for light use without harsh weather, 3 season for medium use and can withstand winds, rain and light snow, and 4 season tents made for year round use and extreme weather conditions. A pop-up canopy or screen tent also make great shelters from sun or bugs.
If you have ever been on a trip without enough food, you know how bad this can be, especially if you have kids. Always pack more food than you need, you could be stuck at a location longer than expected. Since you and your children may be much more active than normal, your food supply could be used up faster than normal. Always play it safe and bring a little extra food and water.
3. Camping Stove / Grill
You could buy prepackaged and ready to eat food for your camping trip, but this usually gets repetitive and a warm meal just off the stove or grill always seems to be that much tastier. Today’s cook-stoves are easy to setup and operate on widely available propane, using a charcoal grill provides great taste and many portable models are available at low cost. In extreme situations, a propane stove can also be used for warmth.
4. Sleeping Bag / Blankets
Staying comfortable during rest periods is very important to your energy levels. Due to temperature changes between daytime and nighttime, a sleeping bag must provide you with enough warmth to allow a restful nights sleep. A bag that cannot keep you warm enough can mean you spend the night shivering. Your sleeping bag should be rated well below the average temperature of your location, the addition of wool blankets can help overcome sudden cold snaps. Lightweight sheets and nylon blankets are usually fine for warmer climates.
5. Lanterns / Lights
Don’t be left out in the dark, lanterns are the most widely used light for night time use. Propane lanterns provide lots of light, are easy to operate and fairly fuel efficient. Battery powered lights are great for backup but don’t usually provide enough light for large campsites. Flashlights and extra batteries should always be carried too.
Folding cots help you obtain a restful nights sleep and keep you off the ground. Staying off the ground when sleeping outside of a tent will help keeps bugs, crawling insects, small animals and reptiles at-bay. Some cots are even available with mosquito netting and fly’s so you can sleep without a tent.
How about comfortable seating after a long hike or busy day with the kids, folding chairs can be a blessing. There is no shortage of chairs available for camping. These lightweight chairs fold compactly, have features like built in drink holders, folding tables for eating or extendable awnings for shade.
Having and wearing the proper clothes can make or break your next camping trip. Always carry clothes for any type of weather, lightweight shirts, shorts and windbreakers for warm or cool weather, heavyweight jackets, full length pants and insulated boots for cold weather. Rain coats are inexpensive and can come in very handy for sudden down pours.
9. First Aid Kit
A must for any outdoor trip, a good first aid kit comes with with the necessary equipment to mend or survive just about any emergency. Searching the internet for “do it yourself first aid kits” will usually come up with a checklist of the necessary supplies you need to build your own.
10. Phone / Radio
Some people may not say this is one of the top tent items for a camping trip, but I can tell you from experience a two-way radio or cell phone can come in very handy. I personally carry a cell phone, two-way GMRS radios and also a hand-held CB radio. In an emergency or in case of a vehicle breakdown, these can save miles of walking to get help.
Being prepared is your main objective and these ten tips will go a long way in assuring you have fun filled time on your next outdoor adventure.