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Camp Life Journal is where we share travel experiences, camp hacks, and new gear discoveries. We also discuss outdoor issues like public lands conservation, sustainable living, and reducing our impact on people and places.
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Camping Checklist – 50 Things to Pack
We’ve all been there. You spend two days packing up and you get 20 minutes into setting up and then realize it’s happened. Again. You forgot THAT thing you promised yourself you’d never forget again.
I see you smiling. You know what I am talking about, don’t you?!?
The list can really be broken down to six categories. Don’t worry, there’s a super handy checklist at the bottom of this article.
Since you’ll be spending a 1/3rd of your time doing this, we decided to start off here. There’s a few reasons. First, if you forget these items, you’re not going to have an amazing time. Let’s just admit right here that your sleeping arrangements need to be well thought out. Doesn’t matter if you’re on a mattress in your camper or sleeping on the ground, you’re going to need a blanket or sleeping bag. Some people do fine without a pillow (not me… I’ve tried), but if you’re trying to save space or weight, you can always use a folded up hoodie. Hammocks are also an option many people are getting into these days. They are comfortable and it’s easy to zip yourself up in a nice warm sleeping bag in a hammock. Oh… and you can ditch the pillow in a hammock.
Whichever route you take, it’s worth the time to think the sleeping arrangements through.
Food. There’s so many amazing camping recipes out there. If you’re planning to stick to a menu or like being organized, we recommend creating a grocery list based on what you’re planning to cook. Don’t forget to plan for snacks, spices and the little extras that make a meal.
Of course, there’s always that chance a store will be nearby, but if you’re going to be really out there, you’ll want to consider if you can keep your items cold or if you should plan items that don’t need ice. Another solution is to eat your items that need ice within the first 24 hours of your trip and leave the items that don’t need to stay cold for the later part of the trip. If you’re in a camper or RV that has a refrigerator, know how it works. Our refrigerator automatically switches from power to propane, but there’s been a few times when it didn’t make the switch, so we always check it as part of our setup routine.
A few of our staples…
- Paper plates or lightweight plates
- Forks / Spoons
- Salt / Pepper
- Bug Shields (to hide your food under)
- Refillable Water Bottle
- Brookstone (shhhh… this is totally cheating)
Bugs, snakes, sun, water, frostbite, bears – there’s a few safety concern items when you’re camping. Be sure to know which ones to be prepared for before you embark on your trip. Check your safety kit and make sure you’ve restocked anything you might have used the last trip out. Be sure you’ve added anything that you might need for your new location.
If you’re towing, be sure to include roadside safety items too.
We’re not forgetting…
- Bug Spray
- Safety Kit
- Emergency Kit
So what are you planning to do for fun on this trip? Are you planning to relax or hang out with friends, fish or play games, swim or hit the slopes? There’s so many options, it’s definitely something to consider. Our last trip out we forgot the purple unicorn fishing pole our daughter uses when we head out. For a three year old it was THE. END. OF. THE. WORLD. We were able to talk her into using her dad’s pole and she caught the biggest fish of the day with it, but, whew, that was a crisis for a few seconds there.
- Fishing Poles
- Ride-On Toys
- Favorite Stuffed Animals
Let’s just get it out there. You’re going to need to wipe that butt. Whether it’s going to be in your own RV, the campsite’s facilities or next to the bear out in the woods, you’re going to need some supplies. Don’t forget them.
A few items to get in that bag…
- Toilet Paper
- Towels / Washcloths
Bathing and bathroom breaks are a little different
Staying cool, warm, dry and everything in between is a necessity if you want a fun trip. You’ll want to have a spare for your spare when it comes to socks, shoes and undies. Trust us on that one. It’s always a good idea to have a hoodie and a hat.
Here’s a few of our must-haves.
Everyone has a different checklist of items they know they’ll need, but this list by Sunglass Warehouse is a pretty good place to start, especially if you’re enlisting help in knocking out getting all of the items ready to go.
What would you add to this list. Leave a comment and let us know what that one thing is you always seem to forget.