One of the biggest mistakes individuals and families make on a camping trip is not preparing. Generally, the items are all tossed into the car and the adventure begins. That is one of the worst ways to start off a camping trip and you will only be faced with difficulties. A much better solution is creating a list and checking off your supplies as you go. Also understand that camping is a vacation for the necessities and burdens of life. There is no reason to over complicate things and over pack. Camping is all about roughing it for a few days and only having the essential camp supplies.
So what happens if you have never been camping in your life? Generally, you have no notion of what is essential. What is essential in your everyday life will more than likely be noise in the woods. So this article is designed for the casual camper to understand what is needed on a general camping trip.
Obviously the most important supplies you will need on an extended camping trip is going to be your food and water. This is unless you plan to live off the land via hunting and filtering your water. However, I would think that would be over achieving for a first camping trip! Like any other aspect of camping you want your food supplies to be lightweight and convenient. When choosing your foods, make sure they are easy to cook and clean up after. Canned goods are especially good to bring as they are harder for animal to detect, and are very easy to prepare over an open fire. An assortment of jerky, fresh fruit, and cereals are good as well.
One of the mainstays of a camping trip is the fire. You would think that firewood would be in abundance in a camp. There are many campsites that will not allow you to forage for wood in camp. So you want to either bring your own supply or talk to the ranger on duty about buying a supply at the campground. Other essentials would be matches, newspaper, as well as small branches for kindling. If you are wanting to impress the family members at the fire a small hatchet or ax will do the trick as well!
Two essential items that so many people leave behind are first aid and survival kits. Granted no one wants to think of anything that bad happening on a simple camping trip. However, you are out in the elements and bad things do happen, and it is better to be prepared. I would suggest to simply buy pre-made kits, so you know you have everything you would need in a general emergency.
While you have all those essentials, keep in mind you want to have fun as well. So bring a few objects along that will make the weekend or week long trip more enjoyable. If you are going camping by a lake or river, be sure to include bathing suits, rafts, fishing poles and sunscreen. Bring along binoculars, cameras, even a sketch pad to capture the brilliance of nature. Also board games, a guitar, and books for an evening by that roaring fire.
A few other camp supplies that are often overlooked are trash bags, toilet paper, paper towels, baggies, clothespins, dish soap and rags, and pot holders! Making sure you have all the essential camping supplies will make for a memorable trip and will ensure it isn’t a one time gig.