In my first post, I talked about the gear you will need to make your camping trip comfortable and fun. Now, lets talk about supplies and how to get it all organized for easy storage and transport. First, what do you need? I want to talk about the essentials, and then I will tell you about some luxury items that will make camping more fun, but aren’t necessary.
For essentials, you will need these things:
• Flash lights. It’s good to have one per person. This way, if someone gets up in the middle of the night, they don’t have to disturb the whole tent over it.
• Matches. For obvious things light starting the camp fire and lighting lanterns. Best to find the stick matches so you don’t risk burning your fingers.
• Propane. You should check all supplies that take propane and bring at least one cylinder for each item, for each day you will be camping. In case that didn’t make sense, here’s how I do it. I have 6 propane burning items, so I need 6 cylinders a day. Times the number of days I’ll be camping, lets just say two. That’s 12 cylinders. Will this be extra? Probably. But I would rather have too much than not enough. In general, you can always find a store that will have propane cylinders close to where you are camping, but they are gonna charge an arm and a leg for it. Better safe than sorry.
• Extra batteries. Make sure every battery operated item you have is accounted for, and you have one back up set of batteries for each item. Just in case.
• Bug repellent. If you are forest camping, I suggest finding a repellent marked with “deep woods”. Those varieties will protect you from more types of bugs, for longer.
• Hand wipes. It’s dirty out there. Keep your hands clean quick and easy with your favorite kind of wipes, home made or store bought.
• First Aid Kit. This should be stocked in the same way that your home kit would be. Various band aids and bandages, cleansing solutions, burn creams, scar creams, aspirin, the usual. Whatever you keep on hand at home.
• A knife of some sort. Something strong and sturdy, like a pocket knife. This will come in handy for many things.
• Rope. Again, this comes in handy and is useful in many ways. A strong sturdy rope will work, it doesn’t need to be expensive. I have used the for hanging lanterns, stringing trash up, making a clothes line for line drying, the list goes on.
• Small shovel. Another multi use tool, especially for putting out fires that may start to get out of hand.
• Tarp. Get a tarp that will fit under your tent, and not stick out. If you can’t find a small enough tarp, that’s ok. But whatever size you can find and fold it to fit under your tent. Tents are made to be put on the ground, but adding a tarp underneath will help keep your tent in good shape for longer. And it will also add another layer of protection from the cold ground!
• Plates/Silverware/Napkins. Weather you prefer to use disposable plates/cutlery and throw them out, or buy a set of reusable plates to bring, make sure there’s enough for everyone!
• Fire wood. It is important to find out the laws about trees in the are you are going to be camping. I’ll talk about fire safety later, but just know that you may not be allowed to just chop down trees in your state. In California it’s illegal. You can use already downed trees, but you can not cut them down yourself. So bring some wood with you. It’s usually available at various places along the way. The more popular the area you are camping in is, the less likely you will be to find fallen trees to use.
• Long handle lighter. In case the matches get wet/lost or you run out!
• Water. There may not be potable water where you are going, so be sure to bring enough for everyone.
Everything else you bring will depend on your personal needs, how long you are staying and what else you want to add to the mix. There are so many fun camping accessories, you are only limited by your imagination (and budget!). Some things to consider are:
• Camp Coffee pot. Coleman makes a great camp coffee pot that sits right on your camp stove and perks coffee just like your home coffee maker. Coming in around 40 bucks, this was a must have for me!
• Camp Oven. Another contraption that sits on the stove. This little box heats up and can actually bake things! I have one, and I don’t always bring it. It takes a lot of fuel and takes a lot of time. It does work in the end though.
• Tent fan. Tents heat up really quick in the summer. A tent fan will help keep the air circulating.
• Air Mattress. This can make your night more comfortable, but I do consider the expense a luxury not a necessity. Bring an electric pump if you get one!
• Garbage Bags. Preferable a biodegradable bag.
The list of luxury items can go on and on. Just check out any online retailer and you’ll see all the fun stuff you can get for your camping trips. Remember though, the more stuff you rbing, them more stuff you have to pack and unpack……that’s the not so much fun part. To make packing and unpacking your car easier, put all that stuff into plastic bins! Rubbermaid bins are cheap and easy to find and makes things so much easier. When your at home, having everything in bins means that it’s neatly organized, yet ready to go at a moments notice. When you are ready to go , just grab all the bins and lad them into the car. That simple. No sorting, no packing of odd shaped items, just toss and go. To make sure your supplies stay stocked, keep a note pad and pen in one of the bins. When you get low on something, write it down, or take inventory before you leave the camp site. Then you don’t have to check things all the time, you can just buy what you need from the list.
This post basically covered supplies. There’s much more than what I listed, but I feel I covered the necessities. Next time, I’ll be talking about fire safety during the dry summer months. What else do you like to bring camping?