Kickstart the Camping Season!
Camping is as relaxing as a walk in the park provided you know how it’s done right! Done wrong, it’s an unmitigated disaster. The difference comes down to buying and bringing the right equipment for the weather and setting. If you’re looking at camping as a way to get away, start with what’s shopping for basic things required which fit in your pack. You want to carry a maximum of 40 pounds. If it’s a family outing, buy things that are a bit roomier and don’t worry about weight. Plan ahead so your kids have plenty to do, but let them plan their own schedule.
Make a list of everything you want to take & pack your car only after making sure you have everything you need to have fun and stay safe at camp.
Tent- If you’ve got kids, get a large family-style tent with ample floor space and enough headroom to let you stand up. If you’re looking at camping as a way to move into backpacking, invest in a good, lightweight backpacking tent. Whatever you get, look for a double-wall tent — the kind with a rain fly. The double tent walls let out water vapor so it won’t condense on the wall. The rain fly goes over the outside of the tent and is waterproof to keep you dry.
Sleeping bag Get a warm one. Sleeping bags are rated for temperature ranges, and it’s colder out there than you think. Get a fiberfill mummy bag that’s rated into the 40s. Down gives you the same warmth for less weight, but down is useless once it gets wet. Count on everything getting wet at least once.
Pack your Appliances
You may find that you’re packing more than you did for your first apartment, but unlike the campsite, the apartment came with a stove and fridge.
Lantern. Gas, propane or electric lanterns all provide general lighting around your campsite equally well.
Flashlight. A regular flashlight is fine. Smaller ones mounted on headbands are great for backpacking but tend to get lost in larger tents filled with family gear.
Camp stove. You can get away without one, but it’s really tough not to burn pancakes, or even hot dogs, when you’re cooking over a fire. If you’re going to cook over a fire anyway, pack self-lighting charcoal.
Cell phone. Take your cell phone for emergencies, but leave it in your car once you arrive at your campsite.
Rope. Bring, at the very least, a clothesline.
Cooler. Put a few slugs of ice in your picnic cooler and keep your perishables in it.
Chairs & Tables Fabric chairs that roll up and stuff into a sack are easiest to pack.
Cooking at camp requires more equipment than almost any other thing you expect to do. Once you gather all your camp kitchen supplies, keep them in a large plastic storage container.
Matches. Get wooden, strike-anywhere matches. Keep them in a small plastic kitchen container and store them in your larger container. Rip the abrasive strip on the original box and put the strike strip in the match container, too.
Table settings. “Disposable” is the rule of the day. You want plates, bowls, cups, knives, forks and spoons.
Pots and pans. What you need depends on what you’re cooking. A pot large enough to heat dishwater and a pot large enough to cook oatmeal constitute the bare minimum. Other items nice to have at camp include a small coffee pot, a medium-sized pot and a frying pan or griddle. Cooking utensils: A can opener and sharp knife are essential. Cooking spoon, spatula and tongs make camp cooks’ lives easier.
Wash basin and dish detergent. Pack a small container of dish detergent and a plastic basin that’s just big enough to hold your largest pot.
Hotpot gloves & paper towels. You want all four, especially the paper towels.
Coolers & Beverage Holders. Get small coolers to store your food and drinks. You will need it if the weather is too hot to handle.
Hand sanitizer. You can use dish soap to wash your hands at camp, but sanitizer is easier, works better for cleaning around cuts and scrapes, and doubles as a fire starter.
Other things that you might need
First aid kit. You don’t need a field hospital. If someone gets badly hurt, get them to town. To handle minor injuries or illnesses, you need to pack bandages; butterfly bandages; gauze pads; tape; alcohol wipes for cleaning wounds; antibiotic ointment; cotton swabs; tweezers; aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen; antacids; antidiarrheal; and lip balm.
Food: Pack peanut butter and jelly or lunchmeat and cheese for lunch. For dinner, hot dogs or hamburgers are always hits. One-pot meals are easy to cook and filling. Try stews, tuna casserole, macaroni and cheese with hot dogs, rice dishes or spaghetti — which actually requires two pots
Entertainment: Music, Camera, Binoculars, Fishing Rod