Camping Preparation is Situational

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Yes there are checklists out there that can be used, but truly, camping preparation depends on how comfortable you want to be, how much “stuff” you are want to tote along and in some cases the vehicle you are taking. It also depends on how long a trip you are planning, and if you are going someplace where stores and conveniences such as electricity and water may or may not be available.

If you are a minimalist, know the weather is going to cooperate, and if you plan on eating out or purchasing food along the way, you may pack just a tent, sleeping bag and a few changes of clothes. If you have a family, or just like more luxury and conveniences, you may pack more. One of the more interesting trips I ever took was while I was in college, between jobs, between girlfriends and between classes. It was a motorcycle trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway.

All I took were three changes of clothes in a duffle bag strapped to one side of the bike, a sleeping bag strapped to the other, and a couple hundred dollars. No tent, cooking or other equipment. It was a blast…I met up with some other bikers, who I became friends with, and camped with. Luckily they had an extra tarp, that I was able to use as a cover on the one night it rained.

We toured the parkway, and hiked to a couple of waterfalls. The views were absolutely beautiful and with some of the hairpin turns, the 35 Mph speed limit was almost too high! The trip itself was largely unplanned as were the stops along the way. You can have a carefree type trip like this, easily if you are traveling alone or with just one other person, who doesn’t mind this type of spur of the moment, unplanned, go with the wind type of a situation.

If you don’t need a lot of structure, it can be really great when you know the only thing you have to worry about is being home by a certain date. It gives you the opportunity to explore and discover the side roads; and experience things you might not otherwise experience along the way if you are trying to keep to a strict schedule.

These days though, I wouldn’t go on a trip like this without at least a tent. OK just kidding…gotta have at least a 5 person tent to comfortably accommodate a couple of people, or an RV for those of you who like even more comfort. Gotta bring the kids and dogs if you have them, the kids’ or dogs’ stuff, Games and toys for the kids; and for the dogs…dog bowls, dog food, dog toys and tie-outs. Gotta have a guitar, guitar strings, guitar stand, maybe some bongos, a couple of music books, books to read, stuff to cook with, pots, pans, a Coleman stove (Ok, pack the whole kitchen).

Also, Coleman lanterns, flashlights, a radio/CD player, CDs (iPods and iPod players for those of you who are more technically advanced) batteries, extension cords, a water hose, rope, plenty of extra clothes, extra shoes, hats, sunglasses, games, one or two coolers (one for food and one for drinks), groceries, TP, Paper towels, plates, fishing poles, fishing tackle, swiss army knife, can opener, a canoe, paddles, cushions for the canoe, life vest, bug spray, sun block, first aid kit, the significant other, her stuff (may need a second vehicle for all this), floor protector for the tent, mat for wiping your feet off before getting into the tent, a bucket for water, garbage bags, cooking gear, utensils and plates, fold-out queen size bed (seriously), sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, table cloth, full size charcoal grill/smoker, a fold out picnic table, an electric fan, chairs, a hammock…and on and on…

Ok, so things have changed…we like our luxuries (essentials) these days, even if we’re roughing it a little bit… So for those of you who like it structured, make a list and see who can stuff the SUV the fullest… for those who like to pack light…just the essentials please…Enjoy the ride.

And for those who like checklists, here’s one you can copy and modify any way you would like. This is a fairly comprehensive list, but as mentioned above, individual needs and preferences vary, you may want to add to it or delete things you don’t think necessary.


* Tent

* Ground tarp

* Stakes

* Entrance Mat

* Broom and dust pan


* Sleeping bag

* Air mattresses or cots

* Sheets and/or Blankets

* Pillows

* Hammock

Camp Kitchen/Cooking Items/Camp Furniture

* Food (It’s good to plan a menu for each day)

* Jugs of water

* Cooler & Drinks

* Ice

* Folding Table

* Camp Chairs

* Propane stove

* Propane

* Lighter or matches

* Firewood

* Plates and bowls

* Silver or Plasticware

* Coffee & Drinking Cups

* Aluminum foil

* Paper towels

* Trash bags

* Dish soap

* Cooking oil or cooking spray

* Pots and pans

* Pot holders

* Dishwashing container

* Cooking utensils

* Grilling utensils

* Can opener

* Bottle opener

* Ziplock bags

* Dish towels and sponges

* Spices

* Condiments

Clothes (depend on what you expect to do and the time of year)

* Shoes and flip flops

* Pants and shorts

* Belts

* Shirts

* Socks

* Underwear

* Hats

* Sweatshirts or jackets

* Pajamas (If you wear them)

* Swimsuit

* Towel

* Raincoat or poncho

Personal Care

* Soap and shampoo

* Wash Cloths and Towels

* Toothbrush and toothpaste

* Deodorant

* Brush / comb

* Razor

* Toilet paper


* Propane lantern(s)

* Flashlights / Battery Operated Lanterns

* Batteries

Safety & First Aid

* First aid kit

* Snake Bite Kit

* Medicine

* Sunscreen / Chapstick

* Bug spray


* GPS or Compass if you’re hiking

* Maps

Tools & Other Supplies

* Air pump

* Pocket Knife

* Bungi cords or straps

* Clothesline / Rope

* Tool kit

* Saw or axe

* Hammer

* Duct Tape

* Hose and nozzle

Entertainment & Recreational Items

* Canoe, Kayak or Inflatable Boat

* Paddles

* Life vests

* Fishing gear

* Bike

* Camera

* Book to read

* Games/Cards

* Backpack

* Walking Stick(s)

* Guitar or other musical instruments

* Binoculars

* Fishing gear

* Radio

Pets & Pet Supplies

* Food Bowls

* Food

* Crate

* Pet Shampoo

* Leashes

* Tie outs

write by Athelstan


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