Camping Essentials

After our first camping outing this weekend, I realized that I am actually better at this whole outdoors thing than I thought I would be. I found a use for every single thing I packed, and only found a few more essentials missing from my list. Whether you are in the desert, mountains or beach, the requirement are pretty much the same. Items with more than one use, and lots of layers (better to be safe than sorry and freezing!)

Below is a list of everything you will need to go from glamping, to camping, in the great outdoors!

Warm layers – honestly, I cannot stress this point enough. In every climate, temps drop at night. And if you are outside, you don’t have the luxury of your cashmere blanky, slippers and cozy heating system. Fireside warmth is only temporary, so be sure to pack layers of all types. I packed a flannel, lightweight fleece, and hooded jacket to ensure I hit all the pressure points of warmth, comfort and wind protection. Do whatever works for you, luckily I am +hot blooded+ so lightweight layers were enough for me.

Warm + Sturdy footwear – hiking, walking, setting up camp, all in the dirt. A really good pair of running shoes will do, but if you’re looking to keep warm, dry, and pebble free, a good outdoor boot (with warm thick socks) is the way to go.

Warm sleeping bag – again, air on the cautious side when it comes to buying sleeping bags. Forget the fact you love the feeling of cold sheets, in the cold of the night you will be very thankful to have a sleeping bag that forces you to take layers off then to put more back on.

Yoga mat – don’t get your Lulu Lemon’s all up in a twist now. No one expects to get in a yoga session while camping. If you are the outdoor yogi, this item will prove to have dual uses, but for me, the yoga mat (which I happen to always have in my car) was a great mat to have outside the tent to take off shoes, grab layers from the tent, and store larger items your tent may not have room for.

Sleeping pad – this actually ended up being the best investment of all. We found some really inexpensive ones that looked really thin, but for the extra $20, we got the best night’s sleep either of us had in a while.

Headlamp – lanterns are great for a large quantity of light, but the headlamp (as nerdy as it looks) is actually a lifesaver. Night hikes, cooking dinner, and setting up camp after sundown were all easy peasy with this little guy strapped to my melon. They come in a variety of sizes and strengths, but getting a middle of the road model worked fine for me.

Campfire chair – this was one of the items we forgot 😦 Luckily, our first camp site had communal chairs around the fire pit, but we were able to make due the second night because our site came equipped with a picnic table. Having a chair to eat, lounge by the fire, and relax in is essential to your camping experience!

Water bottle – if you thought littering was a crime in urban areas, don’t even think about spitting your gum out at a National Park. Regulations are very strict and who wants to cause the environment additional harm anyway? Gross. Since you will need a lot of water packed for your trip (drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, cleaning plates, washing hands), having a reusable water bottle will not only help Mother Earth stay clean, but will give you the perfect vessel for your everyday needs.

Pocket knife – this jack of all trades should go without saying. You will be surprised how many times you will use it on any given trip, whether you’re staying close to camp or venturing into the bush.

Time killers – this was another thing we forgot to bring. There is a lot of downtime at night you will wish you had something to do during. Sure, books are great to have for some relax time, but sometimes having a deck of cards or friendly game packed in the car will give you some campsite activities to participate in when you aren’t hiking, biking, climbing, etc.

What isn’t on this list but you will DEFINITELY need: tent (duh), sunscreen, first aid kit, firewood. This list is only for tent camping in most National Parks, but every site varies and for a rougher camping experience you will want to consult with your local outdoor supply store. Happy Camping!

Camping Essentials


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