Handy Things You Should Consider Packing for Your Next Camping Trip
Whether you’re heading out with a tent or a motorhome camping requires quite a bit of gear.
Everyone has to be kept dry fed warm and entertained. You also have to be prepared for the fact the weather may not want to co-operate with your plans. Parks Canada provides a useful packing list as does Love the Outdoors . Another great list is by Montem Life . We found a few extra handy items that you may want to bring for your weekend adventures as well as some essentials that should never be left behind.
One of the most useful items you can bring is a portable charger either solar-powered or one you charge up at home before you leave. If you’ve got one of these you won’t have to worry if your phone battery dies halfway through your trip or if you forgot to charge up the camera battery before leaving. These are super handy and a lifesaver if you’re out in the middle of nowhere with a dead phone.
If you’re looking to pack lighter consider replacing your cloth and towels with microfibre towels. They’re much smaller yet absorb more water and dry faster. The roll up smaller too making packing them much easier than traditional towels. The different material can take some getting used to but the convenience and space-saving make them super handy for camping.
You should also consider bringing along a hammock instead of or in addition to the regular folding camping chairs. They’re easy to set up and make camping ultra comfortable. There’s a variety of hammocks from heavy duty with mosquito nets to cheap and simple. You can even sleep in them – a good feature if the ground is rocky or wet.
Speaking of getting wet showers are often hard to come by when you’re camping. Either they won’t be available or they’re less than satisfactory. So why don’t you bring your own? A pocket shower allows you to create one and wash off the grit or rinse off after coming out of the lake. Alternatively you may want to bring a portable sink. This is especially handy if you have a big group and there isn’t enough room in the RV. Store all your bathroom necessities in this kit – even water.
While the water you shower in doesn’t matter so much drinking water needs to be clean. If your campsite or RV isn’t stocked with clean drinking water make sure you bring your own or bring a purification system like tablets or a filter. Hydration is important! Don’t forget your water bottles either – choose these over bottled water to reduce waste and be more environmentally friendly.
If you’re planning on getting dirty or having an extended trip consider bringing a portable washing machine. If you’re thinking it’s a bulky heavy machine – you’re wrong! There are many different types from those that require electricity to hand-powered. If you want one that’s even smaller and more portable there are ‘wash bags’ as well. Extremely handy for extended trips where space is at a premium.
Toilet paper is a necessity that is often overlooked. Make sure you have a few extra rolls in your trailer or bring a roll if you’re tenting. Even if the campsite has bathrooms you never know if you’ll run out or need it on a day hike. Spare socks are also often forgotten. You’ll want some if you discover a giant hole or a rainy day gets everything you’re wearing soaked through.
For the sunny days don’t forget sunscreen. While this is usually on everyone’s packing list it often isn’t used. Protecting your skin is important – prevent painful or itchy sunburns keep yourself free from skin cancer and lessen the signs of aging. The higher the SPF the better and make sure it protects against UVA and UVB rays.
If you do get a rainy day make sure you bring along a deck of cards and some board games. These keep everyone entertained especially if there’s a little cabin fever from bad weather or tired muscles from earlier activities!
If you’re allowed to have a campfire don’t forget your kindling and a fire starter. While lots of campsites provide firewood many will not provide these items. You don’t want to bring smores fixings and be unable to light a fire! Make sure to bring some newspaper and matches a lighter or another fire starting device. Another cool item are fire crystals or special logs that you can put in your campfire and sit back and enjoy an array of colours.
Don’t forget to store your food in bear-proof containers. From cooler to lunch kit no animal should be able to get in. Food attracts wildlife which is dangerous for both you and the animals. While bears are wonderful to observe from a distance in their natural habitat they are especially dangerous. Make lots of noise and take your trash with you to discourage any bears (or other critters) from nosing around. In case of emergencies make sure you have bear spray with you as well and know how to use it.
On the more practical side of things always have lots of rope tarps and a few knives or pairs of scissors around. While packing lists will include these items they are some of the most important and multi-purpose things to have on your camping trip. Tarps can go under tents or awnings to keep the damp or dirt out. They can go over top to keep rain and sun away. They can create privacy screens and you can even create a waterslide with them. Rope helps keep these tarps in place and can also be used as a clothes line an improptu leash or in a tug of war game. Scissors and knives are handy for dealing with food and the set-up and tear-down of your campsite. Plus if you’ve got some talent you can use them to whittle!
While this isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list of what to bring camping we do think at least a few of these pieces of camping gear are worth adding to your bag for your next trip! Want something a little smaller and easier to carry around? Take a look at these helpful apps for camping .