The great outdoors under canvas. Big blue skies by day, starry darkness by night. Nothing but the sound of nature, your friends, and loved ones surrounding you. What’s left to want?
Well, that sounds fantastic to me, but not everyone has the same immediate feelings. In fact, some people can’t stand the idea of electivly sleeping outside.
Camping has evolved. It’s become so much more than a sterile field with tents all parked in a row. Camping is a gateway to the great outdoors and a genuinely entertaining way to spend a weekend with friends.
So, If you’ve not been camping for a while, or you’ve been invited along to your first trip, it’s worth thinking about what you’re going to need to pack in 2023.
There are very different ways to approach packing for a camping trip. Some people like to go with a minimalist approach, taking the absolute bare minimum. Others, myself included, prefer to take more than a few home comforts. There’s a saying in my family, “Any idiot can be uncomfortable,” and I think camping is one of those times when it really rings true. What follows is a list of essential items that you should pack. Items that will make your weekend smooth, enjoyable, and relaxed.
We’re also assuming that you’ve packed a tent.
This is a bit of an umbrella item, but sleeping items shouldn’t be left as an afterthought. The best way to ensure that you’re going to have everything you need for a comfortable night’s sleep is to work from the ground up.
The bottom layer is your mattress. While camping, this is usually an airbed mattress. These are quick to inflate (with an electric pump – get a rechargeable USB one to save on batteries) and take up relatively little space when packing. They are so much better than a thin camping bed or a mat on the floor. If you’ve got space, go for a double-sized one. Just check the size of your tent. Many come in various measurements, so you might need to use a simple feet inch calculator or similar to find if your mattress will fit.
Next, grab a sheet. The velveteen material that most air mattresses are covered in is awful to sleep on. Then you’ll want a cover of some sort. A duvet or sheet will usually suffice, depending on the time of year and your propensity for colder nights. If you’re worried about the cold at all, sleeping bags are the way to go.
Remember some comfortable pillow, and you’re ready to make a bed fit for royalty.
Think about what you want to cook on and cook with and how much you enjoy washing up with cold water. If you can do without a gas stove, frying pans, etc., you’ll save yourself some arduous tasks.
If you think you’ll need them, pack them into a tuff crate and ensure that you have at least twice as many small gas canisters as you think you’ll need. Stoves eat through them in mere minutes.
Always carry some matches and a lighter if you can. The best matches are ones that light on rough surfaces (rather than safety matches). If you want to be absolutely sure you’ve got a source of fire, waterproof ones are the gold standard.
Aim to have similar items that you’d use in your daily routine at home. That might include:
- Dental Hygiene
- Shower items
- Toilet Paper
- Wet wipes— a lifesaver when the site showers stop working
- Towels, more than you think you need if y ou have the space.
Certain items make your life a little bit nicer while camping. Always ensure that you have multiple light sources (with enough battery power) for the whole evening. That could be in the form of lanterns, strip lights, or head torches. It’ll get dark far sooner than you’re used to at home.
Talking of power, USB battery packs are fantastic items to keep phones and cameras charged up. Aim for one that has a high mAh rating for long-lasting charging.
Folding chairs are worth their weight in gold on a campsite. They help you take a load off and keep you off the ground as it gets colder in the evenings. Ones that have at least one cup holder are strongly recommended.
Finally, always remember a bottle opener for capped bottles and corkscrew bottles.
It’s worth planning ahead when it comes to camping. Write a list, segment it into packing boxes or sections, and save it somewhere you can refer back to it for next time. Writing a new list every time you go away is tedious, so it’s well worth keeping a master copy.
If you’re new to camping, then hopefully, this list will be helpful. Welcome to the community. If you’re returning after a long hiatus, then welcome back. We’ve missed you.
- Prioritizing comfort means you’ll have an enjoyable experience.
- Ask to compare lists with others going to see if you’re missing anything.
- If you do find you’ve missed anything, most people on campsites are more than happy to share if asked.