What Do I Need to Go Camping?

Camp knife and tentIf you’re going camping for the first time, you probably have no idea what to bring. Luckily, it’s not as complicated as you might think. In fact, you can manage an overnight car camping trip at a maintained campground with practically no packing at all. Here is what you need to bring for a weekend car camping trip.

The bare necessities

Maybe you don’t have a single piece of camping equipment. Your friends invited you to go on a trip, and you don’t know where to start. Don’t feel the need to go out and purchase all new camping gear. You don’t actually need much in the way of gear to enjoy a fun weekend of camping. Here’s what you can get by with.

  • Shelter
  • Bedding
  • Food
  • Water

You don’t need a top of the line tent, fancy sleeping bag, an expensive camp stove, or a super nice cookset. See if you can share a tent with a friend, or consider a cheaper hammock or tarp shelter. You can even sleep in the back of your car for a couple of nights.

If you don’t have a sleeping bag or sleeping pads, you can bring blankets from home.

Most campsites have a grill, or at least a fire pit, for you to cook food. Hot dogs or chili are campfire classics that are easily made over a fire. Of course you can also go with food that doesn’t need to be cooked at all. Think food bars, fruit, peanut butter, or sandwiches.

This doesn’t add up to the most comfortable camping trip, but it will get you through the weekend. Of course, if you want to be a little more comfortable, you want to bring a bit more than the bare minimum.

The prepared camper necessities

Let’s say that you already have some camping equipment, or you’re looking to buy some. Here’s everything you need to camp in comfort for a weekend of car camping

  • Tent
  • Footprint
  • Mallet and stakes for the tent
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Light source (headlamp or lantern)
  • Fire starters (firewood, lighter fluid, starter log, matches, lighter, etc.)
  • Saw
  • First aid kit
  • Insect repellant
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Lip balm
  • Cooler
  • Food
  • Water
  • Beverages
  • Camp stove
  • Cookset
  • Utensils
  • Camp knife
  • Camp chair
  • Trash bags
  • Toiletries
  • Extra clothing
  • Book, cards, games, etc.

What you take camping depends on your preferences and personality. Someone who likes to rough it would rather bring blankets from home than purchase a sleeping bag and sleeping pad. Another camper might feel that a comfortable sleep is what’s needed to get the energy to enjoy a full day of active involvement in the wild. The best way to figure out what you need to take camping is by getting out and doing it!

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