So let’s say your first time going camping you want to try it out by camping in a tent!
I have gone camping my whole life & to this day I make lists so I don’t forget anything. It takes a bit of effort to get there but as far as I’m concerned, it’s so totally worth it!
The rest of this post will explain how I get organized to go camping.
Buying a good tent – The most important thing!
Shopping for a tent is very important. You want a good quality tent and a lot of them come with warranties from the manufacturer these days.
Depending on the size of the tent you need, always plan for 2 more people. Example: if there’s 2 people going camping get a 4 man tent then you have room for baggage, duffel bags & to stand up and change clothes, etc. The rule of thumb is to go 2 people more than what you need. (6 people/8 man tent, 8 people/10 man tent, etc.)
I personally like cabin tents because they have more room to stand up in.
Sleeping Bags & Air Mattresses:
Good quality is a must here too! Our sleeping bags will keep you warm even if the temperature gets below freezing at night.
No need for pillows because inflatable air mattresses have pillows built right into them. They now are self inflatable too!
The biggest drawback to them is they don’t last more than a couple of seasons before they spring leaks. Usually around the seams.
There are sleeping pads of various types & varieties available also. I would check those out too but keep in mind the ground is pretty hard! You want to be comfortable or it will be really hard to get a good night’s sleep.
It’s a good idea if you decide to purchase sleeping pads to also get a ground tarp to put under your tent so the cold from the ground doesn’t come through the bottom of the tent. It should be a little smaller than the tent floor.
A total must for us is a big tarp with poles to put over the picnic table so we can have a shelter in case of light rain. Sometimes it will hold up under heavier downpours as long as they don’t last too long! It also provides shade on a sunny day!
Food & Coolers:
Ok this is where I make more lists!
One for food that will be stored in the coolers & another list for dry food storage.
Dry food like bread, hot dog & hamburger buns, chips, granola & breakfast bars, fruit like bananas will all be stored in a plastic container so that it can easily be stored at night & not left out. You can also include things like your table cloth, paper towels, plastic silverware, dish towels, dish cloths, hot pads, stick matches, clips that hold the table cloth to the table, etc. Easy light stuff that won’t hurt the food! Don’t forget paper plates (no foam or Styrofoam) cause you can burn the paper in the fire pit & used to help start your fires. You might not want to forget marshmallows, Hershey candy bars you might want to put in a Ziploc bag & store in a cooler & graham crackers for Smores! Don’t forget the coffee filters for your coffee pot!
This is very important because if you leave food out you are ringing the dinner bell for any animals in the neighborhood. Some of these are of the predator group like bears & wolves. So please be sure all the food is stored in sealed containers & closed tight so not to attract any animals! Even raccoons & skunks can cause a lot of damage to your camping equipment & set up!
Put any perishable food in coolers & leave enough room so that ice can be put in too! Make sure things like cheese & eggs are stored so the cheese doesn’t get wet & the eggs don’t get broken. I always use a second cooler for drinks, milk, juice, coffee creamer if you don’t like black coffee, etc! Garbage bags are a must to bring as well.
There are 7 day coolers that will keep your food cold for that long as long as you are diligent about keeping the lids shut tight! With children, of course, this is quite a challenge so be ready to make daily runs into the nearest store to buy ice.
Oh another list!
This is a very large category for me cause I don’t like to leave anything behind I will need so this list is pretty extensive!
1. Cookware includes pots, pans, frying pans, coffee pot, any other pots you need to heat water for doing dishes, etc.
2. Utensils include knives, spatulas, tongs, big spoons to stir with, large forks, scissors, silverware like steak knives & big spoons & don’t forget a manual can opener just in case someone thinks canned beans are necessary!
This is a very important list, especially if your children will be camping with you!
Please take things like band aids, gauze pads, medical tape, antiseptic pads, antibiotic ointment, bacitracin or if you are like me I make sure we have Watkins Petro Carbo salve. A lot of people don’t know what this is but it’s fantastic for cuts & abrasions that get infected & even bug bites! Peroxide is always good & cotton balls as well as alcohol pads to clean & swab. Be careful you don’t do the alcohol on an open would cause it will clean but stings like crazy! Be sure to have some burn cream, but repellents spray, Vaseline, sunscreen, etc.
Last but not least the clothing list!
You need to bring clothes for summer like shorts, t shirts, bathing suits but you also need to bring warm clothes.
I always pack a jacket, a sweatshirt, & a coat in case it gets really cold. I don’t usually worry about a rain coat because garbage bags work well!
Bringing jeans, pj’s, long sleeve shirts that are comfy & soft are great. Don’t forget to bring sandals, flip-flops, tennis shoes and any other footwear you want.
You also need towels for the beach, towels to dry yourself with after you bathe, wash cloths & personal hygiene products. This list is totally up to you but the basic are toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, hairbrush, face wash, body wash, lotion &/or moisturizer.
We always bring a dish pan, dish rack, shower set up, water jug for fresh water, extra rope for typing down tarps, extra poles for putting up tarps (in case you need to make a shower for privacy) & don’t hesitate to bring anything else you think you might need. It’s better to have it than not!
In conclusion, it’s a little bit of work to go tent camping but for those of us who really love to do this, we start at the beginning of the week before & make our lists & start packing whatever we can!! It takes planning & perseverance but it’s so worth it to have fun with the kids & de-stress away from the hustle & bustle of everyday life! If you’re fortunate enough to have a canoe or boat to bring along that just means more fun in the sun! Don’t forget the fishing poles & all the stuff you need to go fishing!
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Any comments, questions or opinions are welcome & can be left below under comments. I will reply to any & all as soon as possible!
Thank you & Happy Camping!