What To Pack For A Camping Trip

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Last Updated on March 31, 2021 by Tracy

Camping is wonderful family bonding time. If you are headed out on a camping trip, be sure to check out these essentials for camping. This post was sponsored by Nabisco as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

things to pack in a rv

Camping Essentials | What To Pack For A Camping Trip

Summer is all about spending time with family and friends and enjoying the outdoors. Every summer we camp with family…in fact, most years there are over 30 of us that make the trip from all over the country so that we can all get in some quality family time together!  We have actually been doing this family camping trip for over 30 years now, I drive from Florida to Michigan to make sure we don’t miss out on the family fun.

Camping trips make great memories, whether it’s a college group or a family, getting out and enjoying nature is always fun and will be remembered for years to come.

Of course, the region of the country that you’re planning to camp in is important in helping to decide what tips are good for an improved camping experience. The best rule of thumb for beginners is the old Boy Scout motto to “be prepared.” Be prepared for the activities that you want to do while camping and the events most likely to occur that could ruin your camping trip. Here are a few good tips to help beginners prepare for a great camping trip.

First of all, make sure to take enough food and water for the proposed length of the trip. Make sure to include all the necessities for meal preparation such as campfire grill rack, cooking utensils, pot holders, plates and cups, storage bags, spices, and all the things necessary for preparing planned meals. Make sure to bring enough drinks and water, unless there is drinkable water available at the campsites. Coolers should only be half full of food, leaving sufficient space left to ice down properly for safe food storage. You don’t have to worry about this one if you are traveling in a RV, since they have refrigerators, just make sure it’s on ๐Ÿ˜‰

A sharp kitchen knife and cutting board are considered mandatory, also long reach tongs and spatula are both suggested for cooking over a hot campfire. A campfire ring is often required for building campfires in many areas and is usually provided in most official camping areas. A simple one can be made by placing rocks or brick in a circle around the campfire. Some places here in Florida, like the Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground, don’t allow campfires. Read the posted rules for the area you plan to camp at, for a safe and hassle-free stay.

Next, consider your sleeping environment, taking into consideration the region of the country and the weather expected during the trip. Make sure that your tent is sound without major rips and tears, and that all required tent poles and stakes are still available. Since weather is always subject to change, it’s usually recommended to bring a large tarp to set up over your tent to act as a waterproof barrier over your tent.

Some nylon rope and a few tent stakes can be used to securely establish this tarp as a rain roof over your tent, or it can be used to shade the eating area from direct sunshine if rainfall is unlikely. Most tents are not waterproof and will leak in heavy rainfall, which can ruin a camping trip if you aren’t properly prepared.

Enough sleeping bags or comforters for everyone to sleep on or in, with just sheets for covers in hot conditions, is of the utmost importance. Although camping is called roughing it, sleep is still important for everyone’s well-being and enjoyment. Older campers, those with back problems or anyone that prefers to be a bit more comfortable may want to consider bringing an air mattress with a built-in air pump. This small investment in a good night’s sleep will be money well spent to ensure you are ready physically and mentally for hiking, fishing, or whatever day activities are planned.

things to bring on a camping trip

If you really want to rough it with a primitive camping venture, get experience first, to know what required limited essentials are to be taken on this type of camping trip.

Other required essentials for a fun camping trip include enough flashlights and good batteries for most adults to have their own flashlight. It’s also recommended to have several lanterns; one bright one for the outside camping area and a smaller version for inside the tent is plenty.

A propane gas camping stove with extra gas tanks is necessary for cooking in case of insufficient or wet firewood due to rainfall. Even with a good campfire, this camp stove allows you to cook coffee or soups without slaving over a roaring campfire. A campfire rack that can be set up over hot coals or at the edge of the fire is another essential for cooking to most experienced campers. Eating good food cooked over an open campfire is one of the great joys of camping, so make sure to have all the necessities for a functional “camp kitchen” is mandatory.

One more thing to consider is camping tools needed; a good sharp hunting knife, a hatchet or an ax, and a small camp shovel are the bare essentials for any camping trip that includes campfires. A good walking stick can be found at your campsite for those who enjoy hiking and used to chase away any unwanted animals.

Another thing to mention for preparing for an enjoyable camping trip is to have a well-stocked first-aid kit. A kit that includes the essentials, such as antiseptic, Band-Aids, anti-itch cream for insect bites, aspirin, rubbing alcohol, and a burn ointment, is a good start. Other items that should be considered for inclusion are sunblock, insect repellent, maybe even a snake bite kit.

top camping essentials

Planning for possible problems in the outdoor environment is part of making the overall trip good, in spite of minor difficulties. A wise man prepares for unseen problems. Experience in the outdoors and various camping environments will help to ensure that your camping equipment and supplies are sufficient to make it a memorable trip.

We love camping and since we have been doing it for so long, I thought I would share a list for camping essentials that I always make sure we have when we go on a camping adventure.  Hopefully it will help you out the next time you load up the car for a road trip!

What to pack for a camping trip

Here is Your Camping Essentials Checklist:

  1. Tent or something to sleep in (we have a RV). This may seem obvious, but it is definitely your #1 essential for camping!
  2. Air mattress or something to sleep on. Thankfully we have beds!  When you are packing for a camping trip, there are a lot of things going on and it actually pretty easy to forget a sleeping bag or air mattress, so be sure to double check before you head out.
  3. Blankets and Pillows.  We have forgotten pillows countless times!  As they are normally sitting on your bed at home, it’s an easy one to not think about, but blankets and pillows definitely have to be on your camping essentials list.
  4. Flashlights and/or Lanterns.  When it gets dark, the only light you will have will be the stars.  While I love star gazing, it’s a must to have a light so you can see where you are going and what you are doing after the sun goes down.
  5. Bug Spray.  When you are enjoying the outdoors, the bugs and insects are usually too, be sure to have bug spray when you pack for your camping trip so that you don’t end up itchy and miserable.
  6. Campfire Supplies or know of a local place you can get wood. And be sure to bring a lighter!  Campfires are one of my favorite things to do while camping.  There is nothing quite like sitting by the fire to stay warm and enjoying a s’more or two with friends and family.
  7. Plates, plastic ware, something to cook with (pots/pans). Eating is definitely a camping essential, so make sure you have something to cook with and put all those campfire eats on.
  8. Something to cook ON…grill is always nice if you have the room!  Otherwise a campfire works ๐Ÿ˜‰
  9. Food, snacks, drinks and water.
  10. Clothing (pack for all weather conditions), pjs, swimwear.  When we are camping up in Lake Leelanau Michigan, the temperatures can easily go from 80 degrees during the day to 50 degrees at night, so make sure you pack clothes for everything!
  11. Sun protectionSunscreen, sunglasses, and hats.  No one likes to be sunburn, plus it’s not good for you!
  12. Toiletries.  Yes, tell the kids that they still have to brush their teeth while camping ๐Ÿ˜‰
  13. Games – We bring board games, cards, corn hole and ladder ball.  While we love exploring the outdoors, sometimes having games on hand helps keep you and the kids away from technology for an extra few minutes.  I also created fun camping game printables that you can bring along on your camping trip that can keep the kids entertained in the car or at the campsite.  It’s 5 pages of fun!

I'm Going Camping Games Printables

You can print the Camping Games Printables HERE are by simply clicking on the Camping Word Search above.  It is 5 pages of different activities that the whole family is sure to have some fun with.

Essentials to pack for a camping trip

The only way to keep all of us boating, skiing, tubing, swimming, biking, playing corn hole, sitting by the campfire, enjoying everything that camping has to offer and just getting in all that quality family time is by having easy snacks ready to go at a moments notice.  No one wants to stop having fun because it’s time to make something to eat. That’s why when I pack for our camping trips I make sure I have all our favorite NABISCO products, like Family Size OREO Cookies, Family Size RITZ Crackers, and SWEDISH FISH.

Best Camping Essentials

I made sure I had the Family Size RITZ Crackers when it was time to enjoy tasty impromptu appetizers because there is always a large group of us. We made crab dip with leftover crab from crab legs, we had a yummy cheese dip with jalapenos, and smoked whitefish pate…all were perfect on a RITZ cracker.  Just because your camping doesn’t mean you can’t eat delicious foods!  Honestly, I think we eat better when we are camping than we do at home sometimes ๐Ÿ™‚

Camping trip must-haves

The kids (ok…and adults too) like to grab an OREO or two while they are biking and playing around the campground. Thank goodness I packed the package of Family Size OREO Cookies.

Camping trip essentials

We have been out on the boat just about every day, weather permitting and snacks on the boat are a must! And what more appropriate boating snack than SWEDISH FISH?!

Camping packing list

I grabbed our favorite NABISCO snacks and other camping essentials at Walmart, so be sure to stock up on your favorites all summer too! Keep the snacks coming and keep making memories.

Camping Essentials

Visit the Snack ‘N Share Pinterest Board for more snack-inspiration.

What is on your camping essentials checklist?

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