It’s camping season — at least in most places. The air is a little cooler, the heavy summer rains have stopped and the fall foliage is beginning to show. September is a great time to recharge yourself… ditch the hustle and bustle of the city life and enjoy a relaxing camping trip in nature.
When packing for a camping trip, people tend to over pack. They’ll load the car up so high you can’t see out the back window – large grills, coolers, air mattresses, chairs, etc. But, if you’re only heading out for a weekend camping trip, then you don’t need to pack 50lbs worth of gear. You can get by on just a few meals and a small change of clothes. Before you load up the car – camping decal and all – make sure you have the following Six Essential Items:
1. Tent – Make sure you pack a tent that is suitable for the weather conditions you will be in and supports the number of people in your party. Don’t pack a 2 person tent if you’re bringing a family of four. Also, check your tent’s condition before you go. The last thing you want to do is unpack a tent that is covered in mold or has a big hole in the side.
2. Sleeping Bag – Ahhh the comfort of a sleeping bag. Make sure you bring the correct sleeping bag for the weather. If the temps are dipping into the 30s at night, you will want a thick bag … maybe even a mummy sleeping bag to keep you warm. The perfect sleeping bag (and sleeping pad to put under it) are essential for a good night sleep.
3. Fire Starter – What is a camping trip without a camp fire? A camp fire will keep you warm, help cook your food, and creates a great atmosphere. Just make sure that you have permission to build a camp fire… a lot of forests in the backcountry don’t permit open fires. So how do you start a fire? Well, some people use matches … but I prefer a piece of firesteel.
4. Kitchen ware – You will need something to cook your food in right? Don’t bring every pot and pan you own – one small pot and one small skillet should do the trick. I’ll also include a cookstove on this list… you can find some that are very lightweight and it will save you a lot of time when trying to cook breakfast or make some coffee.
5. Knife – Whether it’s a pocket knife or a locking knife with a 3″ blade … you will need a knife on your trip. A knife can help you cut rope, cut food, make a fire and protect you from rapid squirrels.
6. Flashlight– None of us want to think about having to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, but hey … it happens. Don’t get caught having to stumbled through the woods for the perfect tree. Be sure to pack a flashlight and it will make your life a lot easier around the camp site when the fire goes down. It get’s dark outside the city!
Of course there are a dozen or more items that we could add to the list. If you have something in mind, post a comment and let us know. What are some essential items for a weekend camping trip.