Who wants to de-stress, unplug, connect with nature and give their overall wellness a boost? Everyone, of course! But who has the time? Everyone, of course!
Why? Because one single activity provides all of these benefits and more: camping.
Camping is a chance to enjoy the outdoors, re-energize and create lasting memories with family and friends. Make sure those memories are good ones by packing these 11 essentials (plus the tent…don’t ever forget the tent):
A first-aid kit tops the list. A bare-minimum kit includes bandages, gauze, antibacterial ointment and tweezers (vital in tick-prone areas). To bulk up your kit, add medications you might need like those for pain or stomach problems.
All-natural, biodegradable baby wipes can clean a scraped knee, wash hands before dinner, scrub the sunscreen off your face before bed and so much more.
Matches or a Lighter
Or both to be extra cautious. You’re going to be cooking on a campfire or camp stove (don’t forget the propane in that case), so don’t forget the method to light it!
Bring plenty of water in a reusable, refillable water bottle, especially if you won’t be near a water source (most campgrounds have water fountains). If you’re in the backwoods, bring a water bottle with an integrated filter to clean as you collect. Dehydration is a real danger when camping, so bring and drink plenty.
Camping provides fun exercise opportunities, but activities like day hikes, swimming, kayaking and climbing will torch calories. Keep your energy up with healthy snacks like seeds, nuts, granola or dried fruit.
A flashlight is great, but a headlamp is better. Why? Late-night bathroom dashes are much easier if you’re hands-free. Same with washing dishes by campfire. Having both hands free to complete tasks in the early morning or evening hours is invaluable. (Stash a flashlight, too, to cover your lighting bases.)
Even under a canopy of trees, you need sunscreen. Sun damage is real, and sunscreen is a simple way to keep yourself safe. Choose a natural formulation that will work for the activities you plan on doing (e.g., active, sport, water-resistant).
Know before you go: What kinds of bugs are prevalent where you’ll be camping? Choose an insect repellent formulated for the worst offenders. Then, don’t forget to toss an anti-itch stick or cream in your pack to combat any bites you do get.
Hopefully you have nice weather throughout your entire camping trip! Unfortunately, that’s never guaranteed, so waterproof storage is a must. Keep food and food prep items sealed tightly in food storage containers, and keep your matches or lighter in a separate waterproof container. As for clothes, here’s a packing hint: Pack outfits in reusable, waterproof storage bags. That way, they stay dry if it rains, and when you change your clothes, you can pack dirty, wet, stinky, sunscreen-covered clothes into the storage bag to keep your other outfits clean and dry.
Whatever you bring into your campsite, you must bring out. Stash large reusable totes to collect trash and recycling. If you’re camping with your car, keep them tucked inside to prevent wildlife from getting too interested; if not, be sure to hang your trash and recycling just as you do your food.
This list isn’t all-encompassing, of course, and so much of your camping packing list will be determined by your location and activities. That said, if you have these 11 items, the basics are covered and you can focus on the fun!