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What do I need for my camping trip?

Updated on July 7, 2013
Flickr image of campsite
Flickr image of campsite | Source

So you want to go camping? Great idea! When I was growing up, we went camping at least once every summer. As a family outing, it was always fun. I have some really wonderful memories from those trips. If you are new to camping, you probably are wondering what you will need to bring camping.

Do I need a tent?

First of all, yes, you will need a tent if you are going to be staying out overnight and your chosen campsite doesn't have cabins. How many people are going? For one or two people, a small 2 person tent will be perfect. More than 2 people going, you will need a bigger tent. Shop around, there are many choices and features when it comes to tent buying. Most camping tents are quick and easy to setup and are lightweight enough that carrying it to your campsite shouldn't be a big hassle.

Be sure to get one that includes a tarp or foot to go under the tent. This will prevent rocks or sharp objects from tearing your tent bottom and letting in water, bugs or other unwanted elements.

You also want to be sure it includes windows. Nothing is worse than a stifling tent with no ventilation. When the sun goes down and the stars come out, it is so nice to open up the windows or remove the rain fly and look out at the night without bugs getting at you! Some tents even have a mesh ceiling to allow star gazing in nice weather.

What to do about sleeping?

When it comes time to hit the sack, what are you gonna do? In this area there are a lot of choices in camping gear as well! Some hard core campers just throw out a blanket and sleep straight on the ground. Others prefer a little more cushion than that. Personally, I prefer the cushion. There are special pads and mats you can get to sleep on when camping, or you can just pick up an air bed at Walmart. You can get a sleeping bag there too; or you can just take some blankets to throw on top of your air bed. It depends on your personal preference and how the weather will be in that area. If it will get cold, you may very well prefer an actual sleeping bag because it zips closed on three sides, limiting how much cold air can get in to freeze your piggies!

How are we going to eat?

Alright, Grizzly Adams, get out there and catch us a 'coon for dinner!

Um.... maybe not. Most new campers are not the hunt your food yourself kind of campers. You might catch some fish and eat those, but overall, you will probably bring your food with you. Invest in some good, large ice chests and fill them up with easy to prepare food. Sandwich makings, hot dogs, chili in the can, those kinds of foods. We also had a camp cook stove and breakfast was almost always made on the stove. Mom, or my Grandmother, would make scrambled or fried eggs with sausage or bacon. Makes me hungry thinking about it! Not everyone wants to go to that much trouble though. Just make sure that whatever supplies you bring are insulated so things won't go bad, like milk or eggs or mayonnaise. Also, if you are camping someplace where there could potentially be bears or other animals, put your food away from your campsite at night. If animals come to feast you don't want to be nearby. Just let them have it and then pack up and head home or to the store in the morning.

Hey, you said something about fishing?

What would any camping trip be without doing some fishing! In your camping checklist you must include a tackle box and fishing pole. Fishing is not difficult and can be very relaxing. You can get a fishing rod/reel pretty inexpensively at local places like Walmart or Target. They also offer tackle and other assorted fishing supplies. Keep in mind that most states require a fishing license before you can actually do the fishing. I know Walmart sells fishing licenses. My dad always jokingly said he needed a 'catching license' because his fishing license wasn't working! Seriously though, a fishing license is usually less than $20 and it's good for the year. Grab your gear, get your license and head out to thrash some bait in the water, hopefully bringing home dinner in the process!

Camping sites?

You have all your gear now, where do you go? Check for lakes around your area, they are sure to have campsites. You can also check into a KOA campground. KOA normally offers a variety of camping options: tent camping, travel trailer/mobile home, cabins to rent, etc. They also have bathrooms and showers and sometimes swimming pools. I have seen some very beautiful KOA campgrounds and some 'so so' KOA campgrounds. Prices vary from place to place. You may find KOA is not your style of camping but to begin with and get your feet wet, it's a good place to start!

Now that you have a basic idea of what to start camping with, get out there and get your gear and get camping. Be sure to pack the marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers to make S'more. Don't know what those are, well Google it!

Have fun and happy camping!

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