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Updated on June 26, 2014

What to take when you go camping

When you want or need (if the law is after you) to go camping, it is helpful to have a list of things to take with you. Wanna know why? I'll tell you why!

It isn't fun to find yourself surrounded by a swarm of angry, hungry (hangry?) mosquitoes when you're in the wilderness and realize you have no insect repellent. "I thought YOU packed it!" Is not the response your spouse wants to hear out of your mouth. Wild animals do not need to be subjected to the sound of loud cursing in the forest. They live there because it's peaceful. You have just ruined this for them. Congratulations.

So, how about actually having and using a list? YES! An easy fix, we can do this! (Just keep repeating out loud "WE CAN DO THIS!" Until you believe it yourself and you're getting weird looks. Maybe you should have waited until you got out of the gynecologist table stirrups before you shouted that. Timing is everything you know.

I may have left out an item or two. Be sure to add your own items to the list, and may God be with you.

Checklist For Happy Campers

  • Tent and tent pegs and tent stakes
  • Tent broom
  • Tarp for under the tent
  • Rake to rake area under the tent (it is also good for putting leaves under the tent when you want them for insulation!)
  • Sleeping bags appropriate for the weather (be sure to check nighttime weather forecast)
  • Air mattress, a cot, or a sleeping pad
  • Extra blankets
  • Pillows (if room is a concern, check out inflatable pillows)
  • Ear plugs (can be very useful if you are bothered by the sound of croaking frogs etc)
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Battery operated lantern
  • Flash lights (good to have more than one, put in fresh batteries)
  • Table and/or chairs
  • Folding chairs are nice to have for gathering together around the campfire
  • Stove and fuel source, a metal grate that you can put over campfire
  • Firewood for campfire (may be mandatory in some parks/campgrounds)
  • Lighter fluid for fire
  • Matches (You may consider waterproof, but we have tried them and found them difficult to light. Try regular matches with some way to keep them dry, like a zipper top baggie)
  • Water bottle or canteen (I've found taking two 1-gallon bottles of drinking water is good. I use one for cooking, the other for drinking)
  • Cord, rope, clothespins (To hang up wet swimsuits, towels, etc)
  • Long fork for roasting food (I also like to take the long forks for roasting marshmallows)
  • Small tools like a rubber mallet (good for pounding in tent stakes), hammer, wrench.
  • Bucket for water to put out fire
  • Shovel, to put out the campfire
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fishing gear
  • Food, snacks, drinks...
  • Cooler with ice in it
  • Condiments like salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard, etc.
  • Cooware and cooking utensils
  • Hot pads or gloves for cooking
  • Plastic or paper plates, cups, utensils
  • Mugs
  • Toilet Paper
  • Soap
  • Dish rags, dish soap, Brillo pads
  • Manual, non-electric can opener
  • Garbage bags
  • Baby wipes (good for miscellaneous uses)
  • Changes of clothing
  • Sleep clothes
  • Extra socks, shoes, underwear. (TIP: Sort clothes by outfits - socks, underwear, shirt, shorts for example - and put them into large slider type plastic bags to keep them together/sorted and dry)
  • Rain gear (a poncho is very good to have, there are inexpensive vinyl versions)
  • Sweatshirt or jacket
  • Hats appropriate to weather you expect
  • Towels and a washcloth.
  • Prescription medications, Personal items, toiletries
  • Books for identification of trees, birds, or other - like maybe weeds, so you don't accidentally wipe with Poison Ivy if you don't pack toilet paper. I mentioned toilet paper above. Hopefully, you packed it by now.)
  • Camera, film, portable cell phone charger, cell phone, etc
  • Maps - any maps you may need
  • Paper towels, napkins

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