Be prepared and make a list!

Dec 5, 2021 | 0 comments

Anyone who has ever been a scout knows the motto “Be Prepared… The same applies when going camping be prepared…and make a list!

I can not tell you how many times we have had a camper come to the office looking for the most basic camping needs. Some have forgotten anything from the tent itself to their clothing! So many times, they leave essentials behind because they did not repack their equipment properly from the previous trip and end up coming with their tent and no poles, or flashlights with no batteries, no sleeping bag, etc. But I believe that you can overthink things when getting ready to go away.

My advice is sit down and make a list. It helps to make categories such as shelter, food, health & hygiene, clothing, etc. and list everything you think you’ll need. Everyone’s needs will be a little different depending on the type of camping you will be doing and the personality and experience of the person camping.If this is your first time out, make your first camping trip close to home. That way if your forget something essential, you can go get it.

Learn from others

There are countless websites out there that have suggestions for what to pack when camping. The minimalist list has the very basics. There are others that you can compile review and take a little from each, depending on the amount of room you have in your car. The best thing to do is imagine your day from the time you pitch a tent to the time you go to sleep. Envision yourself going through the motions and write down what your needed. When going camping be prepared and make a list.

Admittedly, I’m a lazy camper!

Personally, the only thing I hate more than packing before a trip is the unpacking after the trip. Because of that, when I tent or van camp, I try to bring the barest minimum with me. I have seen many a loaded camper pull into the front of my office and cringe jut thinking of all the stuff they’ll have to unpack when they return home.

Obviously these campers could have done with much less!

Often, Less is More…

The secret is travel light.

I hate emptying my van when I return. Therefore, I take the absolute bare necessities. Sheets and blankets can be a bother, so, a tent or mattress and a sleeping bag is all I need. A few changes of clothing, a small cooler, usually filled with cheese, grapes, water, yogurt crackers( if I am not with a group of friends, I don’t bother making meals.) A flashlight, lighter and a chair to sit by the fire are among other things I like to have on hand.

I like to be prepared when I go camping so I make a list and try to keep it small. These are my bare necessities. If after I load the car and there’s still room, I ponder what “luxuries” I want to have. I decide if I want to bring a coffeepot, screen house, cooking supplies etc. I enjoy tent camping and often choose that over taking my motorhome.

The only thing I miss is the convenience of a bathroom which can be remedied with a small porta potty. Please if you are planning on lug a loo type. Be sure there is no liquid in it when you toss the bag in the trash. Do not use just any plastic bag. They sell the ones that turns liquid into gel or line it with absorbent diapers. Be considerate of the person picking up your trash. The plastic bags always get perforated and torn by shoving other garbage in the trash can causing everything to leak out onto the person picking up the trash! Be considerate and think about these things. I recommend the

Can you see the rookie mistake? The hose from the sink should drain into a bucket or be hooked into the potty so you can use
the sink water to flush.

I overpack with the motorhome

Conversely, when I take my motor home, I bring everything under the sun “just in case”. That’s both the advantage and disadvantage of a motor home. There is so much more room to put everything as there are compartments inside as well as outside. I have had this motor home for 4-5 years now and there is a full compartment outside that I have not opened since I filled it! Obviously at the time, I thought I’d need or use the items inside and discovered they are not necessary. However, they are still there for lack of somewhere else to put them! I also find that I procrastinate clearing it out on my return home. I often leave non-perishable items in it even though it should be emptied after the camping season ends.

Having the extra room in the motorhome also entices me into that rabbit hole of site enhancing. I tend to bring tablecloths, centerpieces. lanterns, strings of lights and all the other completely unnecessary items. I’m a little ashamed to say that although the trend is glamping, I’m still just camping.

I’m going back to the basics

Now after 4 years, I have sold my motorhome and I am returning to the basics of van and tent camping. I will be getting very frugal with my packing since in the past, most things never got used.. My next trip, when camping I will be prepared and make a list such as the one below.

  • Tent, cot, hammer, extra tent pegs, sleeping bag, camp chair, flashlight/lantern folding table, electric frypan, cooler
  • sink/toilet combo with pop-up dressing room
  • cheese, crackers, grapes, eggs, cup, plates, utensils, spatula, bread, lunch meat mayo, peanut butter, apples coffee pot/coffee
  • soap/shampoo, toothbrush/toothpaste, meds, first aid kit, towel
  • sandals, sneakers, underwear, tops, pants, pj’s, jacket,
  • water, collapsible sink, fire starters, paper towels
My sister and I used this set-up to go to the Grand Canyon. We stored our suitcases under the cot and had the little refrigerator behind the front seat. It was surprisingly comfortable and required no set-up and take down each time we stopped. If I plan to spend a weekend in one place, I use a tent.
I have used this tent many times, but I do not tarp over it . That was just too much work and not really necessary unless I would be staying for an extended period of time.

Only time will tell if I needed more, but most times you can do without it for a few days. After all camping is a kind of “roughing it” and growing up in Catholic schools, the word “sacrifice” is nothing knew. As the nuns would say “Offer it up”!

#girlcampernewjersey, #whattobring, #makealist, #travellight


Submit a Comment

Our Partners

Go RVing - Girl Camper Partner Camco - Girl Camper Partner Lippert - Girl Camper Partner

Pin It on Pinterest