Sure, city life has its fair share of perks. But have you ever thought about leaving all the honking cars and air pollution behind for scenic beauty and fresh mountain air?
Of course, we’re not suggesting you go completely off the grid. That would mean giving up the small luxuries you’ve grown accustomed to like your daily coffee fix and your cozy, electric blanket.
As a good compromise, there’s always camping: A wonderfully-brief escape into nature that is packed with mental and physical health benefits. From hiking coastal mountains to sleeping under the desert stars, the best camping trips can make you feel like a new person when it’s all said and done.
So, what are you waiting for? Gather up your friends, break free from city limits and get ready for an epic adventure. But first, check out the following camping essentials so you know exactly what to bring on a camping trip.
Before anything else, you’ll need to figure out what to wear on a camping trip. Your clothing choices will likely vary depending on the season and your location (i.e., beach camping versus mountain camping), so keep this in mind as you pack.
Some of the more obvious items you’ll want to bring camping might include a stylish pair of sunglasses (and a sunglass strap), merino wool socks and a sturdy pair of hiking boots. On top of these essentials, here are a few additional outfit ideas that you should pack for your trip:
Camping Outfit Ideas for Men
- Going on a hike. Choose a long sleeve top and a pair of pants that allow you to move freely. When camping in the fall and winter, it’s smart to be prepared by bringing base layers. Ideally, your base layers (meaning, the layers closest to your body) should be made out of moisture-wicking fabrics such as merino wool and polyester. If it’s extra chilly, throw on a men’s lightweight vest for added warmth and pockets.
- Hanging around the campfire. If you’re relaxing around a campfire with friends and a few good beers, a plaid button-down shirt with a comfortable pair of chino pants is the way to go. It’s a practical yet stylish outfit that works perfectly for late fall to early spring camping trips.
- Braving cold mornings. Even in the summer, early mornings can have a biting chill to them. If you’re the poor sap in charge of getting breakfast going, you’ll be grateful to have your cozy, quarter-zip pullover to help you brave the cold.
Camping Outfit Ideas for Women
- Hiking the trail. Similar to the guys, you’ll want to wear clothing that moves with you through every twist and turn. You can’t go wrong wearing active leggings that are designed to wick away moisture—plus, they’ll make your booty look amazing when you’re the one leading the pack. Pair them with a moisture-wicking long sleeve top (we recommend our cable knit athletic quarter-zip pullover) and a cute puffer vest for an adventure-ready look.
- Enjoying campfire snacks. You’re not going to let chilly evenings stop you from roasting the perfect marshmallow, are you? We didn’t think so. Wear a cute hoodie with a pair of colored denim pants and you’ll have nothing to worry about—except for your marshmallow catching fire, that is.
- Sharing your tent with a blanket hog. There is always that one friend who manages to take up way more than her fair share of the tent and steal all the blankets. While you hopefully have a sleeping bag of your own, it doesn’t hurt to pick up a cozy loungewear set to keep you nice and warm.
Tip: Bring a bathing suit. Words can’t even begin to describe just how grateful you’ll be if you decide to take a spur-of-the-moment dive into the lake. Skinny dipping is a lot less romantic than it sounds. Not like we’re speaking from experience or anything…
Food and Drink Supplies
Unless you’re camping on the beach next to a luxury hotel (in which case, can it truly be called camping?), you probably won’t run into any restaurants in the woods. That means you’re on the hook for all your food and drink.
What food items and drinks should you bring camping? How much should you pack?
Before we answer that, let’s rewind a second and talk about where you’re going to store your meats and other temperature-sensitive items. If you don’t already own a Yeti cooler, allow us to change your camping, tailgating and outdoor adventuring for the better. Load it up with ice, pack all your essentials and rest easy knowing that your Yeti gear will keep your food and drinks cooler for far longer than your typical coolers.
Now that you’ve got that situation figured out, let’s go over what else you need:
- Non-Perishable Food. This includes your trail mix, beef jerky, dried fruits, peanut butter, rice and anything else that can be left out of your cooler without going bad.
- Perishable Foods. Pack hot dogs or prepack sandwiches that you can eat the day you arrive at camp. For breakfast, consider freezing liquid eggs and scrambling them for breakfast the next day.
- Water. Plan to bring at least two liters of water per person for each day. It’s also not a bad idea to bring water purifier tablets as a backup. Getting sick from river water is no fun, especially without nearby bathrooms.
- Drinks. In addition to water, remember to bring fun drinks as well. Put your friends in charge of bringing a variety of drinks such as LaCroix, soda, wine, and mixed drinks. Well, on second thought, maybe you better be the one to bring the booze. Some things are just too important to be left to chance.
- Drinkware. Sure, you can pass around a bottle of wine and drink LaCroix from the can. But we guarantee that you’re going to wish you had brought along Yeti tumblers to keep your drinks hot or cold.
- Cookware, Plates, and Utensils. If you’re making scrambled eggs or cooking rice, remember to bring pots and pans. Additionally, bring a can opener if you’re making beans or using other canned items. And if you’d rather not eat with your hands, we suggest packing plates and utensils as well. If you’re short on space, choose bowls over plates (you can turn a bowl into a plate, but not the other way around!).
- Hand Towels, Soap and Hand Sanitizer. Your hands will touch plenty of gross things throughout the day, so don’t skip these items. You’ll be grateful after your hands stink of fish after casting your line all day.
- Trash Bags. Put all your food wrappers and any additional waste you generate in a trash bag. Follow the “pack it in, pack it out” mantra of camping and leave no trace,
Tip: If you tailgate regularly, keep in mind that many of the same tailgate setup ideas apply to camping. For example, you can bring along a plastic storage bin to store your dirty dishes.
When you’re not hiking, kayaking or casting your line, you probably want a place to rest your weary feet. The best way to do that is by making a cozy campsite complete with shelter, seating, and adequate lighting.
Here is a look at what else you’ll need in terms of shelter, seating, and lighting:
- Tent. We recommend choosing a double-wall tent because it gives you greater protection from the weather. Additionally, don’t forget to pack your tent stakes and a hammer to secure your tent to the ground. You don’t want to be chasing your tent down the trail after it’s been blown away by the wind.
- Sleeping Bags. A good sleeping bag will provide a cocoon of warmth that will keep you toasty all night long. This is a must if you have a few blanket hogs sharing your tent. We suggest getting a backpacking-style sleeping bag, which is mummy-shaped for superior warmth.
- Padding. The ground is much harder than you think. A sleeping bag is not enough cushioning to stop those jagged rocks from digging into your back all night, so be sure to pack a pillow and additional bedding and blankets like a lightweight, foam sleeping pad.
- Chairs. You’ll likely spend the majority of your time near camp, so remember to bring comfortable camping chairs. Specifically, find fold-up chairs that have drink holes to hold your beverages.
- Lanterns/Flashlights/Candles. Plan to bring multiple types of lighting such as lanterns, flashlights, and candles. Don’t forget extra lantern fuel, batteries, and matches.
As much as you might love nature, it doesn’t always love you back. Spiders, poisonous plants and wildlife will fight back when you come stomping into their home--go figure, huh?
Anyway, the point is that you need a well-stocked first aid kit--because Mother Nature really isn’t kidding around. From minor falls to brushes with poison ivy, a good first aid kit can make all the difference in your comfort and your overall camping experience.
You can find an outdoor-oriented first aid kit online or in-store at your local recreational store. If you buy a first aid kit, make sure that it has the following essentials:
Gauze Pads/Gauze Roll
Tweezers, Scissors, Safety Pins
Sunscreen and Burn Cream
Here are some additional items to bring along (if they’re not already part of your first aid kit):
Lip Balm with SPF
Additional Pain Medication/Antibiotic Cream
You can’t spend the entire camping trip sitting around a fire and roasting s’mores. Well, maybe you can, but you’ll eventually get bored.
To pass the time, you need to bring a few forms of entertainment. Check out these campsite games and outdoor recreation ideas to enjoy camping the way it’s meant to be:
- Deck of Cards. There are plenty of games you can play with a standard 52-card deck. From drinking games such as Kings to the fast-paced game of Egyptian Rat Screw, you and your friends will have hours of entertainment with a single deck of cards.
- Ladder Golf. Few games are better suited to camping than ladder golf. It’s easy to set up, suitable for all ages and ridiculously fun.
- Cornhole. Another popular camping/tailgate game, cornhole is a must for weekend camping trips. Although it’s a little heavier to lug around than ladder golf, it’s a great camping game nonetheless.
- Football/Frisbee. Playing catch is a great way to pass the time while you’re waiting for the fire to get started. If you’re camping at a campground site, you’ll also have plenty of space to throw around a football or a frisbee.
- Pen and Paper. You’d be surprised at how many fun games you can play by using a simple pen and paper. For example, you can play classic games such as Pictionary and Hangman, or you can make up your own game and let the real fun begin.
- Bikes. Are there bike trails around your camping site? Bring your bikes and take a pleasant ride through the woods. With all the calories you burn, you can eat more s’mores later.
- Fishing Gear. If there is a lake or stream nearby, bring your fishing pole and try catching dinner for everyone. Don’t forget to grab your fishing license and supplies.
- Kayaking Gear. Explore the waterways around your campsite by bringing your kayaking gear along. There may be kayaking rentals near your campsite as well. If you take advantage of a rental, make sure that you know what to wear kayaking and bring additional clothes.
Feel like you’re still missing something? Check the list below and make sure that you have everything you need for a memorable camping trip:
Navigation (Compass, GPS and Trail Marking Tape)
Personal Hygiene Products (toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, deodorant, etc.)
Approved Campfire Wood & Fire Starters
Let the Fun Begin!
Once you know what to bring on a camping trip, all that’s left to do is pack everything and head out into the wilderness. Remember to tell others where you and your crew are going and be sure to mention the duration of your camping trip (weekend, day trip, etc.).
With this comprehensive camping checklist, you can escape the city for a little while and reconnect with nature. But seriously, don’t forget the bug spray.