If you’ve never been camping, you may have endless questions. But we’re here to help that unknowning of what to do. Don’t overthink it! It’s easy, and once you have planned your first trip, you’ll be hooked forever.
First things first, you need to:
1. Decide on date and make reservations.
You’ve got to have a place to go, and know when you’re going so you can plan accordingly. So ask off work, get the family in the know and once you’ve completed this step, you’re almost halfway done with the planning.
Second thing, in my opinion really the only thing that matters…FOOD.
2. Create a camping meal plan and write up the grocery list
Now this part may not be the most fun to do, but the thought of food is almost inticing and brings up the excitement level for your trip just a little bit more. Now our recommendation is that you write it all out on paper so that when you get into the grocery store you know exactly what to get and can stay on budget (if you’re a budget kind of person) if not…splurge away and make your grocery trip longer than your actual camping trip.
3. Create a supply packing list.
Now you need to make sure you do this before you run to the grocery store, just in case you need anything. But if you’re anything like me, you may just prepare to make another run. The supply packing list is highly important and below we’ve helped you out a little with a typical essentials camping list of what you may want to bring.
4. Check the campground rules.
Now if you’re not a rules kind of person, you may just check in to the campground rules just so you don’t get into any kind of trouble. Especially if this is your first camping trip…
Last but not least.
5. Document (and store) everything where you’ll be able to find it.
If you’re organized, that’s great! If you’re not, that’s okay too. It may just take you a little bit more time to find things. Pack ahead of time, get everything laid out so you can see what you have! And DON’T forget a camera. You’ll definitely want to document your first time camping.
What to Take Camping
Here are some of the recommended items that we include on our camping packing list! Every time we go camping, we refine this a bit and find things that will be more helpful, but this list is a great place to start.
Clothes and Sleeping
- Dustpan with small broom
- Mat for tent entrance
- Sleeping bags
- Sleeping pads / Air Mattress – A simple self-inflating one works well and is what we use.
- Suitcase/backpack for clothes – This one from Cotopaxi is my favorite for a weekend trip.
- Tent (don’t forget the poles, stakes, rain fly, and footprint to protect the bottom) – Our friends love their Alps Mountaineering Chaos 2 tent, and my husband and I have an older version of this tent from L.L. Bean.
General Camping Supplies
- Small backpack (I love Cotopaxi’s 16L Batac Del Día bag), fanny pack, or hydration bag for hiking
- Bungee cords
- Camp chairs
- Fire starters – newspaper + kindling
- Firewood (buy it local to the campground)
- Games – Our staples are Dutch Blitz, Phase 10, UNO, Settlers of Catan(make sure you have the expansion pack if you are camping with more than 4 people).
- Lantern / lighting – I’m totally digging these lights from Biolite and have added them to my list to buy for next time!
- Maps / area info
- Marshmallow roasting sticks
- Matches or lighter
- Notepad and pens (for games)
- Pocket knife
- Pop-up canopy – We love this one that our friends have, but full disclosure, we’re seriously thinking about upgrading to something screened in. Because bugs + card games are a bummer.
- Reusable Water bottle
- Rope for hammock
- Solar Charger
- Tote bags for miscellaneous stuff
- Trash bags