Whether it’s your first time camping, your first trip in a while or you camp every weekend, packing for an exciting adventure can often feel overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’ve got a handy guide to make sure you don’t forget a thing, so you can make the most of the great outdoors!
Plan then pack
One of the most common mistakes is trying to plan and pack at the same time. If you’ve ever been camping and forgotten the lighter for your stove (true story), or left the toilet paper at home (another true story), you’ll understand that these processes should be kept separate. Before you attempt to cram your life into the trunk of your car, make a list and gather all your gear before packing anything.
The first step to becoming a pro at packing for camping trips is to have a system. Now you don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, adventurers like you have been doing this for years so why fix what isn’t broken?
The best way to start to plan your packing is to break your trip down into categories such as cooking, sleeping, clothes, activities, toiletries, and first aid. Go through your trip in your mind from hour-to-hour, and think about what you plan to do.
Once you have all your categories, you can even make some subcategories to really refine your plan. Let’s take a look at each area a little more closely.
So the first thing you are probably going to want to do when you arrive at your campsite is to set up your tent. Have a think about everything you are going to need for the night. Different people have different levels of comfort when camping, so remember it’s totally okay to add your own personal essentials to this list.
- Tent (with pegs and guy lines)
- Tarp and bungee cords (for those intense summer storms)
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping mat, inflatable mattress, or camp bed
- Eye mask
By the time you’ve set up your tent, you’re probably going to be pretty hungry, so it’s time to make some food. What is your ideal kitchen setup and what does it contain to create your perfect gourmet camping dinner?
- Wolf and Grizzly Campfire Trio or camping stove
- Wolf and Grizzly Fire Set, lighter, or matches
- Cooler box
- Pot/pan or cook set
- Camping toaster
- Spatula / wooden spoon
- Chopping board
- Can opener
- Serving utensils
- Bottle opener
- Dish soap, washing-up bucket and tea towel
Photographer: Anna Paxton
Right so you have your dream outdoor kitchen set up, now you need some food to fuel your adventure! Obviously, this one depends on a lot of personal factors such as the number of people, dietary preferences, and how long you will be camping but here is a list of some ideas to get you started.
- Muesli with milk and fruit (try heating the milk and adding a spoonful of peanut butter for extra flavor)
- Toast with eggs
- Coffee & tea
- PB&J sandwiches
- Ham and cheese salad wraps
- Goats cheese and red pepper bagels
- Pasta with pesto and fresh tomatoes
- Rotisserie chicken with salad
- Steak burritos
- Instant noodles with stir fried vegetables
- Muesli bars
It’s probably getting chilly now so it’s time to look for some more layers. Remember that even when it’s summer, you can never trust the weather and if you’re outdoors all day, you are going to get colder than normal. Here’s some life advice, if you’re car camping and aren’t super concerned about weight, pack more warm clothes than you think you need (but don’t go crazy). Here are some things to remember:
- Thermal bottoms
- Thermal top
- Warm mid-layer (or two)
- Waterproof shell jacket
- Waterproof pants (if needed)
- Woolly hat
- Sun hat
- Camp shoes (sandals or flip flops)
Time to get ready for bed, this is where a lot of people go wrong. It’s so easy to forget that when you’re camping, you still need to use the bathroom!
- Toilet paper (!)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- First aid kit
- Insect repellant
Have a think about what you plan to do while camping. Whether you have a whole adventure-filled trip planned, or you simply want to hang out by the campfire. You might need something specific that you don’t want to forget. Here are some common ideas…
- Wolf and Grizzly Campfire Trio
- Wolf and Grizzly Fire Set
- Camp chairs
- Pack of cards
- Camping lantern
- Inflatable boat
- Sports equipment (frisby, soccer ball etc)
This list often grows as you pack but don’t forget the in between moments like when you need to go to the bathroom at night or want to snap some photos.
- Torch and lanterns
- Phone charger
One last pro packing tip
Start with your largest items, pack them on the bottom of your trunk, and much like packing for a backpacking trip, fill in all the gaps as you go with whatever shapes you have available. If you’re really tight on space, use the more squishy items like sleeping bags and pillows to cram into the seemingly impossible nooks to fill.