The best thing about summer is being able to leave all of your worries and stresses behind and replace them with a breath of fresh air, the sound of chirping birds, and perhaps a dip in icy cool waters.
The best place to be during summer is outdoors. But if you’ve never really experienced pitching a tent or camping during those hot, sunny months, you will probably benefit from this summer camping tips and preparation guide.
So sit back, relax, and read on so you’ll be really before heading out on your next summer adventure.
START WITH THE BASICS
No list is ever really going to be complete when it comes to things you need to bring during a camping trip. Your needs will differ depending on where you’re going, who you’re going with, and how long you’ll be staying; but there are a few basics that are almost universal in most camping trips.
Your tent is your shelter for the next few days. The trick is to get the best tent that you can afford. If you’re going with your family, make sure it’s large enough to accommodate everyone comfortably. If you are going alone or with a few friends, you can probably get away with a smaller model.
A tarp is optional but it can be used as a roof above your tent for protection from up above or underneath your tent for protection from dirt and condensation.
You’ll definitely benefit a lot more if your tent is waterproof – just because it’s summer doesn’t mean that you might not get showers here and there
The Sleeping Bag
Since it’s summer, it will be pretty hot, so you don’t need to get those heavier, dual coated sleeping bags. Go for lighter ones that are breathable for the most comfort. You may even be perfectly comfortable with just a sleeping pad and a light blanket – it really depends on your personal preferences.
When selecting which of your items will make the cut, be sure to check the weather forecast first. Of course, you should pack your basic summer wear (shorts, tank tops, slippers, hat, sunglasses, etc.) but it’s a good idea to bring at least a light jacket in case it gets cold at night.
If rain is a possibility, take a rain jacket with you. Even it may add some extra weight or take up some extra space; at least you won’t end up cold and soaking wet in the event of a sudden downpour.
WHAT ABOUT EATING?
The best way to really get the full camping experience is to cook your meals over a fire (or at least with a portable stove). You can test your skills starting an open fire with something like a magnesium fire starter (or any other fire starter), or you can make things a bit simpler by using a propane stove.
Personally, I enjoy using a portable wood stove since it’s kind of a mix between an open campfire and a stove. It also gives the camping experience a more primitive feeling. Plus it helps that wooden stoves are extremely portable and virtually take up no space since a lot of them can fold flat.
If there are a few of you or you’re staying for a number of days, it’s a good idea to invest in a nice camping cookware set. They usually have everything you need and stack together for portability.
Don’t forget to bring some rags! They are often forgotten about but they can really help keep things clean.
Think also about your menu and what you plan on making during your trip. Think about whether or not you need to store them in something like an ice chest.
A simple option is to go for freeze-dried meals instead, but what’s the fun in that? At least once you should try cooking fresh meals – you’ll find it’s not that difficult as long as you’re prepared.
To wrap things up and make everything simple, here is a list of some things you may need to cook while camping:
- Portable stove (propane or wood stove)
- Camping cookware, pots, pans (cookware made specifically for camping are the best kinds)
- Plates, bowls, and utensils – if you’re lucky, your camping cook set might already include these things. Or if you are alone, you can even just use your pan as your plate already.
- Knife – a utility knife will work just fine
- Wash cloth to keep things clean (avoid using paper towels since it may be more difficult to dispose of them properly)
- Dishwashing sponge and natural dish soap – it’s highly recommended that you use all-natural or organic products when outdoors as to not harm the environment
- Ice chest – if your food needs to be kept cold or frozen
- Matches, lighter/fire starter – to get things going
- Your food – don’t forget this or you won’t have anything to eat!
- Coffee – trust me, a cup of coffee first thing in the morning is amazing
SOME OTHER ESSENTIALS
After those very basic items, you have a few other essentials that can help make the trip more enjoyable for you.
It’s always a good idea to bring a flashlight with you – even a headlight will work fine. Even if your campsite may have light, you might need that extra bit of light in the middle of the night when you’re trying to search for something in your tent.
A first aid kit is also extremely important, especially if you’re camping with your kids. Be sure to pack medicines, allergy medications, painkillers, bandages, a snake bite kit (if you’re going somewhere there might be snakes), disinfectants, insect repellent, and anything else you normally have in your first aid kit.
You might need maps or compasses if you’re going for a hike to reach your campsite. Although not usually necessary, it might help you out or give you a real boy/girl scout feeling.
If you’re staying for a long time, you probably want to bring your toiletries along with you. A good tip is to check beforehand if there are showers available where you’re camping or if you may need to get one of those shower buddies.
Bring lots of water or a filtered water bottle if you aren’t sure if there is potable water where you staying. At least with a filtered water bottle, you can get water from a stream and the bottle will make it clean!
PREPARATION IS KEY
Camping isn’t that stressful, as long as you prepare ahead of time. To wrap things up, here are some quick notes to ensure you are completely prepared!
- Research your campsite/get to know where you are staying – pack accordingly
- Make reservations if necessary and pack all documents you might need
- Make a list of things you need to bring so you won’t forget anything
- Don’t forget the essentials!
- A few days before heading out, check your gear (tent, sleeping bag, etc) to make sure nothing is damaged or destroyed
- The day before, make sure everything is ready and then sleep early so you get a good night’s rest
- Right before leaving, take your fresh food from the freezer and transfer them into your ice chest (if applicable)
- Once you get there, enjoy!
Make the most out of your summer and spend it enjoying the great outdoors with your family or friends.
Your adventures await, so go!