When our kids were little we always went on our first camping trip of the year on the Victoria Day weekend. Now when I say camping, I mean rustic tenting, the only luxury we had was a bubble pad under our sleeping bag! (Mind you, there was a frost warning this year, so not sure how that would have worked!)
Our kids are older now, (and so are we…lol) so that tradition has sort of fallen by the wayside. Now when we camp it is usually in a “rustic shelter”, which is a bit of a cross between a tent and a camp. No running water or bathroom facilities, but it does have electricity and pallets for your air mattress.
Anyway, this past May 24th weekend, I was reminiscing with Music Man about our various camping trips over the years. I thought this would be a good time to share some of what we have learned through our years of camping in the form of a printable checklist (it is linked near the bottom of this post). I don’t know about you, but I am a big-time list maker, so having a printable checklist is right up my alley!
I also thought it would be good to mention a few details about some of the items on the list. Just remember – these are just suggestions. You may not want to bring everything on the list, and you may want to bring things from home that are not on the list.
Tent: Be sure to rent, buy or borrow a tent that will keep you dry and comfortable. Practice setting up the tent at home before your first camping trip.
Groundsheet/Tarp: A tarp can act as both a ground sheet for under your tent as well as its traditional use to hang it above a picnic table so you can stay dry when it rains.
Sleeping bag: If you don’t have a sleeping bag, bring a blanket and sheet from home.
Pillow: For extra comfort, bring a small pillow. If you prefer, stuff a sack with extra clothing for a makeshift camping pillow.
Sleeping pad or air mattress: A sleeping pad or mat goes under your sleeping bag for extra comfort and warmth.
Lantern: Use a battery-powered lantern inside your tent; gas or propane powered lanterns are fine outdoors but should never be used inside tents.
Rope or cord: Rope and cord can be used for many things including making a clothesline and hanging tarps.
Duct tape: Duct tape is strong, water-resistant and can temporarily fix just about anything!
Plate/Mug/Bowl/Utensils: Metal plates, mugs, bowls and utensils are best as they are sturdy, quite lightweight, and reusable.
Camp stove: There are many types of camp stoves, so get advice to find a model that is ideal for you.
Fuel: Fuels come in many different shapes and forms so be sure that you have the right one for your stove or lantern.
Pots/ Frying pans: Bring pots and pans that are designed for fire cooking if you plan to cook on the fire.
Oven mitt: A pot holder or oven mitt will keep your hands comfortable when you move your pots and pans to and from the stove or fire.
Pot gripper: Some camping frying pans and pots do not come with handles and use a clamp-like gripper to pick up and move the pan or pot.
Biodegradable dishwashing soap: Be sure your dish soap is biodegradable, and dispose of it in sinks or drains not in lakes or on the ground.
Cooler: Your cooler is not wildlife-proof so be sure to store it properly at night or anytime you are not at your campsite.
Waterproof matches/lighter: If you don’t have waterproof matches or a lighter, keep your matches in a waterproof container or bag.
Aluminum foil: Aluminum foil is handy around the campsite, especially for cooking on the fire and wrapping up leftovers.
Garbage bags: Don’t forget to store your garbage in your vehicle at night.
Candles and holders: Candles or tea lights on the picnic table will shed some light on your picnic table, especially if you do not have a lantern. A windproof candle-holder is recommended.
Insect repellent: There are many insect repellents available with different ingredients so make sure you find one that is right for you.
Sunscreen: Sunscreen is essential – especially at higher altitudes where the sun’s rays are even stronger, and on the water, where the rays are multiplied through reflection.
Whistle: A good whistle can alert people within earshot if you are in trouble.
Tweezers: Tweezers can be used to pull out things like splinters from fingers.
Aloe gel: Aloe is soothing to skin that is sunburned.
Biodegradable shampoo & soap: Look for shampoo and soap that are biodegradable. Remember – even biodegradable products need to be disposed of down a sink or drain, not in a lake, stream, ocean or other body of water.
Camping With Children
Diapers and wipes: Bring only enough diapers and wipes (plus a few extras) for the trip. No need to pack a whole package!
Extra clothing/ Footwear: Pack several extra sets of clothing and footwear to make sure children stay dry and warm. Children enjoy camping, but tend to get wet and dirty faster than at home.
Camping With Pets
Leash: Many national parks have regulations about pets and leashes – make sure you are familiar with them before you go.
Doggie bags: Remember to always clean up after your pet.
Pet food/ Treats: Just like your food, pet food should be stored properly at night and anytime you are away from your campsite.
Brush: A brush will come in handy to get the dirt and anything else out of your pet’s fur.
First Aid Kit: Make sure your first aid kit is complete and up to date.
Newspaper to start the fire: If you don’t have any newspaper, just about any other type of paper will do.
Click the link to download and then print your free CAMPING CHECKLIST
I hope you have a great time and enjoy your experience of camping in the beautiful outdoors!
Have you ever camped with your family?
Tell me about your favourite camping place, I would love to hear all about it.