Camping is a great activity that gives you and your family a chance to enjoy the great outdoors and to bond both with nature and nature. You will literally get away from it all and end up somewhere remote with no light pollution, no traffic noise and no phone calls or people at the door, and will be surrounded by peaceful sounds and fun relaxing activities that take you back to the way life feels like it should be. However it can also be a fairly dangerous activity – after all you are far from civilisation and only have a small tent for shelter. At the same time it can be uncomfortable if you haven’t brought all the right equipment and you might find yourself struggling to cook or to stay warm. For this reason there are certain items you should pack to ensure that you get the best experience possible. You will find a list and description bellow:
Tent: Few people would forget the tent, after all this is the main focus of going camping. Make sure that you have a tent that is large enough for your whole party (if it says two man, it probably means two man) and that you know how to erect. Practice putting the tent up before you take it for it is first trip to make sure you can do so efficiently and that it is all in working order.
Sleeping Bags: Perhaps the most important aspect after the tent is the sleeping bags which will help you stay warm when there is no central heating etc. Look for one that is comfortable and that will be warm enough for the time of year and the location. Sleeping bag warmth is rated in terms of ‘seasons’, where ‘four seasons’ is the warmest and ‘one season’ is the coolest. Essentially by saying ‘four seasons’ this means that you can survive in all four of the seasons, whereas ‘one season’ means just literally suitable for summer.
Roll Mat: A common mistake when camping is to forget to bring a roll mat. Roll mats are foam mats that can be rolled up for storage. When flattened they are used as the mattress for your sleeping bag, and without them you will find that you can feel every small stone and root in the ground underneath your tent which will prevent you from getting a sound night’s sleep. There are of course other options here as well and you might instead choose to take a blow up bed (though this will take up more time and space) or a stand-in such as an exercise mat.
First Aid Kit: A first aid kit is an absolute must on a camping trip as in case of an accident it will take a long time for help to arrive. This should include bandages, safety clips, stitches, plasters and antiseptic so that you can compress injuries, stymie the flow of blood and create slings. You should also take any specialist medication particular to the members of your party – for example inhalers or medication for diabetes, and you should also take painkillers which can be useful for anything from a headache to a broken bone.
Insect Repellent: Insect bites are a real annoyance that can take some of the joy out of a camping trip, and depending on the location even be dangerous if the carry diseases. By taking insect repellent you will be able to at least deter them and so not wake up covered in bites.
A Lighter/Matches: Rubbing sticks together and starting the bonfire or the stove yourself might be the ‘proper’ way to survive when camping, but the fact of the matter is that most of us simply can not do that. Having a lighter and matches is therefore crucial for heat and to be able to eat.
Fishing Equipment: Fishing is a great activity to involve everyone and even catch some food and has become almost synonymous with the camping trip as a result.
Games/Balls: For having fun when you are not building, hiking or cooking.
Clothes: When camping you should take a good supply of clothes for all weathers. Preferably you would have a change of clothes for every day in case your clothing gets wet or muddy. You should really look into getting some clothes specifically for the occasion – that means walking boots with steel caps and waterproofing and it means wind and waterproof coats etc. At the very least you should have thermal layers and waterproofs.
Pen Knife/Multi-tool: One of the best aspects of camping is how practical it makes you feel. Carrying a pen knife and cutting sticks and vines for the fire or opening food packets can help you feel just that, but is also genuinely useful.
Cooking Equipment: You will of course also need to eat on your camping trip, and for this reason you should have to hand cooking facilities which will probably be a portable pot and stove/kettle, as well as the food you intend to eat, and the utensils and crockery to eat them with. Think practically and plan carefully how you will use the items when you are outside.
Bivi Bag: One of the greatest experiences when going camping has to be the opportunity to sleep underneath the stars and to look up at the constellations as you fall asleep. Obviously this means you have to sleep out of your tent however and this would normally make you very cold and potentially wet. This is where the ‘bivi bag’ comes in handy, which allows you to completely cover yourself in a water proof and insulating bag that allow you to have only head protruding, or to hide your head too when you get to cold or it rains.
Football: A football can provide another great activity that everyone can take part in on a camping trip. Other options that are similar might include a Nerf ball or a Frisbee. Either way this will give you something to throw and catch. There are all sorts of outdoor games you can bring in fact if you have space, from swing ball, to racket ball to crocket.
Map: This should go without saying, but a map of the area you are exploring it pretty crucial – even if you have a sat nav (sat navs can tell you where you are but not where you need to go or what interesting things there are to see in the area). Without a map a compass is also not particularly useful.
Bags: If you are camping you need to have the right kinds of bags to carry your things. You are likely to have an awful lot to hike around with you which is great exercise but not much fun if you’re backpack is coming apart. Make sure you have a bag that is designed to bear lots of weight and that distributes it correctly across your back.
Rope: Again you never know when rope is going to come in handy, for mending things, restraining things and all sorts of other tasks.
Additional Blankets and Towels: For if it is cold, for if you’ve been swimming, for if someone gets ill, for picnicking on… blankets and towels have endless uses. Make sure you have plenty of both.
Toilet Paper: There is only so far you want to become one with nature and leaves can be pretty painful. In fact tissues are generally useful and should be brought on any trip for any number of reasons.