Summer is the perfect time for a camping trip… warm weather, beautiful landscapes, refreshing dips in the lake, and hopefully some days off from school or work. But for those of us used to dealing day to day in civilization, it may be difficult to pick all the right goods to pack. Here are some necessities, as well as some less obvious things that are good to have on hand. Based on if you are going in a camper, driving in and setting up camp, or backpacking into a site, you will have to pick what items to cut or keep.


photo by John Neal

– Shelter: tent with rain fly, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, extra pillows and blankets for the more luxurious.

– Fire: firewood, kindling, matches or lighter.

– Food: Camp stove, pots, can opener, tin foil, silverware, pot holders, salt and pepper, things to roast over your fire such as fresh veggies, hot dogs, burgers, marshmallows, canned goods like beans or soup, dry foods like granola, trail mix, fruit. You can bring a cooler with a small number of perishables like meat, yogurt, or maybe beer. Don’t forget ice!

– Entertainment: guitar, deck of cards, portable radio, Frisbee, your funniest friends.


photo by Guilddina

– Attire: Sneakers or hiking boots, flip flops, sun hat, swim suit, rain gear (check the forecast before hand) wool socks, clothes you can layer. Be prepared for hot days and cool nights!

– Beauty: If you’re staying for a few days, bring soap like Doctor Bronner’s that is nontoxic to the environment, especially if you’re going to be bathing in an outdoor lake or stream. Sunscreen, bug spray, wet wipes, first aid kit (antiseptic wipes, bandaids, tweezers, anit-itch cream).

– Miscellaneous: headlamp or lantern, trash bags, swiss army knife, gear for outdoor sport (kayaks, climbing shoes, etc), towels, camera, toilet paper, compass, map, water bottles and jugs of water or water purification tablets (if there isn’t a potable water spigot at your campground).

Things you should leave at home: laptops and bulky electronics, most of your regular hair and makeup supplies, perfume and scented lotion (attracts bugs), pets (unless very well behaved they can harm local wildlife and habitat).

photo by Marie Viljoen

Anything else you find to be absolutely necessary on your camping trips? Or something you think is best to leave back at home?

Happy camping!

Post written by Jackie Clark