The 10 best things to pack for your camping trip

There’s nothing worse than going camping and getting to your destination to find you’ve forgotten to pack something.

Before you go camping it’s always a good idea to make a list of what you need to take.

When putting together your checklist, think about where you’re going, what activities you’ll be doing, how long you’ll be gone and check the weather forecasts.

These are the 10 best things to pack for your camping trip.

Read more: The joys of camping with a shower tent

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1. A tent

It may seem pretty obvious, but a tent is an essential part of a camping trip. When packing a tent, think about how heavy it will be to carry and how complicated it’ll be to set up. Often setting up the tent can become the hardest part of a camping trip. Try to simplify the process by opting for the easiest assembled tent you can find on the market. Getting the tent wrong can ruin even the most well planned camping trip. Make sure your tent is water proof, and if you can get one that allows you stand, do so. You’ll thank yourself if bad weather forces you inside. It’s important to make sure you have everything you need for your tent before you head off. Nothing ruins a camping trip more than arriving at your campsite to find poles and pegs are missing. And don’t forget a hammer to drive the pegs in with!

2. Bedding

When camping you want to be as comfortable as possible. Self inflating mattresses, stretchers or a sleeping bag suited to the weather you’re camping in are an ideal option. If there’s one thing you shouldn’t skimp on, it’s your bedding! If you’re hiking to a campsite, an important thing to think about is how heavy your bedding is. An efficiently packed sleeping bag can be a big deal if you have to lug it to your campsite.

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3. A lightweight camp chair

It’s the age old battle with camp chairs – comfort vs convenience. While you want to be comfortable when camping, you don’t want to be lugging a massive armchair over your shoulder. Most chairs are heavy and need to be carried over your shoulder. By saving yourself on a heavy chair, you’ll have more room for other equipment.

4. Lighting

Relying on campfire light alone is not a wise idea, particularly if you’re camping in an area that’s not very well lit. If you have to venture away from your campsite to go to the toilet, or fancy a night time walk, you’ll need some reliable lighting. There are plenty of lighting options, from battery operated torches and hand held lanterns to solar powered lanterns and fairy lights. Another recommendation for lighting is head lamps — they’re cost effective and perfect for a family of campers.

Read more: Camping for the first time with three small kids 

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5. A first aid kit

Injuries are bound to happen when camping outdoors. From scrapes and scratches to insect bites, a first aid kit can treat any camping mishaps. Make sure your kit is well stocked with the important stuff — particularly band aids and insect repellent. If you’re going bush, it’s not a bad idea to have pressure bandages on hand in the instance of a snake bite.

6. Food

Most of the time when camping you’re not going to be able to just walk to a shop to get the supplies you need. Think about what foods you want to eat and do some meal planning and preparation before leaving home. Try packing non-perishable snacks such as fruits, packets of chips, biscuits, long-life milk, cereal and soup mixes. Try taking sample packets of sauces, salt and sugar instead of jars or tins.

7. An esky

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Coming home with food poisoning would be an awful way to end a weekend away camping. If you want to pack perishable foods such as meat for a barbecue or salads, then you must pack an esky or a portable fridge.  When picking an esky or a cooler, think well-insulated. Also, remember that ice doesn’t generally last more than 24 hours. If you want to keep your food cooler for longer, try freezing ice bricks or freezing ice in large plastic bottles.

8. Something to cook with

However you decide to cook when camping, you should always make sure it’s reliable. Cooking over a camp fire is great, but you can’t always rely on campfires. In some areas during summer campfires are banned — imagine if you got to your campsite and found out you couldn’t cook with a fire? There are a range of cookers out there, including two-burner gas cookers and the butane gas cookers. Remember to check the safety information of what cookers you are using, particularly gas and butane, before you use them.

9. A hammock

What could be more comfortable than laying in a hammock by your campsite? If it sounds appealing to you, why not give it a go. There are plenty of lightweight hammocks on the market, which include their own ropes. All you have to do is string it up between two trees and lay back and soak up the sun!

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10. Music

Whether it’s a sing-song around the fire with a guitar or some background music playing on speakers, nothing beats the ambiance of music at a campsite. While playing a guitar can involve carrying a bulky bag to your campsite, there’s something appealing about that traditional element of camping. If you’re not musically inclined, try some wireless speakers. A lightweight, Bluetooth speaker is a great option. Sync it up to your phone and let it play!

What else do you pack when you go camping?