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Weekend camping, the best time to connect with nature. Or if you read that book Wild but don’t want to go full-blown backpacking and desire to find yourself. Now, I won’t say a weekend of overnight camping trip will lead you to find yourself, but it will give you and your friends some special memories.
Through the years I’ve gone on many different camping trips with my friends which has taught me what gear I need to bring and what kind of camper I am. If you’re questioning what I mean when I say the kind of camper I am a camper can be, full-blown ruffing it, cowboy, backpacker, glamper, or just general camper. I will say I fall more in the general camper box for the camping I’ve done. If you have an option to stay at a KOA site and can choose between a cabin and a tent, this may be the best spot for you to begin to test the waters.
KOA has a bathroom facility, has cabin options that just has four walls and essential a college dorm mattress for the beds. If you have no gear, this is where you can first get acquainted with camping and build up the gear you'll need. Now for the camping gear, I’m going to share with you, reference my day hike camping gear blog post so you have those supplies, and below will be additional supplies.
Each campsite I’ve stayed at, my friends have always requested there be a bathroom so if you’re more of an advanced camper some of these items would not be necessary. If you’re staying in a tent and not a basic cabin, the only additional item you’ll need is a tent. I landed on the tent I have by doing a lot of research, talking to friends, and the final test, sleeping in my back yard in it. It rained when I did which was not my plan but helped make the decision clear.
I have an older blog post about planning a camping trip, which you can reference once you know you want to go but not sure how to go about it.
Since you’ll have your pack and plans set, let us jump into the needed gear:
Cooking supplies: pans, spatula, paper towels, forks, knives, spoons, foil, sponge, soap
For items you’ll eat with, I recommend getting the camping plate and pool or multi-use utensil, it helps and if you never camp again, you’ll have it for additional travel or at home to use
Find out if the site has a grill, campfire or neither, this will determine if all your food will be cold or if you’ll be able to have hot food. A cooking stove is a good option too.
Change of clothes
Toiletry bag - this should be basics
Eno hammock - if you enjoy hammocks, if not a camping chair
The above list is a great foundation to get your supplies together, and hopefully not over or under pack. Depending on the season and needs of the specific trips, this list will vary. But please don’t forget a sleeping bag! I went on a trip where we were staying in a cabin and a girl just brought hiking clothes and a swimsuit…. We emailed a break down of what to bring. Don’t be the under packed person.
Cooking supplies, this is connected to if your site has a grill, campfire, or nothing. If you have a grill, find out if you need coal or something for the fire. This can be found on the site's website or simply call the place so you know everything that comes with the site. If there is a fire, then you’ll just need foil to cook your foot or treys for your food to cook in. Some site has a cooking grate so you can cook over the fire. I’ve done all three, but I think my favorite is a friend bringing their cool stove. If you have a friend who has this, bring this!
Sleeping matt, sleeping bag, and pillow these will be used for when your sleeping. I have a three-season sleeping bag, so check what temperature range your sleeping bag handles. There are camping pillows, I recently invested in the Kelt pillow because it can fit inside the head section of my mummy sleeping bag.
Change of clothes, this is where overpacking is something you’ll need to be mindful of. Have wick material for when going on hikes or active. Why wick material? The material will absorb moisture so you’ll be less likely to catch a chill and potentially get sick on your adventure. For sleeping? I would say this you can use cotton. This is a personal preference for the different seasons you’re going to. I’ve mainly camped in summer or fall which has allotted me to sleep in cotton. For the fall when it was colder I wore fleece line PJs for the extra warmth.
Toiletry bag, remember Michael Scott’s advice, kiss. Keep it simple stupid. Nightly facial mask? No need. Does all those night time moisture face oils? Nope! Will you wash your face? Maybe. If you keep it to toothpaste, floss, turn brush, and a washcloth, you’ll be fine. Baby wipes will be helpful to wipe down at night and take care of your face. Leave the long shower for when you return home! Trust me, everyone you’re with will be in the same boat and shower at a campsite aren’t the same as the home or even a dorm.
Some campsite showers you need to pay for. The water will be cold. It is rare you’ll get warm water. Also on the walk back to your site, you’ll just get dirty again and who wants to put clothes instantly on after being wet? No my cup of tea.
Camping blanket, I love my Rumpl blanket. It is one of my favorite camping items. This adds another layer when I’m sleeping or protection when sitting by a fire at night. Most campsites have picnic benches, not all. Depending on the number of people you’re planning to go with, not everyone can fit so bring a chair. Also, hammocks are relaxing to enjoy with friends. Eno is my favorite, more brands have come out with traveling hammocks, but this quality is my favorite.
All you’ll need to have is your pack set and you’re ready to go camping! If you’re looking to have all your supplies in one pack, I recommend this backpacking pack from Osprey. It’s been my favorite for camping trips and cross country trips. Depending on the airline it can be a carryon. I only have an issue once, but I think that has more to do with the person there than the airline.
As I mentioned, keeping meals in mind is as important as the gear you bring. I broke down breakfast and dinner options. Lunch doesn't always happen when you're on an active vacation since you day gets filled with activities so a bar or something suffices.
Here are grill options or cooking stove meal options:
Eggs, pre-break these into mason jars. Think through the number of people going and plan accordingly. Learned that if you open the container to use the eggs, you must use all the eggs or they will turn. Also, you need to keep the eggs cool.
Fruit - this can
Here are non-stove options:
Sandwiches with avocado
If you have a jet boil or stove, don't forget important coffee! Let me know!