What to Pack for a Camping Trip

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on July 8, 2012

Good morning! I’m getting pretty excited for my visit to the Stampede later today. It looks like it’s going to be a hot and sunny day – I may actually get to wear my cowboy hat down to the grounds, yeeha!

It’s hard to believe we were on our way home from camping in Cypress Hills this time last week. After I posted a couple of pictures of our trip, many of you asked me to compile a list of our gear to help you plan for your Summer camping trips. While I’m no expert in the art of camping, I have managed to collect quite an exorbitant amount of camping gear and tips over the years and couldn’t be happier to share them with you!

So, here goes…

Packing our things in Rubbermaid containers, such as this one, makes life easier. Not only are things well organized, but if we get rained on, our things will be nice and dry.

I take Benadryl where ever I go. I think I picked it up this habit from my Mother. You never know when someone is going to have an allergic reaction to something, especially when you’re out camping. Our vet has told us that antihistamines such as benadyrl are safe for dogs so that’s a bonus!

We never leave the house without our La roche-posay sunscreen for face and body. This sunscreen for sensitive skin was recommended to me by my dermatologist ages ago and I’ve never made the switch to any other brand. It protects well, you don’t need a lot of it, and it’s not harmful to my skin.

I received my Now & Zen alarm and meditation clock about 6 years ago and still use it for my meditations and as an alarm in the morning. It wakes you up slowly with a progression alarm so you awake rested and calm. Much better than being jostled out of bed by a cell phone alarm, especially when you’re camping.

We generally like to line everything up by the front door so we can take inventory before we hit the road. In this stack we have:

We were planning to be gone for 5 days, so we brought along 20 liters of water. 2L per person, per day.

For food, we like to take along a container filled with non-perishables and a cooler of things like frozen meats, fruits and vegetables. Here’s a list of some of the food we brought along with us:

When I was around 19, my friends and I went camping nearly every weekend. The first item I ever bought for camping was a $1 dish set at the dollar store. It came with cups, plates, bowls, utensils, everything I girl would need! Of course you can go all out and get a nice camping dish set, but one from the dollar store works just as well!

Do not forget a nice sharp knife! I remember forgetting to bring a knife camping once… it sucked. Potatoes are hard to cut with an axe.

I wish I was kidding.

In addition to the dishes, be sure to bring along a frying pan with lid and a pot with lid. The more sturdy and rugged, the better.

Although you’ll have a campfire to cook on, if the weather gets ugly and you can’t get a fire started you wont be eating! I bought my Coleman camp stove about 8 years ago and love it to pieces.

Just as important is dish soap, a bucket and a sponge. Just ignore the pieces of food on those clean dishes… all quality control in my kitchen goes out the window when I’m camping.

There’s nothing much to do when you’re camping other than sit by the fire and play games. Some of our favorites are card games like Monopoly deal and UNO because they don’t come with little pieces that can get lost.

Oh yes, and you’re going to need a container to wash your dishes in. Very important! When you’re done washing up, throw the soapy water into the bush or near a water drain if the campsite you’re staying at has one.

We have a gear box that has random things in it like battery-operated lanterns, rope, bungee cords, extra tent pegs, first aid kit, tarps, garbage bags, fly catchers, mosquito coils, water shoes, and an electric air pump.

Last, but certainly not least, you’ll need firewood, a hatchet or axe, matches, and some old newspaper. To start a campfire,

  1. Make a ‘box’ with the wood
  2. Twist 3 or 4 pieces of newspaper and place across the box. Then lay a bunch of little pieces of firewood on top. This is called kindling.
  3. Use small-ish pieces of wood to create a teepee over top of the kindling.
  4. Light both sides of the newspaper with a match.
  5. Make sure the kindling ignites. If it doesn’t, there isn’t enough. Make more and try again!
  6. Once the teepee lights up you’re usually good to go. Let it be for a minute or so, then add a medium-ish sized piece of wood into the fire. Repeat as necessary when the fire looks to need a pick-me-up.

For a detailed Healthful Pursuit camping packing list printout, click here.

There you have it, now you’re ready to go camping!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather

Thank you for this great post! My husband is always talking about going camping but we haven’t been yet. I bookmarked this post for whenever we finally do go!

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Cheryl @ happy is the new healthy

Oh man your timing is good! I’m going on a big biking trip and was hoping for some portable ideas — you rock! :)

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Lindsay

I have definitely forgotten a knife a few times when camping which is the absolute worst.

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Alyssa (Down To Earth)

I’ve been camping since I was 5 years old, and it is one of my absolute favorite hobbies; you learn so much about the outdoors, and really connect with the Earth.
Nowadays, I feel like people are so disconnected with nature and they’re afraid to be outdoors! This is a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

I couldn’t agree with you more, Alyssa. My parents started taking me camping at 1 month old. I’m not sure how they did it… but I appreciate what they introduced me to all those years!

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Michelle @ Eat Move Balance

Great post, with some great tips. Thanks! Very useful–my husband and I are leaving tomorrow to hike in Colorado for 2 weeks. :)

Chopping potatoes with an axe?!? lol.

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Sonnet

LOVE this post! Great idea to pack clothes in plastic containers! And I’m so jealous of your alarm clock! I’ve had my eye on one of those forever!

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Averie @ Averie Cooks

Wow…this reminds me of my childhood going to Girl Scout Camp :) I wish I could say Ive been camping since, but no. So I just lived vicariously minus any neck crinks or axes for potato chopping. Lol’ed at that one!

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Erica { EricaDHouse.com }

I’m a camping vet but never thought to bring a container just to wash dishes in – genius! I can’t wait until Fall comes here so we can go camping again. I can’t leave the cat for 5 days but that would be an absolute dream vacation to me!

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Camillia

This is an awesome website http://www.leavenotrace.ca/home to check out before you go camping. Great reminders for how to visit the wilderness without impacting it. As they say “take only pictures, leave only footprints”. I would also suggest that calculating 3 L of water per person for day is a better bet. Then you have water for drinking AND for cooking for each person. Running out of drinkable water sucks – dehydrated campers are not happy (or very smart/safe) campers. Also a caution regarding tossing your wash water in the bush. Dishwater smells like food and will attract animals, either dig a hole for it and bury it or pour it into your empty firepit (once you build a fire in there, following the awesome tutorial, all the smell will be gone and it’s not enough water to stop a fire from starting).

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Hi Camillia, thanks for the notes. Yes, if you don’t have access to cooking water, best to bring MUCH more than 2L of water per person. We had access to cooking water that we used for tea, cooking, etc. so 2L of filtered water was fine for us. Good note on the dish water. In our case, we were camping on the Saskatchewan boarder, absolutely no risk for wildlife so throwing the dish water out was no biggy for us, but yes definitely bury it if you’re in a high risk zone! Thanks for the link too, will have to check it out :)

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Lisa

Thanks for the tips! I have to say, I remember once when I was in campfire girls, someone forgot the knife…we had to use a pocket knife to cut potatoes! Too funny!!

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