Add These Items to Your Camping Checklist

When packing your vehicle to head into the outdoors for an overnight adventure, it is tempting to travel as light as possible. Whether you’re traveling to a park, public land, or family or friend’s place, there are likely some comforts of home that you will be without. But, by planning ahead and bringing a few extra items that you may not traditionally think of, you can make your adventure more fun, comfortable, and even easier!

These extras have been selected for their ease of transport and contribution to a great outdoor experience.

After Sun Lotion – Have you ever attempted to get a restful night’s sleep in a tent after experiencing a sunburn? Of course prevention via sun block is ideal, but if you’ve ever under-applied, you wish you had that moisturizing and cool gel that offers wonderful relief. Toss a bottle in your first aid kit and it will be appreciated some day!

Bandana – A bandana is extremely useful to help you stay cool on hot days. Simply fold it into a comfortable shape, add water until damp, and loosely tie it around your neck and let the evaporation cool that sensitive area of your body.

Bicycles – If the means of transportation to your destination allows for it, take bicycles along with you. Whether on road, trail, or open grasses bikes make for a great experience in the natural world and allow you to see more of the site in less time. Don’t forget your helmet!

Cots – You say you love tent camping, but you wake up with a sore body? Try a cot! They are being made lighter and more easily transported and provide comfort so you won’t miss your bed at home.

Red flashlight – One of the greatest joys of camping is enjoying the night sky, but white lights impact our night vision and the way our eyes see the stars. A red light won’t affect your eyes nearly as much! Even red cellophane wrapped around your flashlight and held in place with a rubber band helps!

Battery pack for handheld electronics – Our cell phones have a significant role in our lives. When spending the night in the outdoors you may not have access to a power outlet to replenish that battery. Consider a portable charger to help you make it through the night. It’s tempting to separate outdoor adventures from technology, but do what is necessary for your group to feel comfortable and at home in the outdoors.

Apps – To go along with that cell phone and the stars, you might desire some apps to add to your outdoor experience. Apps that identify constellations, birds, wildlife, or can map your hike or take you geocaching are fantastic additions. Unfamiliar with geocaching? Give it a search and check out the high tech outdoor treasure hunt you can play almost anywhere!

Solar powered lights or battery powered Christmas lights – A small amount of shared light added to a campsite can make folks more comfortable and even safe if they help identify a tripping hazard, thorny vegetation, or poison ivy. These shared lights also add to the social environment inside the tent!

Charcoal chimney – These items help achieve hot charcoal quicker and without the need of lighter fluid. A chimney helps more air get to more coals, making it hotter faster, and all you need to start your cooking fire is newspaper and a match. The days are over of hosing down your coals with lighter fluid repeatedly!

Garbage bags – These are so often left behind in favor of installed nearby trash cans or you may often times use grocery bags to act as a garbage bag. Experience may have shown you that these weak bags may not live up to the job. Bring a few true garbage bags with you so that one can be disposed of each night to prevent wildlife, like raccoons, from looking for a sneaky meal in the late hours of the night.

S’more additions – You are likely familiar with traditional s’mores made of chocolate, toasted marshmallows, and graham crackers. Have you thought about expanding on tradition? Do Reese’s peanut butter cups or cut apple wedges or bananas sound interesting to you? Get creative and create a s’more fixins bar and let your family and friends build their own!

New technology and ease of online shopping has made for a wealth of new camping products to be available to the average consumer. The traditional packing list for your camping adventure may suit your group perfectly well, but consider updating your trip with a couple of items. See if the added convenience or fun is worth making these new items a permanent addition for future trips.

Make your trips your own, and sculpted to you and your group’s needs. Continue to enjoy amazing adventures along the way and down the trail.

Pledge to CampPack your bag and get outdoors to camp this summer

About the Author: Robert Owen is a Texas State Parks Outdoor Education Ranger

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