Preparing for a camping trip can be stressful. You can only take a few bags and you don’t want to miss any of the essentials. After all, what could be more stressful than finding yourself in a deserted location with no toilet paper? Now, most people’s response to this is looking up a camping trip packing list online.

And while this is definitely one way to figure out what to take for camping it shouldn’t be your main strategy. Because simply put, everyone’s needs are different depending on their trip. What you’d need on a camping trip isn’t necessarily what your parents would need. That’s why you need to take a more personalized approach.

Here are 5 ways to take your packing to the next level.

Method 1 – Work backwards

Working backwards is the best way to figure out what to pack when camping. Are you planning on fishing on your trip? Or would you rather swim and laze in the sun? Figuring out your itinerary and primary activities is the first step to this process. Once you know what you want to do, figure out what you need for it.

This is the point to look for activity-specific camping trip packing lists. Making a checklist and writing everything down is a good way to cover your bases. Then work your way through the list and check each item for damage. Also, make sure your campsite doesn’t have any rules or regulations that ban certain items.

Check to see if they allow campfires and whether they supply firewood. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to make s’mores.

Method 2 – Basic supplies

While the day-to-day activities for your camping trip depend on your personal interests, there are some basic supplies everyone needs. However, these too will change slightly depending on where you’re going camping, what time of year it is, and the weather during your trip.

For example, when you think, “what should I bring when camping” the first item to enter your mind is probably a sleeping bag. But there are many different types of sleeping bags. Rectangular sleeping bags are more spacious, but barrel-shaped bags are more insulating and better for colder areas. If you’re going hiking and luggage weight is an issue then you’ll definitely want a lightweight elephant’s foot sleeping bag.

Factors like temperature, humidity, rain, and wind affect every part of your trip planning, particularly when it comes to basic supplies. That includes the size of your tarp, whether you need a net or covering for mosquitos and insects, and even the type of backpack you need.

When it comes to top camping packing tips specificity comes at the top of the list. Whether that’s external factors like weather conditions or internal factors like personal preference and hobbies. As a general rule, if someone else could take your pack and supplies on their trip and be alright then you’re not packing right.

Method 3 – Food supplies

If you’re wondering what to pack when camping food supplies come at the top of the list. Not only do you need food that’s ready to eat, but also a complete set of supplies for making your own food while you’re there. There are several boxes you need to check:

1. A way to start a fire

A way to start a fire

The first item you need is something that will help you start a fire when you get there. That can include a lighter or matches, but also additional materials like fire paste, disks, or cubes. Make sure you have backups for whatever option you pick because lighters can run out of fluid and matches can get wet. If you’ve ever watched Survivor you’ll know you never want to be on a camping trip without a way to start a fire.

2. Access to firewood

Never assume that you’ll have access to wood, firewood, or any other resources once you get to the camp unless you’ve checked beforehand. If it’s a big and commonly used campsite they may sell firewood there. However, it will probably be more expensive because that’s a commercial zone.

If you’re going camping in the wilderness where you’ll have access to firewood try and take an ax along to harvest directly. Alternatively, you can purchase wood from stores or private retailers. Make sure you have the tools to cut it into smaller, usable pieces on-site if necessary.

3. Prepared food

5 Ways To Pack For A Camping Trip

Even if you’re planning on preparing your food once you get there you should always have a certain amount of ready-to-eat food. That can include packaged items like canned beans and vegetables, or meals you prepared before you left. Your food options are also limited by your transportation. If you’re bringing an RV, you can refrigerate products. That isn’t an option when you’re driving your car.

4. Cooking and eating utensils

You can’t cook at camp without pots and pans. Get a smaller camping set that’s lightweight and takes up less space. Also take paper plates, glasses and eating utensils. You don’t want to overdo the cooking items, but make sure you have everything you need to get through a basic meal.

5. Water

Bring a water cooler. We cannot stress this enough. While the average person needs 8 to 10 glasses a day, keep in mind camping will require more exertion than your body is used to. Hiking and swimming are high-energy activities. You may also sweat more if it’s hot. All of this will mean you’ll need more water.

Find out if your campsite supplies bottled water or whether they have access to a river or lake. You may have to boil this water to purify it. Either way, it’s best if you take a water cooler or at least a few bottles with you.

Method 4 – Safety and navigation

5 Ways To Pack For A Camping Trip

Never go camping without a complete first aid kit. When you’re packing for a trip, storage space will be a big issue. You’ll need to pack sparsely and everyone will have to cut down on luggage at some point, but never compromise on safety supplies. So, make sure you pack bandages, painkillers, antibacterial ointments, gauze, cold packs, etc. Also, include a portable GPS and maps in case your phone dies.

Method 5 – Organize your pack

If you look up camping packing tips you’ll find a lot of organization strategies and for good reason. Separating your items by category and use and neatly packing them in a sealable plastic totes is the best way to make sure you won’t miss anything. So put your kitchen supplies in one tote, your toiletries in another, and clothes in a third.

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