Those who think camping is just a matter of getting a couple of sleeping bags together with a tent and some cans of beans need to know that a weekend excursion demands more than that.
Camping is at its best when it’s done right.
Preparation is the key. The hustle and bustle of completing the checklist might seem a bit cumbersome but think of how relaxed and fulfilled you will be on your camping trip.
Here is a list of items you will need to truly enjoy a weekend camping trip:
Tent: Make sure you spend enough to get the best type of tent to fit your needs. Remember, this is what you will be sleeping in for a couple of days. Some tents that cost around $50 are adequate and easy to assemble. What kind of tent you need depends mostly on how much you camp and the weather. If you do not expect to camp in inclement weather and you camp once or twice a year, then an inexpensive tent (made by Ozark of Coleman) will do. On the other hand, if you camp and hike no matter the season, then a lightweight expensive (Kelty and The North Face) tent that can withstand the heat and the cold will better suit your needs.
Backpack: This is an item in which most weekend campers drop the ball. They think they are still checking into a hotel room, lugging around a stuffed duffel bag or luggage. When you camp, you must walk the terrain a bit and that requires a lightweight backpack that will make your camping experience a whole lot easier. Backpacks are made that are suitable for men or women. Many are lightweight and water-resistant, weighing just 18 ounces but they can hold more than 4,200 cubic inches, good enough for a multi-day trip.
Sleeping bag: Comfort is the key, even though your sleeping bag will be on the ground. The best have durable fabric and are water-resistant. Try to get one that is insulated to help you stay cool or warm, whatever the case might be.
Propane stove: Coleman makes efficient stoves that are less than $100 that can boil water quickly and also offer a soft flame to sauté vegetables.
Grill: Coleman also offers a lightweight grill that includes griddle and stove surfaces for a little more than $200. The grill offers consistent cooking even at high altitudes.
Lantern: A flashlight is not enough to light your surroundings. Purchase a propane lantern with a pushbutton ignition.
Steel cooler: This durable type of cooler is tough enough to withstand bouncing around the bed of a truck and it keeps food cool for a long time.
Mesh folding chair: What’s worse than sitting in the rain? Sitting on a chair that is still wet from the rain hours after the fact. Mesh chairs are generally durable and they dry quickly.
The camping gear and equipment mentioned in this list can be purchased at many different places, including big retail, specialty stores, and stores on the internet. Beyond the basics, here are some of the camping extras that are not essential but they add to the experience:
Enamel pots and pans: The tough coating resists dings and is easy to clean.
Resin cutlery and flatware: The forks, knives and spoons are lightweight and easier to clean than stainless steel.
Hammock: It’s hard to beat a nap in a hammock with nature’s sounds swirling around. A hammock is one camping item that requires paying top dollar to have the best experience. Get one that is sturdy yet comfortable and weather-resistant.
Headlamp: This is the best thing to have if you want to keep your hands free to cook or do other chores that require additional lighting.
Electrical inverter: Good thing to have in case of an emergency where electrical power is needed, or if you feel more secure with electricity rather than propane fuel.
Completing this checklist should put more fun into camping rather than take away from the experience.
The better prepared you are, the better the experience. The last thing you want is to be miles from home wondering why you did not bring something that would have meant the difference for a memorable camping trip instead of a forgettable experience.