The ideal sleeping bag is lightweight, comfortable, and appropriate for the weather. If you’re an extreme camping enthusiast, there are sleeping bags for below freezing conditions. For the more casual camper, bags range from mild to hot conditions and vary in weight. As a note, some sleeping bags come with built-in pillows. If you’re traveling light, consider this option to save room in your backpack.
Cookware & Food
If you’re a chef extraordinaire, there are all kinds of stainless steel cookware sets, griddles—and yes, even beef jerky making supplies ready and waiting for you.
But if you can survive a few days without homemade beef jerky (yes, I know it’s hard to do), consider packing as lightly as possible, bringing a single pot, plate, fork, etc. As a note, make sure you bring enough food. Dried foods are convenient, though some people complain they don’t taste very good.
As a rule, think simple and lightweight: granola bars, macaroni and cheese and the like are perfect choices for camping.
If you’re smart, you’ll buy the backpack after everything else to ensure it’ll all fit. Buying a backpack with an internal frame is also recommended, particularly if you’ll be walking/hiking a lot. Test out the shoulder straps, compartments and zippers.
A backpack is not something you’ll want to buy online, so go to the store, strap one on, and pretend you’re hiking through the shoe section. You’ll know soon enough whether or not it’s the right backpack for you.
Waterproof, breathable, and wrinkle-free fabrics are excellent for camping. Remember: comfort is key. Choose items you can mix, match, and layer. Depending on the climate, now might be the time to bring out the leg warmers.
Other Camping Gear
- First-Aid Kit
- Sunscreen/Rain gear
- Army Knife
- Waterproof matches
- Books, games, etc.
There are other websites with different, detailed lists of what to take camping. This is an example of a long list. Others prefer to keep it simple. It really just depends on your style of camping. Regardless, a sleeping bag, cookware, food, backpack, and clothes are necessities for most people.
Stay tuned for the next article about camping precautions, which will include everything from poison ivy to avoiding bears.