Summer is the perfect time to go camping. As a family we have camped often. We started when the children were young and have continued to camp when we can. Camping is a way to take an inexpensive vacation. If you have to buy everything the first time you go, it might seem expensive, but as you use each item over again, you will realize just how much you save, You might also already own some of the equipment.
Your tent is not the item you want to buy the cheapest one available. (Unless of course you get a great deal on a good tent.) You want a tent that is going to last. You want to choose one that is not too difficult to put up or camping will just turn into a hassle for you. Be sure to shop around. Gather opinions from people you trust. Remember too that tents not only come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, but some are better in cold weather, others are perfect if you get caught in rain. Choose your tent wisely.
We always chose one that would sleep more people than we actually had with us, We always needed more room than they seemed to think we would. If 6 of us went camping, we chose a tent that would sleep 8-10. By choosing a slightly larger tent we had more space inside for those times we all had to be inside the tent.
Be sure to check what features the tent has. I liked having windows where we would get a cross breeze. We also made sure to choose one with dividers so we at least had some privacy. Small pockets in the side were convenient for holding keys, wallets and cell phones. you might want to consider a good tarp to place under your tent. This will help prevent moisture inside if you should have a damp night or rain.
A screen room is another option to consider. It can be placed over your picnic table. This will help cut down on bugs. It also provides a place to sit out of the sun or weather.
Sleeping Bags and Other Bedding
Sleeping bags will be another priority. If you are planning on camping regularly please buy quality sleeping bags. Here you will also have several choices. Most sleeping bags have numbers on them to let you know what temperatures they work best in. Choose wisely.
If sleeping on the ground is too hard, consider adding an air mattress or cot. If it is too hot consider laying on top of your sleeping bag and using a light sheet to cover with.
Many campgrounds have grills or fire pits for cooking on. Make sure of this before you leave so you can bring a grill if you need to. Some campsites have electrical outlets and many people bring griddles, toasters, coffee pots, etc. Some campgrounds will sell firewood, but be sure to bring charcoal for grilling. You might even enjoy reading or singing around the campfire after dark.
A cooler will be a necessity. You might even need more than one. One to store drinks in and then use your other one for food. A bin to store dry goods is a good idea to keep wildlife from eating your supplies. Most campgrounds recommend keeping your food in your vehicle overnight. As a general rule you should keep food simple. Be sure to plan for roasting marshmallows or making s’mores.
Make sure to bring your grilling utensils and whatever else you might need, like salt and pepper, condiments, paper goods and other dining supplies.
First Aid, Etc.
Be sure to pack a good first aid kit. Include band-aids for those small scrapes and scratches that can occur. A first aid cream is also a good idea. A pair of tweezers could be needed to remove slivers or ticks. Include acetaminophen or ibuprofen in your first aid kit. wipes for cleaning up cuts and scrapes or even just to clean hands. Be sure to include any normally taken medications.
Sunscreen and a mosquito/bug repellent should be brought with you. Even in the woods there is a possibility of sunburn. The mosquito/bug repellent will be needed in the evening and of course hiking through the woods.
Flashlights and battery powered lanterns are good to have on hand for trips to the restrooms and to see in the tent after dark. Be sure to stock up on batteries. The little light sticks you can purchase are good for the children.
Bring a couple garbage bags to make cleanup easy. Most campgrounds will have cans placed throughout the park and/or a dumpster, but placing all trash in a bag at your site first makes it much easier.
Bring along extra tent stakes and any other supplies there is a possibility of needing. A mallet is good to have on hand for driving in the stakes.
If you are taking very young children, go prepared. Include a playpen, where your child can play safely. This will be very handy when a firs is going, or you are cooking. A netting can be thrown over the top to keep out mosquitoes and other pests. Bring a few toys for their entertainment.
For slightly older children bring a playground ball or a ball and bat. Frisbees are always fun to play with when camping. Other items for play might include:
Enjoy your summer camping trip. I hope this helps as you plan your adventure.