Camping is the best way to get to know mother nature. She’s got so much to offer—sunrises, forests, bird watching, lake swims, mountain hikes, you name it. After a long work week, getting the car loaded up with your tent, cooler, chairs, and snacks, you’ll drive into the woods with a big smile on your face. There’s nothing like leaving the city behind and reconnecting with yourself. And when you’re getting pumped for your camping adventure, you’ve got to be sure to gear up. Packing all the essentials makes for a stress-free outdoor adventure.
Being prepared is the best way to go from all the latest in tents and packable chairs to roasting marshmallows over an open fire. Don’t forget to dress for any weather, too. Nature can be fickle, so be sure to take all the right layers like comfy pants, vests, hats, and lots of socks. Read on for more camping essentials that will make for lasting memories.
First things first: clothes. Whether it’s cold or warm, a packable jacket is an absolute must. It’s the simplest way to keep yourself protected from the wind, and you can slip it off when the sun comes out. Check out a rain jacket, too, if you’re headed for a rainy destination. Plus, pack lots and lots of warm socks for when things get a little drizzly, or you’re traipsing across the river next to the campground.
Next up: tops and bottoms. Some comfy pants for easy movement make hanging out at the campsite a breeze. Check out some high-rise cargo pants to keep your tools handy as you set up your tent and explore the campground. To coordinate with the pants, go for a long-sleeved shirt in breathable cotton, topped with a fleece vest. It’s the iconic camping look for a reason: it’s outdoors meets practicality. If you’re in a wintry environment, keep some winter hats on hand or even a boucle fleece balaclava for ultimate warmth.
While you’re all suited up and ready to take on nature, next, you’ve got to get your campsite set up properly. Start out with a tent for the number of people on your trip—if you’re taking all your pals, grab a tent that can accommodate 10 people or more. Make it a party. Be sure your tent comes equipped with a rainfly to keep you and your belongings dry in case the weather takes a turn. Waking up in a soggy tent is the pits.
Grab the latest in some classic outdoor furniture like a foldable camping chair or picnic camping stool to equip your “outdoor living room” with all the creature comforts. Don’t forget to take some selfies next to your rad tent setup with your besties.
The right sleeping bag can make or break your trip. If you’re headed to a colder climate, check out one that has a built-in hood to keep you extra insulated. Many sleeping bags come with adjustable drawstrings to keep you as cozy or as relaxed as you want. What’s under the sleeping bag matters too. Look for a lightweight, inflatable mattress that keeps a layer of air between you and the ground. It’s ideal for those of us with aching backs.
Snacks, snacks, snacks. Camping is all about keeping the right nibbles on hand to maintain your energy. Energy bars are great to stash in a backpack if you plan to hit the trails. A bag of bread for some classic PB&J or PB&Banana stores easily and can be maintained in a range of temperatures. Store it all in a great backpack. Don’t forget to take along salty bites and sweets to make up for all the sweating you might do on your trek. Pretzels, crackers, and fruits like apples and oranges keep well and are easy to pack. Also, make sure you’ve got the makings for s’mores stashed away somewhere too. Read on for more.
Firewood and S’mores
What camping trip would be complete without a crackling fire nuzzled up with a fleece throw. Sitting fireside after a long day of bird watching or fly fishing is the most iconic way to cozy up before bedtime. Pick up a bundle of firewood at your local store or camping outpost—you can often find them along country roads. Don’t forget the kindling and firestarter too.
Once you’ve got a toasty fire going, search for some long but sturdy twigs. Plop those marshmallows on the end and watch them roast over the open flame. And be quick—once they start to blacken, slip them off between two graham crackers and some decadent chocolate for the world’s best outdoor dessert.
Camping is such a great way to kick off your work shoes and let it all go while you take advantage of the best nature has to offer.