Monday, June 24, 2024

What to Pack For a Camping Trip

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In “Pack With Me,” influencers and editors give us a rundown of their travel must-haves and a few travel hacks to go along with them. For this installment, PS shopping editor Kyley Warren shares what essentials are neccessary for a tent-camping trip, just in time for the summer travel season.

Tent-camping is one of life’s greatest joys — assuming, of course, that you know how to prep and pack for it. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that spent a lot of long weekends venturing through the mountains of northern Arizona with just a packable tent, a couple spare batteries, and a propensity for adventure.

While we eventually upgraded to a travel trailer for convenience purposes — and, if we’re being honest, the need for a proper shower — I still treasure those memories of getting to wake up beneath the trees and marvel at the stars just before bed.

In my adulthood, I’ve discovered that many people weren’t exposed to tent-camping in the same ways that I was throughout my youth — and thus find themselves blissfully unaware of how to prepare for such an excursion as adults. Fortunately, packing for a camping trip is much easier than you might expect. All it takes is a little extra planning, caution, and a locational awareness that’ll ensure you don’t wander too far off the beaten path.

From camping chairs and battery-powered lanterns to a pocket lighter and a reusable water bottle, I’ve curated a comprehensive camping packing list below, with a mixture of both fun and practical products that are essential for all types of campers — whether you’re an amateur or a bonafide outdoorsmen. Ahead, keep reading for the best camping gear and best tips for what to pack for a camping trip.

Best Packing Tips For Tent-Camping

While I usually advise embracing a “less is more” approach when it comes to packing for more formal travel, tent-camping is a different kind of beast. You’ll likely be limited on packing space since most tent-campers only travel to their destination or campground in a vehicle as opposed to an actual travel trailer.

However, tent-camping requires that you come very prepared and leave no box unchecked on your travel packing list. First-Aid kits are essential, portable chargers and batteries are necessary for keeping your electronics charged, and since you’ll be living off the land — or at least too far away from any restaurant or grocery store — you’ll want to prep some easy camping meals ahead of time.

I also recommend curating a packing list specific to your destination. For example, if you’re camping in a humid destination where mosquitoes are abundant, bug spray will be your best friend. If you’re camping in the desert or somewhere during a particularly warm season, you’ll want to pack plenty of water — and then pack some more. And if you’re venturing up through bear country or locations with mixed wildlife — like mountain lions — then you might want to consider investing in safety tools like a bear spray or horn.

Finally, you’ll want to consider just how authentic of a camping experience you’d like to endure. There are thousands of campgrounds across the country that offer water and electricity hookups, along with a designated camping spot, for a small nightly fee; this is (understandably) a more popular option as opposed to setting up camp in the middle of nowhere, but it does mean you’ll be in the same vicinity as a lot of other people. If you’re looking to jump headfirst into your camping era — or just need somewhere with real peace and quiet — you’ll be better off scoping out your own site without all the bells, whistles, and conveniences of a traditional campground.

Regardless of where you’re traveling, this is one of the best seasons to explore the outdoors, detach from your cell phone, and immerse yourself in nature. Stock up on all the necessary things for camping like a pro below.

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