When you're exploring the great outdoors, the last thing you want is to be unprepared. You never know when an emergency might strike and the nearest store isn't for a few miles away.
Real camping isn’t like glamping at Country Thunder, where tents are set up with fancy beds and refrigerators. In the wilderness, forgetting to pack an essential item — whether it be your charger or water filter — could have some serious risks or consequences.
So before you embark on your first adventure, keep this checklist and make sure you have everything you need for the best and safest camping trip possible.
No matter how much walking you think you'll be doing, you need a reliable pair of hiking shoes designed for roughing it out. When looking for an ideal pair, look for comfort, durability, proper fit, weight, warmth, and water resistance over aesthetics.
In this regard, the different styles of hiking shoes from Merrell come in suede leather and a mesh material for superior comfort and breathability. Don't forget to check the sole if them so that they have enough traction for uneven terrain — you never know how rough it might get out there!
Clothes for all weather
You can't change the weather, but you can control the clothes you wear. Bring dri-fit or moisture-wicking clothing for when it gets hot, and jackets for the rain or cold. Avoid anything bulky and go for garments that can be packed with ease.
Of course, comfort is the most important factor on your camping trip clothing. To counter the summer heat, the shorts featured on Woman Within were specifically designed to keep you cool, comfy, and dry. Opt for styles that are easy to move around in so that you’ll be mobile all throughout the trip — a tip that is important when you pack all of your clothes.
It's worth investing in a durable tent that can withstand all sorts of weather. You wouldn't want the roof of your tent to fly away as you're dozing off at night. Choose according to the size of your group and the space you need, but be careful not to buy anything too fancy that you don't know how to set up.
Of course, you'll also need a comfortable sleeping bag. It can be very risky to sleep without the proper ventilation and warmth of a sleeping bag, so make sure you get a bag that is lightweight and easy to pack.
Water filter and bottle
Hydration is perhaps one of the most crucial things to consider when camping. Some camping grounds have designated water areas where you can refill, so it's useful to do your research ahead of time and bring a reusable bottle.
You could also drink straight from lakes or streams, but not without a water filter first. The award-winning water bottle from LifeStraw comes with a filter that is great for removing bacteria and protozoa from the water. It’s perfect for outdoor settings where there usually isn’t a reliable water source, but there are small streams present on the trail. The purification system is built specifically for backpacking, and will protect you against bacteria and viruses.
It's tempting to reach for that salty bag of chips on your pre-camping grocery run, but food is fuel, and you'll want the kind that can keep you filled and energized throughout the day.
The Greatist recommends steering clear of pre-packaged goodies that are high in sugar and sodium, as these can only slow your body down. Instead, opt for healthy snacks like chocolate protein balls, pumpkin seeds, trail mix, popcorn, and energy bites.
It goes without saying that you won't find any power outlets when you’re exploring the great outdoors. But fortunately, Mother Nature always delivers. A solar charger will allow you to charge your phone, cameras, and other gadgets simply by allowing them to absorb sunlight.
First aid kit
It's not a camping trip if you're not getting down and dirty. Blisters, splinters, and cuts are bound to happen, but it's nothing that can't be remedied by a first aid kit. Bandages, medication, anti-septic, and bug spray are just some of the basic items you'll want to have on you at all times.
Resist the urge to rely on your phone, in case you find yourself with no signal or battery. Make sure to pack traditional navigational tools, like a good old compass and map. If you're traveling to multiple spots, be sure to plot your trail properly and have flashlights ready when night falls.