The ultimate camping checklist: being prepared
A couple of friends of mine have recently gotten into camping, I hadn’t realised quite how hard the bug had bitten them until I started organising a camping trip myself this month. In the course of the preparations, my friend shared her camping checklist, and whilst I teased her for having her printed checklist at the ready for every trip, in reading through, I realised how valuable this actually is. I’ve therefore revised the list in order to share, removing things that I don’t consider to be essential (the list of condiments might have been a little excessive) and adding some of my own key items that I felt were missing (plastic champagne flutes and a cheeky bottle of bubbly are always nice under the stars! And also a medical kit, although not necessarily in that order!) So thanks Nic, for being my inspiration for this post (I hope you don’t mind me sharing!) 🙂
A tent (do yourself a favour and get a pop-up one to save time fiddling with poles and pegs, and always get a size bigger than you think to give yourself some space), an airbed and inflator that runs from the car, a sleeping bag or duvet, blanket and pillow (I find it as snug as home if I have a duvet on my airbed, I just lay a blanket on it!)
Camping table (to prepare and put the food on) and chairs – make yourself really comfortable and pay a little more for the chairs with a footrest and with pockets in the arms not only for your drink, but also a zip pocket for phone, torch, etc
Lantern/lamp, head torch – it’s always helpful to have a fixed light at the cooking table and in the tent, and you can make do with a torch but it’s much better to have a head torch when you’re trying to cook or prepare food, or when wandering off to a ‘bathroom’!
Ipod and mini speaker and charger – It’s nice to have a little background music to accompany your evening, and don’t forget a charger to ensure your phone doesn’t run out of charge
Toilet roll and kitchen roll – for those who like travelling light, you might question whether you need both, but trust me, a good sturdy kitchen roll is useful for most eventualities, although I would suggest you may not want to use it to attend to delicate areas!
Bin bags and empty carrier bags – take a roll, you always use more than you expect, plus the empty bags are great for any dirty cooking gear or wet clothes etc to spare the car from getting filthy on the way home. Goes without saying, but ALWAYS take all litter away!
Plates, glasses (don’t forget those champagne flutes!), cups (for tea in the morning), knives, forks, spoons – I have all of these in plastic (you can buy nice camping/picnic sets where they form part of a coolbag backpack, making them easier to pack, store and transport), however I have to admit there are times when I take disposable options purely to save the washing up on our return! Not great for the environment, but disposable wooden variations are better (and more solid) than their plastic options.
Cooking utensils including tongs and skewers (for meat or marshmallows!) a pan (if you want to do bacon in the morning), and cooking foil – it’s always handy to have a sharp knife and scissors too
A BBQ and coal/gas, kettle and gas burner (much better than waiting an age for fire embers to heat water!) and lighters/matches (more than one, just in case!) We also like to try and take a shisha pipe with us (a by-product of living in the Middle East, we’ve developed a taste for grape and mint when relaxing!)
Corkscrew, bottle opener, cool boxes and ice – again, these are obvious but worth listing so they’re not forgotten when pulling everything together. Try freezing large sheets of ice at home, buying bags of ice en route to top up and freezing large bottles of water at home before you leave. I also freeze slices of lemon/lime as a nice accompaniment for drinks
The food shopping list would be kept simple:
For breakfast – pre-boil some eggs to have cold boiled eggs the next day, bacon (if you can bothered in the morning!) a tupperware box of cereal and some milk (you can pour the milk directly into the box, sparing the need to take a bowl too), bread rolls (take plenty for dinner too), cereal bars and fruit (again take plenty as these can be used as snacks while hiking too)
For the evening BBQ – chicken skewers, corn on the cob, steak, potatoes (pre-cook them if you can to save time), sausages (buy plenty, cook them all in the evening and have some in the morning for breakfast), salad (try something with carbs such as couscous if you’re hiking – you can always use it for lunches the next day too), bread rolls, salt & pepper, ketchup, brown sauce
For snacks around the campfire – dip (humus or salsa always goes well with us), carrot sticks and tortilla chips, nuts, and for those with a sweet tooth, try bananas and chocolate wrapped in tinfoil in the fire, or the old favourite of marshmallows
It’s really important to stay hydrated so we always take plenty of water (usually one 6 pack of 2 litre bottles each, especially if we’re hiking), I also always take Pocari Sweat sachets to mix with a bottle of water (these replace electrolytes), then it’s nice to take some juice for the morning and the all important tea bags/coffee, a small bottle of milk and some sugar for those who need it. Stronger drinks are up to the individual obviously, although I always find cider or vodka and tonic to feel the most refreshing (I convince myself the tonic keeps the mosquitos away too – if you don’t trust that, then don’t forget your insect repellant!)
Finally, the medical kit, these can be bought from outdoor shops and the basic ones include dressings, alcohol wipes and syringes, I would just add to it some aspirin, paracetamol and Immodium, plus a good handful of plasters and some antiseptic cream.
So that’s about it I think, our little list, any extras would depend on the activities being taken part in, such as dry bags for canyoning, ropes for climbing and canyoning, camelbacks for hiking etc. I hope it’s helpful – and do let me know if I’ve missed anything!! Would love to know what other people can’t live without! 🙂