You always remember your first, so make your first camping trip one for the books. You don’t want to have a bad experience, which can lead to a serious camping phobia. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing (camping), you can still bring items to act like you do! These items are definitely what you need to pack for your first camping trip to seem like a pro.
1. Pop Up Tent
If you’re not staying in a camper on your first camping trip, then you will definitely want to bring a pop up tent with you! Unlike traditional tents that can be hard to set up, a pop up tent literally sets itself up. Simply, pull it up from the top and it snaps into shape. Since they are so light, make sure to secure them properly! There are a ton of styles to choose from including single person tents and UV protection ones.
Make sure you bring a tarp with you when you are tent camping. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, you are going to need it. If it rains, the tent will soak up the water leaving your sleeping area a wet, soggy mess. When you put a tarp under your tent, you’re stopping the wetness from seeping into your area. Plus, it will give you a little extra protection from dirt and rocks as well! Don’t forget to dig a little trench around the perimeter of the tent. This also keeps the rain from soaking your tent floor.
3. Sleeping Bag And Air Mattress
You don’t need to rough it any more than necessary while camping, so feel free to bring an air mattress and sleeping bag. Sleeping bags pack up very easily and are great for a single person. The only down fall is, that they don’t have a lot of cushioning. So, consider a sleeping bag pad as well. An air mattress is a lot larger, but is also a lot more comfortable to sleep on. Make sure you get one that self inflates in case a power source is not available when camping.
4. Cigarette Plug Converter
Nothing is worse than bringing something that requires an electrical outlet to work and not actually having one. To make sure you don’t get caught in this situation, bring a cigarette plug converter. It simply plugs into the lighter spot on one side and has a regular plug on the other! This is perfect for blowing up air mattresses and charging phones, among other things. Trust us, you will be thankful for this tip on your first camping trip.
5. Extension Cords/ Power Strips
Count yourself lucky if you have access to electricity when you’re camping. While it might not be the same as being at home, at least you have it available if you really need it. It might be a good idea to pack an extension cord or power strip with you, just in case. It’s always better to be over prepared than under prepared. Plus, if you are able to have access to electricity, you’ll be the hero of the trip!
6. Battery Powered Lights
It gets dark when the sun goes down. Like, really dark. In nature, there’s no surrounding lights to help wave off the darkness. To make sure you don’t trip over anything, bring along a battery powered light! They have some that are lanterns, so when you carry them around they give off a ton of light. There are also some that are handheld lights, making them perfect for keeping in the tent. Don’t forget old fashioned flashlights, too!
7. Folding Chairs
If you don’t want to be sitting on the ground all the time, we suggest bringing a folding chair with you! Not only are they easy to pack, they are super useful. Sit around the campfire, sit down by the water, etc. Most of them have cup holders, so if you’re eating in your chair, you don’t have to worry about juggling both a plate and cup at the same time. They are a little bit of an investment, but they are worth every penny! If you don’t use them on your first camping trip, you’re sure to use them in the future.
8. Cooking Utensils
There’s no fast food places out in nature. Unless you camp near a town that has a restaurant, you are stuck cooking on your own! Now, you can bring sandwich fixings and snacks, but this only goes so far. If you want to make sure you won’t starve, it’s not a bad idea to bring along some cooking pans and utensils. The most convenient ones are roasting sticks and iron skillets! Plus, you’ll need the roasting sticks for s’mores.
9. Camping Cutlery Set
As for paper plates and napkins, they are not a bad idea when camping. However, you don’t want to leave any trash behind, so consider bringing along a plastic cutlery set. Most sets contain forks, knives, spoons, plates and bowls. Try bringing a reusable water bottle for any drinks. You can still eat like a civilized person and be eco responsible, too!
10. Wet Wipes
These are literally life savers! If this is your first camping trip, make sure wet wipes are on the packing list. You won’t believe how useful they will turn out to be! Need to clean up after cooking, grab a wet wipe. Touched something sticky and no idea what it is, grab a wet wipe. Starting to look like you live in the woods full time, grab a wet wipe. Just make sure to properly toss them away when you’re done, so they don’t end up on the ground.
11. Bug Spray
We know bugs are important in nature, but they sure are a pain in the ass. Especially mosquitoes, who will find you no matter how hard to try to hide. To keep from getting eaten alive, make sure you pack bug spray and use it! The spray might have a slight odor, but it sure beats being covered in red marks and scratching like crazy. Plus, this is a camping trip, so who are you trying to impress? Hint: there are also bug spray bracelets you can buy that will help protect you too!
Camping is all about getting away from everything and enjoying the outdoors. One of the best ways to do this, is to hang out in a hammock. If you haven’t ever used one before, you don’t know what you are missing! Hammocks fold up into small bags, so they are perfect to toss in the car or carry in your backpack. Simply, find two trees that are somewhat close together, attach the hammock clips and relax. That’s it. That’s how easy it is to set up your hammock! Once you get in, you won’t want to get out!
13. Rain Jacket
You never know when a rain jacket will come in handy. It’s a practical item to bring along with you, on your first camping trip. A rain jacket will help keep the rain off you, if you go hiking or just experience bad weather during your trip. It can also be good for nighttime when temperatures can drop quickly! Either way, you’ll be prepared for any situation.
14. Hiking Shoes
A lot of times when camping, there’s a good chance you’ll go hiking, too! It’s great exercise and can be really relaxing. You might want to consider bringing hiking shoes with you. There are all kinds, including boots, high tops and sandals. It just depends on what season you go camping in. Most of the shoes will be waterproof and provide you with good grip on slick trails! If you don’t want to buy brand new ones, look into buying some second hand.
15. Shower Stuff
Unless you are planning on going full on, rustic camping, you should bring shower stuff with you. If you are staying at a campsite, there is a good chance they have community showers that you can use. Now you don’t have to bring your entire bathroom with you, just the basics. Items like shampoo, conditioner and body wash all come in travel sizes, which makes packing them a breeze. If you do need more items, bring a bath caddy with you to help organize and carry everything back and forth!
Hope you’re so excited for your first camping trip! Which item is your can’t go without item while camping? Comment and share with us below!
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Hi my name is Kristen and I am 26 years old. I went to Central Michigan University (Fire Up Chips!). I majored in Integrative Public Relations with a minor in Fashion Merchandising. After graduation, I worked for Macy's in a variety of positions. I love shopping until I drop and consider it my cardio! I've been lucky enough to travel quite a bit and hope to do more so in the future. I am an energetic, sassy and fun loving person who loves her family (dog), friends and donuts!