By Gray Rollins
There are certain supplies that every family should have when camping. Ensuring you have the basic supplies to have fun and stay safe will enhance your camping experience. So do not pack on the fly. Instead, make sure you plan well and make lists so nothing is forgotten. Make lists and check off items as you pack. But also pack as lightly as possible. Remember that camping is a temporary state and that you will not need a lot of different clothing and only enough food and water to sustain you and your family during your trip.
Always be sure you have enough food and water so you and your family are properly nourished and hydrated. However, choose items that are lightweight, easy to cook and easy to clean up. Canned goods and lightweight items such as soups, canned meats, jerky, and cereals are perfect.
Take campfire wood with you unless you plan to purchase wood on the way to your camping area or at the campground. Also take newspaper and small twigs to make starting your fire easy. A small hatchet can be handy too.
Dress appropriately for the season but also prepare for unexpected weather changes. Summer clothing should include light colored items and good hiking boots. In winter weather, make sure to dress in layers for maximum warmth. Always have spare clothes available in case clothing gets wet or there is a shift in climate. Remember that even in summer it can get cold at night.
For day trips where you will leave your camp area, use a backpack to bring essential supplies. Maps and a compass are essential supplies to have. Make sure to research the area where you will be camping so you are familiar with where there are main roads and emergency facilities. Waterproof matches will help start a fire even in rainy conditions. A flashlight will provide light for night time. Make sure to use a heavy duty model that is waterproof. Extra batteries are also advised.
Survival kits are necessary in case of emergency. These are available pre made at outdoor sporting good stores but you can also gather supplies individually. Rope is a common element of these supplies. Also, food items for emergency survival are usually included. A whistle in case you are stuck or trapped will help you call for help without expending a lot of energy. A multi- use knife is a compact item that provides many essential tools including a saw and can opener. Shelter equipment such as blankets and tarps can help you stay warm and protected while awaiting assistance. Although many wilderness areas will not have reception, it may be possible for a cellular phone to reach a nearby emergency station. It is advisable to carry one just in case you will be able to get reception and call for help.
First aid kits are also essential camping supplies. These are readily available pre made in pharmacies and sporting good stores. Ensure they have materials to aid in bandaging wounds and treating illness. They should include insect repellant and sunscreen to protect against sunburn and pests. Bandages and antibiotic ointment will help in mending scrapes and cuts. Aspirin and non aspirin pain medication should be included. Iodine tablets will help if a person is dehydrated.
Supplies that will keep your family safe and nourished in case of emergency are essential elements when camping. But do not forget to have some fun. Bring games, fishing poles and books to spend some time. Do not forget binoculars for watching wildlife and the camera for memorializing your experience. Be organized and make a list of all supplies needed before embarking on your trip to ensure the most fun and safest camping trip possible.
Other items to pack include: folding chairs; trash bags; pre-moistened wipes (especially handy if your camping area does not have hand-washing facilities in the bathroom area); a dishpan, dish soap, dish cloths, and dish towels for cleaning dishes; paper towels; clothespins to hang swimsuits and towels on the rope you’ve also packed; and pot holders to handle hot food.