Tips for a Great Camping Experience

    There’s nothing as exciting as packing up your camping gear and getting in touch with the great outdoors! The sights, smells and sounds of nature offer a renewed sense of your place in the world as you face the elements of nature head-on.

    A camping trip can either be a joyous adventure or a “why did I ever do this?” moment, depending on your level of preparation.

    Get Your Camping Gear Together

    To ensure you have everything you need, make a list of the items you will pack, organized by category. Here are some things you might want to include.

    Personal Storage

    You’ll need a roomy yet comfortable backpack to carry your necessities. Choose the size of your backpack based on the length of your trip and how efficiently you can pack it. Backpacks are sized by volume, and the rule of thumb is to stick packs that are 30 to 50 liters (7.9 to 13.2 gallons) for a one- to two-night trip, 50 liters (13 gallons) for a three- to five-night trip, and at least 70 liters for anything longer than five nights.

    Be sure to also bring a smaller pack with you for day hikes. You’ll need enough room for a water bottle, compass, multitool, snacks or sandwiches, first-aid kit, whistle, and binoculars.

    If you’re planning to go hunting, bring a sturdy range bag to carry your guns and accessories safely. Hinterland Outfitters has a wide variety to choose from, such as the Browning Wicked Wing Mossy Oak Original BottomLand Bag.

    Tent and Tenting Supplies

    The size and weight of your tent will depend on if you’ll be driving to the site. If you’re going to be hiking with a tent, go for something lightweight with aluminum poles; it might cost a little more, but your back will thank you later! In addition to being lighter, aluminum poles are stronger. If you’re planning to drive to the site and are on a budget, you might consider purchasing a tent with the more economical (but heavier) fiberglass poles.

    Make sure you have a tarp or tent footprint and pack a strong hammer to ensure that your tent is secure.

    Campsite Items

    If the tent is your bedroom, think of the campsite as the rest of your home. Folding chairs, a tablecloth with clips, and clothes drying rack will be welcome in your outdoor living space. If you plan to relax at the campsite, you might want to pack a hammock.

    Some of the basics that you’ll need at the site include:

    • Large cooler with plenty of ice
    • Large water jug and water bucket
    • Flashlight and batteries
    • Matches and/or lighters

    Cooking Supplies

    Whether you’re going to cook meals from scratch or just heat up some canned foods, be prepared with your supplies. Even if you’re planning to cook over an open fire, it’s good to have a portable propane stove for a quick meal — or even just a cup of coffee in the morning. In addition to the stove, you’ll need some or all of the following items:

    • Tongs, skewers, and grill forks
    • Cooking and eating utensils
    • Can opener and bottle opener
    • Pots, pans, potholder, pot scrubber, and biodegradable soap
    • Aluminum foil

    Pack Up Your Personal Items

    Your comfort and safety will depend on the personal items you bring with you.


    Look for moisture-wicking socks, underwear, shirts, and jackets. Moisture-wicking fabric serves two purposes: It absorbs moisture to keep you comfortable when you sweat, and it dries quickly when washed. When deciding what to pack, think in terms of dressing in layers that you can take on or off according to the temperature.

    Also, make sure you have some waterproof outdoor gear, even if you’re not expecting rain. Heavy-duty boots or shoes that can stand up to mud and puddles will be welcome should the need arise. Likewise, keep in mind that you’ll likely be out in the sun for hours at a time, so make sure you have a sun hat and sunglasses as well.

    Health and Hygiene Items

    Depending on where you’ll be camping, you may not have access to a store to buy these supplies, but even if you do, the prices are likely to be high and the selection meager. If possible, it’s best to bring these items with you:

    • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, liquid soap, and hand sanitizer
    • Sunscreen
    • Insect repellent
    • Towels

    If you take prescription medications, don’t forget to pack those along with any personal hygiene items you think you might need.

    Also, bring a first-aid kit or put one together yourself with the following items:

    • Adhesive bandages
    • Antiseptic spray, triple antibiotic ointment, and hydrocortisone cream
    • Gauze pads or roll and medical adhesive tape
    • Sunburn relief spray
    • Tweezers
    • Bottled purified water

    You might also want to consider bringing ear plugs and eye shades if you tend to awaken easily and a portable camp shower if there aren’t facilities in the camping area.

    Consider Some Optional Items

    Depending on how rough you’ll be camping, you may want to consider bringing some other items that can increase your level of safety or provide additional entertainment.

    Emergency and Survival Gear

    If you’re camping in a remote area, consider buying an emergency survival kit or making your own with any or all of the following items:

    • Heat-reflective two-person blanket
    • Signal mirror with retroreflector aiming aid
    • Duct tape
    • Tourniquet, C-Splint and trauma dressing
    • Water purifying tablets
    • Pyro Putty for building instant fires

    Items for Fun and Comfort

    These items aren’t essential, but they can add to the fun of your camping trip:

    • Fishing gear
    • Archery gear
    • Books and magazines
    • Musical instruments
    • Playing cards and board games
    • Stargazing guides (especially if you don’t have an opportunity to stargaze at home)

    Practice First

    If you’re new to camping, it’s a good idea to practice a few things at home first. Try pitching your tent in your backyard or a local park. This way, once you get to the campsite, it will be easy work, and you can get on with your adventure.

    Practice building a fire, navigating with a compass, and tying various knots.

    Head Out to the Great Outdoors

    Now that you know how to pack and prepare for your adventure, don’t forget to check out Hinterlands Outfitters for gear that can take your camping experience to the next level.

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