The ultimate camping list – Don’t be burdened with too much or caught with too little
I get this question about once a week: “My friends and I are going camping. Do you have a list of what to take?”
With the help of Walt O’Dwyer, camping manager at Mountain Recreation, and Miriam Limov, backpacking instructor at Sierra College, I’ve compiled the following, for beginners and experienced campers alike.
To start, you must answer a couple of basic questions.
• How long am I going for?
• Where am I going?
• What will the weather be like?
• Am I car camping and can take more gear?
• Am I backpacking and need to keep things light?
How you answer these will determine the type of gear you bring. A car camping weekend at Lakes Basin requires different equipment than a week’s trip on the John Muir Trail.
The cardinal rule: If you don’t think you’ll need it, you probably won’t. And once you pack it in, start over and get rid of one-third. You need far less than you think you do.
• Minimalist shelter or real tent
• three or four season
• one or two persons or a whole family
• Summer bag – to 45 degrees
• three-season bag – to 20 degrees
• four-season bag – to 0 degree or below
Plate and/or bowl
Unbreakable, heat resistant cup
Coffee or tea filter
Water purification system (iodine, water pump, electrostatic)
Biodegradable soap (Protect the environment and stay clean, too)
Strike-anywhere matches or lighter
Two 40-gallon trash bags (pack cover in rain)
Bandanas (at least two)
Personal toilet items
• Medications, if needed
• Lip balm
• Hand lotion
• Hand sanitizer
• Roll of toilet paper
• Small trowel
Topo map of route (in a plastic Zip Loc bag)
Compass or GPS
Pen and paper
Day pack or hydration pack
First aid kit
• Butterfly bandage
• Gauze pads
• Adhesive tape
• Ace bandage
• Alcohol pads
• Small mirror
• Pain killers
These are just the basics…destination and weather will determine the final list
Great hiking shoes
Great hiking socks
Sandals or camp shoes
T-shirts or hiking shirts
Long pants (stay away from denim)
Long sleeve shirt
Sweater or fleece
Warm jacket or vest for cold weather
Lightweight rain gear (poncho or pants/jacket)
2 hats: sun hat, warm hat
Wildlife, plant or natural history guides
Photo equipment or notebook
Cards or lightweight games
Car camping extras
Large water jug
Larger style stove: multiple burner
Cutting board, more elaborate cooking supplies
Thick camping mattress
More photo equipment
Bikes, kayaks, inner tubes, telescopes, etc
A few favorite luxury items
Sometimes it is nice to bring something special…
Camping espresso maker
A word on grub
Food can make or break your camping trip. Essentially, keep it simple, make sure you have enough and that you like to eat what you pack. Look for an upcoming article on camping and backpacking food. Even with the current fire restrictions, it’s not hard to eat well in the wilderness.
Have a favorite camping recipe you want to share? Send it to me at email@example.com
K. Ryan Hodgkin is a resident of Grass Valley. She can be reached be e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 273-1801.
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