10 (More) on Tuesday: Things to Bring on a Camping Trip

I had already started writing this post when Eileen put up her list this morning. I was going to bag out on it, but I realized I was having fun writing it, so I decided to keep on with it. And so, dear readers, you get a bonus 10 on Tuesday. Don’t you feel lucky?


I’ll admit, my initial impulse was to skip today’s 10 on Tuesday prompt. I’m not much of a camper, having been raised by a dad who always joked, “My idea of roughing it is hotels without cable.” I did, however, camp some with the Girl Scouts, and still go every now and then, though none of it has been any more rigorous than car-camping, so I decided to persevere and write the post. I’m not entirely sure my camping know-how will even make it all the way to 10, but let’s see…

1. Sleeping bag – I have a really nice one for someone who isn’t much of a camper. It’s a woman size/shape mummy bag that’s rated to -40 or something similarly uncomfortable. I bought it for a trip that never happened with a guy that is no longer around. (Not literally, of course. According to Facebook, he’s married, has a son, and lives in Illinois.)

2. Little inflatable sleeping cushion – I know there is a brand name for it, but I can’t remember it. I picked up this tip from my former roommate Heidi, who was shocked that my sleeping bag went straight onto the tent floor without anything to cushion it.

3. Tent – This is one thing I will replace the next time I go camping, for two reasons. First, it’s been all rolled up in my closet for years and is probably ruined; second – and more importantly – it is absurdly tiny. I’ve gotten mocked for how little it is every time I’ve used it. It’s time for me to have a big-girl tent.

4. Fixings for s’mores – Really, these are critically important any time there is a campfire, whether or not outdoor sleeping is in the plan. Toasted marshmallows are sugary perfection in and of themselves, and adding in chocolate and graham crackers only serve to make a good thing better.

5. Hiking shoes – Is it even possible to take a camping trip without going on a hike or two?

6. Swimsuit – I don’t think I’ve ever come across a mountain stream, river, or lake I wouldn’t take a dip in, so swimwear is essential.

7. Sunscreen – I’m slathered in it most of the time, despite being indoors at work most days. Spending time outside, however, means an upgrade from my workaday 15 to the serious stuff – SPF 80.

8. Toilet paper – Most campgrounds have it, but, well… it’s not something I want to take a chance on.

9. Extra socks – As far as I can remember, my mom only ever chaperoned one of my Girl Scout camping trips, and it was a rainy one. One of my fellow campers did not pack spare socks, and I recall her being whiny and miserable. Mom must have thought the same, because I always had lots and lots of socks in my pack after that. And really, given that it’s hard to be cheerful when your feet are cold or wet, it’s a lesson I’ve carried forward.

10. Beer – This requires no explanation, methinks. I mean, you need something to wash down the s’mores, right?

OK, experienced campers… What did I forget?

13 thoughts on “10 (More) on Tuesday: Things to Bring on a Camping Trip

  1. Common Loon July 20, 2010 / 10:50 pm

    #2 – air mattress (helps to put a blanket between it & sleeping bag – no matter what it’s rated – as air in mattress cools to outside air temp, which can get chilly “up north”)
    #4 – Target has coconut covered marshmellows & chocolate / vanilla swirl marshmellows. Also, if it’s hot when you camp, it can be hard to keep the Hershey’s from melting, so you can use chocolate chip cookies (simple Keebler even works).
    #6 – and towel (possibly water shoes, depending on where you dip)
    #7 – and bug spray, and tweezers (for ticks)
    #10 – cooler

    Would also suggest a sweatshirt for cool mornings or evenings, extra water, and more munchies than you think you’ll eat ’cause if you do it right you will be starving. A couple of other things: matches, cookware / mess kit, toothbrush, aspirin

    Now please, please, please Sarah & all readers as you respond…we are prepping for our 9-day sojourn out west (all camping). Currently, we’re working on the menu (started last night). Would you please suggest any and all of your favorite recipes (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks)? We will have 1 cooler, and wish to only make 1 grocery run. And yes, we have gleaned some good ideas from the quietjourney.com website, but we’re talking 27 meals plus snacks (meals for 9, and our longest camping trip has thus far been 4 days).

    • Sarah July 21, 2010 / 11:26 am

      I didn’t mean a regular air mattress; the kind I have rolls up and doesn’t need to be inflated with one of those battery-operated air blowers. I looked at the REI site, which jogged my memory: it’s called a ThermaRest (http://www.rei.com/product/797485). Much, much easier to manage than a regular air mattress.

      And um, your trip sounds insane. All the camping knowledge I have is in the post above, so I’ve got nothing else to offer.

  2. Eileen July 20, 2010 / 11:39 pm

    @ Loon. When is this trip?

  3. susan July 21, 2010 / 7:15 am

    Are you filming an episode of Mom vs Wild???

    @CL and Sarah
    I’d pack Bear Grylls.

    • Sarah July 21, 2010 / 11:27 am

      I was also going to ask what a bear grylls was, too… I thought it was some kind of food product. I see that you answered CL below, however, and that I could not be more wrong. Would never have guessed it was a person.

  4. Common Loon July 21, 2010 / 9:28 am

    @ Eileen: end of August (our consolation since our state fair group will be decidedly lacking this year…but for a good reason :))
    @ Susan: What is a bear gryll? Also, since DH will be along, it will NOT be mom vs. anything…we’ll be a team!

  5. Eileen July 21, 2010 / 10:11 am

    @Loon, I’ll consult my camping guru Amy but she’s on the road this week. If you can wait a week or two I’m sure she’ll have fantastic ideas.

  6. susan July 21, 2010 / 11:02 am

    @CL Google him. He does a show called Man vs. Wild…some British Special Forces guy.

  7. Common Loon July 21, 2010 / 12:27 pm

    @ Sarah – We have the kids “rough it” on the thermarest, but we do indulge ourselves on the air mattress.
    @ Eileen – Yes, I can wait, but I think your camping guru is going to be “a little” busy for the rest of the summer.
    @ Susan – Wonder what his schedule looks like at the end of August? We would make room for him in the van!!! Is there a female version, ’cause I already feel that there will be PLENTY of testosterone?! And how do you have time to watch TV?

  8. susan July 21, 2010 / 12:49 pm

    @CL…again…google him. You’d want to bring the male version 🙂

  9. Eileen July 21, 2010 / 1:03 pm

    This is funny…I assumed bear gryll to be some sort of bear repellent (or maybe bear attractor if you’re nuts!)…the fact that he is a person makes me laugh!

    On another note, this teaches me not to preempt Sarah’s Ten on Tues…her’s has proven to be much more fun!

  10. Common Loon July 21, 2010 / 2:21 pm

    @ Susan – So he’s the “Chief Scout” in the UK and has 3 boys…if he brings Shara along (so we girls can laugh and give them all a reason to feel like knights in shining armor) then it’s a deal! Sorry, but years with the guys has taken its toll: I’ve never been one to enjoy reading the menu because I honestly find all of them completely lacking compared to my husband. Really. Please don’t vomit!

  11. Mom July 21, 2010 / 5:38 pm

    Oh I am enjoying this!!! Seems we have a lot of females that don’t “read the menu” in this family but just glancing insures that your pilot is still lit !! (pun intended). And here I thought ‘bear gryll’ was a treat for bears to keep them at bay. Who wodda thunk! Please toss the cameraxin (with a waterproof pouch) so you can share this crazy adventure with us all. And I agree wholeheartedly with Jim — camping is a motel !!
    @Sarah — donate that old tent to your nephews & any other outdated gear so they can play “camping” in their backyard. Somehow I don’t see your Bro doing this — a chip off the old block if you will 🙂

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