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Front Page » June 15, 2006 » Recreation Focus » Preparations make for a happy camper
Published 3,402 days ago

Preparations make for a happy camper

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An RV is nestled into a camp spot below this beautiful scene. Many campers find that having a unit like this keeps them from forgetting things because many of the items can be kept there from trip to trip.


The great outdoors.

But not so great if you have forgotton something, particularly on a long camping trip in a remote location.

Unlike a road trip where motel after motel are flanked by convenience stores, strip malls and sporting good outlets, camping in mountain or desert campgrounds or in the back country can have its drawbacks if something is forgotton.

For those that like to tent camp, the task of remembering everything is even harder than for those with RVs because an RV can contain many of the things needed from trip to trip, while usually camping gear and particularly small user items get put away in the basement or closet in between trips.

How to remember all those things that range from clean socks to ketchup for the hot dogs can be a daunting task.

There are few things in life more miserable that going camping far out in the middle of nowhere and finding out the spoons and forks have been left behind, the mosquito spray is home on the counter or the swimming suits that the family planned to wear at the lake are still in the dryer in the basement.

Many people have come up with solutions to keep left behind item from ruining a trip. People have devised everything from a master list, to a buddy system where someone else in the family checks on what is being put into the car or SUV.

Packing for a trip can be a happy experience when everything is organized.

Some have even solved the problem by having almost everything they could possibly need in the storage area of the vehicle at all times.

OK for paper plates; not good for candy bars which melt at a moments notice in the hot trunk of a car.

So what is the answer? One solution is a comprehensive list that is attached to camping gear or stowed in an obvious place in the RV so it can be utilized each time the camping bug calls.

But this list must be a "living list" or one that can change as new needs come up and adapt when inadequacies are found. Some have gone so far as to put the list on a laptop to utilize when a new trip comes up.

The point of the entire excercise is to have fun, but people often stress over what they should take. Most long time campers will say one thing.

Keep it simple. The less there is to take the more fun camping will be.

But it is still the choice of the individual. Some people can survive with cans of beans and sporks to eat with. Others may want to make gourmet meals.

Whatever the choice, organization is the key. Throwing things in the car the night before and guessing about what will be needed is the worst way to improve the chances for a fun camping trip.

Planning can be overdone, but it is essential for fun and for happiness whether it will be sitting around a fire at night by a mountain lake, or gazing at a vast desert vista in the early morning as the sun rises.

Master list of important items when camping
Portable/foldable tent
Back packs
Swiss army knife
First Aid kit
Paper, pen, pencil
Flashlights, batteries, spare bulbs
Area maps, Star maps
Water bottles, water, water filter (for places where you may not get clean drinking water)

Camera, Camera batteries, rolls
If Digital Camera, then -
Enough memory sticks or else a laptop computer
Swimming suit/trunks
Bathing towels
Hand towels/Napkins
Thermorests for sleeping ease and keeping the ground cold away
Underwears, handkerchief
Trousers (jeans?), shorts
Short sleeve shirts
Sun hat

Cooking utensils, Pots, pans
Serving plates, cups, bowls
Cutlery - forks, spoons
Sharp knife
Dishwashing soap (biodegradable)
Dish towels
Spices, salt, pepper, sugar
Table cloth
Food and drink:
Fruits (banana, grapes), fruit juice
Carrots, lime, boiled eggs
Onion, Cilantro
Tea bags/coffee
Humus, bread, pita bread
More bread
Meat items
Lots of water
Tasty bites and snacks

Stove, stove fuel
Wood (for where it is not available)
Propane for stove
Enough fuel in the vehicle
If going to a cold place;
Long sleeve shirts
Warm socks
Winter cap
Warm jacket
Warm gloves
Warm sleeping bags
Enough layers of clothing

Garbage bags
Paper bags
Sleeping bags

Toilet paper
Toothbrush, toothpaste
Hair brush
Mosquito repellant, sun block/cream and soap

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