June 16, 2013

Camping: Get Ready To Go - Convenience, Care and Critters

There are all kinds of extra items that can be included on your packing list when you are getting ready to camp. Here are some general handy camp items to make things a little more convenient for everyone.

Map of the Park and Directions - Pin the camp map up on a tree for everyone
Point of interest and tourism pamphlets for the area - usually found in the campground office. Place inside a baggie and pin them up beside the map.

Wood Saw
Ax (a splitting ax is optimal)
Swiss army knife or a pocket knife
Folding pick/shovel
Work Gloves - nice for stacking and hauling wood
Small pack of nails and tacks -  a baby food jar works great for this.
Duct Tape - just bring it. You'll need it

Camping Fan - these run on batteries; great for still hot days just to move the air in the camp, or at night in a tent
Whistles - when hiking or just exploring, each group should have one. In an emergency, a whistle is great to draw attention.

Broom or short whisk-broom and dustpan for tent cleanup
Extra tarp for use as a sun block or wind break
Extra tent pegs
Stakes for tarps

Rope - for tarps, to hang food out of reach of creatures, for a clothesline, and more. Bring extra.
A bucket - for hauling water, collecting recyclables and garbage around the camp, for collecting bugs, in the case of a sick camper, washing rocks or shells, etc
A stack or bag of soft rags for general cleaning
Laundry detergent

A Lantern to hang from a tree, citronella candles, pails or wiki torches
Extra batteries - look through the list and add extras for anything that might need them
An alarm clock - you might want to leave on time for an interpretive walk, campfire story-time or make a tee off time
Extension cord and a power bar

Butt bucket - if you have a designated smoking area away from the camp or you are camping in an area with no fires allowed, bring along a bucket, can or canister with sand and a lid for any smokers in your camp. Don't litter cigarette butts on the ground.

Carabiner and Binder clips to hang things from
Bungee cords for hanging windbreak tarps and making forts (among other uses)
Old blankets for said forts (hook a bungee cord around two trees and throw a blanket over it to make an instant tent fort)
Picnic blankets for the park or beach and napping in the fresh air

Fly Swatter for mean bugs that won't go away like horseflies
Bear Spray

Camp Care Bag

This consists of personal camp items, comfort items and first aid. First aid items should be in their own bag. You may want a smaller kit for everyday use other than the Camp Care Bag. This smaller kit can be taken on excursions away from camp

Your smaller First Aid kit should at least contain:

antiseptic wipes (3 or 4) or travel size spray
regular bandaids, at least 4 or 5 regular ones
small bandaids, only if you have real little ones otherwise stick to regular size
adhesive knuckle bandages and wound closure strips, a couple of each
sterile dressing gauze, a couple pieces
safety pins
folding scissors

A ziploc bag or a small cosmetics bag will work well for your small, on-the-go kit. Place this inside your Care Bag and grab it when you head out. Refill as needed from the Care Bag

The Care Bag should contain:

Information about the nearest medical center like directions, the address and phone number.
Important medical information about your family that might be needed including a list of allergies, medications, and the name and contact numbers of your family doctor(s)
Keep a copy of this information your vehicle as well.
First Aid Manual - even if you are an expert, someone else may need the information should you be away or indisposed.

Assorted bandaids in different sizes and shapes
A couple of large sized compress bandages
6 large sized gauze bandages
6 smaller sized gauze bandages
Surgical/First Aid Tape
Tensor/Elastic bandage - there are self adhesive types now needing no metal tabs
Triangular cloth (to hold dressings in place or to make an arm sling)

Lotions and Ointments
Lip balm with an spf - several
Sunburn (Pain) relief spray
Aloe Vera Gel - for sunburn or minor burns
Bug Spray
Calamine Lotion
Antihistamine cream
Antibiotic Ointment
Orajel (tooth ache pain relief)

Scissors, sharp and pointed
Tweezers - one pointed pair and a flat edge
Nail Clippers

Sewing kit
Just the essentials, three needles, black thread, white thread, brown thread, a seam ripper, two or three buttons in assorted sizes, a pack of safety pins and a small pair of folding scissors

Cold and Pain Relief
Liquid cold relief like NeoCitrin
Antihistamine tablets
Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil), Naproxen (Aleve), Aspirin
An antacid like Tums and Pepto Bismol/Immodium
Rehydration sachets in case of food poisoning, or for heat stroke and hangovers
A Vapour Rub (Vicks for example but a Generic Brand is just as good) for muscle aches and a cold remedy for coughs and congestion
Instant ice packs
Instant heat packs

Hand Sanitizing Gel - I don't like this stuff much but in a first aid kit it has a place. Use it before 'treating' anyone.
Hydrogen peroxide(best), or Antiseptic wipes or Rubbing alcohol or Alcohol wipes (in a pinch, vodka will work too)
Cotton pads
Cotton Swabs
Surgical Gloves

Emergency Reflective Blanket
Eye drops (lubricating eye drops are better than red-reducing drops)
Water purifying tablets
mini flashlight and extra batteries
Matches and a small container of dish soap for tick removal
Small bottle to keep ticks in - if you remove a tick that had already bit, keep it in case you get sick
Ziploc bags for used bandages and other used material

Personal Medications and Supplements

Critter Care

People like to bring their pets when they go on vacation. My experience is with dogs but I have seen birds, cats and reptiles brought along.
Many people think camping is an excellent activity to include the family dog. After all, it's nature and they are animals and it will be great for everyone. That's not always the case.
Before you pack up Fido, consider the following:
How does your pet behave in unfamiliar surroundings?
Does your dog bark a lot?
Have you ever left your dog (alone) in a strange place?
Does your pet need to be tied up all the time when outside?
Does your pet interact well with other pets?
Will you be at your camp all the time, or do you have a number of pet-free activities you want to try?

If you think through these questions, and you still think it's a good idea to bring along your dog, take a look through these suggestions for critter care.

Rope (even if your pet normally stays near, you may need to tie your pet up at camp at some point. Never leave a pet tied up in an area alone when there is a possible danger of large predators.
Food, Water
Pet Dishes
Clean Up bags
Towel - in case or rain or an encounter with the lake or river


This is a short list of items that didn't seem to fit anywhere else.

Camera and batteries
Camera/battery charger
Cell Phone and charger

And this completes the list of items you may need while camping.
For a complete printable checklist that covers all camping areas, click here.

This is the eleventh post in my Camping Series. For the previous posts, see these links.

Camping: Get Ready To Go - Food and Fires

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