June 13, 2013

Camping: Get Ready To Go - The Tent

When you're packing for a camping trip, there is so much to keep track of.
Not only do you need to pack for yourself, you also need to pack to live. 
You need someplace to sleep, blankets, food, entertainment, and so on. 
A little planning ahead of time can ensure a fantastic camping trip. 

The next few posts are all about camping ideas to consider, the different areas of the campsite, and item suggestions for an enjoyable trip. 

The House

The house at the campsite is your tent(s). This is the retreat to sleep and relax. Take a look around when planning your camp. Preferably, the tent openings should face center but slightly angled so smoke won't be blown in the door. Think about where you will have your fire pit and cooking area and plan your camp accordingly.

Consider packing the following items:

Tent (with stakes and guy-lines) - preferably one large enough to sleep everyone comfortably and hold your bags. Do not believe the package that informs you the tent inside is for four people. You will be squished and stuffy and uncomfortable. Check the dimensions on the box and set the tent up at least once at home before setting off to the campground.

Fly for the tent -  keeps rain and the hot sun off your tent. Usually a tent will come with one but if yours is missing, a tarp will work too. From first-hand experience, you don't want to forget this item.

Ground Tarp - this tarp goes under the tent before you set it up. It keeps the tent off the ground and protects the bottom. Make sure the sides are not sticking way out from under the tent. If it rains, the rain will pool on the tarp and defeat the purpose. The ground trap should be smaller than the tent base or else fold the edges underneath well. This is not mandatory, it's a nice extra.

Doorway Mat - old carpet works too. This will help keep grass and dirt out of the tent. Take your shoes off at the mat.

Inside Mat - place your shoes here at night or when it rains. Using two mats will make a big difference in keeping grass and other bits of nature out of the tent.

Lantern - one specifically for your tent. We use one with a bulb, not a flame, and it winds up for power so no concerns about dead batteries. An extra flashlight that can be used for night time bathroom trips is a nice addition too. You may want to bring along an extra flashlight for each child's bed as well. This will depend on the child, age, fear of the dark (or not), familiarity with outside night noises and camping, etc.

Potty Kit - a potty, toilet paper, wipes and some hand cleaner. This is really good at night with potty training little ones when it's spooky out there and dark and cooling off and everyone is tired and tucked in.

Box/Tub/Stool - use one you brought supplies in or bring along a short stool if you have room. Its nice to have some type of small, stable table in the tent.

Now that the Tent is ready, you can set up the Bedroom.

The Bedroom

Before I share my list, I must share my thoughts on a good bed. 

Sleep is important for everyone. If you and your children are well rested, it's going to be a better trip for everyone involved. I believe packing too much is better than not enough when it comes to bedding. I have been known to pack every blanket in the house to take on fall camping trips. You may choose to pack less depending on where you are going and the nightly temperatures. 

With that being said, here is my suggested list for the 'bedroom'.

Moisture Barrier/Mat - place on the floor of the tent before making the beds for an extra layer away from the ground. This will do a lot to keep body warmth in your blankets and not sucked into the ground beneath you. The large foam puzzle pieces work well for this. They can be easily assembled for a quick mat beneath your bedding and they are compact-ish to bring along.

Foam Mattress, Bed Mat or an Air Mattress and Pump - in my opinion, the more cushion and layers between me and the ground, the better the sleep. 

Bedding - Sleeping Bag(s), Blankets (Wool Blankets and Quilts) - again, more is better. I can't say this enough. It really makes for a horrible night if you can't get warm. And kids always want more blankets when they first crawl into bed before the tent warms up. If you find you don't need all those layers on top, extra ones beneath you are a wonderful thing in a tent.

Sheets - the bed is simply more comfortable with sheets and if it's a hot night, the sheets are a nice light covering. If you have an old set specifically for camping, sew the top and bottom sheet together like a sleeping bag. It will help keep the bed together, especially if you have a restless sleeper.

Pillows - some people bring pillow cases and stuff them with clothes. I prefer the real deal plus an extra.

Body Pillow -  A body pillow is a nice addition between the bed and the tent wall. It prevents being smooshed up against the tent wall.

Laundry Bag/Garbage Bag/Shopping Bags +extras - Dirty clothes go in here. Keep some large ziplocs or grocery  bags to keep extra dirty or wet clothes separate from the rest.

Earplugs and Sleeping Mask - if you like to sleep in, you want these. The sun gets up very early and so do the birds. Crazy early. Like 3 am just going to bed and the sun is not even up early. Not sure what the deal is with that.

Camp shoes or slippers or sandals - for quick ins and outs from the tent, wandering around camp, to slip on quick to use the bathroom 

Small drawstring or zipper-close pouch - a safe place to keep small things and pocket contents when you go to bed, like jewelry or money.

Now that the bed is planned out, consider your wardrobe.

The Wardrobe

Before packing, check the weather forecast so you have an idea of what to expect. Consider the 'just in case' rule. Include a coat even if the weatherman predicts a solid 80 degree weekend with no change.

Like the bedding, you cannot pack too much when camping.  
At the very least, I suggest the following:

For each day/evening pack 1 set of light clothes for daytime such as shorts and a t-shirt, 1 set of warm clothes for evening (at least a pair of jeans or sweatpants), underwear (top and bottom as needed) and socks.
     *Include extra clothes - camping can be messy. More extras for children than adults for obvious reasons.  Lay the extra clothes on the bottom of the suitcase.  Pack the intended clothes for each day in a large ziploc baggie and label it.  Pack these on top of the extra clothes. This will make it easy for your children (or you) to find the clothes for the day.
A light jacket or sweater

Pajamas of some kind. Even if you don't wear them to sleep in, they are nice to have for that first cup of coffee. The mornings can be crisp. Pack these on top with a sweater since they will probably be the first things you need from your bag.

Good walking shoes or hiking boots. Extra socks.
Sandals and/or some kind of footwear like flip flops or swim shoes that can be worn in the shower, poolside, in the lake, etc

Swimwear - always take this along. Always. 

A heavier jacket or sweater (dependent on where you will be)
An extra pair of jeans, an extra sweater and an extra pair of lounge pants or sweatpants. Pack these in the bottom as backup.

A bandanna 
Activity-related clothing
Rubber Boots
Hat and Sunglasses

And that, more or less, covers the tent and its contents.
There is so much more to a supply list for camping, however.
Come back tomorrow to see a list of ideas for your camp 'living room' and a clean up station (so important).

What do you insist on taking when you go camping?

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


  1. hello,
    Well I definitely enjoyed reading it. This article provided by you is very helpful for accurate planning. I think this website is the best as compared to others.. really extraordinary blog.

  2. In summer season it is important that set your camp in an area like under trees. You must also have proper clothing items with you when going on a summer camping trip. Most important thing it to have proper camping kit with you. You can get online camping equipments from our website at cheap price.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...