I agree that it is so hectic planning for a family camping expedition. This is very true when you decide to go for one without a checklist. After all, what more would you assume you need other than the tent, food, toys for the kids and a torch?
It is so expedient, however, when you have a checklist in place. It helps you plan your outing months prior, and you leave very early, and comfortable come to the de-day.
When that day comes, and you had planned for it appropriately, you will wish it lasted forever, considering the kind of satisfaction you shall bring your family. Let me present this helpful guide from our OutLifeGear – A blog for all outdoor activities and gears.
Importance of the checklist
>> The list helps you pack appropriately
When you have a list of all items you need for your mission, you can arrange them separately as you check them one by one on the list. You then know how to pack them in order, each in their specific compartment. With such order, you can use less packing space and account for it all.
>> You will remember to carry everything you need
Since you are packing while checking, you are sure you will forget nothing on the list, unlike when you pack without this outline. You will also find out that the things you carry are essential ones only, with almost no trace of unprecedented extras.
>>It enables you to make a working budget
The package you have will include necessary things only. Since you are saving on space, transportation convenience and time, your money is saved too.
This is so because you know exactly what you need and any other addition is unnecessary and an inconvenience. You shall also find yourself saving up for items of the best quality.
Since in the checklist all aspects of camping are considered, you will be well versed in what safety tips, precautions, and equipment to have.
How to Use a Camping Checklist
Choose the best list
If you are going to a beach camp, choose a beach camping checklist. It will make no sense going for one meant for a canoe camping journey. Choose one meant for a family outing, to avoid packing the wrong things.
Modify the list to match your needs
When making this list, own it. In case you have downloaded one from the internet, personalize it until it fits what you prefer and is suitable for your loved ones. Write down only the very important things you will need. You would not like to go camping while overloaded. It weighs you down. You can also eliminate written things that do not apply to you. Different people have different needs.
It is much easier than dealing with a list in softcopy form. When you print it, you have tangible records of your trips. You can also cross out items while packing such that an unpacked one remains unchecked. There is some easy to print to a pdf version option which you can use it too. (Here is the tutorial)
This is convenient because you can transfer it to your phone for easily accessed on the go.
Pack the list
It is so common for campers to discover what new item they would have had that would make the moment better; be it foo, a game or a gadget. Instead of wishing for two consecutive trips, carry your list and write that item down while camping. It shall aid in improving every outing you go. You should also note down what you do not need, to avoid packing unused commodities.
Perfect your checklist
When you get home, unpack in your own time. Check that everything you cruised with is still with you. Get your checklist and note down new things you would like to have next time while deducting those you do not. You will produce a perfect list, modified to your best interests. It is as if you are set for the next camping exercise early.
Types of Camping Lists
You could go to so many different places and still sleep outdoors with your folks. This makes it possible to categorize lists as below;
These come in handy when going on a hike. Believe me, by the time you are up that mountain you just need everything working out as planned. It is important to plan carefully for this family hiking trip to avoid dissatisfactions. You will need to exhibit pro packing skills for everything to fit into your strong and spacious backpacks.
Canoe camping lists
This kind of fun mission is good even with small kids in the mix. You just row until you are on the desired part of the lake, enjoying the wind and view. You cannot start going back home to fetch something you forgot. Forgetting anything in the first place is avoidable. Just come up with a checklist and use it. Include fishing gear and floaters. Then have the time of your life.
Beach camping lists
This is among the best spots known to camp at, especially if it is secure. You can also just visit a beach while camping elsewhere. Whatever the case, you need to be prepared for the beach. Sunscreens, sunglasses, and beachwear come in handy here. You will feel so miserable having carried just sweater and shorts, yet you are at the beach at daytime. Have a customized checklist for just the beach.
RV camping lists
I know how much fun and handiness it is camping in a motorhome or trailer. You do not even need to unpack your camping gear, just store it appropriately in there and ensure the place is clean. You need to have enough clothes and food though. For this, you should have your checklist made, edited and checked.
Tent camping lists
It is among the expeditions that make you pack so much and require quite a number of things to make a home away from home. You have to observe safety precautions in details. The whole family should be involved in coming up with this list and suggesting ideas. With such hustle, the experience begotten is amazing. If you go as per your checklist and include everything important to your family in that exercise, you will live to tell a story. The experience becomes so exhilarating!
Specs for a family camping checklist
Since you are planning on what to carry, it will help if you considered every aspect of the trip separately. Have a list covering how and what you shall eat, what you shall wear and when. Include even details of personal items.
You have no idea of how much they matter, until that moment you realize it is missing because it slipped your mind while you were planning or packing.
Below are specified checklists for each camping activities and apparatus.
> Shelter Checklist
This is the vital camping segment, without which, you have nowhere to sleep. You there should consider investing heavily in high quality tents for families, like the Coleman Sundome tents. Look for something durable, waterproof, spacious and lightweight. It should also withstand strong winds, to avoid the misfortune of the tent flying away with the wind while you sleep. Setting it up should not be as hard as rocket science at all.
A compact shelter list should include the following;
Take your best pick on family tents, depending on where you are camping. It could be at the beach, in a car, canoe or park. Consider taking one with enough space for your family and the strongest.
- Tent repair kit
You will hate cutting your trip short because of a fixable tent damage that you could not fix. Carry a complete repair kit for your own good.
- Tent fan
You may need it when the heat around you elevates. The best utility time is in the summer.
- Tent footprint
It shall keep your improvised floor strong such that sharp stones and sticks will not prick it, besides keeping it dry.
- Dust brush
A clean tent brings the feeling of being at home close. It is also rare to find dirty insects in such a tent.
- Tent rug
This is especially convenient if you are camping in the open or car and you have so much space.
- Stake hammer
Best when car camping.
- Extra stakes
You can carry them or replace any missing stakes before you set out.
> Food Checklist
For most campers, eating makes the best part of the adventure. Besides being away from daily schedules, you get to eat with the family. You will definitely need to plan carefully on what to eat and when to make it more interesting.
Having a food menu helps a lot in organizing yourself and carrying sustenance in the exact required amounts. You will monitor your intake too, to avoid eating an unbalanced diet or junk food. Carrying your favorite food is always advisable.
For lunch, your family can enjoy some energy meals to get them through the afternoon. It is an informal meal, hence can be a bit light. Supper, however, is the best meal since there is some darkness and you will probably gather in a circle to share. Such a sweet moment it is.
You can help yourselves with campfire food and one-pot meals like baked beans. As for fruits and veggies, pack those that cannot be squashed by the weight of other foods. Also, remember to keep yourselves hydrated.
Some essential meals to have with you include the following.
- Fruits (melons, apples, oranges, berries)
- Fresh vegetables (cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers)
- Spreads (like peanut butter, and cream cheese)
- Bread and crackers
- Tinned fish
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Baked beans
- Thai coconut chicken
- Campfire food (baked potatoes, marshmallows, hotdogs)
- Drinks (coffee, water, tea)
> Camping Clothing
This is quite a headache for some people because you may end up carrying excess or fewer clothes than you actually require. You need to carry clothes that occupy the least space, multipurpose and can withstand dirt.
It is advisable to have as many changes for each child as possible, especially if you have capacious storage. For those with limited storage, you should brace yourself up for some laundry chore while camping. For this reason, carry clothes that are easy to wash and dry.
– Avoid jeans, and cotton because they are bulky and take ages to dry. Synthetic clothing is a perfect option.
Unforgettable general clothes are;
- T-shirts (they are light, multipurpose and comfortable)
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Long pants
- Warm coat
- Warm jackets and fleeces
- Bathing suits
- Beach towel
- Sandals (allow some breathing space for your foot and can be used in water)
- Beach shoes
- Sturdy/ running shoes
- Laundry bag
- Babies and toddlers need their clothes sorted out too, so include the following:
- Warm hat
- Clothes (the best pants, shorts, long-sleeved shirts and socks available)
You do not want to be the person who forgets lighters and bowls after so much packing. A kitchen checklist is vital since you will have a plan for your meals instead of buying every other ready food. When packing, ensure that you avoid fragile cookery. You will be on the move, and this poses a bigger risk to breaking them, losing your valuable utensils. Carry light equipment that occupies minimal space.
Plastics are encouraged when out on a camping treat. They are light and easy to pack. You are less likely to break a plastic plate, compared to glass, melamine, and porcelain. Use disposable plates, cups, and spoons if you can. This shall save your cleaning water and time. You are also encouraged to have items that can be dismantled for packing and reconstructed for use. Below is a list of kitchen essentials when camping.
- Cooler (to keep your drinks at a cold temperature)
- Cooking pots and pans
- Portable grill (if you need it)
- Cooking oil
- Aluminum foil
- Knives and cooking sticks
- Chopping board
- Food storage cans and bags
- Lighter and waterproof matchsticks
- Fire starting kick
- Firewood (get it at your camping location)
- Cups and jugs
- Plates, spoons, and bowls
- Hand towel
- Dish soap (preferably biodegradable)
- Trash bag
- Dish-washing bin
Good sleep when camping makes the experience comfortable and fun. You wake up to the fresh smell of nature and chirping. If you forget warm sleeping gear for a cold night, you may regret ever thinking camping would be fun.
You, therefore, need to accompany you sleeping gear comfortable, to keep you from sleeping on the bumpy tent surface.
It should also provide warmth, enough to cloister you from the cold ground or surface in case you are car camping.
Always pack up, having it in mind that whatever you carry should not congest you are the sleeping space you and your family have.
Sleeping essentials include:
- Sleeping bag
Lightweight luggage is what you require, and that is why you will not camp on your bed. Pack sleeping bags with enough space for your family, to avoid unworthy sleep. For babies, carry specially designated sleeping bags.
- Sleeping Pad
Your body weight may exert pressure on the sleeping bag, enough to make you feel the bumpy ground. Sleeping pads are used in conjunction with the bags make your sleep bearable.
- Sleeping Cot
If reluctant to hit the floor, you can use the cots. They are foldable and a bit raised from the ground. A sleeping cot is ideal for babies and asthmatic individuals.
- Pillows (if mandatory for any of you)
You could carry your regular home pillow if you have enough space in your bags. Camping pillows are also available, among them being inflatable, folding and compressible pillows. Moreover, you can stuff travel pillowcases with clothes and make cozy pillows for sleep. The most convenient case, however, is when you can sleep comfortably without a pillow.
- Air mattress
- Spare blankets
> Fun Stuff
You will realize how important a checklist is a day you set out for a fun mission and arrive there, only to realize that you forgot some things you would have used in having fun.
Kids are always playing, and they shall definitely want to extend that to this fun trip. When in your car, tent or canoe, you may also want to play games and have a good time with your partner by doing something fun.
It is totally up to your family to know how best you like to have fun. Include all that in the checklist.
Fun equipment used depends on whether you prefer staying indoors or facing the real world outside your room happily. Be accommodative to both introverts and extroverts in your house.
The whole family should take part in deciding what to carry so that nobody is left out. Fun components include the following;
- Balls (beach-balls, football, yoyo)
- Glow sticks
- Memory cards and headphones
- Fishing tackle
- Musical instruments
- Knitting needles and thread
- Water toys
> Safety Gear
If there is a time in your life that you should be very cautious, it is at the camping time. Accidents like small burns, scratches, and falls do happen a lot. Someone might ingest some wild fruit somewhere and come back home convulsing, or you could be bitten by a snake. It is just better to be safe than sorry.
As you pack, include a fully equipped family first aid kit. Also, learn how to conduct a first aid on minor injuries and share it with your loved ones. Basic life-saving skills are imperative here.
It is also important to have them stored away from small children, but easy to find in case of an emergency.
You could also encounter food and water that you are not sure of its consumption safety. In this case, you must seek guidelines. Some of the renowned first aid kits include:
Family first aid kit (has painkillers, sterilizers, antiseptics and bug bite lotion. Razors, scissors, bandages, name it, are also included.)
- Personal first aid kit
- Emergency water filter
- Aloe lotion
> Camping Gear
You will be bored if you are less equipped with appropriate camping gear. You will go back home sooner than expected and very disappointed. You need to pay undivided attention when packing these tools since they make camping possible.
The best way to remember them is by involving your household in chipping in their suggestions.
You can deduct or add some things to this list since camping gears vary with the places you go camping. General things to carry are as follows:
- Water filter (for you to make water you fetch fit for drinking)
- Lantern fuel or batteries
- Solar charger (uses sunlight to recharge)
- Large umbrella
- Child carrier
- Folding table and camping chairs
- Pump (for the air mattress)
- Duct tape
- Pocket knife
- Bug spray
> Personal Items
You may seek the general needs of everybody and forget basic personal items. Without any of the mandatory items like a toothbrush, you will end up a little either stressed or improvise something after so much hustle.
Personal items are packed in backpacks, and each person carries their own. It is important, however, to carry only essential items. Avoid carrying things you will not use at all or those you can do without for some time. A list of important items follows below.
- Prescribed medicine
- Toothbrush and toiletries
- Water bottle
- Passports and credit cards
Having had all these in place, you are set to roll. Before you leave though, tell a friend or neighbor of your whereabouts. Remember to leave the house keys somewhere safe or carry them with you if you need to. After having all the fun while away, it is only courteous to inform your family and hood that you are back so that they do not start worrying.
‘You only live once’ is a true saying. While at it, make your life count and as interesting as possible. Spice life up by going on a camping vacation with people that matter the most, your family. Take as long as you can to plan for it together and make the wait worthwhile.
With the help of a checklist, you will hardly go wrong. Improvising a checklist and updating it now and then keeps your fun moments improved. It is wise to plan.