Millions of families spend their vacations away from home on a camping trip, and many more take short get-a-ways on the weekend. Whatever your reason, you can make sure that your family has loads of fun by preparing ahead of time with a camping checklist. Nothing ruins a vacation quicker than a leaky tent or finding out that someone forgot their vital prescription medication.
The first thing you should do is set up a camping checklist. This list will be different for every camping trip because the weather, location and activities will be different. Even the number and ages of people in the party may be different. So your list will start with the essentials, such as medications, food, water and shelter… the things you need in order to survive.
Camping essentials are not something to be taken lightly. Many people think that since they’re packing food and water there’s no reason to go “over board” with a checklist. They would be wrong. Each year a lot of people are injured, become sick, or even die while camping and hiking, and often times it could have been avoided. For example, forgetting someone’s diabetic medication and discovering it only after you’ve settled in to your remote camp could be dangerous.
So on your list start with medications. Be sure to take plenty for the length of your trip, and if it’s medication that is essential (your life depends on it) then be sure to locate a pharmacy nearby and print out a map of its location, along with their phone number and address, and also include the name and strength of your prescription, along with the name and phone number of your home pharmacy. That way if disaster strikes and you lose your prescription or it becomes damaged (gets wet), then you can more easily fix the situation.
The next item on your essentials list is water. Will there be resupply locations near you? Have you mapped them out? Do you have the means to carry and treat unsafe water if you had to? Never go camping or hiking without the added means of purifying your own water. Safe drinking water is so vital to your survival that you simply cannot take it for granted when outdoors. Always have at least a small packet of chemical treatment tablets (chlorine or iodine) in your pack, so if you have to rush out, or are away on a day hike, you have them with you.
If yours is an extended camping trip then plan your meals out each day, that way you can keep track of how much food you’ll need. Pack extra food. Always keep a small amount of shelf stable foods in your pack as extra food. Again, if you have to rush out or you get lost on a day hike then you’ll have something to eat until you’re rescued or find your way back.
Next you must consider the first aid kit. No camper or hiker should ever be found without one, yet surprisingly so many are. Something as minor as a small cut can turn deadly (and has) if it’s not properly cleaned and treated. In addition, something as common as a headache can ruin an otherwise fun-filled trip. Not to mention what ailments such as diarrhea can mean. A well stocked first aid is a must.
Finally, on the “essentials” list consider your shelter. Not only are you putting a check mark next to the tent, you need to set it up, check for damage, and re-seal the seams and waterproof it if necessary. Having experienced a leaking tent high in the Rockies in near freezing night-time temperatures, I can assure you that it’s a problem you would rather avoid.
Next up you’ll start preparing for the non-essential items. In this section you’ll consider items such as toiletries, extra clothing, games and entertainment, fishing equipment, flashlights, batteries, etc… Here is where the individuality of your trip comes in to play. Will you be fishing, hiking, swimming, golfing, kiting? Plan ahead, think about the activities that you plan on doing and then make sure they’re on your list. If you’re going to fish, do you have a fishing license for that area? If not, where can you get it? Does your fishing reel have good line on it? These are the things that you can think about now to make certain that you have fun, later.
To anyone who doesn’t use a camping checklist this might all seem overly complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of resources to help you design your own unique list and show you how to go about it in an orderly way. Once you start using a checklist you will find that it’s actually very rewarding to have the peace of mind that you’ve taken everything you need, and that you don’t have that nagging question in the back of your mind, “what if.”
Finally, be sure to get in on the new paracord craze and learn how to make some cool stuff… learn how to make a paracord bracelet.