Everything You Need to Know About Camping: Part 2 – 10 Must Haves When Camping

Everything You Need To Know About Camping: Part 2 - 10 Must Haves When Camping

Everything you need to know about camping is a 5 part series presented to help calm your apprehensions about camping and get you out into the great outdoors. If you have never tried camping before, the idea of getting outdoors and next to nature can be a little overwhelming. Questions arise quickly… “Where should I go?” “What should I take?”  and “What will I eat?” are just a few that come to mind. Let’s start from the beginning and break it all down to see if we can get you outdoors and up close and personal to nature. Hopefully after reading a few of these ideas you will be out building a fire, cooking up great meals and leaving all your cares behind in no time flat.

In Part 1 we discussed 3 main topics:

  • What exactly is camping?
  • Why should I go camping?
  • Where should I go camping?

If you missed it you can go to Part 1: So You Want to Go Camping to read what you missed.  

This week Part 2 – 10 Must Haves When Camping, will prepare you to be a successful camper.

Everything You Need To Know About Camping: Part 2 - 10 Must Haves When Camping


1.  Shelter 

Whether the decision has been made to sleep under the stars, pull a trailer or rent a cabin; some type of shelter is one of the must haves when camping. I have had the great privilege of doing all three and each one takes their own considerations.

Tent Camping – Choosing a tent might not seem like a big deal, but there are some important things you need to think about when making the choice. Size, weather resistance and proper ventilation are a few of the things you need to consider. Check out Buying a New Camping Tent from About.com for more detailed information on making an informed choice.

Trailer or RV Camping – If you don’t already own a trailer or RV and aren’t interested in buying one, renting is a great option. Do a Google search for RV rental and you will be amazed at the number of places that come up. Another option is to check Craigslist in your area to see what might be available. There are a handful of owners wanting to offset the cost of their trailer purchase by renting it out when not personally being used.

Cabin Camping – When looking for a cabin to rent, try out the State and National Parks for the most reasonable rates. They are usually quite a bit less than what you might find from a private owner. Be prepared to bring almost everything you would need if you were tent camping. The bare necessities is usually all that is provided. 

Everything You Need To Know About Camping: Part 2 - 10 Must Haves When Camping 2.  Bedding 

It is essential to have something comfy and cushy to sleep on; making bedding #2 on the list of must haves when camping. This is pretty easy to accomplish if you are sleeping in a trailer, but when sleeping in a tent a little more forethought is necessary. Sleeping Pads have improved greatly over the years and you can now get them pretty reasonably in many different shapes and sizes. I would never go backpacking or sleep in a tent without one.

Everything You Need To Know About Camping: Part 2 - 10 Must Haves When Camping

3.   Cooking Necessities 

There are many different options when it comes to cooking when camping. Some will swear that cooking over a fire in a dutch oven is the way to go.  Others prefer a neat and tidy camp stove to get the job done. No matter how you choose to prepare your food, cooking necessities makes the must haves when camping list. What you need depends on the type of camping being done and the rules that apply where you are camping. For instance, many wilderness areas will not allow campfires for safety reasons. In this instance, a small single burner camp stove may do the trick. The key here is to figure out what works best for your needs and where you will be camping. Part 3 of Everything You Need to Know About Camping will go more into detail on cooking and utensils so be sure to come back next week for Healthy and Delicious Camp Food to Make You Drool.

4.  Firewood and a Fire-Starter

No matter what type of cooking you plan on doing, having a way to start the flame trumps everything else. Cold beans are okay in a pinch but taste so much better if you have a way to heat them. Waterproof matches, a reliable lighter, and some type of combustible material is a boon when camping. Many times it is easy to scavenge for wood and light twigs, but it never hurts to have a backup. 

Everything You Need To Know About Camping: Part 2 - 10 Must Haves When Camping

5.  Light

Unless you plan on heading off to bed when the sun goes down, on the list of must haves for camping you will need to include some type of light. A lantern is great when you need large swaths of light, but I recommend a personal light as well. As with all the other camping equipment there are numerous options you have to choose from. A flashlight works great for taking that trip to the port a potty. If a hands free approach is more to your liking, you may want to consider a  head lamp. I have one that is clipped to a stretchy head band that fits snug around my head. The light has multiple settings depending on what I am using it for. I’m pretty sure I could land a plane with that headlight when it is set at the highest setting. 

 6.  Bug Spray and Sun Screen

Bug spray and sun screen on our must haves when camping list should be a no brainer, but I can’t begin to count the numerous times I have forgotten to bring them. Mosquito bites are never any fun and can turn a fun trip into a miserable venture. Put this on your list and be sure to check twice before you head out the door.

Everything You Need To Know About Camping: Part 2 - 10 Must Haves When Camping

7.   First Aid Kit

Accidents happen and it is always better to be safe than sorry. The American Red Cross has a great article Anatomy of a First Aid Kit on what to put into your kit. It is a lot less expensive to make your own than to buy a ready made one. No matter how you get one, be sure it is on your must haves for camping list.

8.  Clothing

Obviously you know that you will need clothing, but it is important to think ahead about what you might need. Are you going to the mountains? The temperature will surely drop. Are you heading to the desert? Hot days and cool nights. The best advice I can give you is to think layers. Easy to put on, and easy to take off. Don’t get caught unprepared without a thing to wear.

Everything You Need To Know About Camping: Part 2 - 10 Must Haves When Camping

9.  An adventurous spirit – Taking time in the great outdoors to rest and rejuvenate is a worthy goal, but adding a little adventurous spirit will take you places you may never have seen otherwise. Take a hike and go explore your surroundings. It doesn’t have to be a five mile hike up the mountain and back. It can be as simple as walking the little path that leads away from your tent. Open your senses to the area around you. Your soul will thank you for it. God’s handiwork is awesome and crying out to be discovered.

Everything You Need To Know About Camping: Part 2 - 10 Must Haves When Camping

10.  A sense of humor– Sometimes no matter how careful you are or how much you plan, things go awry. A sense of humor can turn a disaster into memories that can last longer and be more memorable than if everything went right. 

I remember a camping trip with a group that we had planned out for months. Every i was dotted all the t’s were crossed. 5 brave souls were off to Yosemite to climb the 14 mile trek up Half Dome; a granite dome reaching 8,800 feet above sea level. We had worked hard to get in shape, made our reservations and had a day permit in hand. Everything was in order. I even made a big ugly hat to shade the sun that I had written “Half Dome or Bust” on for the special occasion. The long awaited day came at last but unfortunately so did disaster. The morning of our hike, while still snug in our sleeping bags, we were awakened by a loudspeaker manned by a park ranger. There was a large fire in the area and everyone was to be evacuated. No Half Dome for this girl, just a big fat bust! We cried, we laughed, and then went and rented a cabin outside of the park area. No hiking on that trip, but there was still some mighty good fishing and icy cold beer! Everything You Need To Know About Camping: Part 2 - 10 Must Haves When Camping

To sum it all up, preparation is key when going camping, but don’t worry so much about the little surprises. The unexpected is what builds memories and cements relationships. One more added benefit to the great outdoors!

See More…

Part 1 – So You Want to Go Camping 

Part 3 – Let’s Get Cooking

Part 4 – The 5 Essential Tools For Camp Cooking

10 Must Haves When Camping shared with: 

*Colorado Springs Tours and Reviews: Friday Favorite *What’s on the List: Say G’Day Saturday *Sparkles and Glue: Sparkles of Inspiration *New Mama Diaries: Creative Style Link Up *2 Crochet Hooks: Snickerdoodle Sunday *Happy House and Home: Merry Monday *Mrs Tee Love Life Laughter: Mommy Monday *Create With Joy: Inspire Me Monday  *Creative K Kids: Bloggers Brags *It’s a Ginger Snap: Motivate Me Monday *Yesterfood: Treasure Box Tuesday *The Shady Porch: Party on the Porch  *The Crafty Wife: Wednesday Roundup * Crafty Allie: Worthwhile Wednesday * Crafty spices: Wordless Wednesday *2 Crochet Hooks: Wined Down Wednesday *Confessions of a Mommyholic: Pin it Party *Lambert’s Lately: Create it Thursday *Living Well Spending Less: Thrifty Thursday *Organized 31: Inspire Us Thursday *Happy and Blessed Home: Family Fun Friday *Calm Healthy Sexy: Let’ Get Real *Nancherrow: Friday’s Unfolded *The Diary of a Real Housewife: Friday Favorites * Create with Joy: Friendship Friday *Love Bakes Good Cakes: Freedom Friday’s  *Captain America and His English Rose: Pretty Pintastic Party


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. says

    These are some great tips. It seems like every time I go camping I forgot to bring something but a checklist like this can help me avoid making that mistake. Thanks for sharing.

  2. says

    So many great tips! I love that you were able to make fish tacos from your trip! I love the idea of having fresh food to eat, especially when out camping! Thanks for all of the options when it comes to camping, thanks for sharing!

  3. says

    Great camping checklist. A lot of things must be prepare for a trips so make a list help usremember all the items. Add some more items from your list. Thanks!

  4. says

    You have some wonderful tips here – I especially like the requirement for a sense of humour! I’ve never been a big fan of camping, my brother and I were lucky enough to go to Woodstock 99 up in New York State and some clever person decided it would be a good idea to set fire to the campsite! That was not a good experience.
    Clare recently posted…Cheerios & Fruit Breakfast MuffinsMy Profile

    • says

      I can see where that would dampen your experience, wow!I bet you can laugh about it now and at the very least it is something you will never forget! Thank you for coming by and sharing your experience. It made me chuckle. :)

  5. says

    Great information Shari! I’m heading out camping later today and thanks to your post, I realized that I didn’t pack a flashlight. Rookie mistake! It sure does get dark in the woods. Sense of humor is so important. Things never seem to go as planned and it is amazing that the things that go wrong are amongst my favorite camping memories.
    Christina @ Juggling Real Food and Real LIfe recently posted…Let’s Get Real Friday Party #49My Profile

    • says

      Now that are kids are grown Tim and I look forward to getting away with just the two of us. It is an incredible bonding time. Hope you and get away and get a chance to experience it.

    • says

      I agree, starting a fire with two sticks and some twine is certainly not my idea of a good time. Matches or a bic lighter is the only way to go! Thanks for stopping by and taking a moment to share. I appreciate it!

  6. says

    Shari, I’m so pinning this! I need to get it together in terms of what we will be needing for this type of thing. I’m so grateful for you sharing this series with us!
    Brittnei recently posted…I believe…My Profile

    • says

      Thanks Brittnei. It has been fun putting this series together and remembering all the memories that come with those pictures. Always a pleasure sharing at your party.

  7. says

    This is a great series, Shari!
    My husband is an experienced camper. I am not :0(
    He’s been wanting to go on a camping trip for months now, and after following your posts . . . I feel like I have more knowledge under my belt so that we’re prepared for when we decide to go.
    Thanks for all the great information!
    Have a wonderful week,
    Simply Suzannes at Home recently posted…maple agave lemonade with peaches & thymeMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks Suzanne. I hope you and your husband get to take that camping trip. It’s a wonderful experience even when things go wrong. It will give you something to talk about for years.:) Thanks for stopping by for a visit. It’s always a pleasure!

  8. says

    Shari, truly wonderful and invaluable tips for camping and vacationing outdoors. I will say the bug spray one is truly must even though I have never gone camping, because this summer alone from walking our puppy both Kevin and I have been getting bug bites galore and I am finding I need to definitely use bug spray more and more just for this, so I could only imagine going camping for a few days and not using bug spray how many bug bites I would get. Thanks again and shared all over :)
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Today It’s My SITS Girls Day!My Profile

    • says

      Thanks Janine. I have tried several organic and natural bug sprays along with the Skin so Soft from Avon everyone touts. While they work most of the time, I still carry the heavy duty stuff when I am out backpacking. Mosquito bites are miserable and drive me crazy from the itching. Thanks for stopping in a and sharing too.

    • says

      I am getting ready to take off today for another short trip to my happy place. Camping helps center me by getting away from the craziness for awhile. Thanks for stopping by and taking a moment to share.

  9. says

    I LOVE this series Shari. I shared it all over the planet and featured on my fb page. Whether someone is a camper, or not, your photography is just beautiful. Thanks for putting all this together for us. Carrie, A Mother’s Shadow

    • says

      Thanks Carrie. Everyone of those pictures holds special memories I never could have acquired sitting on my couch! I appreciate your sharing.

  10. says


    One day we are going to get an RV and go camping. I would love to travel to Idaho. I have only been there once but it was beautiful. The weather was perfect too. It is just to HOT in Alabama, Louisiana, and even Arkansas for me to camp. At least an RV would give us a little bit of air. I would love camping for relaxing, NO PHONES , and even NO internet for a short period. I also think that family have to work together, communicate, and stick together when camping. Camping should help build stronger families.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Tim and I do mostly camping in our 5th wheel now. Lugging 50-60 lb packs on our backs doesn’t hold the same appeal it did when we were younger. I enjoy my soft bed way more than the hard ground :) Getting away from everything is marvelous. Thanks for stopping by for a visit. I always enjoy your comments.


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