Back in 1957, a handbook called Camping and the Outdoors was published in the U.S. and became a camping guide for countless families. According to that guide, a small army (or at least a large station wagon) was needed to lug all of the gear necessary for a weekend away among our natural wonders. Thankfully, modern camping options have gotten lighter, smaller, and easier to pack. If you’re longing for the chance to rough it a bit, we’ve compiled a list of the bare necessities needed for a night or two in the great outdoors.
Start with the Backpack
Get something small enough that you can carry long distances, but large enough to pack all of your gear, along with all of the other supplies you’ll need. To pick the right backpack for a weekend adventure, look for sizes from 35 to 50 liters. Be sure the backpack is comfortable, versatile, and includes straps, clips, and Velcro or zipper pockets.
Coastal tip: Each person in your camping expedition should carry their own backpack. This will help divide the weight evenly and allow you to carry all of the items needed for your trip.
Bring a Compass, Map, and First Aid Kit
Yes, a GPS unit is ideal, but roughing it means packing light without a bunch of electronics. A good compass never needs batteries and always points north. Before you go out, learn how to use a compass with a map. Additionally, find a map that covers the area where you will be hiking. If you cannot buy a specific map, print ones from your computer before you go and keep those sheets in a plastic, zip-lock bag just in case it rains.
Also, be sure at least one person in your party is carrying a fully-stocked, compact first aid kit.
Pack Your Shelter and Sleeping Bag
If you’re going in the summer, a tarp could be enough to protect you from the elements for a couple of days, which will save considerable space in your backpack. When choosing the right sleeping bag, bring one that is adequate for the location where you are going. The warmer the sleeping bag, the more room it usually takes up in your backpack.
Water and Food are Essential
One of the heaviest items you’ll pack with you is water. To minimize the amount of water you need to pack, bring along a water filtration or purification system. Additionally, food can add weight to your backpack and be a logistical headache for some families. Dried fruits, beef jerky, nuts, protein bars, instant cereals, as well as freeze-dried meals in pouches and cans saves space and makes food preparation quick and easy. You’ll find a full line of Mountain House® at your local Coastal.
Make Room for Cooking Supplies and other Tools
The less cooking supplies and tools you pack, the lighter your backpack will be. But, you don’t want to skimp on the essentials, including one pot or pan for a group of people. Each person will also need a bowl or plate, cup, and spork depending on the food you bring along.
In addition to cooking supplies, be sure to bring along a small ax, and a knife or multi-tool that includes a blade. These items come in handy for cutting wood, creating kindling, and more.
Carry a Lighter and Flashlight
If you want to have a backup plan, pack some matches as well. Today’s LED flashlights are a wonderfully light, energy-efficient option.
Camping Trips Start at Coastal
Stop by Coastal and pack up on camping gear. You’ll even find items for your RV, trailer, or other less-than-roughing-it outdoor excursions.