How to Pack for Different Camping Sites

Adventure is a spice of life and there is at least one form of adventure that can get different types of people excited.

As one of the oldest and most beloved outdoor activities of all time, camping has evolved over the years. People have found new ways to enjoy their favourite adventure and incorporated different elements according to their preferences. Packing for a camping trip, whether overnight or for a few days, now involve different essentials depending on what type of camping you are going for.

This definitive guide will give you all you need to know about getting ready and packing for every type of camping you'll want to go on.

The Basic Essentials

Whether you're going for just a quick hike up a mountain to camp or want to go all-out glamping (glamorous camping), there are things that remain constant in a packing list.
Regardless of your destination, these things are essentials but their variety depends on your kind of trip.

  • A tent, a bedroll or sleeping bag, or any material you can sleep on
  • Clothes that can be layered, so you can adjust to the weather accordingly
    • Walking boots, shoes, or sandals
    • Waterproof jacket
    • Durable socks
    • Hat
  • Toiletries
  • Safety items such as a flashlight, Swiss knife, first aid kit, extra batteries or power bank
  • Water bottle

From there, you can now stuff your pack with add-ons according to where you are planning to go.

Dry Camping Essentials

This type of camping means that you won't have access to a source of water and would have to bring your own. This usually involves bringing four-wheel drives and using whatever you find on your camping site or what you have with you. You need to bring the basics as mentioned above and some snacks or canned food to cook, depending on the length of your trip.

Backpacking Essentials

Backpacking is one of the most challenging and adventurous types of camping and usually involves wading through different types of ecosystems and setting up camp without prior knowledge of the area. Although this is for more seasoned campers, those who wish to go backpacking must have considerable knowledge on how to scout for a camping site, invest in good shoes, and get a sturdy backpack.

In this case, the backpack serves as both a pack for essentials, protection against the elements, and something to sleep on. Light backpackers usually carry 5 to 12 kilogram packs, which are enough to carry a few clothes, some trail food, and essential camping tools.

Beach or Summer Camping Essentials

From the list of basic essentials, you will need a few more items if you are to go to a sunny, sandy, and salty destination.

  • Cooking and heating equipment
    A bonfire may seem like a great idea not only for cooking, but for heating especially on cold nights. However, fires are often forbidden in most states, especially during the Summer season. Don't worry, you could still use LPG or butane burners as a safer alternative.
  • An insect net
    Although not necessarily an essential, an insect net will be handy for those balmy nights to keep out mosquitoes, sand flies, and mites. You may need to bring a light camp bed to keep you off the ground because some set ups attract other creatures even though you are inside a tent.
  • A small brush with a dustpan
    Sand has a way of getting into everything so you may need a small brush and a dustpan to help you clean up surfaces, from your tent to your own clothes. These are sold in pairs at most supermarkets and come very cheap as well.

Ski or Winter Camping Essentials

Camping in the cold is challenging, but nothing beats having a warm fire and snuggling with your loved ones on a cold snowy night. Even though you've brought your basics, the cold temperatures will demand more from your packing list.

  • Hand warmers
    Especially when you're out for a ski camping trip, these are important if you want to keep your fingers attached to your hand. Hand warmers are also a great way to keep yourself warm at night while sleeping.
  • Extra sleeping mats or pads
    Even though you already have your basic sleeping bag or tent, you will need extra pads or a camping bed if you camp on snowy, icy ground. Cold has a way of seeping from the ground and will get your teeth chattering in a few short minutes. Keep the cold out by using two or more well-insulated inflatable or foam sleeping pads to stay warm at night.
  • Extra warm clothing
    This is one of those things where lined leggings and socks are totally justifiable. You will need extra warmth than your basic camping layers. As for footwear, there are a variety of good-quality insulated boots and shoes made specifically for hiking or camping.

Whichever type of camping trip you're preparing for, respect the area where you will be camping in and be aware of the local community or the wildlife. It is important to clean up after yourself, take your trash when you go, and avoid disrupting the natural environment.

Remember to do your homework, plan well, get everything in order, and finally, enjoy your trip!

Cal Bailey

Cal Bailey runs - a travel blog he started after two years on backpacking around the world. If you want to learn more about life on the road or backpacking, make sure you read his sleeping bag guide.