Thursday, April 5

Tent Camping List

Making Preparations For Tent Camping

My husband Bill and I are in the middle of digging out all our camping gear and sorting through it.  We are trying to decide what we actually need and trying to downsize.
Both of us have been camping as adults for well over, I hate to even say how long,  yea, over 30 years! 

A few years back, we decided to purchase a small cabin in the woods and have been spending wonderful peaceful weekends there...... sleeping on an actual bed.

We still tent camped with our son, who was in the Boy Scouts. But Daniel has been out of Boy Scouts for about two years now, since turning 18.

Camping with our son's Boy Scout Troop

Daniel waiting for Old Faithful.  He is now 21, sigh.......
The camping desire never left us.
We even traded in our early 1980's tent about 3 years ago for a newer model. The newer tents are so easy to put up! And the water proofing material sure has improved in 30 years!

Well anyways, after a couple trips out West we decided the only way (and the best way) to see
Yellowstone National Park again would be tent camping.
Me in a Yellowstone shirt cause I'm a goofy tourist!
So we are sorting through our camping gear, removing a lot of the things we needed when Boy Scout camping, and adding a few newer, more efficient items. Our current sleeping bags are about the size of a small car alone, so those need to be updated.  Next to staying dry, a good sleeping bag is one of the most important items to have when camping.  We plan to get back to basic tent camping, get comfortable with it again before our trip out west.
I have always used a check list when packing so we do not forget anything. I keep a copy of the list on my hard drive, then print out a copy and check each item off as I pack.

Below is the newest revised camping list I made.

Dutch Oven cooking
It does not detail food items to take because that changes each time we camp.  Sometimes we take sandwiches and/ or eat at a local diner.  Other trips, I cook all our meals at our campsite over a nice coal bed or we do a lot of Dutch Oven cooking.
That involves a meal planning list.
I also do not list toiletries or clothing, because that too changes with each trip, depending on the time of year, the weather and the location we are camping.
One of the most important things I've learned is too keep it simple. 
A phase our friend, Tom Thornton taught us is:
K I S S, for Keep It Simple Stupid.
You can make the camping experience as easy or as hard as you like, but camping should be fun and enjoyable.  It's a time to get away from work, the TV, the computer, and yes, I'm going to say it, the cell phone!
When packing for camping, you can fill boxes and boxes of camping gear, or pack very light.
We have friends that camp with everything they need in a backpack. 
We have done both, but we were more of the "fill the entire van full" type of campers when the kids were little.
You can choose to eat out, just eat sandwiches or cook over the campfire. 
Either way can be just as  fun. It's all up to you.
Cooking over a campfire 
But if just the packing for camping becomes such a big ordeal that you dread it, and so are putting off camping, you need to rethink all the stuff you're packing.
Make camping easy and fun, and forget all the clutter.
As I tell Bill, I am camping for enjoyment, not to cook and wash dishes.
Below is a basic list, there are many other things you may want to take.  Hopefully this will get you started!
Also, this list has changed for us because our kids are grown.  If you are camping with children, the list will be much longer!
We were camping while I was pregnant, and we camped when the kids were very small.  It is do-able!
In my opinion, camping is just good for the whole family.

"So why do it? Family Togetherness! Memories for a Lifetime! Instill a Love of Nature! "
~ Backpacker Magazine~
Autumn Smoky Mountain camping 

Camping List:           

Kindling / Fire starter
Lighter fluid
Coleman stove
Lighter / matches

Wool blanket
Air mattress
Air pump
Moisture Barrier
Sleeping bags
Tarp and Rope

Table cloth
Paper towels
Cooking pot
Pot holders
Dish scrubber
Paper Plates
Plastic ware
Ziploc bags
Hot dog roasters
Wire grill brush
Dish soap
Dish towel
Can opener

Dog Food
Dog dishes
Leashes / Tie-outs

Reading head lamp
Book to read
Cell and Charger
Electric car plug
Camp slippers
Baby wipes
Washcloth / towel
Rain jacket
Toilet paper
Tent potty
Boots / Keens
Eye glasses

Lantern / Mantles
Small flash light
Fishing poles
Tackle box / Worms
Deck of cards or games
Folding chairs 
Trash bags
Coffee Cups
Camping Axe
Bug spray
First Aid supplies
Map of Park / Directions

Coffee and Sugar
Mustard / Ketchup
Salt and Pepper


Wonderful early morning hot cup of coffee 

A few helpful hints:

1.  Firewood should never be taken with you.  The Emerald Ash Borer can be transported from one area to another in firewood. The Ash Borer KILLS trees.
2.  Always make sure to have a moisture barrier under your tent or under your sleeping bag!
(The purpose of a ground cloth (tarp) under a tent is to provide a vapor barrier to keep that cold, damp moisture in the ground from wicking into your bedding and gear.)
3.  No matter what the weather man says, be prepared for RAIN!
4.  Weather permitting, camp slippers are one of the best things to pack.
5. Tent Potty container.  Pitch black at night, cold, scary.  All that needs said.
6. Part of camping is experiencing the nature around you, the lake, mountains or forest, get out there!
7.  Stay away from the cell phone, it should only be with you for emergencies!
8.  Remember to let someone know where you will be and for how long.
9.  Do not be intimated! Take a small mattress or thick pad or cot to sleep on.  Be comfortable!
10. Speaking of comfortable, take whatever makes you comfortable.  A favorite pillow or blanket......
11.  An extra tarp usually always comes in handy, and rope. (see #3 about rain).
12.  Make the meals easy! serving Spaghetti, cheeseburgers, sandwiches or other quick food items gives the cook time for relaxation too.
Tent camping and sunset along Lake Superior, Canada

Now get out there and see the world from a tent!
Here is an easy to prepare camping recipe:
Ziploc Bag Omelet

2  eggs, slightly stirred
Small handful of precooked sausage, bacon, or ham
About 1/4 cup chopped onions, peppers, etc.
About 1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Put eggs in a Ziploc bag. Add cheese, meat and vegetables.   Season to taste. Place baggy in a pot of boiling water for about 5 to 10 min. Using pot holders or ladle remove from water. Open bag or cut top open and slide omelet onto plate.

Camping campfire for cooking or roasting marshmallows

Helpful Camping Websites:
Easy Camping Recipes
Camping With Kids

Places to See:

Camping in South Dakota

Lake Superior Circle Tour

St. Augustine, Florida Trip Ideas


Kim said...

Hi Elizabeth! What a great post about camping. :) I'm not much of a camper but my husband and his family are/were. They used to camp all over the place. Have a great Easter weekend!

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Kim: Gosh sorry I missed this comment from months ago, yikes. Sorry about that

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing such a pleasant idea about camping, the article is really good

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Glad you liked the post. We're thinking of another camping trip this September but haven't settle on anything yet. We better hurry and nail it down!

Anonymous said...

Hi there Dear, I have in fact been visiting this web page on a regular basis, it seems that you, without doubt write the words with fastidious care.

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Well, so as not to make a ninny of myself, I looked up the word fastidious to make sure I understood it to mean what I thought it meant. And thank you for the nice compliment. Yes, I try to be very "attentive to and concerned about accuracy and details". Sometimes (many times) though, I have typos, which drive me crazy! Thanks again

Anonymous said...

It's actually a very nice and useful piece with great info. I am happy that you shared this. Please keep us informed with more post like this. Thanks for sharing.

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Why thank you. It's always nice to hear one of my blog posts was useful or helpful in some way.

Anonymous said...

I really like it when folks get together and share thoughts, idea and info on a blog, it helps all of us. Great site, stick with it!

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...


Anonymous said...

This is great! Thanks for the printable list, it will sure save me time trying to figure out what to take. We are new to camping but have enjoyed our few trips we have taken. Thanks again

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

You're welcome!

Anonymous said...

Great article, exactly what I wanted to find. We are new to camping and love it!

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

There is nothing like camping and a great way to get into nature! Have fun!

Marsha Umek said...

I like your list. I used to camp 30+ years ago before my oldest was born. My ex and I were advisors for a Search and Rescue Explorer Post and always enjoyed camping with the kids. I don't know why we stopped, but we did. We also divorced after 11 years and as a single Mom working 2 jobs, I didn't have the time. About two years ago, I started buying camping gear. Mainly, because we are within a 10 mile radius of 2 nuclear power plants and we had a severe ice storm one year that left the entire city in a blackout for several days. We only had a gas fireplace for backup and it wasn't cutting it. So we packed up and went to my hometown and stayed with friends. I decided then that we needed to be prepared for emergencies. So, we finally got around to camping this year. At least now we are prepared to stay here or if we have to evacuate, we have the gear to do so. My husband and my seven year old had never been tent camping. We joined my oldest daughter for a weekend campout to the Highland Games. I am of Welsh, Scots and Native American descent. We had a blast that weekend. I don't rough it anymore due to being disabled, but I am not going to let it stop me from enjoying the few things I can still do. We have double height air mattresses, camp kitchen, stove/oven combo, a large tent and a smaller tent, camping cupboard with a table top, a single burner high pressure stove, and plenty of lanterns and small led lights. Oh, and a shower/potty tent. I have a 5 liter on demand water heater that I am going to put on a dolly with a 20lb tank. It already has a shower head attached. I have a clamping ideas site on pinterest. You can see some examples of what I am talking about there. I also bought a camp chair potty and a hand washing sink with a water tank and foot pump. Then I got really lucky last week and got a Camp Chef, 3 burner Expedition stove with griddle and windscreen for $76 at an auction. I used to love to cook, but I especially like cooking outdoors. I can't do the hiking and heavy lifting anymore, but I can cook and just enjoy being out of doors. I am usually homebound and sometimes bedbound, so these camping trips are very special for me. We went to SC and camped to watch the total eclipse and some friends joined us. We had a Low Country Boil and had a wonderful time. My husband and daughter are now hooked. I just hope my health will allow me to go more often in the spring. I used to camp when it was 27 degrees and snow on the ground, but I can't do that now with a little one. She is also special needs and due to my health issues, I can't tolerate extreme cold or extreme heat. I can still do summers as long as we go to the mountains where it is cooler, so I can still at least do 3 seasons. I would give anything if I could still go hiking, but those days are long gone. I now have to use a mobility scooter. I also still travel when I am able since my husband is from Slovenia and we both love traveling. I hope others will try it. If a 58 year old, disabled woman can still camp, anyone can. ;) Just learn what makes you comfortable and go for it. I call it clamping these days. No more roughing it.

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

So sorry to hear you have health problems but so glad to hear you are out camping. Yes, us too, as we have gotten older we seem to take more items that make camping easier. We love our Camp Chef but rarely take it camping. We purchased it for our Boy Scouts trips, but now that it's just my husband and I, we usually cook meat over the campfire, potatoes in foil on the coals and I throw together a salad. Or something easy like BLT's. Hope you get to enjoy many more days and weekends camping! Elizabeth