This past weekend I went camping on Petit Jean Mountain with a few friends. I love camping, but I’ve always done it with people who already have the gear. I’m going to compile a list of items that may make a camping trip go from terrible to Taj Mahal. Some far too extravagant for what some would call the usual camping trip and some pretty basic.
*Note: This is for camping in actual camp grounds with electricity and running water. Not backpacking or camping of the more rugged sort. Plus, this isn’t a survival list, just one to make camping a little more cozy.
- An oversized tent. The more room you have in a tent for your stuff, the better. Plus, you’ll need a good sized tent for point #2.
- An air mattress. Forget the egg crate; for a good nights rest on the hard ground, mattress is the way to go. And the taller, the better. You might be in the woods, but it certainly won’t feel like it. This is a picture of the set up I had this weekend. That’s a queen sized mattress about 2 feet high in a 6 man tent. Hopefully, you’ll have electricity at your site and you can use the electric air pump.
- Towels. Bring several. Whether for cleaning or if you’re lucky enough to have a shower, while you’re camping it’s inevitable there will never be anything clean around to wipe your hands dry with. Plus, if you can take your shoes off before getting in the tent (lay towel on inside of tent, take one shoe off, step on towel with sock, place shoes outside tent, repeat with other foot) you can feel free to bring the nice sheets for your mattress.
- Pump hand soap. Most sites have water spickets at them. After cooking, gathering wood, or whatever else it’s incredibly refreshing to be able to wash your hands.
- Small space heater. Nothing big at all, you don’t want to run the risk of a tent fire. This could really help out for cold nights. Don’t forget the extension cord.
- Flip flops. For walking around in the tent or in the showers. These clean easy and are easy to slip on and off; sort of the house shoe of camping.
- Hobo meals. New trick I learned this weekend. Make a pouch out of aluminum foil large enough to hold either a chicken breast or hamburger patty and veggies. Add whatever cut, raw veggies and your meat choice into the pouch along with seasonings. Seal the pouch and place it on coals in your fire for about 30 minutes. Open and eat directly out of the pouch for a delicious meal that required little effort. Tongs or oven mit extremely helpful in pulling pouch out of fire.
- Camping cook basket for smores. This is perfect for first melting the chocolate in the graham cracker. Place it in like a sandwich and toast on both sides. Then, roast the marshmallow and squish on top. I have honestly not found a better way. Here’s what the basket looks like:
- Rubbermaid storage box for food. Instead of lugging bags of dry food around, put it all in one Rubbermaid tote.
- If you’ve got it (and room) a small shop vac would be perfect for getting dirt out of the tent before breaking it down and storing. If you’ve ever tried shaking dirt out of a tent, you know it’s nearly impossible.
Camping isn’t for everyone, but hopefully with these amenities, it can be comfortable.