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Time spent in nature is never time wasted, which is why camping is one of America’s favorite pastimes, drawing over 40 million participants a year. Heading off the grid puts you face-to-face with the simple pleasures of life — inspiring natural landscapes, conversation around the campfire and replenishing fresh air — while keeping the stressors of life back home. But, given the intentional lack of amenities, camping takes a little more preparation than other kinds of getaways, but we’re here to help you simplify that part.
Pick Your Strategy
There are two ways you can look at your packing strategy for a camping trip: the minimalist’s approach (best for backpackers and those traveling via bike or boat) and the maximalist’s approach (best for those with a vehicle or camper of any sort). By nature, so to speak, both strategies require three basic components: food, shelter and emergency preparations. If there’s room, a few extra comforts items can be considered as well.
The Minimalist’s Approach: Backpack Only
When you can only bring what you can carry on your back (or on your bike or in your canoe), you have to keep things extremely lightweight and limited. There’s no room for camp chairs, firewood or a full-scale propane stove, but not to worry. Smart packing will help you get the most out of the space in your backpack or duffel bag. Here are the essentials you need for backpack camping.
The Everything-Plus-the-Camp-Sink Approach: Car, Truck, RV or Camper
Driving to your campsite? Load up the extras! When you’ve got a trunk or truck folding camping bed to fill, you don’t have to be quite as picky about what you pack. Go ahead and pack your hard coolers to the brim with the beverages and hot dogs. With that being said, space is still limited, and over-packing can weigh you down and cause you to be disorganized. Here are the essentials you need to pack when you’ve got a little extra room.
Leave it As You Found It
Remember, while you’re bringing a whole lot of stuff out into the wilderness, it’s vital that you take it all out of the wilderness when you’re done. Strive to leave no trace, always cleaning up your campsite behind you. We also recommend thoroughly cleaning all your camping gear before you pack up or right when you get home so it’s ready to go the next time you want to head out for an off-grid getaway. Happy camping!