3 Point Checklist For A Summer Camping Trip

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Even though summer is coming to a close that does not mean that it’s over! If you live in the North East then you are well aware that the weather is bipolar and the temperature takes extreme leaps and bounds from cold to hot, and vice versa, day to day. if you live in the South West then you know summer hasn’t even hit its peak of heat as September rolls in, and if you’re from the South well…you’re hot and sticky year-round.

No matter what part of the country you’re from you should be prepared for the heat and bugs of summer. And you have to understand that just because school started doesn’t mean fall has. As the years press on schools start earlier and earlier in the year, but end around the same time. Kids still need to be kids you know!

I digress.

Let’s be real this lateness of summer is partially due to climate change. Everything is shifting. The West is full of wildfires as is Greece, the Northern Hemisphere is being hit with insane heatwaves. Locations across the globe have broken records for high temperatures and it’s only going to get worse from here.

As summers lengthen, shift and become hotter we must stay vigilant and pack our camping trips accordingly.

Always keep in mind the weather, location, rules, regulations, and time of year that you’re camping. All of those factors can greatly affect your packing strategy and packing strategy is of utmost importance.

The most important thing that can never be forgotten is that camping is a great way to create memories with family and friends. You get to explore, go on adventures and get away from the stress and technology of everyday life. It’s a great escape for all ages!

As the heatwaves keep rolling in here is a list of what to bring camping in the summer.

Captain Obvious

There is no such thing as a stupid question. It’s better to ask something you think is obvious than to guess. Safety is key out in the wild.

Now, you have your obvious camping needs including, but not limited to, a tent (with a rain fly), sleeping bags, sleeping pads, pillows, flashlights and lanterns, food, appropriate clothes, toiletries, medications, and a first aid kit. But we can’t forget the necessities of camping in hotter weather.

As I said above these are your basic camping necessities and you can add or subtract any number of items on this list depending on what kind of camping you like to do. If you’re the type of person that wants to sleep under the stars then you don’t really need a tent, just make sure you’re paying attention to the weather. You don’t want to be caught without shelter during a rainstorm.

You don’t need a sleeping pad but it definitely makes the ground much more comfortable. Food, water, and weather appropriate clothing, however, are paramount items in regard to success during any camping trip (or for general living purposes).

I would say sunscreen and bug spray are two of the top things to pack on your summer camping trip. If you’re going to spend all of that time outside you need to protect yourself from the sun as well as mosquitos and ticks.

When it comes to food and food preparation you must keep in mind pots, pans, can openers, utensils, a spatula, a spoon, spices, condiments, a coffee maker and all of the food! There are so many options for types of food that you can bring. And, it’s summer so don’t forget the s’mores, fruit, pasta salad, potato salad and sandwich makings.

Here are some of the best things for a more luxurious camping experience!

One of the best things for when you have a campfire, if they are allowed, is a place to put your butt! Camping chairs are great, compact and light. However, there are always rocks and stumps that you can put your fire in the middle of.

You can also bring a table to eat and play games at. It’s optional, but great for large parties and if you’re civilized and like to eat at a table.

Either way, this is a list of basic, and some not so basic, camping needs besides the few summer necessities that are extremely important.

Suns Out Guns Out

Now that we’ve covered basic camping needs here are some essentials that are summer-specific.

First things first, be aware of weather. Check the weather beforehand and watch for rain and extreme heat. The last thing you want to do is be unprepared and caught in a rainstorm or sitting in your truck with the A/C running because we all know that’s not why you went camping. You can do that at home.

Sunshades or any other type of roof to block you from the sun is another great thing to bring camping in the summer. Just because you pile on the SPF and wear a hat doesn’t mean you should stay in direct sunlight all day, especially for multiple days at a time. Keep in mind that no matter how good your base tan is or what your heritage you still have to protect your precious skin.

There are multiple ways to protect your skin from the sun. Keep in mind that not all sunscreens protect you from every type of ray. Click here for information about protecting your skin using sunscreens.

Another great way to protect yourself from the sun is by wearing the appropriate clothing. You’re looking for clothing with a higher UPF rating.

UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor. There are three levels of UPF and those levels are:

  • 15-24 which blocks 93.3-95.9% of UV rays, making it a decent amount of protection.
  • 25-39 blocks 96.0-97.4% which is even better than the first level.
  • 40-50+ blocks an amazing 97.5% or more UV rays making it the strongest UPF protection available.

You can buy everything from hats and shirts to swimsuits and umbrellas. There are some great brands out there but Patagonia is one of my favorites. Feel free to do your own research to find what’s right for you.

If you don’t feel like buying a whole new set of clothes then just put this Rit Laundry Treatment Sunguard into a load of laundry to add some protection to the clothes you already own.

As someone who loves and cares about the environment and who also loves and cares about saving money, Sunguard treatment is one of my favorite choices, especially if you’re bringing all the kids along with you.

Summertime is a Wild Time

Alongside sun protection we have bug protection. First things first, be aware that some people attract bugs and some people won’t be bothered at all.

It’s all about hygiene products. As a kid growing up in New England I was eaten alive by mosquitos and gnats but I had a good friend who, for whatever reason, decided to use shampoo with a fern scent. The bugs didn’t touch her!

Pay attention to the scents you use when you’re out and about in the woods. The best option is to use toiletries with no scent (I recommend Dr. Bronner’s because it’s environmentally friendly, can wash everything from your body to your hair to your clothes, and you can buy it unscented)!

Another way to avoid being eaten alive by the most irritating of pests–the mosquitos–is by camping away from any water source.

The larvae are born in the banks of ponds, lakes, and rivers. They can even survive in most weather except for extensively cold climates.

Make sure you pay attention to tick populations in the area as well because they are becoming their own epidemic. Always search the kids, your pets, and yourself for ticks.

Bug spray is another great option for repelling the despicable pests that haunt us in the woods. There are many various bug sprays to choose from.

If you plan on doing a lot of hiking then waterproof is easily the best option as your sweat won’t run it off your body. If you want to keep the bugs out of your campsite then you can buy bug repellent citronella candles, burn sage in your campfire, or burn used up coffee grounds. The candles are great if you don’t mind the DEET, sage is great if you also want to rid the campground of evil spirits and using coffee grounds is literally recycling something you’ve already used. Plus, coffee grounds repel bees and wasps as well!

If you’re looking to avoid the DEET in regular bug sprays then invest in some essential oils and make your own bug spray and bug bite soother!

The last way to prevent bugs from ruining your camping trip is to plan your camping gear accordingly and yes, I’m talking about a bug net.

They are light and easy to fold up so you can haphazardly shove it into a bag. A bug net will keep your sleeping quarters, or wherever you choose, free of bugs and pests that are known for biting and the “itchies.”

The most important thing to remember about camping in the summer is protection. Camping is not a time for itching and peeling, it’s a time to create memories with your loved ones and the outdoors. Your kids will remember their times’ camping for their entire lives, whether it’s a good or bad memory is up to them but either way, it will be remembered forever.

Make sure to take all the necessary precautions and enjoy the rest of summer in the wild outdoors!

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feature image credit: Photo by Jelle Canipel on Reshot