Camping can be the most fun you can have outdoors, and one of the greatest things about it is that it's an activity that all the family can enjoy together. As with all family activities and vacations, the key to a successful camping trip is thorough planning, and the most important preparation of all is to ensure that you have all the camping equipment you'll need for all circumstances. Here are 10 camping essentials you simply must have.
Let's start with the most essential item of them all (unless you're traveling in a motor home of course) – the tent. Not all tents are the same, so never plan a long camping trip without first having tested your tent on a shorter stint. Ensure that it's large enough and warm enough, and that you can easily put it up. Practice this at home, so that even if a storm breaks while you're in the process of erecting it, you'll be able to cope. If you are camping in extreme cold then I suggest you read our buyers guide on the best extreme weather tents.
2. Camp Beds
If you're traveling light, then you may think that camp beds are a luxury you can do without, but a night on a cold hard floor can change your mind. If you have the space, then good quality beds are a must, but alternatively inflatable camp beds can be a wise purchase.
3. Sleeping Bags
Temperatures in the great outdoors can be significantly lower than in urban environments, so it's essential that you have a warm sleeping bag when you camp out, even during the warmer months.
A good quality mallet should be on every camping shortlist, as it makes the act of putting up a tent much easier and much quicker. Spare pegs can also come in handy.
5. Cooking Equipment
Yes, you can always eat out, but is a camping trip really a camping trip if you don't cook meals over a camping stove? Don't forget to pack all the cutlery, pans and plates that you'll need.
6. Hiking Boots
Hiking is the perfect accompaniment to a camping vacation, and it's great fun and exercise for all the family. The key to a successful family hike is to have boots that are waterproof and well worn-in; never embark upon a long walk in new boots.
7. Camping Cooler
A high quality camping cooler adds a touch of luxury to your camping experience. Temperature Sensei has reviewed coolers in all sizes, and for all budgets, so you can carry food and drinks with you. They keep wares perfectly refrigerated for up to six days, so they're ideal for even longer trips.
8. Portable Phone Charger
You never know when you'll need your phone in the great outdoors, so keep it well charged at all times. Carry a portable phone charger or spare battery packs, and don't use all the charge up on photographs and videos.
Kids love camping, but we all know how easily they can get bored. Take a selection of card and board games with you to pass the evening and morning hours and you'll have a fun and peaceful camping trip.
Put new batteries in your torch before you leave home. Torches that fasten around your head can be especially useful on camping trips, leaving you with both hands free.
From the obvious, like tents and sleeping bags, to the items that boost your enjoyment, like camping coolers and board games, these ten items should always travel with you on a camping trip. America has a great outdoors, so explore it today.