Summer is the perfect time of year to get in the car and head out to explore the great outdoors.

Whether it’s a lake, the mountains, or your local campground, there are a few important things you should be sure are on your camping checklist.

Before you head out to the woods this summer, read on to learn more about the most important essentials every camper should bring along.

Shelter and Sleeping Basics

Since you’ll be outdoors, you want to make sure you have decent shelter from the elements. Be sure to bring a quality tent along with all the poles you’ll need to set it up correctly.

Don’t forget sleeping bags, too! Pick a thicker sleeping bag rated for cold temperatures if you plan to camp in the mountains since it can get really frigid there in the evening.

Make sure your tent is large enough to hold everyone. If it’s just you, a “pup tent” is fine, but if it’s the whole family, you’ll definitely need something larger.

Sleeping pads and cots are a great way to add comfort and keep you a bit elevated off the ground. If your sleeping bag doesn’t have a built-in pillow, make sure you bring one of those, too.

Let There be Light

It’s going to get pretty dark out there at night when you go camping. Make sure you have proper lighting to help you see and get around.

Choose a good camping lantern that you can carry with you if you need to venture out at night. Headlamps are another great option that will allow you to walk hands-free.

Products that need a lot of charging or juice can really benefit from dual batteries. No matter what you bring, be sure you have ample power sources to keep everything lit the whole trip.

Flashlights are another camping must. When the sun goes down, having a light source will be your new best friend.

Include Food on Your Camping Checklist

The type and quantity of food you bring will really depend on a few things. How many people are with you? Do you plan to do a lot of hiking or stay in one spot?

Create a meal plan in advance to ensure you have enough grub for everyone. If you choose to camp out on a campground, many of them have camp stores that sell the basics.

For hikers, you’ll want to bring enough protein bars and trail mix to last you. Cold food should be kept in a well-insulated cooler, so don’t forget the ice.

When you cook at your campsite, make sure you have enough trash bags to clean up when you’re done. Never leave trash or discarded food behind. It’s not only bad for the environment, but it can also attract bears and other wildlife.

And, since you plan to cook, don’t forget all the necessary tools and utensils. A small camping stove is also an awesome way to cook food in a jiffy.

Camping coffee pots are awesome for those chilly mornings when you need a cup of joe. Make a list of all cooking-related items you’ll need in advance so you can be prepared.

Don’t Forget Hygiene

Sure, when you’re camping, you’re roughing it but do you really want to go several days without brushing your teeth? Make a list of hygiene basics to bring with you.

Pack a small toothbrush, toothpaste, and hairbrush into your bag. Don’t forget deodorant and soap, too.

When you camp, you don’t need to worry about the extras like makeup and perfumes. But you also don’t want to get caught camping without the opportunity to feel clean.

In addition to basic hygiene items, be sure to bring any prescription medications that you or your family need. You’ll probably want to bring some toilet paper, too. Not all campsites have restrooms and even if they do, they might not always be stocked.

Camping Clothing

When it comes to outdoor adventure, layering is key. Bring several layers of clothing ranging from tank tops and tee shirts to heavy jackets.

Always bring more clothes than you need since you can expect to get sweaty or dirty throughout the day. Don’t forget your towels so you can dry off after a dip in the lake or a shower.

Rain gear is highly recommended just in case the weather takes a turn. For footwear, always bring comfortable hiking boots and sneakers so you can walk around in comfort.

Sleepwear and socks are two other must-haves for any camping checklist. If you plan to swim, bring a bathing suit or two as well.

Fun Extras

Once you’ve gathered all the basics, it’s time to think about a few extra items you can bring. If you have a hammock, it’s a great way to chill and relax on those lazy outdoor days.

Bring a few lawn or camping chairs so everyone can gather together around the fire at night. A pair of binoculars and a field guide are awesome additions for anyone interested in birds and wildlife.

For entertainment, you can bring a solar-powered radio or Bluetooth speaker so you can jam out. Bring a few fun toys for the kids if they’re coming along as well.

If you plan to bring your pooch along, make sure you have everything they need to be happy and taken care of. Bring dog food, medication, water bowls, and a leash so they can join in the fun.

Hit the Road with Essentials

Once your gear is packed, it’s time to head out and enjoy your next camping adventure. This camping checklist can help you make sure you and your family have everything you need for a memorable and fun experience.

With proper planning, you can enjoy camping any time of the year. As long as you have the right clothing, cooking extras, and sleeping gear you’re well on your way to a memorable adventure.

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