What to Pack for a Camping Trip
A favorite past time of mine and my family’s is camping. Growing up we didn’t have money to spend staying at a resort or hotel. So with a little saving and planning ahead, my parents bought a Coleman pop-up camper. After that, we took many vacations every year in our pull-behind camper. We camped all over- the mountains of Virginia, Myrtle Beach, Civil War battlefields, Colonial Williamsburg, a theme park or two, and many other places. One of our most cherished vacation spots however, is Ocean City, MD. While not necessarily known for the ‘classy’ atmosphere, it has been a beloved place for families in the MD/DE/PA area to go during the summer for many generations. My family is no exception to this.
This weekend we’re planning a Mother’s Day camping trip to ‘OC’ as the locals call it, for my mom and my ‘Aunt’ Terri (no biological relation but she and her husband are just like family).
For any newbie campers out there you may be wondering where to start, what to pack, and what to expect. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone! I’ve been camping since I was 5 and still don’t know it all. But I’m here to share with you what I do know!
1. Where do I start?
Well, you start by planning the kind of trip you want and location. For first timers, I do not recommend traipsing out into the wilderness with no experience. Its not smart. My family has always enjoyed staying at state parks (usually very inexpensive!) or at a privately owned campground. Now some of you may be saying “that isn’t camping” and I suppose compared to the rough and rugged campers you would be right. But this is a perfect mix of nature and convenience.
The second thing you need to think about is what you will be staying in- tent, pop-up camper, or an RV. Tent camping is the closest thing to the real deal but from experience it is so uncomfortable. If you aren’t committed to buying anything bigger than a tent, then there are many places around the country that will let you rent to test it out. Go with what makes you comfortable.
2. What do I pack?
That is a loaded question because there is so much that I could tell you to bring! It really depends on where you are going, how long, and what your activities will be. Going to the beach and mountains are completely different settings that require totally different gear. Not only that, but each season at both places requires different things as well.
For my trip to the beach this weekend, I know it will still be a bit brisk down at the shore line so I will be packing light weight clothes with jackets to go over top. A look I love on the beach is bikini bottoms with a cute hoodie on top. I’ll still get my legs nice and tan without being too chilled. I’ll also be bring my Sperrys, sun screen, big hat, neutral color shorts, jeans, a few neutral color tops, bright accessories, and my Vera Bradley beach towel.
Regardless of where you go there are a few things you simply must bring: bug spray, small toiletries bag, first aid kit, bath towels, and depending on if you’ll be dining in or not, cookware, lighter, and charcoal.
3. What should I expect?
You should expect a lot of memories to be made and a few mistakes that will make you laugh eventually. My family and I still make some whopper mistakes when we go camping but they make for a great memory later.
Also, expect to see wildlife. When we camp at OC, we go to Assateague State Park at least once for a day. This beachy area is home to dozens of wild horses and an even bigger population of heron and deer. After being with these creatures that roam freely around the park you learn respect for nature and to leave it alone. Take your pictures but don’t get in their way, you’ll regret it.
Finally, expect for plans to be shifted around. You can never stick to an agenda when camping. And maybe that’s a good thing. Be flexible and don’t let your trip be ruined.
Do you have any tips for camping? Comment below!