Packing up for your next outdoor camping adventure can seem a bit daunting. Regardless of how long you are traveling, you want to be prepared for a variety of conditions. With that in mind, you also do not want to overpack and cause yourself to have to take on extra weight unnecessarily.
When packing for camping- whether backpacking, car camping, or hiking a short distance from your loaded car- avoid bringing poor-quality gear, gear that is not designed for the climate and weather you are in, and items that will take up too much weight/space. Avoid precious and breakable items.
With this point of reference in mind, you still might be wondering if bringing a few spare items is worth the hassle. After all, being underprepared can be a dangerous game to play, too. To make it easier for you, we have taken a few common camping mistakes and created a refined list of what you should not bring camping. By taking a look at this list, you should be able to make a better judgment on whether or not the item you are considering packing is worth it or is better left at home. Here’s the list.
Gear for the Wrong Season
One of the most dangerous mistakes that you can make when packing for your camping trip is to pack up for the wrong season. Sure, you went camping last summer and used all of the same gear, so why would the change of seasons make any difference? The change of seasons makes all of the difference while camping. Specifically, this is what will determine the weather (temperature ranges, precipitation type and amount, etc.) that will transform your camping experience.
Now, hopefully, you will have thought about this before purchasing your camping gear. You might have even bought a tent that is meant for all 4 seasons (winter, summer, fall, and spring). To be sure, though, you need to check the details on your camping gear- specifically on your tent, sleeping bag, the types of clothes that you bring, and any other type of gear that is meant for your protection in the elements.
Packing for the wrong season while camping is not just inconvenient, but it can be incredibly dangerous and even lead to hypothermia. When there is little that rests between your body and the cold earth floor, there is not much to protect you from the cold and wet weather. Consequently, you need to make sure that you have gear that is weatherproof, water-resistant, and designed for the season (especially the temperature range) that you are going camping in.
Of course, you will also want to check the weather of the place you are planning to camp and consider that hiking to any higher elevation will likely cause the temperature to drop pretty significantly the higher you go. It is always best to invest in high-quality gear that can be used in a variety of seasons if you plan on camping often.
Poor-Quality Sleeping Gear
While we are still talking about gear, let’s take a look at one of the most integral components of your camping gear: your sleep gear. What you plan to sleep on will transform your camping experience from entirely uncomfortable and exhausting to a restful and relaxing time in nature. Likely, you prefer the latter, so it is important to prepare yourself for a good night’s rest while camping.
For this reason, you will want to make sure that you are warm enough, that your gear is water-resistant, and that you have enough support between you and the earth to make for a comfortable night of sleep. Restorative rest is essential for recovery, especially after enduring a long and strenuous hike.
While there are many options for high-quality sleeping gear for camping out there, there are a few key components that will make all of the difference. First, invest in a high-quality tent that will keep moisture out. This will ensure that you do not wake up in a puddle (or even to the morning dew soaking the items inside of your tent).
Next, choose an appropriate sleeping bag that is both moisture-wicking and seasonally appropriate. There are many different styles to choose from, so be sure to opt for the one that has appropriate dimensions given your height and weight.
After this, you can consider any additional layers that you might add on top of your sleeping bag, but you do not want to overpack here. This is another reason that choosing to invest in a high-quality sleeping bag that can keep you warm even at very cold temperatures is so helpful.
Finally, while some might consider it a luxury, experienced campers know how essential a camping pillow is to a good night’s sleep. Whether you go for a sack-style, inflatable, or down pillow, you can find a lightweight option that will keep your head and neck fully supported overnight.
The Wrong Types of Food
Now, as we shift from thinking about packing too much or too little gear (and how important it is to find the right balance when packing for your camping trip), it is important to consider packing the right type of food for your trip. We are not here to tell you how to season your food or at what time you should eat- however, packing food that is both nourishing and long-lasting is essential for a camping trip.
When packing for a camping trip, avoid bringing food that requires refrigeration or that takes too long to cook. Even with the best preparation prior to your departure, you run the risk of your food going bad and leaving you without any nourishment. Instead, choose nourishing food that can be kept at room temperature and does not take long to prepare.
You can also bring along a small cooking set such as a camping stove- but keep in mind that the more you bring along, the more you will have to trek with you to your final camping spot. This also means that you might want to ditch the cans in your backpack considering how much additional weight this can add (and since you cannot just toss the cans into nature to dispose of them once you have consumed their contents.
Full-Sized Toiletries, Makeup
As you continue filling up your camping backpack (and whatever else you plan on bringing with you), an easy way to cut down on unnecessary weight is to only pack what is absolutely essential to get you through your camping trip with toiletries. Many people enjoy burning a fire on their trip- so realistically, even a thorough wash might not get out the smoky smell in your hair.
Instead, just embrace the outdoors and all that it offers and pack as light as possible in this arena. And, if you are someone who is used to wearing makeup and preparing yourself with a more thorough or extensive grooming routine, consider this camping trip as a chance to take a break and to embrace the beauty that already lies within you. Nature has an incredible way of drawing that out.
Going back in terms of safety, even if you have a historic map of the area that you plan on camping and want to make a gorgeous piece of artwork out of it once you arrive home, this does not mean that this is appropriate for your camping trip.
Instead, outdated maps can lead you to dried-up water basins, dangerous or unexpected turns, and can ultimately place you in a really bad spot. Instead of going vintage here, invest in an updated map that has all the locations and phone numbers for nearby emergency response teams, just in case.
Electronics, Precious Items
Now, for nature photographers, bringing high-quality camera gear is not out of the question when it comes to packing for a camping trip. However, unless you plan on taking gorgeous and professional shots, it is best to ditch as many electronics as possible and take the time to unplug.
There are a few reasons to avoid bringing electronics on your camping trip. First, electronics that become exposed to the elements run a greater risk of becoming damaged. Second, you will likely need a way to charge your electronics, and unless you are carrying enough support to charge everything up (quickly enough, at that), then you want to leave this to the absolute necessities like a cell phone for emergencies.
Third, electronics can be easily misplaced, left behind, or stolen while you are away from your tent. While this is an unfortunate reality, it is a reality nonetheless. By avoiding bringing electronics on your trip, you can embrace the sound and openness of nature and avoid a lot of financial heartbreak in the meantime.
With this in mind, you will also want to avoid bringing along precious mementos and expensive jewelry, too. While it is understandable that you might want to bring a piece of home with you- especially if you are out on a long journey- you might consider taking a picture of the precious memento and bringing the picture around with you instead. Then, if it happens to become damaged or lost, you will at least have the true treasure waiting for you back at home.
And, while proposing to your soon-to-be-fiance on your camping trip can be entirely romantic, you need to make sure to take extra caution if you are bringing along precious and expensive jewelry. Avoid bringing along any jewelry if possible, but especially avoid any that is breakable or would be terrible to lose.
If you plan on bringing your best furry friend along with you on your camping trip, you need to make sure that they are cleared to enter into the area that you plan on setting up your tent. While there is nothing wrong (and can be so many things that are right) about bringing along your dog on your camping trip, you need to make sure that they are not going to pose any danger, be in danger, or be forbidden from entrance into the camping area that you are planning on going to.
This can lead to danger to you and your pet- specifically, if your dog is not well-trained and is prone to running off, this could leave you in a really tight position. Or, if you bring a dog (or another type of pet) into an area where domestic animals are forbidden, this could leave you with high fines that will not be worth the risk of getting caught. To avoid the hassle, be sure to check before you bring along man’s best friend.
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