This morning I talked about choosing your tent, which you can find here. We chose the Vango Farnham 600 which I will describe in detail on Tuesday since it will arrive late Monday. We live in the boonies so FedEx and UPS show up after dark some times.
Anyway, what do you need for tent camping? Obviously this is going to be different depending on the number of people, where you’re camping, and how long you intend to camp. Use this as a list of suggestions, not as a list of requirements. Also, your list may be shorter if you really want to rough it. That’s the beauty of tent camping, it fits you not the other way around. You’re on vacation – have fun!
- Your tent. lol
- So, the first less obvious thing for us is our hillbilly AC. I have mentioned it a few times and now I’m going to show it to you. I apologize for the dog, that’s Polar Bear. The AC was working so it was the coldest spot in the house.
Anyway, as you can see it is an old cooler that my husband cut three smaller holes and one large hole in. The big hole pulls in air through a battery operated fan and that air blows across the ice inside the cooler. Then it comes out the two vents on the right and the fan (not shown) helps move it. This is a must when camping in the south! If you are interested please let me know and I will do a blog post with instructions on how you can build your own. My husband upgraded it so it’s not a standard hillbilly AC. It holds ice for two days with a fan that will run on batteries for two days solid.
- Sleeping bags rated for the weather you will be camping in. Or you can buy sleeping bag liners to put in a summer sleeping bag if you plan on using a heater in the winter, which is what we do. We also camp in Southern Alabama and Florida in the winter since the weather isn’t as cold as here. If you live up north then visiting Northern Alabama is going to seem hot to you, so you can just come here. lol
- Lanterns. My husband prefers camp fuel and I prefer solar/multi-functioning. My lantern provides light as a lantern or a flashlight, charges my phone/laptop, and plays music through a bluetooth speaker. Hubby’s just lights up the whole campsite. All three of our kids now want a lantern like mine, so I think we know who has the better idea.
- Food, cooler, cooking utensils, storage, plates, bowls, etc. Unless you’re planning on eating out the entire time you’re camping. We usually eat breakfast and dinner at the campsite and grab lunch while we’re out. We carry snacks with us.
- Camp table. Even if you have a picnic table at the camp site, a camp table is great because you can bring it inside and have a place to play games if it’s raining. Or it provides a bug-free place to eat.
- A charcoal starter and toilet paper tubes stuffed with dryer lint, paper, charcoal, and twigs. It can start about any kind of fire you want! You can even put an eye off of an old propane stove on top and cook on it! Or just build a campfire with it and make your meals the old fashioned way. My husband says that this is a must have. It is basically a portable rocket stove. YouTube it! He only paid $6 for this one.
- Upgraded tent pegs and a tent peg puller. More than likely the ones your tent came with aren’t heavy enough to withstand rocky, tough ground. We got the Vango ones to match our tent. We also got groundsheet pegs that won’t rip the floor. My husband says that you will fall in love with the puller and it is a must have.
- $1 3″ LED flashlight from WalMart. These things are super bright and come with batteries – for $1! We keep five of them around at all times and they’re great for the kids.
- Streamlight headlamp. It’s waterproof and has a lifetime warranty. Comes in handy if you have to pitch your tent in the dark.
- Totes to hold all of your gear. These are great to organize everything you need and keep your stuff from getting strung around your vehicle. We have three divided between mess kit, utility tote (lights, rope, tarps, repair kit, etc), and a dry food tote.
- Extra rope, tarps, repair kit, first aid kit, extra diapers, wipes, batteries, battery operated fans, etc. Make a list of things that you could need and bring it in case. No one wants to visit a retail store on their vacation (at least we don’t, unless it’s Bass Pro Shops).
- Water jugs and portable water bottles. We carry ten gallons with us and the little Kool-Aid packets or flavor drops because we’re sweet tea drinkers and don’t do plain water. Yes, we’re horrible, awful, sugar addicts, but we survive somehow.
- A peculator or propane coffee maker. You can also check out the Black Rifle Company Collapsible Pour Over Device. Use the link and get 20% off your first order! The Collapsible Pour Over Device is listed under Gear, or you can search for it. Get a bag of their coffee while you’re there and support our veterans!
- Weather radio or weather advisory app. Just in case a tornado or hurricane is heading your way, you’ll know in time to get to safety. Your tent is not it! Remember, “It’s not that the wind is blowin’. It’s what the wind is blowin’.” -Ron White.
- Google Maps or whatever “comparable” app Apple has these days. Know it and use it. Also, a lot of National Parks have hiking maps that you can download to your phone so you don’t require cell phone service. If you have never hiked before, choose an easy trail. Getting injured in the middle of nowhere will ruin your camping trip, I promise. Especially if you don’t have cell phone service.
- Also, if you are a member of Passport America, and you should be, they have an app. You can use it to find nearby campgrounds that will give you 50% off campsites. The app is free and a yearly membership is only $44 so check it out!
Over time I will go into greater detail and provide personal reviews of products that we purchase for camping. So, come back often and see what’s new!
Do you feel that I may have forgotten something? Let me know in comments! Thank you for visiting!