How to pack for a camping trip
June 10, 2004 8:05 PM   Subscribe


My wife is off to a five day festival out of state soon. She'll be taking ye olden greyhound bust there. It's at a camp ground with limited facilities. She's gotten her tent ready, but is pondering what to bring along. Since she's going via the bus, she's rather limited as to packing space. Basically, a duffel bag, a rubber maid tub, and a personal bag.

Suggestions as to what a person should pack for a week away from home? We've found some lists, but they tend to literally have everything but the kitchen sink on them.
posted by jeribus to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh, where to start? I'm an old hand at this; been tenting all my life, and backpacking for a good part of it. You've got to be a master of cutting out the frills when you're backpacking.

But, then, she isn't going to be out in the wild, where B.O. and shaggy hair offend only the grizzlies. So my minimal clothing recommendations (ie. one of everything, not two, not three. One.) wouldn't go over well.

[snips three pages of writing]

Come to think of it, you're going to have to tell a few more details. What has she already decided on, what is she wondering about, and where is she going and what will she be doing there?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:27 PM on June 10, 2004

Baby wipes, bug spray, first aid kit, waterproof matches, a flashlight, extra batteries, a rain poncho, toilet paper, eating utensils, a cup, feminine hygiene supplies (just in case,) extra socks, extra socks, extra socks, extra pair of shoes, sunscreen, laundry line rope (for hanging damp clothes, and to tie up trash away from the animals,) trash bags, salt and pepper, paper towels, travel kleenex, tweezers (for unfortunate encounters with bees and splinters,) soap, shampoo, towels, a can opener, and a bottle opener.

This is mostly a list of the important things I've forgotten to bring on recent camping trips, and sworn thereafter to never forget them again. Hope this helps!
posted by headspace at 8:29 PM on June 10, 2004

Well they key is to take as little as possible and as light as possible. I mean, I took a 3 day backpacking trip with a small day pack that weighed about 6 pounds full. Most full size backpacks weigh 6 pounds empty. You really dont need much and not having to carry weight around makes the diffrence between an enjoyable trip and massive physical challenge that you wont want to repeat. Lots of people approach backpacking that way, a test of endurance. It should be a test of your ability to live with out "things" and get back to nature. Take very very little. Only take the stuff you absolutely postivily will use every day. Things you might need or would like to have leave behind, your feet will thank you. And %99 of the gear made for camping sucks because it is too heavy. They make it heavy so it lasts and people dont return it when they fall off a cliff or whatever.. the lighter it is, the smaller it is, the more functions it does, the more it should cost because the more benefit you get from it.. but the camping industry doesnt see it that way. They make things tougher and heavier and say thats a "good thing" and charge you a lot for the privledge of hauling their heavy stuff around. People get confused about what they need because if you walked into a store and bought what they said you need you would need a car to carry it all. Its a racket.

All your answers are with Ray Jardine the guru of lightweight backpacking and his book: Beyond Backpacking: Ray Jardine's Guide to Lightweight Hiking
posted by stbalbach at 9:02 PM on June 10, 2004

Festival? Music festival? Or what kind? Where? The lightweight backpacking thing is great for covering 20 miles in a day, but ain't so 'propriate for hanging out with 10,000 of your new friends. Need more details to give good answer.

A thought tho: Onebag -- oriented towards travel to civilized (semi) destinations may be close to what you need.
posted by daver at 9:15 PM on June 10, 2004

I answered this question way back when for Google Answers [and made $4.50]. You can have my answer to them for free. It's not quite written to this instance, but it's a good starting point.
posted by jessamyn at 5:28 AM on June 11, 2004

Aspirin! I forgot that, and every time I forget it camping, I regret it!
posted by headspace at 8:01 AM on June 11, 2004

(headspace made this point, but just an extra 2ยข) After camping for years and years, the only thing I consistantly wished that I had more of was clean socks. (and bring those crew length socks, they are lighter than tube length, unless you are in serious tick / mosquito / bramble country. As a luxury item I like bringing a tiny little shortwave/FM radio, although some back-to-nature types may think this is a bad idea. And dress in layers, but that's pretty obvious.
posted by milovoo at 8:17 AM on June 11, 2004

What I am glad I brought for three days in southern California for the Coachella music festival:
* tent
* sleeping bag
* sleeping pad (for under the tent)
* fresh weather-approrpiate clothes for each day
* pajamas
* Sunscreen
* comfy shoes
* a hat
* basic toiletries (soap, moisturizer, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo)
* extra socks and underwear
* A large purse/small satchel to carry stuff during the day
* A towel
* snacks and non-cook food items
* A small flash light
* Earplugs--the only way I got any sleep in a noisy, crowded campground.

What I wish I hadn't brought:
* makeup (lipstick melted, foundation seperated, I didn't really want to wear it anyhow)
* books (heavy and I didn't have time to read)

What I wish I had brought:
* Wet wipes for sponge bathing
* Used plastic grocery bags to store trash in
* Memorabilia from my favorite bands (some gave autographs, and I had to get a scrap of paper signed while my friend got her CD itself signed.

What you might need, depending on climate:
* Extra clothes to layer--how does temperature vary from day to night?
* Bug spray with DEET
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:42 AM on June 11, 2004

Collect together eveything you think you might need or want for the trip. Divide into three piles: 'Absolutely essential', 'important' and 'luxuries'. Don't take anything but the first pile.
posted by normy at 8:53 PM on June 11, 2004

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