Snacks and dinner and breakfast, oh my! Bring a bit more than you think you’ll need to account for the extra energy spent setting up camp and exploring the surrounding area (and also because you never know when the munchies will hit). be forewarned, lots of smaller animals that live near campgrounds are used to scavenging off campers and might come a-running once those cheese burgers hit the grill or after you’ve popped open the cole slaw. That said, it’s important to remember that Oreos are not a typical part of a chipmunk’s diet and you really shouldn’t dole out treats, no matter how cute these critters are. Think about waste and trash while you’re packing as well. As much as you love mac and cheese, cleaning a pot that’s been coated in Velveeta is going to take a whole lot more water and effort than wiping off a plate that once supported a hot dog or two. Jazzed up oatmeal works great for breakfast (all you need is hot water) while foil-pack recipes make for super easy dinners with little to no cleanup.
15. Plates, Bowls, Cups, Utensils and the Like
I recommend skipping paper products in favor of a reusable, packable dish set from an outdoor company (classic camping spork included), but in terms of cooking supplies you should feel free to use what you have on hand and are already comfortable working with, like your favorite small frying pan, paring knife or tongs for grilling. And of course, don’t forget the roasting forks for toasting marshmallows.
Shop camping dishware: Humangear GoBites Uno Spork ($3); TOAKS Titanium 3-Piece Cutlery Set ($20); Rolla Roaster Hot Dog Forks ($20); GSI Outdoors Santoku Knife Set ($35); L.L.Bean Stainless-Steel Percolator ($70); GSI Infinity Four-Person Deluxe Table Set ($70); Mountain Summit Gear Roll Top Kitchen ($100; $75); Stanley Base Camp Cook Set ($80)
16. Cleaning Supplies
If the campsite has running water you can go ahead and pack some dish soap and a sponge to clean out any pots, pans and dishes on-site, but if it doesn’t, pack an extra roll of paper towels or a stack of microfiber towels to simply wipe things down before giving them a proper wash once you’re back home.
17. Water Filter or Iodine Tablets
Almost every car campsite across the country has clean running water available for campers. But if you’re opting to visit someplace further off the beaten path, you’re going to want to bring along some method with which to purify water. Water pumps and filtration systems are very easy to use, or you can try chlorine or iodine tablets although some folks find these have a negative effect on the way their water tastes. You can also fill up all the reusable water bottles in your cabinet at home before you hit the road, but it helps to have a backup plan just in case you go through those bottles faster than you anticipated.
Shop water purifiers: Katadyn Micropur Purification Tablets ($15 for set of 30); Aquamira Water Treatment ($15); Sawyer Mini Water Filter ($22); Katadyn Hiker Microfilter ($70); Grayl GEOPRESS Water Purifier ($90)
GOOD TO HAVE ON HAND
The following aren’t considered completely necessary to bring along, but they’ll certainly make your outdoor stay all that much more comfortable.