A few years ago, we started an annual tradition of going camping with a small group of friends over 4th of July weekend. Rocio and I came up with the idea shortly after we both adopted our dogs, and discovered that Independence Day (and the regular explosions of illegal firecrackers in our urban neighborhoods) drive them (and us!) absolutely nuts. We raised the idea of fleeing to the forest, where the anti-firework laws are actually enforced.
Though it started as a way to calm our pets, this trip has turned into one of my most loved annual traditions. I look forward to getting our families together and the opportunity to spend a few days together, before we go back to our busy lives and independent travels.
One of the things that I look forward to the most is spending time cooking together. Our meals are incredible! We spend the first part of each day cooking massive breakfasts as a group. After cleanup, we spend the middle of the day out at the river or lake, returning for a late lunch, a nap or hike, and then another big dinner with drinks and s’mores by the fire late into the night.
Consequently, we pack a fair amount of gear to turn these public campgrounds into a mobile kitchen capable of feeding seven voracious eaters. I shared a post last year with 8 handy things we always pack on camping trips, but I never actually shared our full packing list — I regretted it this year when it came time to pack up once again!
So this year, I kept a list.
Here’s our summer camping checklist:
- Coolers with ice — We have this one that keeps food cold for 2 days without adding ice.
- Plastic plates
- Mugs (one for each person)
- Water bottle (one for each)
- Paper towels
- Kitchen towels
- Pots and pans (1 small, 1 medium — or check out this camping set)
- Small colander (my friend brings this collapsible colander which I love!)
- Small mixing bowl
- A large tea kettle (for heating water for coffee and for washing dishes)
- French press (this one is not glass, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking)
- A set of packable cutting boards
- Knife (my friend has a set like this which is nice because they they include covers to make them more packable)
- BBQ tongs
- Telescoping forks (for cooking s’mores, hot dogs over the fire)
- Can opener
- Ziplock bags
- Garbage bags
- Aluminum foil
- Dishwashing pan — like this one. Check out #1 in this post for a trick to make camp dishwashing even easier
- Dish soap
- Plastic tablecloth
- Camp stove — we have this one
- Extra propane tanks
- Cash for buying firewood at the park
- All your food and beverages — that could be a post in itself!
- Tent: We have this one and love it! It is very easy to set up!
- Plastic tarp
- Sleeping bags
- Air mattress
- Battery operated air pump (and spare batteries)
- Flashlight/headlamp (one for each person)
- Camp chairs (one for each person)
- Duct tape
- Citronella candle
- Travel clothesline — I have this one and usually can string it between two trees.
- Folding card table (extra food prep area/food storage)
- Mini USB backup device charger (to charge cell phone/camera) — I have this one.
- Travel speaker for listening to music or podcasts at the campsite or beach. I have the Altec Lansing Mini H2O, which is great for camping because it’s waterproof and shockproof.
- Campsite reservation info and direction, printed out — in case you do not have cellular service.
- A small bottle of all-purpose/biodegradable soap like this one
- Shampoo (or dry shampoo, if you won’t have a shower facility)
- Bug spray
- Makeup-removing facial cleansing wipes (for washing face and removing sunscreen)
- Basic first aid kit (antibiotic ointment, anti-itch cream, ibuprofen, Benedryl, bandages, tweezers)
- Hand sanitizer
- Dog tie out — We have one like this that we loop around a tree.
- Dog food
- Water/food bowl
- Dog blanket
- Extra dog waste bags
- Dog collar LED lights (so we don’t trip over them at night)
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What’s on your summer camping checklist?
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