Tent camping brings you so close enough to nature to experience it on a personal level. Perhaps you’re drawn to the wooded islands and rocky shorelines of Maine’s Acadia National Park or to fishing and boating along the Alagnak Wild River in the Alaskan peninsula.
The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina, and the nearby Appalachian Scenic Trail running from Maine to Georgia, bring close the wonders of old and gentle mountains while the high country of Montana’s Glacier National Park takes you up into the sharp peaks along the “backbone of the world.”
Whether you’re a minimalist backpacker who sets out alone or a parent or grandparent who enjoys family times around the fire in a well-maintained campsite, the wonderful common denominator here is your camping tent.
While memorable tent camping outings may come about through spontaneity and good luck, great trips usually depend on attention to planning and logistics, from researching camping locations and making reservations to arriving with the proper equipment and supplies for a safe, well-maintained camp.
If you already own a tent, set it up before the trip to make sure it’s clean and in good condition. If you plan to rent or buy a tent, select equipment that matches the season, weather conditions, the number of people going on the trip, and the amount of privacy and space required.
With reliable directions to the campsite and a realistic travel plan, you’ll be able to schedule your arrival time during daylight hours. Tent camping can be stressful if you have to set up your tent in the dark at an unfamiliar camp site without waking up nearby campers who’ve already turned in for the night.
Savvy travelers often print out packing checklists for business and vacation trips. This is more vital on a tent camping trip where comfort and safety issues can loom larger in areas where help is far away and opportunities to shop for forgotten items are limited. Here are a few ideas for your next tent camping trip:
- First aide kit, sunscreen, insect repellent, ID card
- Tent, tent poles and stakes, ground cloth
- Sleeping bag, pillows, air mattress (with pump)
- Lantern, extra mantles, flashlights, matches, batteries
- Insulated cups, cooking supplies, dishes, eating utensils
- Food, water, salt, pepper, coffee, coffee pot
- Aluminium foil, plastic bags, plastic wrap, trash bags
- Personal items, soap, toilet paper, towels, medicine
- Layered clothing, hats, raingear, sun glasses
- Hiking/climbing boots, shoes, extra socks
- Cooking stove and fuel (if not using campfire)
- Dish pan, dish soap, wash rags, scrubbing sponge
- Cooler and ice (or substitute)
- Map, binoculars, mirrors, compass, guidebooks
- Rope, twine, knife, axe, mallet, folding saw, whistle
- Weather radio
- Games, camera, film
Pack light and choose items with multiple uses. “Be Prepared,” as the Boy Scouts say, and you’ll have a wonderful tent camping trip.