Pack Your Bags You’re Going Camping: 10 Must-Haves To Bring On Your Trip
Even if you’re an expert camper and you’ve gone out in your Bowlus hundreds of times, it’s great to have a reminder of the absolutely essential things everyone must bring when they go camping.
If this will be your first adventure, welcome! We’re happy you’re here and ready to share this experience with us. We’ve created a list of the top 10 absolute “must-haves” to bring on any camping trip, great for any experience level so that you can get down to the business of having fun more quickly.
#1. Leveling Tools
One of the most important pieces of camping gear to bring on any camping trip are your leveling tools. Leveling your camper is essential to having a safe, comfortable camping experience. In order to level your camper correctly, you need a few tools— either a few boards (two feet long and eight-inch wide is preferred) or leveling blocks, chocks, and a bubble level.
Don’t leave for any camping trip without these tools, and make sure you feel confident with performing the leveling process yourself. If your travel trailer isn’t level, it can result in an uncomfortable, off-balance camping experience.
#2. Extra Propane
If your travel trailer has appliances that run on propane, like our Endless Highways Edition travel trailer does, you won’t want to run out halfway through your camping trip. It’s important to know exactly how much propane your camper needs to function and how big the tank is. You’ll also want to make sure you know how to change the tank and how to store extra propane safely. With a Bowlus, you’re in luck because your propane tank can last at least two weeks off grid with frequent use, so you never have to worry about running out while you’re off having adventures.
Most travel trailers need propane to power not only their stovetop burners but also the refrigerator/freezer, water heater, and the heating system in the camper (including floors, if you’re lucky enough to have that feature, which is standard with a Bowlus).
#3. Hard Copy Directions
In a world full of technology, it’s easy to forget that that technology doesn’t always work as well as we need it to. Having a GPS on your phone or your dash is great when it’s working properly, but you don’t want to get lost with no way to find your way back to the campsite or home.
Before leaving on your trip, make sure to print out or write down directions on how to get there and back. You’ll also want to make sure that you have a road map (that you know how to read) handy. Hopefully, everything will work as it should but, if it doesn’t, you’ll have a backup so you can still get to where you’re going safely.
#4. Toilet Paper
This one should be obvious, but it’s easy to forget the obvious things, especially when you’re in a rush to get on the road. You should always bring additional rolls of toilet paper when you go camping, whether you’re camping in a travel trailer with a toilet or just using the outdoors when you’re boondocking.
How much you bring is up to you. You don’t want to take up too much of your storage room with toilet paper, but you also don’t want to run out in the middle of your trip. Luckily, if you stay at a campground, many have convenience stores where you can purchase extra supplies in an emergency situation.
Towels are one of those things that you always think you’ll remember, but people frequently forget. But towels are absolutely necessary for so many parts of camping… bathing, showering, even sunbathing or drying off your dog after they take a dip in the creek!
Always pack more towels than you think that you’ll need, and aim for using towels made out of recyclable materials so that they dry quicker and pack down smaller to leave you more storage space for more exciting camping gear.
#6. Campfire Tools
What fun is camping without a campfire? We’d argue that campfires are a quintessential part of any camping experience, so getting to your campsite without a way to start one is something you should avoid at any cost.
While some people are capable of starting a fire without needing many tools, and it’s helpful to at least have some idea of how to do that, it’s a much better idea to make sure that you pack your campfire tools every time you go on a trip.
Campfire tools vary depending on where you’re staying and the type of fires that they allow, but you should always make sure to bring a way to start the fire (lighters, matches, etc.), kindling or paper to get it going, and a source of fuel.
If you’re staying at a campground, you may be able to purchase firewood there instead of having to bring it with you. You’ll also want to have a way to put it out afterward— and don’t forget the roasting sticks and s’mores ingredients!
#7. Tool Kit
A tool kit is a must-have on any camping trip, whether for a weekend or for an extended amount of time. Whether you need to fix something on your towing vehicle, or just need a screwdriver or hammer, having a useful, well-stocked tool kit is essential. A few things that every camping tool kit should include are:
- Screwdrivers (both flathead and Phillips head)
- A hammer
- Duct tape
- A pocket knife
- Wrenches (adjustable and Allen, preferably)
- Socket and ratchet set
- Wire cutters
- Zip ties
- A tape measure
- A utility (Exacto) knife
- Work gloves
- Extra fuses
Along with a stocked tool kit, make sure that you have at least some idea of how to perform essential repairs while you’re out on the road.
#8. Outdoor Chairs
What fun is sitting around the campfire if you forget the chairs to sit on? A good quality outdoor chair is an important part of roasting marshmallows and hot dogs or even just sitting around telling ghost stories late into the night. Outdoor chairs will have to withstand a fair amount of heat, so make sure that you take that into account when purchasing.
To really up the ante, purchase outdoor chairs that have cup holders built into the arms. That way, you can set down your beer (or soda, for children and non-drinkers) without worrying about it getting kicked over. Some chairs even recline or come with footrests and can be just as comfortable as chairs that are inside the home.
#9. First Aid Kit
The best way to keep everyone safe on a camping trip is to prepare ahead of time by putting together and remembering to pack a quality first aid kit. The purpose of a first aid kit really is to never use it, but knowing that you have it can help you relax a little more while you’re out in the middle of nowhere.
According to the Red Cross, here are the essentials that should be included in any first aid kit:
- 5 x 9 absorbent compresses
- Assorted size adhesive bandages
- Adhesive cloth tape
- Antibiotic ointment
- Antiseptic wipes
- Cold compresses
- An emergency blanket
- A breathing barrier
- A thermometer
- Gauze bandages
- Gauze pads
You should also make sure that you pack additional prescription medication, especially if anyone camping has any life-threatening conditions like diabetes or severe allergies (especially an extra EpiPen). You don’t want to get caught hours away from a hospital without the right medication. It really can be lifesaving.
#10. Rainy Day Activities
And finally, make sure that you don’t leave home without at least a few rainy day activities that you can do if the weather decides not to cooperate.
While it’s great to think that it’s always going to be sunny and moderate in temperature for the entire trip you’ve been planning, the reality is that rain happens. Don’t get trapped inside your travel trailer, especially with small children, with nothing to do for hours at a time. That’s a recipe for frustration and disaster.
Coloring pages, board and card games, puzzles, arts and crafts, or just a few pairs of rain boots and the ability to let go enough to allow your kids to go out and play in the rain. Make sure you’re prepared for when things don’t go exactly as you planned. Your Bowlus comes equipped with a magnetic tablet mount in the bedroom and sitting area for those rainy days when Netflix is the answer, or you can even play rainy day bingo or have a scavenger hunt. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun!
No matter how experienced a camper you are, it’s easy to forget even the most essential things when you’re packing for your next camping trip. When you’re out traveling the world in your Bowlus travel trailer, you have all the amenities you need, but it can’t hurt to bring a few extra tools to make your trip even better.
Use this article as a checklist so that you can enjoy your time without stressing out about what you might have forgotten at home. Even lifelong campers, like those of us here at Bowlus, need a reminder from time to time!