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Is A Camping Checklist Necessary?

Is a camping checklist necessary?

How often do you forget things when you go camping? If you're like me, pretty much all the time - it's just a matter of whether the forgotten items are critical or not. Perhaps you're not a checklist kind of person, but when it comes to camping, a checklist can make the difference between a pleasant trip and a disaster.

My wife and I enjoy camping and have scheduled in a trip almost every year since we were married. There was one particular year where we were checking out a new area and were very excited to get going. We quickly loaded everything in the car and were off! We were excited to hit up the new place, enjoy nature, take in the scenic beauty. We found a nice site that worked for us. We set up our camp, got situated and then started on dinner.

We like tinfoil dinners - meat, potatoes, onions, other veggies, seasonings and what have you wrapped in tinfoil and cooked in a fire on a bed of coals. My wife did a great job getting the dinners put together while I gathered firewood. I got back and she asked me to grab the tin foil for her. As I looked through our stash I couldn't find it anywhere. I asked her "Is it in the car maybe?" to which she responded "it should be with the stuff."

Of course, we'd forgotten it. Okay, no problem, we'd improvise. I went to grab the matches and start the fire. No matches. No lighter.

At this point we were getting pretty hungry. I did what any trained wilderness expert would do...I hightailed it to the nearest town to find a quick dinner. Luckily, it had a Burger King so Whoppers were on the menu for our wilderness outing. As we sat there eating our dinner the camp host walked up to see how we were. I don't know if that guy had seen civilization for decades. He was a rough looking sort with a long beard. He was probably used to killing his own dinner and cooking it every night and here we were with our Burger King combo meals. It was great. We showed him we knew what for!

It wasn't long after our meal that we discovered the flashlights were missing. It was interesting finding our way in the dark that night.

Needless to say, our camping trip was cut shorter than we would have liked. After we got home, we had a good laugh, but the whole trip would have been much better had we taken all of the needed supplies.

So the moral of the story is ... use a checklist.

Enjoy the great outdoors - just remember to be prepared. If you don't already have a checklist, you can download a camping checklist from to help you get started. Good luck and happy camping!


3 comments… add one
  • Just went on a scout camp this weekend and one of the vehicles got a flat tire. It would have been a much worse scenario had there not been a spare. In addition to ensuring that you have the camping equipment you’ll need, don’t forget about the possibility of having your vehicle break down. Don’t assume you’re cell phone will save the day. There are still areas on the planet with no cell phone service.

  • You are out in the woods…outside the vicinity of convenience stores…so you might as well be equipped appropriately to address any problems you might encounter along the way.

  • It is vitally important to make a list and check it twice! We are going camping this weekend and I almost forgot to bring utensils and would have to eat macaroni and cheese with my hands. I almost forgot to pack sunscreen and sunglasses, but it should be at the top of everyone’s list! You don’t want to get sunburned and want to protect your eyes when you are out in the sun all day! For those that do a lot of reading on camping trips, you should specifically get polarized reading sunglasses since they reduce the strain on your eyes (Sorry, I know I’m a bookworm :))


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