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If you are planning an upcoming camping trip, you’re probably starting to make a mental list of everything you’re going to take with you. But before you start throwing things in your backpack, take a moment to look over these simple packing tips to ensure you have the best trip ever.

  1. Make a (physical) list. This should always be step one when it comes to packing for any kind of trip. In this case, you will need to think carefully about what items can be considered “necessities” and what items are extraneous. Remember, you have limited space and you don’t want to over-pack. Needless to say, if you plan on doing any hiking during your camping trip, adventure shoes like comfortable walking boots, trekking sandals, or trail walking shoes should be at the very top of your packing list.
  2. Keep it simple. Again, only pack what you really need. Part of the fun of camping is getting back to the basics and finding creative ways to do things. If you happen to forget something important, think outside of the box!
  3. Don’t expect to cook anything fancy. There are plenty of easy, no-nonsense camping recipes you can find online. Don’t try to pack your whole kitchen with the intention of creating a four-course meal. Hot dogs, foil-pack or "hobo" dinners, sandwiches, and s’mores will likely be enough to satisfy the whole family.
  4. Pack the right clothes. You’re going to get dirty and you might even get a little wet. While a little dirt never hurt anyone, sleeping in wet clothes can cause discomfort and pose some health risks. The important thing is to stay warm and dry, so extra socks are essential. Make sure you pack layers that you can take off and put on as the temperatures shifts throughout the day and night.

To get you started on your list, here are a few of the most commonly forgotten items on camping trips:

  • Bike locks
  • Sunglasses
  • Trash bags
  • Flashlight (with working batteries)
  • Toilet paper and paper towels
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Toothbrush
  • Adventure shoes like hiking boots

Camping is by far one of the most popular outdoor recreational activities in the U.S., whether it is in a tent or a recreational vehicle. In 2013, the revenue of campgrounds and RV parks was estimated to be around $5 billion. However, your camping trip could take a turn for the worse if you don’t pack everything you need.

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