Recently, a friend was telling me about their first camping trip.
They had been invited on a group camping holiday, and the whole family were excited! It being their first time, no expense was spared as they eagerly prepared for their holiday.
After weeks of planning, packing the car, and a long drive out to the campsite, they began setting up. Eventually the kids asked:
“What are we sleeping on?”
Turns out the air mattresses/ camp-mats had either been forgotten and left at home, or forgotten and never borrowed/purchased in the first place.
This made me remember the first time I went camping with a group of friends (who were also virgin campers at the time).
I’d known my whole life that I’d wanted to go camping and also knew, that given the opportunity that I would enjoy it. But, there I was, 20-or-so years old had still never managed to actually go. I spent days, weeks, maybe longer, preparing for the trip. I was so excited for our Easter weekend camping trip I had bought everything I thought we would need – a tent, a butane stove, camping cutlery sets, you name it, I bought the budget (cheapest I could find) version of it.
Finally, the weekend came. Buzzing with excitement and anticipation, we packed up, headed off… And drove on to what ended up being the worst camping experience of my life.
One of our friends brought his girlfriend along. She didn’t even make it the first night! Her parents (lucky for her) made a three-hour-drive across town on Easter weekend to rescue her from our nightmare trip.
My boyfriend (at the time of the dreaded trip) had accidentally already (or drunkenly) eaten the food (all of it) that I’d bought specifically for camping, but didn’t tell me until I was starting to pack the esky, and all the shops were already shut for Easter. The lilo I had borrowed from a friend leaked, and went flat after we set it up. I’d forgotten to pack a torch. All five other campers also forgot to pack a torch.
It was a comedy of errors, really. And in hindsight, now that I’m an experienced camper, I know that given our inexperience, all these outcomes were inevitable.
Fast forward to now. After listening to my friend recount their failed camping trip, and reminiscing about my own failed trip, I thought about all the other people I know that have had a similar experience, and have never even wanted to consider going back for round two.
I hate that thought!! Camping is so much fun! For all age groups, and in a lot of cases, you can even bring the dog! Getting outside and appreciating this beautiful country we have is one of my favorite past-times, as I’m sure it is many of yours.
So, in an attempt to help out anyone who hasn’t been before, or maybe it’s been a while, or maybe someone like me who is a little forgetful (I forgot my head-torch last weekend which led to me falling down a 1.5-metre-deep hole in the dark), I decided to create a basic, printable, Camping Checklist.
Please feel free to pass it on to anyone who may need it, or even use it yourself. There is also a handy “add your own items” section where you can include anything I haven’t thought of, or you think you might specifically need, and then check off as you are packing. I reckon it’s also a great way to get the kids involved and teach them a little bit about the preparation that goes into camping too.
As always, I’d love some feedback! Is there anything on this list you think is totally unnecessary? Or have I forgotten anything major? Let me know in the comments below.
PS – I’m going to put together a few more of these packing lists. Next is a lightweight 5 day hike checklist, as I’m planning a walk from Noosa to Rainbow Beach soon. Are there any other lists you want to see? or examples/photos of our regular setup?