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What to Take on a Weekend Camping Trip

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 4 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Camping Tent Weekend Clothes Rain Jacket

Summer is the perfect time of year to slip out for several weekend camping trips. Although you can do much more and completely relax if you go into the country for longer breaks, a weekend still gives you a chance to breathe some fresh air and recharge your batteries.

Also, since you’re going for two nights at the most, there’s no need to pack as much, which helps keep those rucksacks lighter. That’s a blessing if you’re planning on making hiking and camping part of the weekend, but whatever you’re doing, the question still remains – what do you need to take with you? How little can you carry?

Given that most weekend camping jaunts take place in the summer, hopefully you won’t need any heavy clothing.

The Obvious Essentials....

Quite obviously, you will need a tent, sleeping bag, and mat, toiletries and cooking/ eating utensils. Take bottled water with you, if you’re not staying on a campsite.

What Clothing to Take?

For clothing, a simple change of clothes and a towel should suffice, unless you’re very fastidious. Since these are British summers, a good waterproof jacket is a vital piece of gear, along with a fleece for the evening, or when the weather turns cool. For those doing any amount of walking at all, gaiters are very lightweight addition and can save you from wet, flapping trousers; they might not look so cool, but they do a good job. In case the sun appears, carry a sun hat, as well as good sunscreen (try factor 50, and don't be afraid to use plenty of it).

It can be worthwhile having some kind of bug spray to keep the midges at bay. You’ll also need a lighter to start any campfires, or stoves and a small first aid kit, in case of emergencies.

Things Campers Forget to Take With Them!

As well the obvious items like your tent, sleeping bag, clothes, coats and toiletries, here are some of the things that even the most seasoned of campers have forgotten at some point!
  • Tent pegs and guy ropes
  • Groundsheet
  • Mallet (you'll ruin your shoes trying to push pegs in by foot!)
  • Torch (with charged up batteries)
  • Lighter or matches
  • Bin Bags
  • Sealable plastic container for any food items
  • If you have a stove or your campsite allows campfires then you'll want your camping kettle, teabags, coffee, longlife milk (or dried milk powder is easy if you don't mind the taste) etc - cutlery
  • Bottle and Can opener - even on a weekend break, you might fancy a glass of wine in the evening or baked beans with your breakfast.
  • Gas bottle (if you're taking your stove)
  • Toilet roll in case your campsite is busy and runs out (or doesn't provide it)
  • Maps and a compass, or a GPS if your doing any hiking.
  • If you're taking an airbed - remember to take something to inflate it

What Food Should You Take?

One area where you can really lighten your load is food. Stopping for lunch and dinner in pubs or cafes means carrying less with you. Yes, it’s more expensive, but there’ll be plenty of food and you’ll really feel like you’re on a break.

Breakfasts can be light affairs, some bread, cheese and fruit, and if you purchase them locally, you won’t need to carry them from home, cutting down on the weight even further, and also supporting local businesses.

The whole point is to have as little as possible, only the things you’re really likely to need, and with a little thought and preparation, that’s easily accomplished. Don’t take extra footwear, for instance, but do make sure your boots are waterproof. That single change of clothes will suffice, although if you do need to bring extra, make it another pair of socks (there’s nothing worse than squelching around in wet socks!).

Take the smallest possible tent to keep weight and size down, and you may only need a lightweight sleeping bag if you're going in summer. Don’t worry about a gazebo or folding table or anything fancy that you might haul along for a longer trip. Since it’s only for a couple of nights, rough it and enjoy the change or take a couple of small folding camp chairs.

With these guidelines you have an enjoyable short break, stripped-down and refreshing.

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A weekend break is just that, a weekend, usually just two nights away. You're right that paring down to just the essentials is the best way to do things. However, it's worth taking an extra pair of trousers in case of a deluge - soaked trousers are as bad as wet socks for discomfort.
camperman - 31-May-12 @ 9:15 AM
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