There’s camping and then there’s camping.
Some people need little more than a bivouac and a cliff, while others won’t leave home without their RV and a stash of Evian water.
Extremes aside, if you’re heading for the lakeside any time soon, these are some of the things to bring camping if you want to thrive in the great outdoors.
1. Appropriate Clothing
There’s no need for formal attire when you’re roughing it, but that doesn’t mean you can throw any old thing into your bag.
Evening temperatures can drop dramatically when you’re lakeside. Pack for all seasons, regardless of what time of year you’re traveling.
In the summertime, a jacket, gloves and a beanie should suffice and a swimsuit is essential.
While packing your clothing, remember to include all the necessary toiletries for your trip. You can never have too many towels both for bathing and swimming.
2. Shoes That Are up to the Task
Shoes can make or break your camping trip. If you want to make the most of all the activities on offer at your lakeside destination, bring the right shoes.
You’ll need comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots as well as a pair of casual sneakers and flip flops. Remember there’s a good chance at least one pair of shoes is going to get soaking wet, so bring a back up to wear while they’re drying.
Invest in at least one pair of decent hiking socks. It’s depressing to end up with blisters after your first hike.
3. Protective Gear
Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat are three essentials that should be in every camping travel bag.
Bug spray helps to keep unwanted visitors at bay and an antihistamine cream will help soothe any bites.
4. Basic Things to Bring Camping
Everyone has their own idea of what’s essential and what’s not when camping but there are a few things that everyone needs.
When you book your campsite, find out what facilities they offer onsite. Many campsites include a picnic table, parking spot, and a place to pitch your tent. Most also have shared bathrooms and running water.
Don’t take this for granted though. It’s easy to see how any of these items are essential to your trip, so it’s imperative that you know in advance.
Other things that should be on every camping checklist include:
- A tent with all the relevant stakes and a footprint
- Sleeping paraphernalia
- Camp chairs
- A torch and lantern
- A tarp of some sort
- An insulated cooler
Don’t forget you’ll need matches or a lighter to start your campfire.
If you have children, they’ll need toys and games to keep them occupied.
5. Cooking Equipment
Although there’s drinkable water at many campsites nowadays, it’s a good idea to purify drinking water in more remote spots. A stash of water purification tablets should do the trick.
Unless you’re using fire for every single cooking task, you’ll need some type of stove and fuel to power it.
Other necessary items include:
- A grill for barbecuing meat
- Pots, pans, a knife, and cooking utensils
- Crockery and cutlery or plastic versions of both
- A chopping board
- Mugs and a kettle
- Garbage bags
- Paper towels and wipes
Remember all the necessary goodies for washing up too. You’ll need a camp sink or bucket, dish towels, and pot scourers. It’s a good idea to invest in some eco-friendly dish soap to limit any harm to your natural environment.
You’ll also need non-perishable food, a tin opener, and a bottle opener, as well as a safe place to store your provisions so the local wildlife can’t snack on it when you’re not around.
6. A Boat
If you intend to spend your camping vacation admiring the views or reading, you’ll need very little to keep you amused.
Yet, most people go to all the trouble of arranging a camping trip so they can enjoy the action that a lakeside vacation offers.
After all, what’s a lakeside vacation without a nifty craft for exploring or a high-powered vessel for fun out on the water?
Remember, your motorized boat may need a different propeller according to the type of lake you’re visiting, or if you’re intending to use it for a new activity. Check out these boat propeller options for more info.
It’s also important to have some spares handy for your craft in case things go wrong.
Don’t even think about going boating without a life jacket for everyone on board. Remember your boat’s registration papers too.
A waterproof bag is a good idea to keep your phones,
7. Fishing Gear
Fishing is a relaxing and rewarding activity and you don’t need to be fit or skilled to enjoy it.
Yet, if you want to get a nibble or two for your efforts, you need to know what to bring to the lake according to the type of fishing available.
Get in touch with your campground to check what type of fishing is on offer and pack accordingly. It’s a good idea to browse fishing forums about your destination for tips about the best equipment and bait.
You’ll need to get a fishing license and take it along with you too. The authorities take a dim view of unauthorized fishing – it’s not worth the risk.
8. Water Sports Equipment
Again, life jackets are a top priority for all water activities like water skiing, kayaking, jet-skiing, etc.
After that, you’ll need all the appropriate skis, ropes, and paddles to suit your chosen activity.
If you’re short on packing space, or don’t intend to get out on the water often, it’s more convenient to hire the equipment you need when you need it.
Not all lakeside campgrounds offer this facility, so check with them beforehand.
9. Hiking and Biking
Likewise, it’s easier to hire a mountain bike unless you intend to spend every day out on the trail. If you’re bringing your own bike, remember to pack a puncture repair kit and a bicycle pump.
After shoes, a backpack is the next most important item on your list for hiking. You’ll also need the following for a safe and enjoyable hiking expedition:
- Park map
- GPS or compass
- Water bottles
- High energy snacks
- Lightweight raincoat
It’s a good idea to bring an extra multi-tool and a small first aid kit to keep in your backpack too.
If you’re exploring a very rugged and remote area, it can be safer to hire a guide or join an organized hike. Find out if these are available at your destination and if you need any specialized equipment to join in.
Hiking and walking are an awesome opportunity for spotting birdlife. A bird book that applies to the area you’re can make the experience so much more enjoyable.
10. Safety Essentials
A digital detox is never a bad idea, but a smartphone really comes in handy if you’re lost or there’s an emergency.
Make sure it’s fully charged and put it away until it’s needed. If you can’t charge your phone while you’re camping, it’s a bad idea to waste your battery life on updating your social media.
A multi-tool or basic tool kit is really important in the event of mishaps.
Most campsites will have a first aid kit on site but you should also have your own supply of basic medical items. Band-aids, antiseptic, and pain killers are a few of the basics to keep close at hand.
11. A Camera
Since it’s a good idea to spare your smartphone for emergencies, bring a small camera to capture your camping memories.
Spare batteries and memory cards are important if you’re fond of taking photographs. You don’t want to miss out on any awesome shots because you’ve run out of space or battery power.
Binoculars are a nice to have during any outdoor adventure, especially if you’d like some help finding local wildlife, or admiring the local birdlife.
One pair per person is a good idea to avoid arguments.
12. A Power Source
Unless your campsite has electricity available you’ll need to power your lamps and cooking equipment with gas, a generator, batteries, or solar.
Unless you can fill your gas bottles and buy fuel for your generator at a place nearby, you’ll need to bring a backup in case you run out of gas or diesel while camping.
Make sure you charge any batteries before you leave home.
Get More Camping Tips
So there you have it, these items are a good starting point for any lakeside camping trip. Naturally, your personal preference and experience will determine your final list though.
If you believe your dog is one of the things to bring camping, we have an article on that topic, or you can keep scrolling for more informative tips.
From mountain escapes to preparing your daily brew, we’ve got all the best ideas for enjoying the outdoor life.