We’ve all been there before. You’ve planned the perfect camping trip out for months. You chose the right destinations, created the right schedule and made an extensive list of everything you’d need to pack for the trip. You and your family hop in the RV and hit the road. Upon your first night’s stop, you’re getting everyone ready for bed and then it hits you: you’ve completely forgotten an essential camping item!

Luckily, what you just read was only a dream, and RVUSA.com is here to prevent this situation from ever happening to you and your family. We all know camping is a different kind of vacation, but you’re trying to pack minimally. With this is mind, it can be difficult to pack just essentials but also pack what you really need, too. The main thing to remember is to always be prepared for anything.

  1. First aid kit/supplies. Safety first! For any kind of minor bruise, cut, scrape, scratch or burn, it’s always good to have a first aid kit in your RV or hiking backpack. Having one of these on hand at any given moment should be kind of like Camping 101! No matter what kind of day, week or weekend you have planned, you never know what kind of accidents you might need to mend up in a pinch. You can either buy a prepackaged kit at the store, or you can make your own. It’s totally fine if you want to go with that option, but be sure you don’t forget anything. And mini hand sanitizers are always great to have, too.
  2. Extra Water. When camping, you can NEVER have too much water. And as long as you remember to fill up at every stop, you shouldn’t have a problem running out. Regular campers should have water bottles with purifiers in them so they can drink any freshwater available. You never know when you’ll be able to fill up again, so fill up not only all bottles, but fill any kind of reservoirs your RV might have. One of the worst things that might happen is running out of water! You might not think you can get dehydrated in the winter, but it’s possible. Just be sure you’re drinking water even when the temperature drops.
  3. Bug spray. No matter how much you think bugs aren’t attracted to your blood, they totally are. And being caught without bug spray is no way to spend a hiking or camping trip. The evening is when they are most active, so if you can, plan your outdoor adventures around that. Most insects are unavoidable, though. When purchasing a repellent, look for the ones that contain DEET. These tend to be the most effective, but they might have harsh chemicals in them. If this worries you, just find the ones that don’t contain it.
  4. Fire supplies. Starting a fire from scratch is becoming a thing of the past, so pack some matches or a small lighter to easily light your next fire. Not only is a campfire crucial for cooking food, but would it actually be camping without one? Don’t be known to ruin the atmosphere: pack some matches or a lighter!
  5. Pocket Knife. This is one of those tools that’s always handy to have. You can sharpen a stick with it, cut an annoying string dangling from you t-shirt, and there’s always food prep. You could probably get away without having one, but they don’t take up much space and they are cheap ones available. Make your trip easier and grab a pocket knife!
  6. A watch. As easy as it is to lean on technology these days, it isn’t always reliable. Your cell phone could die unexpectedly or get water damage from your water bottle or a river. Purchase a reasonably priced, waterproof watch for your future hiking adventures. If a heavy downpour comes out of nowhere, you won’t have to worry about finding dry shelter for your watch, and you’ll always have the time handy.
  7. An extra set of clothes. Let’s say that downpour does happen. Your waterproof watch is safe, but your clothes are soaked and you’re freezing! Pack an extra set of clothes in a plastic bag to throw in your backpack. When the rain stops, just change your clothes and boom! You’re dry and ready to continue your hike. Also be sure to pack according to the weather. If it’s cold, pack plenty of layers. If it’s hot, pack essentials to protect yourself from the sun.
  8. Map and compass. Going back to the cell phone thing, they aren’t always completely reliable. Your phone may have a GPS that helps you go from your house to a friend’s, but while camping, you probably won’t have service. Knowing where you are and where you’re going at all times when camping is crucial, so a trusty, old-fashioned map and compass is what you need to stay on track. When you decide to purchase a compass, try to find one with a mirror attached. If you get stuck in an emergency situation, the mirror can be used to get the attention of a helicopter.

As always, come back every day to the RVUSA blog for the RV Find of the Week on Monday, Travel Destination Tuesday, Featured RV Dealer on Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, and RV Tips and Tricks on Friday. Leave us a message below if you have any thoughts, memories or comments. We’d love to hear from you! If you’d like to receive our daily blog posts directly in your inbox, click here to join our free email list.

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