Tent Camping Tips

If you’re looking for an escape from your living room and Netflix after the quarantine is lifted, tent camping is an easy and affordable way to do it! If you haven’t camped in a tent before, or if it’s been a while, now is a great time to do some research so you’re prepared. 

To us, a successful camping trip means you 1 – return home safe 2 – followed all the rules 3 – had fun. To break Maslow’s hierarchy of needs down a bit further, staying safe includes having the tools and knowledge to take care of yourself, following the rules means you won’t potentially bring harm to yourself or others, and having fun includes being comfortable (our biggest deal-breaker? Being warm and comfortable enough at night to get plenty of sleep!). 

Tent Camping Gear Tips

Here is a fairly robust list of the basic gear that you’ll want to make sure your tent camping trip is successful. We group it in a few categories: 

    • Kitchen
    • Sleeping 
    • Clothing 
    • Miscellaneous 

Tent Camping Sleeping Gear Tips

For us, sleeping well is a big indicator of whether the trip was successful. You can have a great time on a camping trip without a good nights’ sleep, but it’s tough to get *excited* about camping if you know you’re going to spend a cold, uncomfortable night for it. So here are some items that will help eliminate that possibility! 

  • Tent (+ rain cover, stakes, poles, etc)
  • Sleeping bag (if it’s got the TMNTs or Disney characters on it, we’re BIG fans, but it’s probably not going to hold up outdoors in the mountains. Unless you want to wear ~4 layers to bed and have some extra blankets, which could work too!)
  • Sleeping pad (this is critical! Not only is it an extra layer of support between you and the ground, it helps as added insulation to keep you warm)
  • Pillow
  • Extra blanket 

Tent Camping Kitchen Gear Tips

Food is one of our favorite things and seems to taste even better when eaten in the woods. Yes, you could pack a bunch of granola bars, but where’s the fun in that?! Having a few extra items really brings your camp food game up. Invest in a cheap, one-burner propane stove and a small pot or 2. If you can boil water, the world is your oyster. 

If you think camping might become *a thing*, it’s worth having a large plastic tub to keep everything in. This not only makes it easy to grab and go when you’re ready to hightail it to the woods, it also keeps dirty dishes contained on the ride home when you can quickly haul it into the kitchen to transfer to the dishwasher.

Here’s what we suggest placing in the Camping Kitchen Tub: 

  • Propane stove (it’s nice having one with the wind-blocking panels)
  • Propane tank
  • Cooler 
  • 1-2 small pots (ones with the foldable handles are…handy because they take less room to store)
  • Cutlery, plus a few sharp knives
  • Cups
  • Mug (an insulated mug with a lid is great so your coffee stays hot longer on cold mornings)
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags
  • Aluminum foil (if you want to cook anything above or in the campfire)
  • Salt / Pepper (or any other go-to spices that you like with a meal)
  • Smaller plastic tub (not totally necessary, but this is super handy for putting warm water into and washing any dishes between meals)
  • Biodegradable dishwashing soap
  • Rag / Sponge
  • Antibacterial
  • Folding table (tailgates and large, somewhat-level logs work as well)
  • First aid kit (just so you know it’s always there!)
  • Graham crackers, chocolate bars, marshmallows (these all hold up fairly well in a tub for a while [maybe watch the chocolate doesn’t get too warm] and you will always be a hero if you pull these out around a campfire)
  • Wine bottle opener, if applicable (for me, it normally is)
  • Coozies

Tent Camping Clothing Gear Tips

What you wear is really important. Going from the Front Range to the mountains of Colorado means a big temperature drop, even in the summer, and especially once the sun goes down. Ps – I prefer being warm so take this list with a grain of salt if you run hot. Things I pack: 

  • Base layers: a thin long sleeve (bonus: if you’re in a spot with mosquitos having long sleeves gives them less real estate to work with!) 
  • Second layer: always say yes to flannel
  • Warm jacket or vest: be careful with the puffys around the campfire, the ash can land on them and burn a hole
  • Beanie: save all of that heat leaving through your head!
  • Warm socks: see above, but through your feet
  • Leggings: not just for yoga! 
  • Pajamas: warm as possible
  • Sandals: for slipping on after you’ve done a long hike, or just so you don’t have to tie laces on a trip to the bathroom
  • Gloves: I pack liners because my fingers get cold, especially if I’m holding a beer
  • Buff: the one I ski in is great for keeping my neck warm on cold nights (again, I get cold easy and would much rather be hot!)

Tent Camping Essential Gear

And then, there’s all the extras. Here’s what we think are essential: 

  • Headlamp (it’s nice going to the bathroom after dark and having your hands free. You can also use the light on your phone, but it’s just awkward)
  • Extra batteries (for said headlamp, flashlight, or other items)
  • A good knife
  • Toilet paper (make sure to either bury or bring it back to camp to put in the trash)
  • Small shovel (to bury said TP) 
  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant (was going to leave this off the list, but I have forgotten it way too many times and it is v important)
  • Matches / lighter

And things that are just nice to have: 

If you’re interested in tent camping and the plethora of gear available to make your adventures more fun, make sure to stop by Off-Grid Expo October 2-4, 2020 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds!