I can remember back in the good old days when I was growing up that the list of essential items when we went camping was simple. We threw a simple tent, a cooler of food, a five gallon plastic water tote, fishing poles and some sleeping bags in the trunk of dad's car and we were off. 

Nowadays the camping list has become so complicated, it sometimes takes two days to get ready, not to mention the amount of time it takes to break everything down and go home. I have thought long and hard about how I can simplify things.

I don't have a fancy camper. I would love to have one, but right now I cannot afford it. Although, I do have a very nice cabin tent. I must admit that when I bought this tent I was a bit apprehensive because I thought this thing was going to be very complicated. After fumbling through the first couple of assemblies, I was able to do it alone. One time I even assembled it during a rainstorm.

Here is a list of items that you really should bring on your camping trip if you are going to use a tent:

  • Tent: I could write an entire volume of books based on my experiences with tents. I prefer to use a large cabin tent. I place a tarp on the ground where my tent is to be placed. This extends the life of my tent. My tent will hold nine people. I can comfortably sleep four large men.
  • Sleeping bag: Sleeping bags come in every shape and size. The determing factor is temperature. I have my summer bag and my winter bag. If course, the summer sleeping bag is much more lightweight than the winter one.
  • Propane stove: I know what you are thinking, that is cheating. Anyone who has attempted to survive for any amount of time at all using their campfire will tell you that campfires don't make very practical cooking utensils. A propane stove can be purchased at any camping supply store. Make sure that you bring plenty of propane tanks. I like to bring two of them for every day I am going to be out. I also like to bring my deep fryer. This is because I am a fisherman, and love to eat fried fish when I am camping.
  • Light sources: You will need to bring a good flashlight for every camper. You will also need lanterns for the common areas. I prefer battery powered lanterns, but many people still use the good old propane powered ones. You should have a couple of lanterns. I like to place one on either side of my picnic table. Make sure that you have plenty of spare batteries.
  • Ax, hammer, hatchet: These are three tools that are essential for any camping trip. I like to make a big campfire in the evening. You will need an ax to cut the wood. A hammer is needed to pound in tent stakes. The small hatchet is needed to make the small cuts on firewood to make kindling.
  • Cookware: Cookware means more than just forks, knives and spoons. You are also going to need spatulas, tongs, large knives, etc. These are things that can be easily forgotten. Also, you will need to bring dish soap so you can clean these items before you store them.
  • Coolers: You will need more than one. I like to place like food into like coolers, such as all breakfast food goes into one cooler, lunch in another, etc. I also bring a cooler full of ice.
  • Water storage: Not all camping sites have water available. If you do not, you should have one large water cooler for washing, and another one for drinking.
  • Towels: You will need a good supply of dry towels. Keep your towels in a dry place.
  • Raingear: Every camper should have a complete set of high quality rain gear. This means a raincoat and rain pants.

These are just a few of the essential items that every camper needs to have with them when they venture out into the wilderness. Of course, there are countless items that you can bring to make your experience more memorable, such as fishing equipment! This camping list has given you a bare-bones list of essentials to make your next camping trip just a little more pleasurable.