First Aid Kit
Your first-aid camping kit will need basics, such as bandages, but you’ll also need specific tools that will function in a bathroom-less tent. Peroxide is important, but a simple bottle of saline solution is also a good addition to help you flush out a wound.
An eyewash kit is crucial, as is aloe for burns and pain meds in the event of a severe injury. You’ll want a thermometer so you can check temperatures, tweezers for removing debris, and a magnifying glass to get a close look at bits and stings or eye injuries.
Somewhere to Sleep
Unless you’re planning to sack out in your vehicle, you’ll probably need a tent. If you have access to a shade canopy or screen house for a place to hang out in the daytime, you can actually get by with a very small tent for sleeping. No matter what you choose to do, consider carrying an emergency survival blanket that you can use for cover and shelter if something goes wrong.
Monitor the temperatures at your intended destination and invest in sleeping bags that will keep you warm no matter how cool it will get overnight. If you’re too warm to fall asleep in the tent, you can start with your sleeping bag unzipped, but if you’re trying to sleep deeply and wake up cold, you’re probably going to be cold all night, poorly rested, and grumpy the next day.
While you always want to bring sunscreen for your Utah State Park camping trip, at higher elevations it can get quite cold overnight. If you don’t have a sleeping bag or just don’t care for them,
- lay down a tarp
- cover it with a yoga mat
- put a comforter on top of the yoga mat
Wrap up in the comforter, letting the tarp protect you from moisture and the mat give you some cushion. Consider also carrying a fleece blanket to keep close to your skin to capture heat.
Pack in things that are already prepared, whether in frozen containers or in cans. Be prepared to heat things up on a camping stove or over a fire, but don’t put in a lot of time trying to prepare food for your first few camping trips. Be sure you carry good quality trash bags so you can pack out all your garbage or get it to the site dumpster, and make sure your kitchen camping kit has long-handled tongs and heavy rubber gloves for managing food over the campfire. If you want to toast food over the fire pit, make sure everyone has their own toasting stick.
Water and Beverages
If you drink coffee every day, practice making coffee at home with your camping gear. If you drink soda every day, do what it takes to keep soda handy. Giving up caffeine or your regular level of soda intake may sound like a healthy idea as you go to the woods, but it will really just give you a terrible headache and make you unpleasant.
Invest in a cooler that will keep your food at least usably cold for the time you’ll be out camping. Make sure that your food setup includes a flat surface where you can set your camping stove and prepare your food and easily get into your kitchen camp box and cooler.
Food Prep Considerations
Keep things as simple as possible with regard to food and beverages. Use bottled water for everything, including brushing your teeth. Don’t drink out of streams and lakes without following all disinfecting protocols. If you plan to cook meat on the grill provided by your campsite, bring the tools to clean it or carry your own grill to lay over the coals so you don’t have to clean up a rusty grilling surface.
Bring clothes that you can layer. A cotton tee can keep you cool, and if it gets very hot in the middle of the day, you can spray it down with water and let it dry against your skin. If it’s chilly, cover your cotton tee with a sweatshirt and put a fleece jacket over that to keep heat close to your skin.