Aside from the tent, there are many camping comforts that you might want to consider packing to keep you and your campers happy. These can range from a comfortable sleeping bag to a cozy chair for sitting by the campfire. And like other items, your ability to take things into the woods (vehicle, ATV, or back-pack) will determine whether these items take a high or low priority are your list.
If you’re familiar with the campsite and its amenities, you can mentally brain storm the viability of lot of these items. For example, a site with very few mature trees would not make a good site to bring a hammock. And a campground that prohibits campfires would make a lousy place for a Dutch oven. So check out your campsite first to see which of these items make sense to pack.
It’s no accident that I listed this as my #1 camping comfort item. On some trips, I’ve forgotten or decided that it wasn’t worth the space…and I’ve regretted it. If you’re short on packing space, try an inflatable pillow, a mini-pillow, or just pack an empty pillow case and stuff it with clothes. It’s nice having a soft place to rest your head. The ground can be a hard place for a good night’s sleep.
If you have a vehicle or other means to get gear close to your campsite, chairs are a nice way to relax around the campfire. Necessary? No. But they sure make a difference over a log or big rock. The foldable chairs we use have nice backs, arm rests, and even a cup-holder. It’s worth the weight from truck to tent!
Fans / Mister bottles
For hot summer campouts, it’s nice having a way to cool off. This can be one of the cheaper camping comforts, as we usually find squirt bottles at the dollar store and they serve a dual-purpose of misting for cooling and spraying for water fights! Battery operated or DC fans (car battery) are also nice for hot nights when you’re lying awake sweating…just make sure that you don’t drain down your car battery!
I know that I’ve listed these as a camping comfort, but they’re almost a necessity. Baby wipes can clean hands before dinner, serve as an evening bath, or just wash marshmallow streaks off of everyone’s face around the campfire. I like to pack them in multiple sandwich bags, so that one dirty hand won’t infect the whole pack ;-).
Sleeping pads range from simple foam pads to more expensive inflatable pads. You can also use a blanket as a sleeping pad, as it will provide some insulation from the ground and help smooth out some rocks and roots under the tent. If you’re a really delicate sleeper, try an inflatable mattress or cot, but be sensitive to the amount of tent space they take up (most “6-man tents” sleep 4-5 comfortably).
There are 101 uses for rope at a campsite. Having a means to hang up wet clothes or air out some smelly ones, is always nicer than having them in the tent with you. Make sure that you take the clothes down before you go to sleep, as the morning dew can provide a thorough soaking itself on humid days.
A tarp is a nice camping comfort to have along for a eating-area shelter, a tent floor reinforcement, or a tent entrance vestibule. Tarps vary in size, thickness, and durability. Look for one with multiple reinforced eyelets so that you can hang it as the trees permit. Tarps have many, many uses and a smart item to pack…just in case.
I hope that this camping comfort checklist reminded you of some items to bring along on your outing. It’s easy to forget the “creature comforts” as you pack your things, but they can be the real difference-makers.