How To: Pack for a Camping Trip

Camping is best experienced when hiking to a remote destination and 'getting away from it all.' For this reason, three principal's of packing apply: 1) you must pack everything you need for your campsite, 2) you must pack as lightly as possible, and 3) you must take everything back out that you packed.

No matter the length of your stay or the distance of your hike, there are some essentials that you should always pack. Start with packing food, clothing and maps of the area you'll be hiking. When considering what clothing to bring, be prepared for changes in weather. The temperature may change considerably between the daytime and evening. Likewise, inclement weather like rain or snow may move in, so you should bring a jacket or coat and appropriate rain gear. Beyond these basics, you should be prepared to handle basic emergencies and have a way of signaling help, in case you encounter a more severe situation.

Camping checklist:

* Change of clothes
* Extra socks
* Food
* Compass
* Waterproof matches
* Water
* Two flashlights and extra batteries
* Signal mirror
* First-aid kit
* Rain poncho and trashbag to cover over backpack
* Map of the Area (updated)
* Trail Mix
* Hard candy - small bag
* Camera
* Deck of playing cards
* Radio (optional - for weather forecasts and news)
* Cell phone (optional - for emergency use only)
* Handheld GPS (optional)
* iPhone or Android-based smartphone (optional - for emergency calls, GPS functions, storing maps, using travel-related apps, etc.)

Since the whole point of camping is to enjoy nature and escape civilization, it is highly recommended that you leave all conveniences at home. Video games and the like will distract you from the surrounding beauty. Music will also drown out the subtle, soothing sounds of nearby birds, animals and running water.

What not to pack:

* Portable television
* Video Games
* Portable tape or CD player

Good luck and enjoy the escape!