There’s a golden rule for the weekend warrior’s packing list: simplify, simplify, simplify. Don’t bring what you might not need – you’ll likely be fine without it. Beyond that, the four staples below will give you a solid start when it comes to packing for your next weekend camping trip
Weekends are perfect time for outdoor excursions: they’re long enough to really unwind and recharge, but they’re short and frequent enough to be spontaneous. And let’s face it, Mondays are a little easier to face when you’ve spent your weekend climbing a new route or taking in the sunrise from a peaceful campsite.
Packing for a weekend trip is a strategic exercise: you want to bring enough to be prepared for anything, but not so much that you’re bogged down with gear. And, you want to spend less time packing so you can spend more time stargazing.
There’s a golden rule for the weekend warrior’s packing list: simplify, simplify, simplify. Don’t bring what you might not need – you’ll likely be fine without it. Beyond that, the four staples below will give you a solid start when it comes to packing for your next weekend camping trip.
A Few Different Layers
It wouldn’t be camping if you didn’t wear the same clothes for 3 days straight, right? There’s nothing wrong with that approach (it will save you space and laundry detergent). But it’s important to pack the right mix of fabrics and cuts for the weather and for the activities you have planned for your trip.
For a campsite on a cliff above the Pacific, bring a windbreaking layer to shield you from the marine winds. If you’re hoping to do a 10-mile hike up the side of a mountain, bring lighter wicking layers. If the forecast calls for heat, bring breezy layers and a wicking hat to protect your head.
Lastly, don’t forget to bring an extra sleeping layer for cooler nights. A comfortable nights’ sleep helps set you up for an epic day on the trail.
At Least Two Light Sources
If you’re lucky enough to be camping by the light of a full moon or a million brilliant stars, you may not need this one. For everyone else, bring at least 2 light sources with you on any camping trip. Whether you’re popping out to the truck to grab your book or relieving yourself in the middle of the night, you’ll have an easier time with something to light your way (trust us, we learned the hard way).
In our opinion, it’s worth investing in a Faraday or solar-powered flashlight so you don’t have to worry about old, fading batteries. Need a smaller footprint? The luminescence on your watch may be enough to get you from your tent to the nearest tree.
A Solid Multi-Tool
When you’re faced with an unexpected situation in the backcountry (you will be, we promise), a great multi tool almost always helps. From removing a splinter to cutting your way through thick brush to fileting your catch for dinner, it’s a must-have for any trip.
Look for a mid-sized option – not so small that you give up features, but not so big that it’s a drag to carry. We love the high-impact, low-profile options from Gerber and Leatherman.
Water and Food
They might seem obvious, but we’ve been on many a camping trip that started with “we’ll just grab something on the road.” Stopping for food and water limit your time outside, and it sets you up for a weekend of Cheetos and roller dogs.
It’s more seamless and enjoyable to do some minimal meal planning. Eggs and bacon over the fire for breakfast, granola bars and fresh fruit as snacks throughout the day and fish (hopefully fresh from a nearby stream) with rice for dinner. Always make sure food is safe to have at your campsite – some sites require bear boxes to keep you (and the bears) safe.
And water is a no-brainer - it’s up to you how much you bring (some recommend 1 gallon per camper per day), but keep in mind that if you want to cut bulk, you can get a filtration system (like LifeStraw) instead.
One last piece of advice: on Sunday evenings, be as diligent about unpacking as you were about packing the Friday before. We know you don’t want to, but you’ll thank us when you’re out the door and on your way to the next adventure more quickly when the weekend rolls around again.