Lightweight Summer Camping: What to Pack for an Overnight Trip
Packing lists not only help you stay organized, but they can help visualize and adjust your camping needs easily. Some things can be hard to choose whether to leave out of your pack or not. Especially if weight is a contributing factor for you, checklists are HUGE for helping keep track of your necessities and help narrow down what you don’t need.
I’ll touch on some important points below, but you can access a FREE, printable lightweight summer camping list!
Personal Care Items
Your personal care items are like those, “don’t know what you got till it’s gone” type of things. Some basic needs are more important than others, and some are much easier to sacrifice.
We’re in the wild man, we all stink a little. You can embrace your natural pheromones and save the weight.
There’s a lot of controversy around bringing any sort of soap on the trail. Even biodegradable soap should be used minimally and at least 200 feet away from water sources. Campsuds or Dr. Bonners will work, but always remember to practice Leave No Trace and check with local regulations for waste.
Nervous about ‘letting go’ on the trail? Read some helpful poo tips here.
Ah food - my favorite. For some, a simple stash of ramen noodles and granola bars will keep them going… for others (including me) good meals are sacred and should be well thought out. You can prep meals prior to getting out on the trail to save time and potentially weight.
Check out 99Boulders’s 100 Backpackers Meals for Beginners including couscous and tortellini!
Your meal plan will determine what you bring in for your camp kitchen -- some necessary items will more than likely be:
- Spork or multi-utensil
- Pocket stove
- A pot to boil water
Clothes for Warm Days
When camping and hiking in the outdoors, you want to keep yourself cool without exposing too much skin like:
Inner layers: Breathable socks and underwear
Outer Layers: Moisture-wicking shirts and pants
Head Coverage: Wide-brimmed, lightweight hat
Long-sleeves and pants seem like a total joke during the summer… but the truth is, they can SAVE you. Light-colored, long-sleeved clothing can be staples in protecting you from the sun, irritating plants and bugs.
Clothes for Cool Nights
Temperatures can drop significantly once the sun goes down, it’s a good idea to choose layers when packing your sleepy-time clothes.
- Light t-shirt or tank top
- Breathable, long-sleeved shirt
- A sweatshirt
- Comfy pants
By layering, you make it easier to remove items when the temperature changes throughout the night or once that deadly sun pops up to say hello in the morning.
Now, I like it being cold when I sleep, but sometimes it can get a little TOO chilly for me. Even though the misleading heat during the day will make you think you don’t, you probably still need some light insulation. The Puffle 55 from Sierra Madre is light, versatile, packable, and not to mention, oh-so-cozy.
If you’re camping with other people, it’s not a bad idea to coordinate with them to make sure you aren’t doubling up unnecessary weight.
Making a list of what you all will be using and preparing for meals will help with this process. Prepare Prepare Prepare! The more you do, the fewer issues you’ll run into in the wild.
Don’t forget to tell someone when and where you’re going! Even when camping in groups, it’s important to tell others where and when you’ll be gone in case the worst of the worst happens.
It could save your life!
Until next time... happy camping!