Preparation is the key to making any camping trip successful, so we came up with a list of equipment and supplies for you to use as a guide when packing for your vacation. We’ve also included some useful reminders that will save you from a lot of frustrating situations.
Packing List for Camping
No matter where you plan to stay while camping in the Adirondacks, when camping in a tent you will need a few essentials components to get your campsite up and running and a few items that will make your stay more about making memories.
- Tent poles
- Tent stakes
- Folding chairs
- Fire-starter logs or natural wax/sawdust starters
Getting a Good Night Sleep
Sleeping under the stars is a wonderful experience, but bringing the right sleeping gear for the time of year you will be camping is paramount to having a good time. Sleeping bags are rated for temperatures (the temperature where you are staying not where you live), so if you need a sleeping bag be sure to double check the seasonal temperatures and weather forecast in the area.
- Sleeping bags
- Air mattress (if desired)
- Sleeping pad (highly recommended)
- Air Pump
- Extra blankets
Food Storage While Camping
Keeping all your food cold, fresh and away from critters will save you money and let you enjoy your stay. Portable water jugs are great for carrying water for drinking and for washing dishes. Choosing the right cooler for your stay is also crucial. If you are staying for 5 days but it takes you 2 days to drive, consider the 10 day cooler, not only will it keep your food fresh, but you won’t spend your time running around for ice every 2 days.
- Seal-able Water jugs
- 5-10 Day Cooler
- Ice or Ice Packs
- Large plastic bin
- Plastic bags
- Plastic Wrap and Aluminum Foil
- If you are rough camping, a bear proof container and a rope to suspend the food is recommended!
You don’t have to go crazy here and pack your whole kitchen. A few essentials goes a long way, pack for the types of food that you are going to bring or the style of cooking you are going to do. If you are going to boil sweet corn you need a pot to boil water, of you are going to cook it on hot coals you can skip it and bring aluminum foil instead. There are many options for grills, including gas or charcoal, or as an alternative you many campgrounds have steel grates which you can cover with foil and cook over wood but this will be advanced campfire cooking, so it is your first time, opt for the gas or charcoal. (oh, if you have to ask where to plug in your can opener bring extra chips and hotdogs)
- Paper Towels
- Cooking utensils (tongs, spatula, grill forks, etc.)
- BBQ grill
- Pots & pans, lids
- Can Opener
- Salt & pepper
- Potato peeler
- Cutting board
- Cooking oil
Dining / Food While Camping
Eating in the great outdoors with the right tableware can be a big help. We recommend bringing re-usable cups and plates as an eco-friendly option, if you must use disposable plates opt for the paper as these are at least bio-degradable.
There are some great fun foods like s’mores, toasted marshmallows and baked beans that are synonymous with camping. Chips and goodies make convenient snacks as well as fresh fruits from our local farmers markets.
- Eating utensils (plastic makes it easier but metal is more eco-friendly)
- Paper or re-usable plates/bowls
- Paper/plastic cups
- Meals for the duration of your stay
- Graham crackers
- Your favorite beverages
- Baked Beans
- Chips, pretzels & other crunchy goodies
- Fresh Fruits & Vegetables – Available at local farmers markets too
- Hotdogs & hamburgers are a favorite
Keeping Your Campsite Clean
Cleanup is easy if you do it as you camp. Clean up right after meals and take trash to the trash dump sites as soon as possible. Food attracts bears & keeping trash on your campsite is an invite to trouble. Washing your dishes is great for the environment, there are some great eco-friendly and non-toxic soaps too that wash better in cold water like Dr. Bonner’s Soaps.
- Dish soap
- Wash basin
- Portable water container
- Dish towels
- Trash Bags
What Clothing to Bring Camping
Bringing the right clothes on any trip or family vacation can be tricky, but here in the the Adirondacks, summer camping is pretty easy. Light jackets and sweatshirts for chilly nights and rain gear for the occasional thunderstorm or drizzle will suit most places. You of course will want your shorts and short-sleeve shirts but when the mosquitoes and black flies come out a long pair of pants and a flannel shirt will keep you from perpetually slapping your arms and legs.
- Sports bag (to pack clothes in)
- Socks (plus extra)
- Clothes for sleeping
- Sandals/Flip flops
- Bathing suit
- Light and heavy sweatshirt
- Rain coat
Personal Care While Camping
Most stores sell small sized items for shampoo and toothpaste, alternatively you can bring all your things in normal size just secure each in separate ziplock bags so if something does leak everything doesn’t get ruined.
We do recommend a good bug spray and sun screen. Just because the Adirondacks are far from the equator doesn’t mean you can’t get burnt. In some cases, especially while hiking or skiing in the mountains, the elevation makes you more susceptible to the sun’s harmful rays as there is less atmosphere (which disperses the rays) between you and the sun.
- A large ziplock bag to prevent leaks
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Soap/body wash
- Prescription medications
- First aid kit
- Bug spray – Black flies are killer
- Sun screen
- Lip Balm (some have sunscreen protection)
- Hand wipes
Camping Family Fun & Entertainment
There are a ton of things to do around the Sacandaga including hiking and boating as well as great fishing. Besides all the great outdoor recreation there are nice campsite activities like playing board games, telling stories around the campfire, stargazing and other family friendly fun.
- Backpacks for hiking
- Trail map/Compass
- Fishing poles
- Fishing lures/bait, extra line, other fishing gear
- Life preservers
- Board games – Less pieces the better
- Star Chart (telescope if you have one) for stargazing
- Campfire Story Book
- Soccer Ball, Hacky Sack, Baseball etc.
Miscellaneous Camping Items
Here is a list of things that don’t quite fit into any particular category, some you should definitely bring and others you should consider bringing or knowing where you can pick up some at a local camp store.
- Flashlights (LED’s are great)
- Backpacks for hiking
- Cell phone and charger, radio, walkie talkies
- Weather Radio
- Clothes pins
- Fire extinguisher
- Cash/Drivers license
What to Check Before Your Adirondack Trip
Before leaving your house on any road trip, especially when towing a camper you should make sure your vehicle is in top shape. If you know when you are leaving, have your mechanic check everything over. If you going for an extended stay or even for a few days, let a neighbor know to keep an eye out, and lock up the house tight too.
Whatever you do, don’t forget those items your kids can’t live without like their binkys and/or favorite bear, lion, bunny etc.. Being 3 hours from home is not the time to realize that you forgot the one thing little sally can’t sleep without.
- Make sure that your tail lights work on your trailer or camper
- Double, triple check your brakes! Have your mechanic do an safety inspection
- Check your oil, coolant and tire pressure
- Check tarps and tents for holes
- Make sure your map isn’t from 1977
- Lock all your windows & doors
- Stop mail delivery so mail doesn’t pile up
- Let neighbors you will be out of town and to keep an eye out
- Shut off all appliances & electronics
- Make sure the water plug on your cooler is closed
- Do you have a full tank of gas?
- Do you have any medication that should be taken along or re-filled?
- If you have children, bring extra pacifiers, their favorite stuffed animal and lots of extra clothes
Well, that is everything that we could think of, of course we may have left something out so please email us your suggestions or leave a comment below to let us know and we will add it to the list. Have a great time camping this season!