As low as 0% APR on GO & GO EASY + more great deals! SHOP NOW

How To Pack Lightly for Your Next Camping Trip

Camping is a relaxing yet exhilarating experience that allows you to immerse yourself fully in nature. With so much to do and see when you camp, it’s no wonder so many people like to embark on these outdoor adventures.

But before one can head to their campsite, set up, and explore, they need to pack! At its core, camping is about simplicity, but it’s all too easy to overestimate what you need and overpack. Overpacking doesn’t just mean more stuff to carry; it also means more stuff to fit in your car, clutter your camp, and keep track of. All in all, the less you pack, the less stressful and straining your trip will be. If you want to know how to pack lightly for your next camping trip, we go over some pro tips and tricks below.

Choose a Smaller Shelter

One of the heaviest items you need to bring is your shelter. If you’re using a ground tent, we recommend choosing one that’s 3 lb. or less for a two-person group. Large groups may need something roomier. If you don’t mind roughing it out, you can also ditch the tent entirely and sleep under the stars on a mattress or in a sleeping bag.

Another alternative is to sleep in your car—or in a camper attached to your car! While a camper will make driving your car a bit trickier, it eliminates the need to pack and carry a tent. Another benefit of using a camper is that you can store some of your items inside of it, so you don’t have to pack them in your suitcase or backpack instead.

Pack Fewer Clothes

When it comes to clothing, most of us tend to pack too much. But do you really need 10 shirts for a two-day trip? The truth is, you only need one set of clothes per day—one shirt, one pair of pants, one pair of underwear, and one pair of socks. Items like shoes, coats, and bathing suits can be reused day to day, so you only need one or two of them.

If you want to cut down the amount of clothing you need even further, pack items that are dark colored and breathable. These kinds of clothes will resist and conceal stains, allowing you to wear them comfortably for longer.

Check the Weather Ahead of Time

It’s true that the weather can be volatile, but we can also predict it to an extent. By checking the weather forecast before you leave for your trip, you can cut down on unnecessary items. For example, if the forecast shows nothing but sunny, hot weather on the horizon, you can forgo your rain poncho, rain boots, and jacket. Meanwhile, a cold, rainy forecast means you can leave your shorts, tank tops, and sandals at home.

Use a Compact Backpack

Our next tip on how to pack lightly for your next camping trip is to use a backpack or duffel bag instead of a hard-shell suitcase. Backpacks and duffels are more flexible than hard suitcases, which means you can fit more inside them. They also distribute the weight of your items more evenly, making them easier to carry. By using a backpack or duffel, you can pack more items while reducing the number of suitcases you need and reducing the strain on your arms and back from hauling your stuff around.

Back to the Basics

Before you pack an item, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” While items like tablets and big, cozy quilts are nice to have, they aren’t essential. By limiting yourself to the basics, you can lighten the load of your baggage considerably.

That said, you don’t need to deprive yourself of all luxuries! If you want to bring an electronic device or a comfort item, you’re free to do so. Just try to keep the number of nonessential items you pack to a minimum.

Cut Down on Cooking Gear

While it’s tempting to bring a full arsenal of cooking gear to the campsite so you can make your favorite meals, pots and pans can be bulky. If you’re not picky when it comes to food, consider bringing matches and cooking your food old-school on a makeshift campfire or packing no-cook foods like granola, nuts, and jerky.

If you need to cook more elaborate meals, either due to preference or dietary restrictions, you can reduce the amount of gear you need by planning your menu ahead of time. If you’re not cooking any boiled foods, you can leave the pot at home, and so on and so forth. You can also use a portable camp kitchen, like our Dine O Max and Dine O Mite kitchens. These small, foldable kitchens are light and can store a wide range of cooking gear compactly.

Camp Closer to Home

If you haven’t chosen a camping location yet, consider camping close to home. A big reason why people overpack is that they’re worried about not having easy access to the essentials. But if you camp close to home, you’ll have peace of mind that, should you forget anything, you can run back home and get it. This peace of mind will allow you to pack lighter without worry.

Split With Friends

If you’re traveling in a group, you have an advantage; you can split items between group members so each of you can carry less. For example, one person can be in charge of bringing toiletries for the whole group, while another person can be in charge of bringing the cooking gear. Not only does splitting responsibilities help each individual pack lighter, but it can also save everyone time and money when purchasing supplies.

At SylvanSport, you’ll find convenient, compact camping trailers and overlanding gear that will help you pack lightly. Our GO camping trailer hooks up easily to most small cars, and we have portable camp kitchens and various storage products to help you cut down on clutter. Shop our camp gear today to make packing for your next trip hassle-free.

How To Pack Lightly for Your Next Camping Trip


Sign up to receive special offers, event info, inspiring camping stories, & general goodness.