6 Things You Absolutely Need When Tent Camping in the Mountains

I am absolutely not a camping kinda gal, but I’m working on it. I went camping once as a kid. It rained the whole time and then I fell on a cactus. As far as adult camping goes, I just finished my fifth camping experience. I’m getting better, but I’m still not great. This time around, my love and I camped with his 7 year old daughter. That in itself made me panic a little. The last time he and I camped in this same location, we borrowed a tent, brought sleeping bags, beer, and stuff to make sandwiches. That worked out fine for us last year, but I tried to be super prepared this time because we had 7yo. We even purchased the first tent I have ever owned!

I ended up being both woefully under-prepared and over-prepared at the same time. Here is a list of 6 things you without-a-doubt, absolutely need when tent camping in the mountains.

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6 Things You Absolutely Need When Tent Camping in the Mountains

1. A tent- duh. Get a decent one with enough room for everyone in your group. If you’re bringing a little girl who flails in her sleep, for example, go for a size bigger than what you might need otherwise. We used this 6-person tent for two adults and one 7 year old. It might seem excessive, but she and I are both sprawlers. Plus, I’m tall. We stayed completely comfortable and had room to keep our dry clothes out of the rain.

2. RAIN GEAR- We forgot this. I was totally prepared for hot weather and cold weather, but somehow forgot about rain. (Maybe because I live in the desert and we went camping in the mountains…) Bring water-resistant pants and rain jackets/ponchos for everyone. Throw in a couple of umbrellas if you think of it, too. We had an absolute DOWNPOUR our first night. At least we know our new tent does well in the rain.

3. Extra shoes- Once again, because of the rain. My love and his daughter each had an extra pair of closed-toe shoes. I did not. Lucky for me, my love let me wear his dry shoes and long socks the next day. 7-year old: “You look good in dad’s socks.” Haha gee, thanks…

4. A decent camp chair for each person- We got 7yo her own kid-sized chair from Wal-Mart. I definitely think it was a sound, cheap investment. We carried our chairs from the fire to the tent to other people’s RVs. It was nice that she could carry her own chair.

5. Small tub for essentials- We used a filing tub from Wal-Mart. We included allergy medicine, my prescription medicine, adult and kids’ pain relievers, Wet-Wipes, Clorox Wipes, lantern, flashlights, Band-Aids, and a few other things we personally can’t live without. It was nice that we never had to go searching for the important things.

6. Good sleeping bags AND blankets- We almost forgot extra blankets and had to drive back through town to grab them. I am SO happy we did. When camping, I like having a big fluffy blanket on the bottom of the tent for extra comfort and insulation. 7yo had a Wal-Mart sleeping bag, so we threw a couple of extra blankets on her and she stayed warm.

3 Things You Absolutely DON’T Need When Tent Camping in the Mountains

1. A billion things to eat- We had a cooler full of food and a bin full of snacks and most of it ended up coming home with us. Grab a couple of boxes of granola bars, s’mores stuff (or maybe pre-made s’mores), hot dogs, and sandwich stuff. That’s all you need. Everything else just takes up too much room.

2. Toys- I loaded up a bucket of toys for the 7yo. She only used a couple. Bring a bucket, bubbles, and one educational toy if you must. Otherwise, save yourself some space.

3. A billion things to drink- Stopping for drinks was the last thing we did before we left town, so we brought everything we bought- including three 12 packs of soda and two boxes of juice pouches. How on earth are 3 people supposed to drink 56 beverages in 2 ½ days?


What things can you not live without when tent camping? What things do you leave at home? Do you allow yourself to bring certain luxuries when camping? Tell me in the comments!