Camping Gear – Lessons Learned on What to Bring

On the prior post: To Canada and Back, a Spring Road Trip, I wrote about my paintball trip and the cold weather. We knew the cold/high wind/rain/snow/downright miserable weather was coming, so those of us that went packed accordingly. I over packed.

Now keep in mind, this was just purely simple car camping and I was able to bring a ton more gear than I normally would, but as I unpacked and cleaned, I kept a list of what I used and what I didn’t in the hopes that it would help me better prepare for the next adventure.

So here’s my list:

Thermal Air Mat
Gloves x 2 (Heavy gloves, Light Gloves)
Boots x 2 (Playing boots, cold weather boots)
Tent Floor Blanket (I put this on the floor to save the tent floor and to retain heat)
Sleeping Bag x 2 (I was in one and opened the other one and put it on top of me – overkill I know, but I was warm)
Tent Lantern
Med-Kit (aspirin)
Camera (barely used)
Air Pillow (sea to summit)
Larger Camp Lamp
Head Lamp
In-Reach Garmin (tracking and sending messages – no cell service)
Trash bags (for putting in dirty clothes)
Hand Warmers
Percolator (coffee)
Titanium Mug (for coffee and beer)
Thermals (top and bottom – heavy)
Sweat pants
Sweat Shirt
Winter Jacket
Hiking Pants (worn on ride up, got wet the first day, never dried out to be reworn)
Kuhl Jacket (same as above, worn on ride up, wet and never dried out)
Credit Card (got cash out of ATM)

That is literally everything I used. I didn’t even use my cell phone once north of the border as it wouldn’t work. Of the above, I could have made do with one sleeping bag and a thermal liner to save space, and no camp lamp as it wasn’t fully used. I didn’t need the large camera, maybe a nice portable small one would have been a better choice. If I wasn’t playing paintball, I would have also only needed one pair of gloves and one pair of boots.

Now here’s a list of what else I brought but didn’t use:


Wool Socks x 2
Sweat Pants x 2
Thermal Sleeping Bag Liner
Camp Towel
Knife, Fork, Spoon Combo
GnarBox (used for downloading and storing photos – might have used if there was good weather)
Extra Sunglasses
Water Bottle
Portable Coffee Kit for Backpacking
Silk top underlay
Roll up kit filled with charger cables
Cigars (with cutter, lighter, etc)
Extra lightweight thermals
Camp Chair
Dual Burner Stove
Propane Tanks x 2
Extra Trash bags

So as you can see, I brought a lot more than I needed. Now maybe some of these would have been used if it has been better weather. Some of the materials might have been used if there wasn’t many duplicates already brought by others.

So… More discussion on what is being brought so we don’t triple up on cooking stoves and coffee.

I will need to work on doing more with less. Gear creep is real and you almost want to justify your purchase by using it all.

Car camping creates, because it allows for, bad habits with camping. I’m going to have to do a few overnight hikes to really break down what I need and want to bring. When weight is no issue why not bring it all?

Going to put a few overnights on my calendar this year.

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