The Ultimate Camping Packing List

Even seasoned campers are known for over packing. It is always a challenge to know exactly what you’ll need—and what you can leave at home. If you are going on an African camping trip, here are some things you definitely need to bring, and other things that will just waste valuable space.

What to Bring on Your Next African Camping Trip

1. Quality Tent: Camping in Africa means that you will likely be faced with a variety of situations—the environment can be brutal on camping equipment, so it’s a good idea to purchase a quality tent. Many people either use a rooftop tent, or customize a Land Rover to include space to sleep. 2. Mattress or Sleeping Pad: If you are camping for more than a few days, you will be thankful for a sleeping pad that can make your nights more comfortable. These days there are self-inflating options. If you are traveling by vehicle, you can even pack a foam mattress. 3. Camping Stove: A camping stove is an inexpensive piece of camping equipment that allows for flexibility while camping. It is faster than creating a fire, and is useful in areas where creating a fire isn’t an option. If it’s raining, can also easily bring the camping stove into an area with an awning—so you can still get a hot meal after a long day. 4. Multi-Purchase Dishes/Cooking Equipment: Thankfully these days there are many options for multi-function dishes. While camping through Africa, we brought way too many dishes. On our next trip, we will minimize and just bring a shallow bowl that can function as a plate for each person. 5. Water Filter: Clean water can be a challenge while traveling through Africa. We have lugged 5 liter bottles around, filling them up when we have access to filtered water. I suggest buying a good unit from water filters for times when you can’t find safe drinking water. You can buy water filters that can clean hundreds of liters before needing to be replaced.

Camping Gear to Leave at Home

1. Single-Use Items: Look through your packing list and try to think through what gear can have multiple uses. Rather than bringing a teakettle, boil water in your saucepan. By getting rid of the single-use items, you can save valuable space. 2. Adventure Medical Kits: You definitely need to have a first-aid kit on your trip, but the adventure medical kits often include a lot of singly packaged medicine. Instead, take the list off the adventure kit, and buy the items individually from your local pharmacy. Chances are you already have several of the items in your medicine cabinet, and you’ll save money if you take the effort to purchase the rest. 3. Washing Machines: One week in Africa and you’ll realize that camping there is nothing like camping in America. Most campsites are basic, providing water (hot if you’re lucky) and maybe electricity for your laptop or cell phone charger. But, both water and electricity are precious resources in this part of the world, so avoid anything that uses a lot of electricity or water. This includes portable washing machines, electric kettles (you’re likely to blow a fuse!) and anything else that conducts heat. 4. Specialty Gear: Walking through an outdoor store can be overwhelming—they have created camping gear for every occasion. While some of these gadgets are fun and can be helpful, it’s difficult to travel light when you have a gadget for everything.

Camping in Africa is an adventure for sure! While you want to have everything you need, it’s best to keep your gear to a minimum.