Experience Life Outdoors in Oregon: How to Pack Lightly for your Camping Adventures
During the Corona virus pandemic, we hope this provides some positive ideas to plan around once the crisis is reduced and eventually eliminated.
With beautiful mountains, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, beaches, and forests, Oregon boasts many breathtaking natural attractions. Whether you plan to drive to the campground and use it as a base for your outdoor adventures or hike from campground to campground, camping is a fantastic way to experience life outdoors in Oregon.
Enthusiastic hikers can enjoy established trails and camp in state parks, such as Cottonwood Canyon, Cape Lookout, and Milo McIver. Following the release of Reese Witherspoon’s film Wild, hiking and camping along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) have become ever more popular.
When you’re hiking long distances and camping, it’s important to ensure you don’t overfill your backpack. Witherspoon’s character made that mistake at the beginning of the film and consequently could only hike 5 miles a day and also became badly bruised by her bag’s straps. There is an art to choosing what to take and what to leave behind.
Compile 5 lists
The first step is to brainstorm what you might want to take along on your camping adventure. You’ll obviously need a tent, but bulkier items such as camp chairs will need to be left behind unless you’re planning to drive to the campground. Make a comprehensive list of everything that comes to mind. This list can then be subdivided into 5 smaller lists as shown below. Each smaller list can be further divided into items you must take and items you’d like to take.
If you’re traveling for some distance or camping for several days, you’ll need to take along a change of clothes. The clothes you choose will depend upon your destination and the weather conditions. Check out the local weather forecast while compiling your list.
If you’re hiking along the Timberline National Historic Trail or the PCT to explore Mount Hood, you’ll require layers for the changes in altitude you experience along the way. But if you’re only planning a short camping adventure and don’t plan any strenuous outside pursuits, then you may only require a change of underwear.
For camping, you’ll obviously need essential items such as a portable stove, fire starter, tent, and a good-quality, multipurpose blanket. We recommend the HELLAGOOD blanket from Belmont Blanket, the only outdoor blanket made in the USA. These are waterproof but offer a plush feel and breathable fabric along with a lifetime adventure guarantee.
Other items that you might consider include a hiker’s GPS, camera, bug spray, and any other equipment necessary for the specific place you plan to camp or hike. For example, bear spray might be something you don’t want to be without in the Cascade Range. And if you’re driving to your campsite, then you might like to take along a few heavier items, such as camping chairs and even portable barbeque.
It’s important to test your equipment before your camping adventure. You’ll be very disappointed if you can’t light your stove or take photographs of the stunning scenery. Your life may depend on the correct use of your water filter and purification tablets.
If you’ve got kids in your group, baby wipes will prove essential. Don’t forget feminine hygiene products, especially if you’re camping hundreds of miles away from the nearest store. In summer, sunscreen will be essential. And you mustn’t forget your baby’s diapers.
Some items are so important that you will literally not survive without them. For example, if a family member suffers from a medical condition, you must ensure you pack their medication. If one of your group has allergies, an EpiPen is important. Other things that you might consider essential are identification documents, bank cards, and your driver’s license.
Food & drinks
Bottled water or a filter and purification tablets will be important. On long hiking adventures, take along dried foods that you can easily hydrate and cook. When camping with children, healthy snacks are a good idea. Experienced long-distance hikers often repackage dehydrated food into small plastic bags to reduce the amount of packaging for ease of packing.
Organize your items
Once you’ve completed your 5 lists, gather all the “must take” items and lay them out on a level surface. This will allow you to visualize how you’re going to fit them all into, or attach them to, your backpack. Or, if you’re driving to the campsite, you can visualize how you’re going to squeeze them all into your vehicle. Empty out your backpack or vehicle so that you’re not carrying any clutter from previous hiking and camping adventures.
As you pack, strike the items off your list. This ensures you don’t miss anything or double-pack. Once you’ve packed all the “must-have” items, you can consider if you want to pack any of the items you’d like to take that are not as essential.
Pack in the following order.
Pack heavy items first. In your vehicle, this will ensure they don’t crush other items. In your backpack, this will help you to better distribute weight. Your backpack must be well balanced for long hikes.
Items you might need in a hurry, such as bear spray or a first aid kit, should be somewhere easily accessible. If your backpack has side pockets, that’s where you can put your EpiPen for rapid use.
Frequently used items
Items you’ll need to access frequently should also be placed somewhere easy to reach. However, they should not be prioritized over emergency use items. Some frequently used items can be carried on your person in some way other than your backpack. For example, your camera can hang from a strap around your neck and your medicine could be in your jacket pocket.
Least important items
If it’s not essential, consider leaving it behind. This is especially important if you’re hiking from campsite to campsite. But if you decide to take extra items, leave them until last so that you’re sure all the essential items are packed.
When packing less important items, you may need to remove the important items temporarily to ensure that your backpack or vehicle is still organized as described above.
Oregon State Parks Website. Reserve Camping.
Time for your Oregon camping adventures!
After you’ve packed everything important from your 5 lists, you’re ready to enjoy your camping adventure. With so many wonderful state parks and beautiful natural attractions to choose from, you’re certain to enjoy life outdoors in Oregon.
Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/12019-12019/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=72366">David Mark</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=72366">Pixabay</a>