When I was growing up, camping trips were family vacations that lasted for several nights in the same campground. However, it does not have to be a week long event. In fact, you can camp for just a single night – as many people do on road trips or when attending festivals. Sometimes one-nighter camping trips are spontaneous events that do not really offer a lot of time for planning in advance. With that in mind, I find that it is best to keep a few gear staples in the vehicle at all times since you never know when adventure might come knocking at your door and see you spending the night sleeping under the stars.
Gear For Setting Up Camp For One Night
I think it goes without saying that the tent is probably the most important thing that you’ll need for such an overnight adventure. But what is more important is ensuring that you have one large enough to accommodate each person who is with you. A good rule of thumb is to take the total number of people who need to fit in the tent and add “one” to it. You should do this so that you get one that is large enough to hold each person as well as their gear. So, for three people, go with one that fits at least four people inside so that all the gear will fit in there. Also, remember to include a tarp for ground cover as it will extend the life of your tent.
An air mattress and battery-powered pump are good options to include if you have the space. I am a big fan of these because I have a terrible time sleeping on what appears to be flat, solid ground but always ends up being lumpy and bumpy when it is time to sleep. It’s just a nice way to make sure that you get well rested by not actually sleeping on the ground’s uneven surface. Granted, this is certainly not essential for everyone.
For bedding, the smart choice is a three-season sleeping bag. This will help you to be prepared for any wild temperature fluctuations. See our top 3 season sleeping bag picks here.
Since you’ll need some light when the sunsets, opt for a battery-powered lantern as opposed to one that requires fuel. (click here for our top LED lantern picks) This is the perfect choice for such a short trip. Additionally, you can use headlamps for setting up camp or for bathroom runs.
The really tricky part of packing for just one night is the food supply. You do not want to over-pack and take things that you won’t use or need, so what you should pack depends on your situation. If you’re planning on fishing for your meals, then something like a portable grill or camping stove is a good option (see our portable camping stove reviews). Or, if hiking is what you’ll be doing then maybe some energy bars and packs of tuna are the best choice. You can even opt for freeze-dried meals, if you prefer. When it comes to drinks, it is likely easier to fill a large water cool jug before setting out and then use it to fill individual canteens and water bottles.
And if you are not staying at a campground that offers shower houses, then you might want to consider bringing a camp shower along with you. Unless you don’t mind being the stinky person all day long. Other basics include a first aid kit, a change of clothes and a compass, map or GPS device.