A Quick Checklist of Essentials for Colorado Camping Trips

Photo by Andrew Gloor on Unsplash

Camping in Colorado calls for gear that will serve you whether it’s hot or cold. You’ll also need protection from rain and sun. Food, clothing and insect repellent can’t be overlooked either. Colorado camping trips can take a lot of supplies — but Colorado is 100% worth it. Here’s a quick packing list of essentials for your next trip. 

Start with a tent

Your tent is your home away from home, so invest wisely. A small tent can work well if you’re camping on your own. Make sure the tent is private enough, too.

Once you have your tent, practice setting it up and taking it down. Try to get to your camping spot early enough to have plenty of light so the setup will be less complicated.

Buy some bedding

When it comes to bedding, start from the ground up. If you’re used to a squashy mattress and can’t sleep comfortably on a hard surface, plan ahead. Invest in an air mattress or at least an inflatable camping pad. Stretch out on the floor on the camping pad and make sure you can get comfortable.

The next step is to get a good quality sleeping bag. If you can’t stand having your feet confined at night, get one you can completely unzip. Pack extra bedding and make sure to include a blanket. A quality thick wool blanket like this one from Self Reliance Outfitters can add heft to your covers and keep heat close to your body.

Take a pillow that’s as similar to your bed pillow as possible for maximum comfort. If you know it’ll be cold, bring fleece sheets. Fleece, then your sleeping bag, and then a wool blanket is a great layering method to stay snuggly and warm.

Pull up a chair

When you get back from your hike, you’ll want a great chair to sit in and relax. When shopping, be ready to test drive several chairs to find the one that suits you best. Concentrate on height so you’re not folded into the chair or left with your feet dangling.

Stock your kitchen

Carefully check the fire regulations in the area you’ll be camping in before setting out. Pack a small stove that you can easily light to heat up canned foods and bring items that don’t need to be cooked in case the wind is high.

A pair of welding gloves is a good addition to any camping kit. They’ll protect your hands if you’re cooking over a fire, and you can also wear them while gathering dead wood to load up your fire pit. Put a pair of metal tongs in your kit as well. Bring one plate, cup, and set of utensils per person, as well as a couple of long-handled cooking pots.

Pack in old kitchen towels and a bottle of white vinegar in a spray bottle so you can do your dishes without burning through your drinking water. Load up your kitchen with extra trash bags.

Choose the right clothing

One of the best things about Colorado is that it’s almost always cool at night. Bring a hoodie to sleep in, as well as leggings or sweats. Invest in an oversized raincoat you can wear over several layers of clothing just in case it gets cold. And always pack fleece garments to keep yourself warm. You can layer tees under them and strip down as the day heats up.

Shorts and sandals will suit on the warmest days, but you’ll want pants and socks for cool weather and rain. Make sure to stop hourly on your hikes to reduce the risk of blisters and never go camping in new shoes.

Stuff everything in a reliable backpack

If you plan a long hike, you’ll want a sturdy backpack with plenty of structure so you can load it full, strap it tight and manage the weight easily. In addition to purchasing a waterproof backpack, consider investing in a waterproof cover as well. The wetter your gear gets, the heavier it will be to haul back.

Don’t forget the water jugs

In addition to packing plenty of fresh water, consider investing in filterable water jugs. In the event of an emergency, you may need to draw water from a stream or river. By using a filterable jug you can pressurize to make sure the water is pure, you can protect yourself from the awful symptoms of giardia.

Your Colorado camping trip will be a lot of fun if you pack the right supplies, bring your common sense and pack out your garbage. The beauty of Colorado can’t be beat.


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