Last October, William and I went camping together for the first time at Big Bend Ranch State Park. We each had different camping experiences when we were younger, but this was our first time doing primitive camping. So we wanted to make sure we had everything we needed since we’d be basically in the middle of nowhere with zero cell service.

 We’re super excited to be going back to Big Bend Ranch very soon. So, I thought I’d bring you all along as we prep for the trip in case you decide to visit the great outdoors this spring or summer.


panoramic view of our campsite in Big Bend Ranch State Park
our campsite
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The Necessities

I’ll start with what you’ll definitely need for your trip. Then, we can talk about things that are nice to bring along, just in case. So, the necessities are:

  • a tent with stakes
  • sleeping bag or several blankets
  • lantern or flashlight
  • batteries
  • portable charger
  • first-aid kit
  • sunscreen
  • deep woods insect repellent
  • 1 gallon of water per person per day
  • a separate gallon or more of water for cleaning and misc.
  • knife
  • firewood and kindling
  • matches or other fire starter
  • cooler
  • pots, skillet, cooking utensils, and eating utensils
  • plates, bowls, cups, or mugs (depending on what you plan to eat or drink)
  • towels
  • hand sanitizer
  • toilet paper
  • a spade or small shovel (if there’s no bathroom nearby)
  • washcloths
  • toothbrush, toothpaste
  • unscented biodegradable soap
  • canned goods and easy to cook foods
  • can opener
  • tape
  • trash bags


picnic area

Nice to Have Items

These next items aren’t necessary for your trip, but they may make it more enjoyable.

  • lawn chairs
  • plastic tablecloth (if a picnic table is available at the campsite. Trust me!)
  • a small grill
  • sleeping pad
  • headlamp
  • small folding table (if a picnic table isn’t nearby)
  • hammock
  • cord or rope
  • grill rack
  • cards and board games 
  • binoculars
  • reading material
  • action camera (like a GoPro)
  • baby wipes




Something to remember when camping is that the weather can change at any time, especially when camping somewhere like Big Bend Ranch. The nights are waaay colder than the day. So try bringing multiple options such as:

  • short sleeve and long sleeve shirts
  • a sweatshirt
  • a jacket
  • socks
  • thick socks
  • pants
  • shorts
  • underwear (of course)
  • bandana or sweat band
  • sneakers
  • maybe hiking boots
  • flip flops
  • stretchy pants, like leggings or yoga pants
  • swimsuit
  • warm pajamas (a MUST)
  • rain gear
  • maybe long johns



These are all great items to have, some less necessary than others, but it’s a nice list to help you realize what you may want or need to pack for your camping trip. Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments if you have any additional suggestions.