By Mary Barberio
IT’S TIME TO leave behind the stress and
traffic of big cities and go camping. Explore
the great outdoors while you hike, bike, raft,
canoe, swim, chase butterflies and relax by
the campfire. Simply follow these guidelines
for camping equipment and you’ll have a
Tent. What qualities should you look for?
At one time most tents were made of canvas
and weren’t very sophisticated. That’s no longer the case. Today there are many variables,
so look for one that fits your purpose.
You should consider space, weight, ceil-
ing height, durability and ventilation. Then
choose the material. Nylon is lightweight and
strong and doesn’t rot. Polyester is similar to
nylon but is better able to resist
UV damage. Canvas is durable
but heavier. Do the zippers open
easily? Ease of setup is extremely important,
and it is recommended that you set up your
new tent at home first so you’re familiar with
Sleeping bag. Select a sleeping bag of
high quality and with a temperature rating
slightly lower than the lowest temperature
you expect on your outing. Down-filled bags
are light and compactable, and some are
water repellent. Synthetic-filled bags are
heavier and less compactable but are also less
expensive. Choose a cot, a good air mattress
or at least a thick pad to add cushioning from
the hard earth.
Coolers. Take two. For the food cooler,
fill a couple of 2-liter bottles with water and
freeze ahead of time. The bottles of ice will last
longer and won’t leave your food swimming in
water. Plus, you’ll have cold drinking water.
The beverage cooler will be opened more
often, and cubed ice will work fine. This ice
will melt quicker, but don’t discard it as it can
be put to other uses, such as when Fido needs
drinking water or Junior needs his sandy feet
washed before hopping into his sleeping bag.
Camp stove. There are many to choose
from, as stoves vary in size, weight, power,
fuel and ease of use. The right choice for you
will depend on your needs and budget.
Try using pots and pans that nestle, as
they take up less room.
Food. All meals can be cooked easily
over your stove or campfire, from pancakes
and eggs to shish kebabs over rice. You can
even cook fruit pies and pizzas in pie irons
over the fire. Your food choices are limited
only by your imagination. A few tips:
• Prepare and freeze some meals at home.
• Bring heavy-duty foil for meals that can
be cooked directly over the fire.
• Bring sealable plastic bags or plastic
containers with tight-fitting lids for leftovers
(and for protecting cellphones and matches
• Keep food stored away in the car, in special canisters or suspended in a tree to avoid
unwelcome visits from animals.
• Bring trash bags for cleanup.
That’s how easy camping is. Get your
gear. Call ahead to see if the campsite provides electricity and water and allows for
Fido. Follow your checklist and prep some
meals ahead of time. Then pack the car, collect the family and head out. And don’t forget
the s’mores. C
Costco member Mary Barberio is a freelance
writer based in Northville, Michigan, whose
family has been camping for generations.
The Costco Connection
Many camping items are available seasonally in Costco warehouses, and many more
can be found year-round on Costco.com.
How to be a happy camper
❑ Tarp/ground cloth
❑ Pocket knife, hammer, axe,
extra stakes, duct tape
❑ Air pump and a repair kit if
bringing an air mattress
❑ Camp chairs
❑ Rope (clothesline for
❑ First-aid kit
❑ Bug repellent (sage is a
natural mosquito repellent;
it can be thrown on the fire,
and it smells good)
❑ Cooking/eating utensils and
dishes, bottle/can opener
❑ Oven mitts, napkins/
paper towels, dishcloth/
towel, soap, clothespins,
❑ Rain gear
❑ Water (if not available
❑ Map/compass (if no
❑ Extension cord (if electricity
❑ Folding table
❑ Dining canopy