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A full tank of gas? Check. A fully crossed-off checklist for the trip? Triple check on that thanks to this guide. (Image: Chona Kasinger / Seattle Refined)

A Beginner's Guide to Camping: 10 things you gotta pack

A long weekend with highs in the upper 80s? Check.
A crew assembled and playlist queued up for the drive out? Check.
A full tank of gas? Check.
A fully crossed-off checklist for the trip? Triple check on that thanks to this guide.

It's that time of year and in the PNW, your options for camping are abundant but first things first - you're going to need to cover your bases. For the uninitiated, camping might seem daunting, but don't worry - we got your back. Reference the list below for the ten things you don't want to be caught without on in the wild and click on for photos of the great outdoor to get inspired for your next outing.


The lesser the paper trail the better. Campsites generally have dishwashing stations, so leave the plastic cups and paper plates behind - you'll save money in the long run buying sturdy cups and plates right off the bat as well as do mother nature a solid.


For the long nights sitting around the campfire sipping beer, you'll definitely want to have some bug spray in town lest you face the wrath of itchy ankles the next day. As they say, a stitch in time saves nine.


Sunblock is crucial, though often forgotten. Protect yourself from the sun because trust us (especially if you're out in central Washington), that sun can be unrelenting and most certainly unforgiving. Load up on the SPF - it might not be a bad idea to stash one in the car just in case you're forgetful. Remember, even sitting in the comforts of your car, those UV rays can be harsh.


There's a reason hot dogs are so popular - slap one on a stick, put it over yonder fire and boom - dinner is served in between two toasty buns. Hot dogs are an all American crowd pleaser and even as a vegetarian, you have a myriad of options at the store.


There's nothing quite a good old fashioned s'mores nightcap. Grab a basketful of Hershey's bars, Jetpuffs and graham crackers at the store and you've got an instant party. Check out our guide to maxing out your s'mores this summer here.


You know that old annoying mantra "expect the unexpected"? Boom. We've had a good run of no rainy days this summer, but if you're a Washingtonian, you know that this kind of thing can change in a heartbeat. Throw your parka in the back of the SUV just for peace of mind and be sure to have a layer or two for the brisk mountain/beach/desert nights ahead.


The same thing applies here. If it rains, you don't want to have to deal with a flooded tent. Load one up with the rest of your goodies just for the added insurance - you won't be sorry.


Duh! If you're really not trying to do the legwork, Coleman makes a super easy pop up tent that will accommodate four people and costs $99.99.


Don't underestimate the importance of a good sleeping bag. You'll have it for years and guess what? You'll be snug as a bug in a rug out in ye wilderness.


C'mon! Depending on who you are, this can be make or break. There's nothing better than waking up and inhaling the fresh scent of pine... mingled in with a bit of hot joe. Pop a pan over the campfire, boil up some water and boom-- you've got your caffeine fix the morning.