The holiday season is in full swing here, many like Dancefestopia, Imagine, Forest and Oregon Eclipse are camping festivals. But let’s face it, it’s not always possible to drive across the country to attend the camping festival. Sometimes your only option is to fly, whether because of working hours or lack of reliable transportation. Whatever the reason, plus the extra baggage fees charged by the airline, flying with all your camping gear can be very expensive. If you are like me, camping is half the reason you go to the music festival, so a hotel is impossible. Luxury camping is always an option, but it may be more expensive than luggage fees.
So, how do you pack your luggage for a 4-5 day camping trip while still staying under the airline’s 50-pound weight limit? It’s simple: use camping gear designed for backpackers. I am used to backpacking for several days in the mountains of Colorado. Any experienced backpacker knows that the four heaviest things in a backpack are tents, big backpacks, sleeping bags and sleeping mats. All my camping gear and backpack weigh less than 18 pounds, and there is enough space for all my clothes and carnival gear. Although the three-day music festival is far less intense than going to the top of the mountain, you still have a lot to pack.
The following must-haves will not only make you feel comfortable during your next camping trip, but also ensure that your weight at the airport is not annoyingly restricted:
Tent, this is the most important item on the list. What you want must be large enough to accommodate at least two people, each with a bag, but you can put it in a consignment bag after unpacking. You also want something very easy to set up and disassemble. I recommend a pop-up tent like a 2-person pop-up tent in winter for holiday camping. They are ready in a few seconds and can be set in a few minutes. When taken apart it is a 25-inch circle, suitable for many larger suitcases. (Hint: Buying a can of UV spray can give you extra protection.)
Inflatable mattress/sleeping pad-you need something more comfortable than the ground to sleep. You also need something that can help you get off the ground in case water enters your tent. Air cushions are good for both situations. When I am camping alone, I travel with my self-inflating air cushion backpack. It is very comfortable, and I don’t need to install an air pump at all, saving me space and weight.
Sleeping bag-you want to make sure you feel warm in the cold night. Choose a waterproof sleeping bag for all seasons. There is nothing worse than waking up in a damp sleeping bag because a companion in the tent spilled a bottle of water.
Cooking utensils-I always recommend bringing fresh fruits and non-perishable foods, such as protein bars, but if you insist on cooking a hot meal, then look at a small camping cooker set like this one. They weigh only one pound and can cook and serve one person.
Hammock-It is always nice to lie in a hammock after dancing all night. I always bring a hammock in case I have a few trees to hang one. They have many different hammocks to choose from, and even some hammocks have built-in your tent. I personally use a lightweight one with a detachable insect screen to prevent pests. Amazon has a large selection of various types.
Towels-use quick-drying microfiber towels. It saves space and weight more than traditional cotton towels.
When you pack your flight, always try to pack multi-functional items. When you can use something for multiple purposes, it can help you reduce the overall weight of the bag. At the same time, try to avoid packing unnecessary or repetitive items. Ask yourself: "Do I really need this?"