San Diego Summer Camping Essentials & Safety Tips

Summer camping in San Diego can’t be beat. Our mild climate makes it possible to enjoy nature’s beauty in the peaceful mountains, by a serene lake or right on the beautiful beach.

Wherever your family decides to go, take along these great summer camping essentials and safety tips. You’ll be sure to have a wonderful time!

Camping Essentials During Summer

Everyone knows to bring camping staples like a tent, backpack, sleeping bag, folding chairs, bug spray, sunscreen, food and plenty of water.

But there are some less obvious camping essentials that will make your summer outdoor excursion even more comfortable:

  • Pants and a sweatshirt – Summer’s hot days can trick us into thinking we only need shorts and t-shirts while camping. But it can get cool at night, especially on the beach or at higher elevations in the mountains. Bring a pair of comfortable light-to-medium weight pants and a cozy sweatshirt to hang out in after dark.
  • Quick-dry shirts – Cotton is super comfortable – until you start sweating. Then it can become a damp, chafing mess. Quick-dry tops that wick away perspiration are an essential part of camping. They keep you drier and cooler than cotton during the warm day, making activities easier and more enjoyable. You can also buy quick-dry undergarments for additional comfort as well.
  • Sleeping pads – Everyone has a sleeping bag, but you should also have a sleeping pad. Sleeping pads vary in thickness and material, but they all provide much-needed comfort and insulation from the ground underneath your sleeping bag. Even smooth terrain like sand can get uncomfortable when laying on it for hours.
  • Water filtration – If you’re camping next to a freshwater lake or pond, bring a water canteen with a built-in water filtration system. This way you’ll be certain to never run out of drinking water.
  • Headlamp – Lightweight headlamps are a great alternative to traditional flashlights. They offer convenient hands-free lighting that helps immensely when you’re trying to cook, play a game or read after dark. They’re also wonderful for hiking at dusk, when the summer air finally begins to cool off.
  • Battery-powered fan – In case of a warm evening, or if you simply like sleeping with air flow, a battery-powered personal fan will ensure a great night’s sleep. There are many inexpensive options for small, durable fans that will keep you cool all night as you slumber in your tent.

Summer Camping Safety Tips

To ensure a fun, healthy camping trip, be sure to follow these important safety precautions:

  • Wrap up and pack your food tightly – Wild animals can smell food miles away. Always make sure your food is packed up quickly after you prepare and finish meals and snacks. Put perishables into locking coolers, and secure all non-perishables inside thick, insulated zipper bags.
  • Use a meat thermometer – Most of us don’t cook meat over an open fire or a portable stove very often, so there’s an increased risk of eating undercooked food. Use a meat thermometer to test all of your meat for doneness before eating it. 
  • Know your surroundings – Spend some time researching your campsite and its surrounding area before you go. Know what to expect. Take note of the nearest medical center and ranger station. Print out a detailed map and bring it with you; don’t rely on a phone or tablet to guide you once you’re there. Cell service can be spotty or nonexistent.
  • Wear bug spray to bed – Mosquitos, ticks and other insects aren’t only a threat during the day. They can easily make their way into your tent and sleeping bag too. Cover yourself thoroughly in a high-quality bug deterrent before you go to sleep.
  • Bring a first aid kit – A basic first aid kit is essential for any camping trip. In addition to the first aid essentials, your kit should also include plenty of allergy medications since you will be spending lots of time among plants and insects. And if anyone in your family has even a mild allergy to bee stings, bring an EpiPen.
  • Check the weather – Although San Diego enjoys near-perfect weather, we do get our fair share of hot, humid days – sometimes up into the triple digits. Always check the weather before you go camping in the summer to avoid extreme heat and the serious risks associated with it.

For all the best tips on outdoor, healthy lifestyles here in San Diego, be sure to scroll through Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups’ many helpful articles.  

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Healthy Lifestyles
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