There are more than a dozen options for camping sites in LaSalle County. No matter which one you choose, having the essentials for your camping trip is paramount. The following is a list of the Top 10 Camping Essentials:

1) Sun Protection – This includes sunblock, hats, eye wear and appropriate clothing. The sun’s UV rays can cause severe burns for sensitive skin and prolonged exposure has been linked to skin cancer. It is especially important to protect children’s skin, as their skin is more delicate.

2) Extra Clothing – Bring along some fresh clothes to change into after a long day of hiking or outdoor activities. Having a change of clothing for the next day can also make a difference. Always bring warm socks, even in warm weather, since the temperatures can drop overnight. It’s also a good idea to have a jacket, for those chilly mornings, until the sun warms up the day.

3) Batteries and Portable Phone Chargers – You’re probably going to need spare batteries for your camera or flashlight, so don’t forget to pack some spares. Even though you may be going “off the grid” while camping, most of us will still bring a phone along for emergencies, navigation and quick photos. Having a portable phone charger (block) will help you avoid a dead battery.

4) Food – This one seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes folks forget to pack snacks and meals for their camping trip. Pick easy items, that do not require refrigeration, such a granola bars, pudding cups, cereal bars, beef jerky and canned goods. Don’t forget the can opener! If children are in your party, having snacks will help pacify a tired child after a long day of swimming, hiking and other activities.

5) First Aid Supplies – Safety first! Band-aids, healing ointments/creams, gauze & tape, itch and burn cream are essentials to have on-hand. You never know when you (or a fellow camper) may need assistance. You may also wish to include bug spray, bite and itch relief and sunscreen in your kit.

6) Basic Hand Tools – A hammer, screw drivers, pliers and other simple tools can come in handy when you are trying to rig up your shelter, tent stake posts, or clothing line. They also double as protection.

7) Hydration – Absolutely a MUST! Bring along at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day. Drinking will increase with activity level, so plan accordingly.

8) Fire and Lighting – Flashlights or lanterns will allow you to illuminate paths and walkways to the restroom and having matches (or a long-neck lighter) can speed up the process of lighting the fire to illuminate the campsite (and keep you warm).

9) Shelter – Although sleeping under the stars sounds romantic, as soon as the mosquitoes begin to attack, you may think differently. Also, being covered (as in being covered by a tent or shelter) also provides protection from wildlife, bad weather, and gives you some semblance of privacy as you sleep.

10) A Sleeping Bag/Blanket – Having protection from the ground and keeping you warm can make a difference in how much sleep you get overnight. If the blanket isn’t needed as a cover, it can provide a cushion (and protection) from the hard ground.

Other supplies may make the difference between having a more pleasant experience while camping. Don’t forget to take into account the “boring” factor if you have kids or teens. Bring along group games, playing cards, outdoor activities, a volleyball net, bag games, etc.

Mix’s Trading Post offers a lot to our local campers. First, we have several camping essential items in our store, available to help you enjoy a pleasant & memorable camping trip with your friends/family. We can also help you plan your weekend, giving you tips on the best locations for entertainment, lodging, dining & shopping. Visit our store or call us at 815-667-4120 for any questions or suggestions. Just ask, we’re happy to help where we can!

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