Ask A Seattle Guide: Packing List For Your Next Campout

April 27, 2013 6:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

For some, camping is a simple activity to plan and prepare for. For others, it can take a bit more work. Thankfully, for those living north of Seattle, there are people like Krystle Compise who can help. Whether you are a camping expert or new to the idea, here are five tips you may not have thought of when planning your next adventure.

Krystle Compise
9810 Quil Ceda Blvd.
Tulalip, WA 98271
(360) 474-4880

The Cabela’s store in Tulalip, WA is one large store, which can make it difficult to find the store’s “resident camping expert” Krystle Compise. But it is worth the trip if you do. Though her voice could be mistaken for a southern drawl, Krystle has lived in Washington all of her life and she knows a thing or two about camping. When asked what she thought would be the five most essential items to bring on a camping trip, she said, “What kind of camping? Car camping? Trail camping? Tent camping?” Let’s see if we can narrow it down a bit. How about camping in a state park in Washington?

Tip 1 – Bring Rope

This is the one thing Krystle insists on. If you don’t have a tent, you can use rope to create a shelter by stringing it up between your car and a tree. Then place broken tree banches or a tarp on top. You should also string up your food high above to discourage unwanted critters from entering your camp space. Rope is one of those things you don’t know you need until you need it.

Tip 2 – Build a Fire

“Many people don’t know how to start to build a fire,” says Krystle. Cabela’s offers many brochures with tips for camping, including how to start a fire. Bring plenty of DRY firewood from home including kindling. Don’t forget the matches. Also, keep the matches in a plastic sandwich bag to protect them from getting wet.

RelatedWinter Camping Guide For Seattle

Tip 3 – Stay Off the Ground 

Krystle recommends a barrier between campers and bugs. Whether you choose a simple camping mat or a deluxe cot, they will make for a more comfortable sleep. Bringing along some bug repellant is good idea too.

Tip 4 – Wear Layers of Clothing

The weather can be unpredictable in the Northwest. Mornings can be chilly and afternoons downright hot. Plus, you always need to be prepared for rain. Don’t pack a suitcase full, but bringing a variety of thin and thick breathable clothing along with some rain gear will keep you feeling comfortable at all times.

Tip 5 – Bring Electronics

Surprise! While you may want to “get away from it all,” you shouldn’t leave it all behind. Cell phones are a great tool for emergencies. Portable solar panels can literally help save your life. Krystle also recommends using a SPOT Personal Tracker that will alert family at home of your precise location at all times.

Related: Geotouring Adventures In Seattle


Jeffrey Totey is a freelance writer living in Seattle. He has a love for the arts and is a student of pop culture. He covers stories about the performing arts, theater, museums, cultural events, movies and more in the greater Seattle area. His work can be found at