Picnic basket, cooler, ice packs: My parents bought me a very adorable picnic basket with a purple cloth lid. Get one of these to feel cute.
Food for cooking and beach/hiking snacks: I always think of food first because my hungry is not so pretty. Also, I love to cook. Bring what you like, but I packed bacon, already-cooked ground turkey, eggs (hard boiled for snacks and regular for breakfasts), sweet potatoes, onions, salt, pepper, favorite spices (cayenne and cumin), hardy vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, squash, instant coffee, graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows, apples and bananas, almonds.
My favorite campfire meals as a kid were hobo dinners, S’mores, Bisquick pancakes, and banana boats with melted chocolate and marshmallows. But you know what? A quick Google search can bring you a lot these days. People are doing all sorts of tricks around a campfire. Donuts, nachos, popcorn, Brussels sprouts, pizza, tofu, apple cobblers. If you can cook it at home, you can cook it over a campfire. Maybe don’t try to whip up a Bearnaise sauce. Ease in …
Utensils: cutting board, one sharp knife, forks and spoons, plates, coffee mugs, frying pan, pot to boil water for coffee and tea, plastic cups
Dish soap and sponge: We don’t need no bears or raccoons.
Trash bags: See above.
Aluminum foil: For wrapping up banana boats, or chopped potatoes and onions, and sticking them directly in the fire. Nothing like that delicious smoky (charred) taste.
Ziploc bags: Use to store leftovers, snacks, seal in dirty utensils, keep matches and flashlight dry.
Matches or lighter: We all have a bit of pyromania.
Old newspapers: Fire starters.
Firewood: Only if you know you can’t buy it where you’re going.
Flashlight: The walk to the bathrooms will be scary without this.
Water bottles: Do this.
Air mattress: If you’re a baby.
Wine and opener: Do not forget this.
Whiskey: No shame.
Pillows, sleeping bag or blankets: You will sleep like a baby without them. Cicadas and fresh air > Ambien.
Towels: Of the beach variety!
Bug spray: More important.
A good book: This should be on your packing list for life.
Beanie Babies: Optional but fun.
Your beautiful open mind: You’re going to get dirty, see bugs and smell like smoke. It doesn’t matter.