Death Valley Camping Essentials (Winter Edition)

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Jennie here.

Ivan and I are headed out in a few days to Death Valley for some winter camping. Seeing as we spent the majority of our travel budget for the year on our wedding, we figured it would be a great way to still get a “vacation” in.

And yes, we’re perfect aware that we’re going to a place with the word ‘death’ in it -- doesn’t sound promising but who knows? Also, bear in mind that “winter” in Death Valley is pretty mild. We’re headed out in late December and the temperatures during the day are a mild 60-ish degrees fahrenheit and 35 degrees in the evening.

When I put together this list, I was thinking about necessities that would make our entire road trip and winter camping trip comfortable and relaxing. To be clear, Ivan and I are not avid campers -- in fact this is the first time we’ve gone camping in over a year. But fortunately, we’re staying at a camping site that will have running water.

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Here is our (tentative) list of packing essentials for our upcoming camping trip in Death Valley:

Camping essentials:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bags (warm enough for 30 degree weather)
  • Sleeping mats (or a yoga mat will do)
  • Camping chairs/folding chairs
  • Portable gas stove
  • Cooking pan/pot
  • Flashlights
  • Headlights
  • Cooking 
  • Utensils
  • Paper 
  • Plates
  • Trash Bags
  • Disposable Cups
  • Disposable eating Utensils
  • Ice cooler
  • Firewood
  • Matches
  • Roll of toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lighter fluid
  • First aid kit
  • Binoculars (we couldn’t find a pair to borrow in time but I’d highly recommend this)

Food essentials:

  • Water (at least 1 gallon per day, per person) 
  • Granola bars
  • Mixed nuts
  • Hot chocolate packets
  • Coffee
  • Tortillas
  • Spam (yup, mystery meat in a can)
  • Eggs

The other important things we’re taking -- for comfort-sake:

  • Body wipes and cleansing wipes (for non-shower days)
  • Moisturizer (unscented)
  • Sunscreen
  • Hats
  • Boots
  • Hiking shoes
  • Extra blanket (for warmth)
  • Towels
  • Camera
  • Waterproof jackets/vests
  • Long-sleeved heat-tech shirts (for potentially cold evenings)
  • Extra socks
  • Airplane pillow
  • A book or two

Contingency essentials after plans A, B, and C fail:

  • A few filled gas containers (for when we run out of gas in the middle of nowhere)
  • Tweezers (for cacti needles)
  • Saline nasal sprays (to avoid a bloody nose)
  • Artificial tears (for the super dry climate)
  • Duct tape (for any potential issues)
  • Eyeglass wipes

And of course, there needs to be contingency items such as extra cash, printed maps of the Death Valley area, and external batteries.

Stay tuned for our next post! We’ll let you know how our trip went and make some alterations to this list if we’ve left anything out.

Happy holidays from the desert!