Whether you are using a tarp, a tent or just a sleeping bag, make sure you have all the components necessary to create shelter for yourself in the wilderness. Check tent poles and stakes to make sure nothing is missing, bent or broken. Check all zippers on your tent and sleeping bag.
Plan your meals before you go and separate the food into bags for each day. Make sure you bring a functioning camp stove, cooking and eating utensils and enough fuel. A fuel canister generally lasts two to three days, if used generously, and will last longer if used stringently.
Bring water containers and a purification system on any extended backcountry trip. If packing in your water, follow the basic rule of one gallon a day for every person.
Bring long underwear, sturdy hiking shoes and enough socks to wear a fresh pair each day. Dirty socks irritate feet and infect blisters.
Pack at least one insulating layer for cold days or nights. Fleece is a good choice. Also remember a hat, gloves, warm socks and a down jacket.
Never trust the weather report. Always bring a rainproof suit. The jacket should have a hood. If the waterproofing on your garments is wearing off, apply a silicone-based waterproofing spray two days before you pack.
Basic human comfort has an important place in camping. Here are some important, comfort-providing extras: sleeping pad, sun screen, sun hat, flashlight, bug spray, handkerchief, camera, journal, book, dish sponge, environmentally friendly dish soap and camp shoes such as flip flops or river sandals.