Our picnic table was one of the only ones at camp without some sort of rain cover

For all the planning and lists, on every trip inevitably you forget something you might need. Sometimes it is something negligible, sometimes it is something critical. Sometimes it is something that you can find and are willing to replace along the way, but not always. Often it creates a bit of tension that makes for some interesting exploring of new shops and finding of unique souvenirs. It can help you to be creative in finding solutions to work around the missing item. 

I’ll always remember that early teardrop trip to Woodstock where I completely forgot to pack any underwear. Fortunately, at the time there was a lingerie store in town. I went in and when they asked to help, I explained my predicament. They laughed and said “oh, people forget their underwear all the time coming to Woodstock” and somehow I didn’t doubt the truth in that. And after I explained that I needed something simple and functional and not the frilly lacy stuff they were showing me, they helped me find a couple of brands of panties that were functional, comfortable and also pretty as well as easy to pack. I wear these same brands camping to this day and also for everyday wear. 

Despite having a pretty decent medical kit that we keep in the car, there are often missing pharmacy items we end up finding we need. On a recent trip to the Catskills I had packed a deodorant that I didn’t realize was almost empty. So after borrowing my husband’s, there I was again in Woodstock, looking for some kind of not chemical deodorant. I found something to try that smelled pretty good at a local shop that was pretty nutty crunchy. But alas, that deodorant lasted all of two hours in the 100 degree heat we were camping in on that trip (maybe it would have been fine if it hadn’t been so hot). 

It really wood be good deodorant if it wasn’t so hot out…

On this trip I started to feel a sore throat and a bit of achy ear only to discover that I have no throat lozenges with me and no ear drops. A quick stop at a small pharmacy in Saranac Lake made it easy to procure both and be ready if it starts to get worse. 

My husband realized as we were looking at the first weather forecast during a particularly cool evening (it got down into the 40s)  that he forgot both his raincoat and a bit warmer jacket than your average hoody for this trip. I brought both my rain jackets, so it turns out he can borrow one of mine (we are big fans of Marmot rain jackets). But it is likely that we’ll be looking along the way for a woolen shirt that will keep him warm. 
A few years ago we went through a phase of some very cold fall camping without having enough warm gear and spending some particularly shivery evenings. After that we both packed small bags to keep in the camper that have wool long underwear, a warm hat, gloves, a wool buff and some wool socks. This means we always have something warm to wear if the camping gets cold and we don’t have to remember to pack these things. 

Fortunately I brought both my rain jackets!

There was that trip where we brought the kayak, but forgot the paddles. That turned out to be an opportunity to replace our inexpensive, utilitarian paddles with some fancier ones that we’ve never regretted indulging in. And we’ve never forgotten the paddles again. And there was the trip where we forgot the kayak gloves, so we used our bike gloves instead. 

Much of this ends up meaning that we try to make sure that we know of any gear place we might encounter along the way so we know where we can pick up something that has been forgotten or check out new items we might want to add to the mix. 

As we drove past the other camps last night headed to get some ice at the general store, we talked about everyone who had prepped for rain by having some sort of tent or easy-up over their picnic table. We had prepped for rain by putting the Big Agnes over the back of the camper, but hadn’t brought our second rainshield that could cover the table. We didn’t even think about it. We realized that we hadn’t been on a long trip where we had included this item in a while. We got through the rain on our travels last summer without really needing it, but hadn’t even thought to include it for this trip. I guess we’ve gotten so good at settling behind the trailer in our chairs when it rains that it doesn’t bother us much. But then there is always the day after the rain when it is easy enough to wipe down the picnic table cover, but the benches are still wet and we end up having to cover them with our spare towels. Hmmppff. We might want to put that extra rain shield back on the list for long or rainy trips. 

This forgetting and updating of lists is one of the reasons why a couple of shorter “shake-out” trips are necessary early in the season to figure out what you need to put on the list for the camping in any particular year. And it ends up being a good way to explore the shops and buy things that you’ll treasure the story behind.