Advice Please-Horse Show Camping

We’re camping at the VA Horse Center for the show the first weekend of September. It will be much cheaper than getting a hotel room and we’ll be close enough to the barn to check on the horses frequently. You get what you pay for as far as hotels in the area go, and, when I haven’t had my own horse along, I’ve been known to drive the 2+ hours back and forth from home in order to avoid staying at an area hotel.


I should just set up a cot in the stall with him. He’d be down for a sleepover.

Camping seems to be a reasonable alternative to staying in a hotel, but it is something I’ve never done before, at a horse show or otherwise. I’m not a very outdoorsy person outside of horses/farm work, and I really like my sleep. This camping endeavor is K’s idea since she has an 8 person tent that she’s only used once and is eager to use again. I think we’re both bringing air mattresses, so I bought one of these in order to avoid a) buying a hand pump, and b) using a hand pump. A coworker inspired that purchase, so kudos to her. Using the electric air pump I already have is much preferred.


Horses will be stalled in the Southern States barn, we’ll be showing in the Anderson Coliseum.

I pulled my sleeping bag out of the closet of doom upstairs (note to self: clean closet of doom) and took it to the laundromat to wash it. It has sat unused for nearly ten years, five of those in the closet of doom, so I figured a good hot bath would do it well. I was pleased to see that it lacked evidence of a mouse colony since I’ve seen signs of mice in the closet of eternal doom on the opposite side of the upstairs. (Yes…our closet situation is unique upstairs…) So it is clean, ready, and already in the back of my car.

Luckily the VA Horse Center has showers on site, so we’ll be able to make use of those during the weekend (I wouldn’t be as agreeable to this camping alternative if there were no showers…) I feel weird putting flip flops on a packing list for a horse show, but I’ll be wanting those while using a public shower.

I have no idea if we’ll have electric at the campsite, so I’m planning on keeping my phone on a charger whenever in the car or at the stalls. Speaking of my car, I did detail it in case some rogue storm pops up, blows our tent away and requires us to sleep in it.

So my list of items needed for camping so far is this:

  • Tent (K)
  • Air mattress
  • Pump for said air mattress
  • Sleeping bag/pillow/light sheet/blanket in case sleeping bag is excessive
  • Towels/washclothes/flip flops to wear in the showers
  • Some sort of light source?
  • Cooler(s) for food/beverages

So what am I missing? I’m sure there is something obvious…

18 thoughts on “Advice Please-Horse Show Camping

  1. i have a bunch of poplights, and also a battery powered fan/light combo that hangs from the roof of the tent. It’s always hot here though. Otherwise the only other thing I pack is ear plugs, because sometimes showgrounds can be noisy at night.

    • You’re going to hate me for this…but its in the 70’s here mostly during the day and gets down in the 50’s at night…so I’m not too worried about getting too hot. Ear plugs are worth noting though! The horse center requires generator camping to be separate, so at least that won’t be close to us.

  2. I would add couple of folding chairs. I have some big fake candles that have a small battery and they throw off quite a bit of light…that would be safer than candles. Also, an umbrella might come in handy.

    • I have chairs on the list for by the stalls, but I figure they’ll make the trek back to camp with us in the evening. Good to note on the fake candles though!

  3. A headlamp! πŸ˜€ You don’t need a fancy one; you can get one with a regular white light and the red light (for seeing in the dark without blinding horses/people) for less than $20 at Walmart or Target. It’s one of those things that you don’t think you need until you have it…then you wonder how you ever lived without it. πŸ™‚ It’s wonderful to have both hands free while still being able to see when having to rummage around in the dark.

  4. Flashlights or lanterns or headlamps, yes. Easy food like granola bars. Wine or beverages of choice. You will want plenty of bottled water or gallon jugs to refill reusable bottles, for stuff like rinsing your hands off, brushing your teeth if you don’t feel like walking to the bathrooms, etc. More clothes than you think you’ll need, including sweatshirts. Those face wipe things, or at the least, disinfecting wipes for your hands. One of those portable chargers for your phone.

  5. Ditto what Amanda said though sounds like for your climate maybe not necessary. When I camp somewhere where the temps drop that much I like to have a small little hand warmer thing my husband got me at REI.

    Also for phone charging you might consider a small solar power pack. Amazon sells them pretty affordable and some are even flashlights.
    I normally hang a hammock in my trailer or set up my truck tent. Both options have worked pretty well for me πŸ™‚

    • With the weather forecast…its gonna be hammocks in the trailer! The hurricane will impact us. It’s gonna storm all weekend. :/ at least we’re showing inside!

  6. I’ve only ever done camping at a show in an RV which was more economical than a hotel but not nearly as comfortable. (And if I’m to be on top of my showing game I need some creature comforts). It was not bad and with some great people.

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