Camping is often the perfect quick getaway from the city to have a good time with family and friends while enjoying nature. But to have a fun camping experience, you should not forget to pack all the essential items that will help you “survive” in the wilderness. So, to help you, here are ten of the most important camping items you should not forget to pack for your next trip:
1. Food and Water
You have to eat, right? But, beyond the obvious, you should pack food that is easy to cook or requires minimal or no cooking at all. Always pack at least an extra day's worth of food, just in case. Also worth taking are energy bars, nuts, dried fruits, and jerky; which can be easily munched at any time of the day, even while on the move.
And of course, you need to carry enough water to stay hydrated all the time. If you're getting water from a campground source, make sure you sterilize it first by boiling it or by using a portable water filter or sterilizing tablets.
2. Camp Stove and Cooking Utensils
Camp stoves are inexpensive and can sometimes use the same fuel as lanterns. These are often so compact that you can carry them inside your backpack. If not a stove, a sterno is a smaller alternate option.
With today's technology, cooking (and eating) utensils come in different shapes, materials, and convenient sizes. Some are so lightweight and small that can even fit in the tiny spaces in your backpack.
Always carry a map and a compass to stay oriented in the backcountry. Should you not know how to read a map or compass, check this video to get an idea. It's always good to have the physical version of each instead of just relying on the digital versions (like apps for your smartphone) since they don't depend on external resources or power to guide you. Still, you can always complement your navigation with the digital versions by carrying a good GPS device.
A tent is vital as a shelter from the weather. Tents come in many shapes, sizes, and styles, and often are designed specifically for a certain camping style. When buying a tent, consult with a specialist to select the right tent to the type of weather you’ll be submitting it to.
5. Sleeping Bag
The sleeping bag is not so much for comfort but more to keep you warm on cold nights. Depending on your type of camping, you'll need a sleeping bag that is designed to the temperatures of your campground. These are graded from one season to four seasons; ranging from lightest to warmest (for coldest weather), respectively.
6. Sun Protection
For sun protection you should carry sunglasses, sunscreen, and lightweight clothing. An SPF 30 sunscreen is often recommended for extended outdoor activities. Apply enough sunscreen to cover arms, legs, neck and face; and reapply as often as every two hours, depending on the time of day and amount of sweating.
7. Knife and Multitools
These are some of the most versatile items you will carry in your backpack. They will help you to repair your gear, prepare food, cut stuff, first aid, and other emergency needs.
Also worth carrying is duct tape. This is the universal fix-it product and it can repair everything! And by everything, I mean, everything!
8. First Aid Kit
Never go camping without a first aid kit! You never know what could happen on the road and when you might need it. You can buy a preassembled first aid kit at any pharmacy or convenience store, but you could also assemble it on your own by knowing what to include in it. You can see listed here most of the essential items to include in your homemade first aid kit.
9. Rain Gear
Rain gear is not only limited to a rain jacket and rain pants, it also encompasses the rain cover for your backpack and waterproof bags to keep all electronics and essential documents (like passports) from getting wet.
10. Lantern and Headlamp
This one essential is often forgotten when packing. Whether gas fueled or battery operated, a lantern is good to illuminate the campsite in general. On the other hand, a headlamp is essential to illuminate specific areas (or spotlight) while on the move or performing tasks at night. A great thing about headlamps is that they are hands free, compact in size, light weight, and have long battery life.
There is a chance you might not use all of these 10 essential items, but it is always good to carry them with you since you can never expect the unexpected. It's all about safety, peace of mind, and having a great time in the outdoors.
What other items would you add to this list?