It’s the end of the winter soon and spring is smiling at you. The camping season is starting in just a few months. Some of you already have organized a camping trip, and some of you are still planning where to go and what essential camping gear you will need.
In this article, I will not cover the use-the-logic gear, such as toilet paper (biodegradable), paper towels, biodegradable bags, the lighter (although, this is one of the most important things) and so on… I will cover the things you must have with you everytime you go camping, from my experience.
A camping tent is a must, and if you wonder how hard is to set up a tent, I’ve answered on that question here.
Before you go on a camping trip, you need to ask yourself:
- What you are planning to do (are you going for a hiking or just to spend time in nature)
- Where you are going (forest, mountain, a river…)
- How long you will stay there (one day, a week or two weeks…)
- How you will get there (a car, hitchhiking, a bus or a bicycle maybe)
- Who will go with you (a family, friends or you are going alone)
Depends on your answers, you’ll get a much better picture of what you need.
The most basic things are:
- Tent and all accessories
- Sleeping bag(s)
- Sleeping pad(s)
- Survival knife
- Map of the area
- Dishes, cups, forks, spoons…
- First aid kit
- Water purification tablets
- Flashlight and batteries
- Some warm clothes (in case of cold nights)
- Insect repellent
My favorite item on this list is the survival knife. I’m survival knife junkie, I would say. I tried so many different knives but I was the most satisfied with the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Knife. My uncle bought me this one for my birthday and I went crazy about it. It’s ultra-sharp, and great for any occasion while in nature. No matter if you are chopping the wood for a fire, or making a fire, or preparing the food, it’s the great knife to have with you always.
Anyway, this list will expand much more, depends on the previous answers. I will cover the two most common types.
Spending the time in nature with your family
You will probably go by car and you will be able to load everything you need for you and your family in the trunk. If you are planning to have long walks, then comfortable shoes are must have. There are plenty to find online, and you should look for the high-quality waterproof hiking shoes.
If you are going to the place where is possible to encounter wild animals, you should bring a pepper spray as well. Usually, wild animals will try to avoid you, but you can never know. It’s good to have one in case you encounter a bear or a wolf. In any case, act slowly and try not to provoke them. Use the spray as the last solution.
Also, never keep the food in your tent. Animals can smell it from a long distance and they can decide to check what’s on the menu. The good practice is to keep your food somewhere on the tree outside your camping zone, or in the portable refrigerator in your car.
I would expand the previous list with:
- Barbeque wire
- Portable refrigerator
- Pepper spray
Going for a hiking with your family or friends
Again, you will probably go by car, but in some cases, you can use the bus to get to the starting point. If you are planning to go for a couple of days, make sure you have enough food and water. Depends on the location, you might find some water in nature, so make sure you have a water bottle with yourself, always.
A high-quality backpack is one of the most important things you need for this. My choice would be Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 Hiking Backpack due its weight and characteristics. If you follow the previous link, you can find out more about this great backpack, and check the current price on Amazon. It’s big enough to put everything you need and it’s comfortable as well. That means your back won’t hurt after few miles of walking with a lot of weight on yourself.
Hiking shoes are important as well. You need to feel comfortable while walking. And if it’s hot and sunny, you’ll need a hat, sunglasses and sun protection cream. You don’t want to have sunburns when you come back.
I always have a breathable waterproof jacket with me while hiking. In case of the rain, it will protect you from getting wet. And still, it’s small enough to get in the backpack without using too much space.
And, for the end, the trekking poles will make that walk much easier. There are plenty of models to choose, but the best are the ones with adjustability and shock absorption option.
I would add these items to the main list:
- Trekking Poles
- Pepper spray
- Sun protection cream
Again, depends on the location, you should be careful and watch for the wild animals.
Put everything on a paper
Doesn’t matter where you go, how you go there or how long you will stay. The most crucial thing is to plan everything in advance. So put all things on a paper, make a list and start checking everything you have and everything you need to get.
If you are on the low budget, you can always ask someone of the people you know well to borrow the missing items. When I began camping occasionally, I had only the tent, the sleeping bag, sleeping pad and the backpack. Next item was the survival knife and after that everything else.
But if you don’t care for the budget, then you are good to buy everything at once. The main list is really important and you should get all items. You not gonna use them all every time, but in case you need any of those items, you will have them.