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Whether you're a first-time camper or a seasoned outdoor veteran, choosing the best camping gear for your trip can be the difference between a memorable or miserable time.
From unique camping accessories to hiking gadgets, there are plenty of products that can enhance your next trip into the wilderness. Not sure what to pack? Keep reading for all the must-have gear you should bring with you on your next camping.
Even if you prefer slumbering under the vast indigo sky, you should always have a tent or some other emergency shelter on hand just in case. Otherwise, a midnight deluge, heavy dew, or freak snowstorm is sure to leave you miserable, drenched, and at risk of hypothermia.
A tent can shield you and your camping gear from high winds as well. Whether you opt for the best solo-person tent or a larger luxurious-style tent, make sure you bring along all of its necessary accessories: stakes, tent poles, rope, and a rain fly.
Unless you’re intending to go to sleep every night soon after the sun has set, having a camping light will be indispensable. Getting up out of your sleeping bag and out of your tent in the middle of the night for a potty break is tough enough without making your way through unknown terrain in the dark. A lantern is a perfect lighting choice as it can stand on its own while casting light in every direction. Headlamps are also a great choice.
Resting on a soft bed of moss and leaves may sound like a lot of fun, but it certainly won’t keep you warm when the sun goes down. Temperatures can drop significantly at nightfall— sometimes 20 degrees or more.
Keep in mind, too, that many creepy-crawlers are most active during the night and may chance upon your unswaddled body. Going camping without a sleeping bag risks an uncomfortable night’s sleep at best, exposure at worst.
Camping isn’t camping without a crackling campfire, so you’ll want the tools to get one started quickly. Campers can start fires with matches, a flint, and steel, a cigarette lighter, or a magnesium fire starter. If you opt for matches, make sure they are waterproof.
It’s not a bad plan to pack two fire starters in case one fails. We love the Stealth Angel Arc Lighter because all it takes is a single push of a button to unleash a fiercely powerful dual-arc beam that ferociously ignites anything it touches—perfect for camping!
It’s unlikely that you will experience a life-threatening injury while camping, but even a long day of hiking can result in painful blisters that require a little bit of TLC. Small scrapes and cuts, too, can quickly become infected if left untreated, so always be sure to keep antiseptic and bandages on hand.
Your first aid kit should include other important necessities as well: gauze, scissors, adhesive, a CPR mouth barrier, an emergency whistle, and tweezers. Be sure to toss in bottles of insect repellent and sunscreen as well. Sunburn and bug bites can end your trip as quickly as any laceration.
If you’d rather purchase a pre-made first aid kit rather than making one, you can—just be sure to purchase from a reputable company like Stealth Angel Survival to make sure you are getting a top-quality kit.
Did you know that the average healthy adult can live three weeks without food but only three days without water? Water is essential for surviving in the great outdoors, and the further off the beaten path you go, the more quickly it seems to run out.
The last thing any camper or hiker wants is to be stuck without a fresh supply of water, especially since drinking from a lake or pond can cause serious illness due to bacteria. Even if the wilderness you are heading into is just a few yards from your car, carry a day’s supply of the wet stuff in a Camelbak or other large container. Then, keep water purification tablets or a filter on hand just in case you have to refill from a nearby stream.
The pocket knife is, without a doubt, the ultimate multipurpose tool of the great outdoors. A knife can be used to trim a rope, slice cheese or sausage, cut fishing line, dice bait, sharpen a stick, open a tightly sealed package, deal with tangled vines, skin a small animal, or tighten a screw. Without a knife, such tasks become nearly to outright impossible. If you leave your camping knife at home, expect to feel frustrated, and often.
If your camping itinerary calls for hiking in remote areas, you won’t want to head out without a map and compass or GPS. Constant changes in the sun’s position can make forest landmarks seem unfamiliar, causing campers to become disoriented. Unprepared campers have occasionally wandered the woods for days before finding their way back to camp or getting rescued.
Getting stranded or lost in a wooded area—especially with a limited water supply—is no joke. Even if your pals just want to walk down to the nearest creek from your campsite, make sure they have a way to return back to safety.
You’ve checked the weather forecast for weeks—no rain, only sun. Unfortunately, the weather can change in a blink-of-an-eye, leaving you stuck in the cold rain or huddling around your campfire for warmth. With an extra set of camping clothes, you won’t have to worry about sudden weather changes—you can simply swap out wet clothes for dry ones or layer during a cold front.
Hardcore survivalists may view toilet paper as an unnecessary luxury in the outdoors, but many campers swear to its necessity. Leaves and bark make poor substitutes for latrine duty in both hygiene and comfort, and a chapped backside can make sitting pretty painful. Also, campgrounds with bathroom facilities have been known to run out of paper from time to time.
If you are camping in the deep woods and are concerned about the environmental impact of using TP, purchase some that’s biodegradable or take a refuse bag for disposal.
Camping is a timeless way to spend a weekend or vacation communing with nature, family, and friends. It’s good for the mind, body, and spirit to mix up our routines and get outside for some serious fun and relaxation. However, as much fun as camping is, it can turn into a real nightmare if you forget to bring some important must-have gear.
When planning your next camping trip, get organized and put together a checklist of all the essential items that you’ll need to bring along with you, like a tent, food, water, and first aid. This way, you can easily check each item off your list as you pack them into the car to avoid leaving anything behind.