It’s rewarding, invigorating, and fun. Everyone loves to camp out, and if you haven’t experienced the outdoors lately, you’re missing out. Conquering Mother Nature can be the most gratifying experience of your life. Whether you call it a sport, a hobby, or an adventure, the activity is steadily growing in popularity.
In the United States alone, backpacking and hiking has gained more than 10 million participants over the last seven years — certainly those folks aren’t starting at their local Holiday Inn every morning. Pitching a tent among the tall trees and winding trails is the only way to begin your outdoor excursion. Appreciate breathtaking views of nature, close encounters with wildlife, and reflect on the journey while you fish, sit around the fire, and explore the terrain.
Of course, you’ll also need the proper equipment. Nothing sucks the life out of a camping trip like leaving home without one of your must-haves. Make sure you’re prepared by creating a checklist of important items before you go. Surely, you’ve thought of the basics, but there are a few other supplies that are crucial to enjoying yourself. Wondering what they are? We’re glad you asked.
1. Water-Filtration System
If there’s one thing you don’t want to be caught without when camping, it’s water. Instead of packing large quantities of bottled water, or making special store trips to get it, invest in a water-filter system. Such devices allow you to collect lake or stream water and drink it in a matter of minutes knowing it’s clean. You’ll save time, room, and eventually money by picking up one of these contraptions. There is nothing more convenient than being within a short walk of water any time you need it. Enjoy not having to worry about finding your next drink by scoring a water-filtering system.
Hang up trash to keep the animals away at night, string a tarp to direct rainwater flow away from your tent, or just play a good old-fashioned game with a spool of rope. Whether it’s for convenience or necessity, rope is always a good item to pack. Be the hero this weekend when you use your rope to pull a friend out of a muddy campsite or tie down a wandering tent if it gets too windy.
3. A Proper Tent
Speaking of tents, no camping trip is successful without a comfortable and durable shelter. Select a family tent, a backpacking tent, or camping tent to fit your style. While all your other friends crash on the hard ground out under the stars, you can enjoy the night knowing you’ll be dry when the rain comes. Find a size that can suit your entire clan, or just pick a single person tent that can store your camping equipment. Either way, you’re set for a comfortable and fun vacation when you set up your own private sleeping quarters.
4. A Nonelectric Map
GPS on your cell phone is great — until you don’t have service or the batteries run out. Make sure you throw in an updated map so you can always maintain a sense of direction.
5. Fire Starter
You can either spend the entire morning rubbing sticks together, or you can grab a combustible material and light up a flame in a few seconds. Save yourself some time by bringing a fire starter or aid with you next camping trip. Even if you are more inclined to camp the natural way, the safety of creating heat at the snap of your fingers is worth breaking your code.
6. Sun Screen
No need to explain bringing sun screen. Getting fried is a sure way to take the fun out of your getaway.
7. Air Mattress
No matter how rugged you think you are, grabbing a good night’s sleep always spikes your energy. In order to get the most out of your days, take a mattress for a sound night.
8. Work Gloves
Splitting wood and nailing in stakes goes a lot quicker when you have some cushioning to soften the blow.
9. First Aid Kit
This is a must for any adventure. If your scrape or wound isn’t properly treated, you’ll risk a lot more than an early trip home. A first aid kit is perhaps more essential than any other necessity on this list. Preferably, you won’t be caught without any of these items though.