You can hear your phone ringing in the opposite room as you sit on the couch. The characters in the movie you’re watching effortlessly climb up mountains, dodge bear attacks and eat whatever they can find out in the wildness. You think to yourself that if they’ve got enough energy to do all of the that, surely you can pull yourself off the sofa and force yourself towards that incessant ringing.
As you pick up the phone, you laugh to yourself as your mates collectively scream into the mouthpiece. After a while you make out the words “camping” and “soon.” Your stomach instantly drops, knowing full well that you’ve never actually gone camping and aren’t sure whether or not you’ll be good at it. You peer down at your spaghetti-stained sweatpants, glance at the fit and motivated stars on the television, ignore that voice of fear inside of your head and reply with a “Yes!”
Your mates may be taking care of the location, time and date of this expedition, but you could still use some reminders for what to pack. After all, you want to make sure you’ve got any must-have pieces of camping gear that they may forget in their excitement.
Roughing it under the stars without a tent may be appeal to your inner ‘Rambo’, however, even the toughest of campers often encourage the use of a tent for the following reasons:
- Shield of protection against the elements
- Aids in better sleep
- Temperature regulation
- Keeps the bugs away (for the most part).
Luckily for you, there is a large pool of tent styles to choose from, depending on whether you’re sharing your tent or enjoying every inch of it by yourself. Each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages depending on your circumstance. It’s therefore wise to choose accordingly in regards to the environment you’re setting up camp in, predicted weather forecast, length of visit, pitching capabilities and desired level of comfort. (1)
Sleeping comfortably should be your top priority to ensure you’re fighting fit for your daily (and nightly) adventures. Your friends may be bringing along a few waterproof outdoor blankets for additional safeguarding against the rain.
You may also, however, consider the following gear for optimal relaxation after a long day of exploring the great outdoors:
- Camping pillow
- Sleeping bags
- Sleeping pads.
It’s also key to note that if you invest in camping blankets, they can also be used at picnics, stadiums and other events due to their compact size, portable nature, durability and versatility.
- Camping chairs and tables
Depending on where you’re camping, if there’s a lack of naturally-sourced seating and table-tops (logs, rocks etc.) you may consider bringing along some portable camping chairs and tables to allow your legs and back a break from standing. Plus, you’ll give your mug of hot cocoa a place to rest without spilling.
- Proper clothing
Trekking up rocky terrain, pushing yourselves through bodies of questionable water and jumping into lakes may seem like an ideal and classic camping trip. These situations, while enjoyable, tend to also provide you with some element of discomfort; however, the benefits of the overall experience usually balance out the latter.
If, however, you head out on a hike at 4pm in just a singlet, shorts and sandals, you may turn your exciting trek into one filled with blue toes, insect bites and drenched clothing. Packing suitable attire, including a sun hat and sturdy walking boots for example, is a must when it comes to camping. (2)
These items are usually:
- Kitchen items
Your friends may be set on living off the land with just a hunting knife and a well-lit fire. If, however, eating questionable meat off a large leaf with a stick as a fork doesn’t appeal to you, you may decide to bring along some useful kitchenware. Depending on the length of your adventure some of the suggestions below may be more or less suited to your needs.
Items may include:
- Eating utensils
- Portable coffee maker
- Water purifier
- Portable gas stove
- Waterproof lighter
- Trash bags.
- Flashlights and headlamps
Bringing along some form of portable and long-lasting lighting is wise. The last thing you’d want is to be lost out in the middle of a forest at night with no sense of direction, nor light to guide you back to the familiar.
If the area lacks shade from the sun, you may consider bringing along some of your own. If you forget sunscreen and are travelling in the middle of Summer, some form of tarp may become your new best friend.
- Health and hygiene products
If it’s your first time camping, the thought of using leaves and debris as toilet paper may prove extremely stressful, especially if you value cleanliness and hygiene. If this is the case you may opt for bringing your own toilet paper as well as the following items:
- Hand sanitizer
- Feminine hygiene products
- Insect repellent.
- First aid kit
Accidents can happen whether you’re out in the middle of nowhere at night, or comfortably at home. Some may argue that the likelihood of accidents occurring is higher if out and about in nature with poor lighting, limited supplies and thrill-seeking friends. Ensuring, therefore, that you bring along a well-equipped first aid kit may mean the difference between a properly disinfected and bandaged animal bite, or the loss of a limb. (3)
Remembering to pack any specific medications you may need is also key. It can be easy to venture out into a new atmosphere thinking you won’t be affected by your previous ailments, but alas, they likely still need managing.
- Tools and repair items
You never know when some of your gear may decide to break. Bringing along a camping multi-function tool or even some duct tape may save you time and inconvenience.
- Games and entertainment
Boardgames or a deck of cards may not seem like life-saving, must-have gear. If, however, you run out of conversation, can’t sleep or simply wish to add some fun to your trip in those moments of down-time, these entertaining items may benefit you.
- Personal items
Lastly, it’s wise to bring along the following, especially in case of emergencies:
- Mobile phone
- Campsite reservation confirmation
A little comfort can go a long way, especially when camping. It’s important to ensure that you bring along the top essentials needed for your planned agenda as well as anything else you think may come in handy – while keeping in mind the weight of your equipment.
- “Tent Types: 9 Tent Styles for Every Situation,” Source: https://arborexplorer.com/types-of-tents/
- “What Not To Wear Camping (Don’t Make These Mistakes!),” Source: https://www.smallcarcamp.com/what-not-to-wear-camping-dont-make-these-mistakes/
- “What to Pack in a Camping First Aid Kit,” Source: https://head2toefirstaid.com.au/2019/12/19/what-to-pack-in-a-camping-first-aid-kit/
- “30 Best Camping Activities for Families to Try in the Great Outdoors,” Source: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/g27287900/best-camping-games-activities/