The Essentials: What Camping Gear Do I Need?
Camping is a great escape – a chance to unplug, relax and enjoy nature. It can also be a great way for families to bond, which is why it’s no wonder that after the pandemic many families are choosing to opt for camping as their outdoor recreational activity. But before you can begin with your camping adventure, you must be sure you have all the necessary gear and equipment. From tents to sleeping bags, and first-aid kits to cookware, it’s important you know what you need to be fully prepared for your trip.
With this blog post, I — an experienced camper and father of three — will provide detailed information on what camping gear you need for your next outdoor outing. I’ll also provide some helpful insight from my experience that hopefully will help you make the best choices for your camping gear.
Whether camping in a designated campground or out in the wild, you will need a shelter. The right tent can make or break your camping experience. You’ll want to find one that provides you and your camping party with enough room but is also lightweight and portable. Think about the number of people you’ll have with you and plan accordingly. If you’re camping in extreme weather conditions, it’s also a good idea to choose a tent that offers waterproofing and durable fabric.
You can easily set up a two-man tent on your own, but anything larger is probably best done with at least one other person. Make sure to bring the right tent poles and stakes, as well as a patch kit for repairs in case of any rips or tears.
No camping trip is complete without a good night’s sleep! That’s why you need to invest in quality sleeping bags, or for extra convenience, air mattresses. Depending on the season and climate you’ll be camping in, you can choose from lightweight and warm sleeping bags and air mattresses that offer insulation for colder temperatures. In addition, having a good sleeping pad can provide extra comfort and support throughout the night.
A great way to keep warm on cold nights is to purchase an aluminized survival blanket, which you can carry in your backpacking bag for extra protection. Including a sleeping bag, pillow, and sleeping pad to your list of camping essentials will ensure you get a restful night’s sleep after a long day of exploration.
When camping, it’s important to ensure that your food is cooked safely. For this reason, it’s important to bring along essential cooking gear such as a camp stove, pots and pans, a stove hood, cooking utensils, and a propane tank. If you’re planning on eating hot meals while on your camping trip, you’ll need a fire starter such as matches or a lighter that’s waterproof and won’t be affected by wet conditions. Additional utensils, such as a cutting board, containers for food storage, a knife sharpener, and a spice kit will come in handy when preparing your meals.
Lighting & Navigation
It’s always a good idea to bring a few flashlights on your camping trip — plus, a waterproof, protective case is also a must. There are also headlamps, which will free up your hands for other tasks and can come in handy once the sun sets. Additionally, you may want to bring along a compass, GPS device, or satellite phone if you plan on venturing off the beaten path or embarking on a longer-term trip. These items will help you find your way back when you’re out exploring.
First Aid Kit
A fully stocked first aid kit should always be part of your camping gear repertoire. Ensure that your first-aid kit includes bandages, bandaids, tape, scissors, antiseptic wipes, ointment, a thermometer, tweezers, antibiotic cream, and of course, a basic first-aid book. You may also want to bring along antidiarrheal medication, antihistamines, and any medications that you yourself or those in your group may need. Finally, insect repellent and sunscreen should also be included in your first-aid kit to protect you from any unexpected outdoor encounters.
Clothing & Footwear
Layering your clothing is key when it comes to camping, as the weather and temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day. Having an extra layer or two can make a huge difference when you find yourself in a colder-than-expected night or on the opposite end, a scorching hot day. Investing in good quality hiking boots and socks will also help protect your feet during long hikes and climbings while trekking poles are a great way to add support when walking through rough and rugged terrain. Gaiters and goggles can help to prevent dust and debris from entering your eyes or mouth.
In my 15 years of camping, I’ve discovered that being prepared is essential for a successful camping experience. Speaking from experience, letting your gear to decay over time is a sure way to have a terrible experience. Having the right tent, cookware, clothing, and safety gear is an absolute must so that your camping experience can be an enjoyable one for everyone involved. Enjoy the great outdoors and happy camping!