Camping can be intimidating especially if you’ve lived your whole life in the city where everything is easy and a click away from being delivered to your doorstep. When done right, camping can be a fun and memorable experience. One way to make sure you do is to have the right gear.
Here are the top 15 essentials for a safe and successful camping trip:
One of the most basic needs you must secure early on for a camping trip is a tent for shelter. It’s important because it shields you from the harsh elements and allows you to stay warm, dry, and comfortable whilst sleeping in the wild. However, it’s not enough to bring just any tent. You need to first test out if you’ll be comfortable in it. Crawl inside and see if you can sit up straight without straining your neck or contorting your back. If you’re camping with a partner or group, choose a tent with two entryways. This way, you won’t have to step over each other when exiting the tent. You may also want to get a model with mesh panels so you can still enjoy the view and air out the tent without letting the bugs in.
2. Air mattress
It’s impossible to enjoy the great view, the company, and everything else on a camping trip when you’re cranky from lack of sleep. Get some decent shut eye by bringing an inflatable air mattress. It is lightweight, easy to pack, and can bring you great comfort as you sleep. Just a tip though, when camping during the cold weather, go for mattresses made with synthetic insulation which can keep you warmer on chilly nights. If you’re noticing that your mattress is quick to deflate, check for any holes or tears. You may cover them up with a duct tape.
3. Pocket knife
For preparing food, cutting rope, setting up camp, and even for defense, a pocket knife is a basic but multi-purpose tool that you should always have available. It’s a definite must-have for ultimate survivalists. However, you need to be careful when handling a knife. Additionally, improper storage can easily cause injury, so always store your pocket knife in a sleeve. If you don’t have a secured sleeve, wrap it with towels so you wouldn’t accidentally cut yourself whilst reaching for it. On the other hand, you can get a foldable pocket knife which is safer to carry around. Some models have a dual locking mechanism which is great for ensuring that the knife stays closed after you fold it.
Once night time falls, visibility can quickly fall to zero. Don’t let the darkness keep you from moving around. Bring lighting equipment like flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns. Headlamps are great because they allow you to see right in front of you and have your two hands available for working. You can move around and do things in the dark. You can also use them to signal for emergency situations. If your area is much more visible at night, you won’t attract as much wild animals that could potentially cause you injury, and you won’t exhaust your vocal cords shouting aimlessly. Lanterns are good because the light is bright but not so focused that it would blind onlookers. It’s ideal to be set up inside the tent or in communal areas.
If you must really stay connected to your phone, either for work or emergencies, you can keep them charged using portable inverter generators. There are multiple models available online which can be powered by petrol or solar energy. Maximise your generator’s capacity by following these dos and don’ts.
6. Map and compass
Having a fully charged phone won’t be much help for navigation if there’s no cell service. Instead, learn how to be independent and navigate the woods on your own using old school navigation equipment: a map and a compass. Don’t worry about it being complicated because there are plenty of map and compass reading tutorials available online. You can be sure to find one that’s easy enough for beginners. It’s also recommended that you check whether the camping site you’re visiting offers a park map at the entrance or if they have one online that you can print out.
7. Duct tape
Duct tape is a wonderful multi-purpose tool which can be an easy fix for almost anything. You can use it to cover up holes in your mattress and keep it inflated. Use it to patch up holes in the tent to prevent the cold or worse, bugs, from invading your space. Repair broken equipment or create new ones. You can even use it as an emergency bandage for broken limbs or to bind open wounds. It’s extremely strong, water-resistant, and perfect for a variety of tasks.
8. Portable toilet
Having to do your private business in the middle of the woods can be a pretty jarring experience because it’s when you’re at your most vulnerable and being in a wide-open area doesn’t help. Understandably, not a lot of people are amenable to camping because of it. This holds true until now. You can eliminate the need for squatting on the ground by buying a portable toilet or making one yourself. All you really need is a bucket, a roll of toilet paper, a garbage bag, and seat cover. Then voila! You have a throne fit for a king. Note, however, that this isn’t ideal for backpacking campers.
9. Sun protection
Getting 5 to 15-minute sunlight exposure every day lets your body receive the right amount of Vitamin D it needs to stay healthy. Too much exposure without proper protection will do just the opposite. The harsh UV rays produced by the sun, particularly at its peak in the afternoon, can cause painful sunburn, rashes, and even cause the development of skin cancer. The heat it gives off can also be so intense that you can experience a heat wave and be dehydrated within an hour. Protect yourself by bringing these 3 items: a.) Sun Hat. It seems simple enough, but wearing a hat can significantly reduce the heat on your head and decrease the chances of you suffering from a heat wave. b.) Glasses/ Shades. The sun’s intense glare can cause you momentary blindness, leaving you vulnerable to accidents. You can avoid that by wearing glasses. c.) Sunscreen. This one is self-explanatory. You need sunscreen to protect your skin from sunburns. Make sure to put it all over, including the areas covered by clothes because UV rays can still penetrate them.
10. Water bottle
It seems mundane but making sure you’re drinking water throughout the day is critical if you want to survive. On average, 60% of the human body is made up of water which we continuously shed as we go about our day, moving, sweating, and visiting the toilet. We shed it even faster when we’re camping because we’re required to perform lots of physical activities, and we’re constantly under the heat of the sun. If you’re not careful, you can become dehydrated very quickly. Take care of your body and stay hydrated by keeping a water bottle with you at all times.
11. Water filtration system
Besides having a water bottle, another thing you should also have is a water filtration device. You won’t have the luxury of getting filtered water when you’re out camping. However, there are sure to be plenty of fresh water sources around. It’s just that they’re not 100% safe to drink. Bring a water filtration device to remove dirt and rubber from the water you’re putting in your bottle. If you want to DIY it, there are water filtration tutorials online that you can check out.
12. Cooking supplies
There’s no need to buy extra special cooking supplies for camping. You can make do with the ones you have at home. However, limit yourself to bringing only one to two cooking pans because they can quickly weigh you down. Aside from that, don’t bring the entire spice cabinet with you. Instead, transfer only the amount you need in small containers like Tic Tac capsules. Also bring with you some aluminium foil which is great for cooking fish, chicken, and vegetables even with an open flame.
13. Fire starter kit
Unless you’ve mastered the art of fire starting using only a few twigs and a pair of rocks, it’s recommended that you bring a fire starter kit which may include a lighter and some matches because they’re quick and easy. It’s good to bring both for back up but if you have to choose one, pick the matches. The gas contained in lighters can leak. If it does, you could accidentally cause a large fire or even injure yourself. Matches are better in that regard because they don’t need gas. Also, you can use them for a longer time because the individual pieces are enough to start a campfire. Just store the matches in a Ziplock to keep them dry because a wet match is useless.
14. Emergency kit
You can’t always predict what would happen when you’re out camping in a remote location, so having an emergency kit is extremely important to turn the waves in your favour during life and death emergencies. Here are a few items your emergency kit must have: a.) Sewing materials. They include a needle, small pair of scissors, and some thread. They’re useful not only for patching up worn-out clothes or holes in the tent. You could also use them to close large wounds and prevent foreign bodies from causing infection or more injury. b.) Bandages. Besides having something to stitch up wounds, you also need to have bandages, Band aid, or medical gauzes to cover them up and keep them clean. c.) Medicine. Don’t forget to stock up on your medicine either. Most importantly, keep anti-allergy medicine at hand. You may also bring painkillers as well as antibiotics. d.) Alcohol. You can use this to clean your cookware and disinfect wounds. Alternatively, you may use alcoholic beverages such as Vodka and Brandy which don’t cause as much burning sensation as regular cleansing alcohols. e.) Bug Repellent. Bugs can be a huge pain when you’re in the woods. They bite, cause great discomfort, and can carry dangerous diseases. Keep them away by bringing a bug repellent either in lotion, spray, or patch form. f.) Aloe Vera gel. Aloe Vera contains natural anti-inflammatory chemicals which can accelerate the healing of burns, rashes, and swelling. It’s also a natural bug repellent which can keep your skin feeling moist and bite-free.
15. Heavy-duty backpack
Besides making sure your camping gears are complete, you must also have a backpack that’s strong enough to support all its weight. You wouldn’t want to go around hiking then discovering that most of your belongings have fallen off because of a hole in the bag, would you? Invest in a heavy-duty travel bag, preferably with an additional support system such as a waist belt and customisable straps you can adjust to your liking. It’s also a huge help if it’s made from water-resistant materials, so you won’t have to worry about your clothes and gears being soaked when it suddenly rains. For added measure, it’s best to pack each item in plastic bags.
Bonus Item: Outdoor Pool
If you’re not going hard core on your camping and want to go glamping instead, why not make it even fancier by bringing an inflatable spa? They’re easy to assemble and disassemble. Most glamping areas don’t have swimming pools but they do often provide water pumps and allow guests to set up portable pools. This isn’t really something you need to bring, but it sure can make the trip more interesting and enjoyable for everyone.
Still hunting for the right gear?
Shop now at Outbax. We offer a wide selection of the best camping gear available in the market. Whether you’re looking for a comfortable mattress or a long-lasting generator for your next trip, you can find it here. Visit Outbax today!