Having a dependable tent is always important when camping. Whether you are car-camping or hiking-in to a spot make sure you have a tent with a rainfly. You should also purchase a tent in preparation for the amount of people you will be with and choose a tent based on the season you plan to be camping during. The 3-season tent is most likely your best bet for purchase because it provides shelter from insects, can likely withstand rain and keep you dry and warm.
Sleeping Bag and Pad
The best buy for a great sleeping bag is always the zer degree bags. These bags are great for 3-season weather –or for the brave: snowy conditions. Nothing is worse than freezing all night when you are camping; even in the middle of summer you can catch a cold, rainy evening. Instead of lugging that old blow-up mattress around, try a light-weight sleeping pad that will keep you off the ground. Sleeping pads are cost-effective and great for campers that are hiking-in to their site because they are easier to carry. You can manually blow them up and roll them up as you would a yoga mat.
Pack the Essentials
Regardless of where you are camping or hiking, you will most likely need a few of these essential items:
- Sunblock to protect against harmful rays.
- Bug spray to protect against insects. Also, always check yourself for ticks after every hike and thoroughly when you return home from camping.
- Extra clothing for hiking, especially if you are hiking larger mountains. Never wear cotton on a mountain range. Wear synthetic clothing that will dry fast and pack your rain coat, gloves, and hat. Weather can change very quickly on a ridge line.
- Headlamp or flashlight when you are hiking, even if you anticipate returning back to your campsite early, you can always get lost.
- Waterproof matches in the event you do not have a lighter and it is raining.
- Extra food and a ton of water! Hydration is key when camping.
- Map and Compass
- Pack a knife or utility tool for unexpected projects.
- Baby wipes are great for refreshing and cleaning anything –especially for children!
- First-aid Kit Including: Band-Aids, alcohol wipes, blister block, tweezers, Benadryl, aspirin, gauze and sport tape for sprains.
- Always pack some rope and duct tape-you never know when you will need to craft a laundry line or tape a leak.
- Don’t forget the toilet paper! Use an older Foldger’s coffee container to keep it dry.
Be sure to follow camping guidelines when travelling out of state. Bringing wood that travels from one state to another is a big hazard to the natural environment because harmful bugs can travel on wood, making it even harder for environmental management to maintain their forests. Always pick up wood local to where you are camping. To start a fire, fire starters are a great option or you can choose to make your own.
DIY Fire starter: Fill dryer lint in a recycled toilet paper roll or egg carton. Coat with wax. Or soak cotton balls in alcohol or petroleum jelly, using a plastic bag for storage.
Natural Repellant around the Fire: Use dried sage or dried lavender to naturally repel bugs. Tie the herbs up and let them dry out. Bring them to your next fire and let them burn off to the side of your fire.
The best lighting used for camping is truly a headlamp instead of a flashlight. Headlamps allow you to be mobile and handsfree. Plus, they are fun to use!
Bring the cards, a board game or embark on a photograph scavenger hunt. All of these are great for both children and adults keeping you and them entertained during downtime.
A Few Great Camping Hacks
- Use frozen water jugs to keep food cold in a cooler for longer, then you can drink the water as it melts.
- Make a portable candle out of an Altoid tin using wax and a wick.
- Put 1 part tea tree oil and 2 parts water in a spray bottle for natural tick repellent.
- If cooking with egg whites, pour them in a recycled water bottle for easier transportation.
- Wrap your food in foil and place it over the fire for easy, mess-free cooking