So, without further ado, here are my camping essentials!
This may sound totally obvious, but, out in nature, there is this concept of night, and, away from the modern luxury of electricity, night time is usually quite DARK. While this means you’ll get to see some incredible stars, I always, always, always seem to forget how hard it is to manage in pitch black darkness. Plan ahead and bring as many flashlights, torches, headlamps (the best), as you can because you will need them. One of my favorite camping hacks? Strap a headlamp onto a gallon jug of water or milk for an instant portable lamp.
3. Pack sustainable food.
When I say ‘sustainable’, I’m referring to food that will a) survive no or little refrigeration, b) be able to handle lots of movement, and c) still be appealing three days later. I always take a cooler when I camp, but, depending on the length of your trip, that may or may not ensure that all your food stays fresh the whole time. My favorite thing to do is to plan all of the meals ahead of time, and shop accordingly. Also, make sure to prep your food for easy cleanup/cooking time. If you want eggs for breakfast, crack them into a ziplock bag for easy transportation along with any cheese, salt/pepper/veggies, etc., that you want to add. If you want to grill hamburgers for dinner, wash, chop, and separate all your ingredients ahead of time to avoid doing so at the campsite. My favorite foods to bring on a camping trip are make-ahead breakfast burritos, kettle corn, foil-wrapped dinners, hot dogs/bratwursts, sandwich supplies (pb&j, ham and cheese, turkey, sprouts, mustard, etc.), and, of course, s’mores!
4. Embrace the gross
Depending on your level of comfort when it comes to roughing-it, camping usually means that you’ll be shower-less for the next few days. Instead of focusing on how gross that might be, just embrace it! It’s not like you have a job interview later that day or something (and if you do, reschedule immediately). Instead, focus on little ways to feel fresh sans shower, like brushing your teeth (totally doable with a bottle of water), changing your underwear daily (seriously, this makes a HUGE difference), and, if you have long hair, putting it up into an up-do of some kind (I usually go for french braids) to keep it off your face. In a few days’ time, you’ll be back in your lovely, warm shower, promise!
5. Anticipate problems
Knock on wood, you won’t need to break out your first-aid-kit or car jack, but I’m a firm believer in the idea that being unprepared is just asking for trouble. Always let someone know where you’re going (especially if going alone, which I do not recommend unless you’re a seasoned outdoors-person, and even then, remember this???). Make sure you always have:
- Lots of water
- Toilet paper
- A good knife
- A lighter or box of matches
- First aid kit
- A map and compass
- Storm-proof outdoor gear
- A way of contacting someone in case of emergency (phone, walkie-talkie, etc.)
6. Bring some of the good stuff
Camping is a bit of work, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be enjoyable! I always make sure to bring a good bottle of wine or flask of whiskey, a pack of playing cards, a frisbee or soccer ball, some comfortable lawn chairs, a hammock, a good book, and a portable radio for some of the quieter moments.
Do you have any good camping tips to share? Let me know in the comments!