Things We Forget to Bring Camping
Ready for your outing? Think again. Whether you are a complete novice or an experienced camper, there is a chance that you may leave something very important at home. Here are 10 items you always need to double-check for before you set off.
Just because you are going all the way to a very pure and unpolluted spot, don’t expect that you will find water that is safe to drink. And even if you are staying at an established campground, you will still need to provide your water bottle and other gear. It sounds so obvious, but you would be surprised how many people forget this part of their gear at home.
Staying hydrated is the most important thing when you’re out and about, and if you’re taking it lightly, maybe you should stay at home. Something like a LifeStraw is small and affordable, so you don’t have any excuses.
Water purification tablets
First Aid Kit
Duh. You can walk now into any big box store and pick up one just now and it will do the trick.
Just because nothing ever happened, it doesn’t mean than nothing ever will. And even if you have to deal with small cuts and scrapes, it’s best to take care of it on the spot, instead of surprising yourself with a lovely case of MRSA or other flesh-eating bacteria later on. Remember, you are far away enough from the nearest medical center that a small thing can snowball within a blink of an eye.
If you have prescription medicine that you have to take, pack a few more days worth just in case – you never know what may delay your return so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
And if you are going anywhere near the Grand Canyon or a similar snake-friendly area, you are just itching to win a Darwin Award if you for an anti-venom kit as well.
Store-bought or a la carte first aid kit.
Anti snake bite first aid kit.
Sunshade and SPF
The biggest downside to leaving the city limits is leaving all that pollution that helped give you some extra protection from the Sun. No kidding. Also, if you end up at a higher altitude, you’ll also end up with extra exposure.
For those who camp just once or twice a year, it’s mostly about sunburn and discomfort prevention. But if you go out a lot more often than that, you are putting yourself at a greater risk of developing skin cancer.
So, wear sunscreen. Reapply it regularly (every 2 to 4 hours). And stick to products that are marked with “broad spectrum”, and are rated at least SPF 30 (for UVA rays, you don’t have to go above 50) and PA++ (for UVB rays).
Sunproof tarp or parasol.
Sunscreen at least SPF 30 and PA++.
Lip balm with SPF 15.
Bugs are not just annoying, but they can also transfer some illnesses. And trust me, a camping trip is not the time when you want to learn that you have a new allergy.
A mosquito net is a must, and if it’s not already included with some of your gear, you can pick up some for very cheap in your favorite garden or hardware store. A lamp is super useful in an area that is very close to the water, just check for the power source and if you will be able to recharge it or replace batteries. For everything else, regular bug spray will suffice. You’ll probably be able to pick up both in garden and camping stores, and in regular ones during the Summer months.
But if you want to go with a noise repellent, test it before you set off – most of the cheaper models don’t do anything at all.
Bug spray or balm.
Noise pest repellent.
If you are a city dweller, it easy to forget how dark it can get out there. And a good lamp is not only going to help you when you’re trying to read your book, but it will keep some of the creepy crawlies away and can be used for signaling in an emergency.
Speaking of, you may want to make sure to have at least a signaling mirror and a flare on you before you set off.
But when it comes to classic light, you’ll need a flashlight for every member of the party, and at least one light per tent. Something in the 30 to 80 lumens should suffice for most excursions, but if you’re going into dense woods or caves, have at least one light that goes over 200 lumens.
Signaling mirror and
The very least you should have on you is one of those multitool cards. But, depending on where your adventure may take you, you may even want to invest in a good axe. These guys are not just convenient and sometimes pretty to look at, but they may even save your life.
The bare minimum that you will need is something with a blade and accessories that will help you put up your shelter. The more off the road you go, the bigger that blade will have to be. A classic Swiss Army knife is a decent place to start but take into consideration if you may need a shovel or a hammer as well.
Make sure to pick up the one that suits your needs, to pack it first, and to keep it in an easy to reach place.
Swiss Army knife.
Batteries and Fuel
Take stock of all gadgets you’re taking and always make sure to have an extra pack of batteries or another canister of gas before you set off.
A lot of camping gear doesn’t need a power source of any sort, but when it comes to the ones that do make sure you’re well covered. If you’re going to an established campsite, check first what they provide. Some of them will also ban visitors from bringing their own wood or coal.
Most importantly, if you’re not leaving your phone at home, make sure that you have an additional battery or a charging gadget with you. It’s better to invest in any of the available camping generators and chargers, that to find yourself without the means of communication and navigation.
Going without a wash a day or two will not kill you (although it may do a number on your social life). However, if you are going on a longer trip, these items become that much more important.
It’s easier to bring a washbasin and a clothesline than it would be to bring all the necessary changes of clothes for each day. Especially since those items can double up as storage and packing solutions.
And don’t waste your money on fancy camping toiletries. A simple bar of glycerin soap can take care of your body, clothes, and (if you get a plain and unscented one) even your dishes. Castile liquid soap will do the trick as well.
Glycerin or castile soap.
Dental hygiene supplies.
Clothesline and pegs.
Wet Wipes and Hand Sanitizer
These are so easy to forget, yet so important if you’re trying to protect yourself from more than the elements and the wildlife. No one is sanitizing the great outdoors before you get in contact with it. So, you’ll have to sanitize your hands before they get in contact with your face. You’ll never know what rain washed away from that tree stump you’re lounging on.
But if you’re bringing the wipes with you, either pack a bag where you can stash the used ones because a lot of brands use cloths that are made with synthetic fibers. Or make a bit of extra effort when shopping and get 100% cotton ones so you can chuck them into the fire to dispose of them. Remember, you should always leave nature the way you found it.
Extra Shoes and Socks
Frostbite. Swear rash. You probably want to travel as light as possible, but those two don’t sound that great, do they?
It’s easy to overlook these when you treat yourself to specialty gear and think that once you have them your job is done. But life happens, and it would be a good idea to have dry shoes, socks, and longjohns to change into if your gear gets wet in icy weather.
The same goes for scorching heat – it would be a lot more pleasant to come back home with lovely memories instead of a terrible rash. You can stick with the same stuff for your outer layer for the duration of the trip, but change the stuff closest to your skin as often as you can.
Additional pair of shoes.
At least two additional pairs of socks and underwear.
Additional set of clothes that serve as the closest layer to the skin (leggings, T-shirts, etc).