10 Things No Camper Should Be Without

Monday, July 29, 2013 , 5 Comments

This list is by no means exhaustive, rather it is intended as a list of things I have found very useful in my camping trips and have often seen others without. Hopefully you too will see the utility in these tools as well and will incorporate them into your camping gear. 

1.) Paracord

Thin, strong, and versatile are the three words I would use to describe paracord. A nylon kernmantle rope originally used as parachute cord during World War II, this rope is composed of a nylon sheath with seven inner two ply strands. Type III is the most popular variety and has a minimum breaking strength of 550 lbs. The small size makes it convenient to pack and you have the added assurance of a something that can hold a lot of weight if the situation were to arise. In the campsite use it to repair guy lines, hang wet clothes, use with a bear bag, repair shoelaces, or create shelters. The possibilities are endless. If needed you can disassemble and use the individual strands or sheath separately. 

2.) Hatchet

I only started carrying a hatchet with me camping within the past year and honestly don't know why it took my so long. Great for the obvious: cutting small branches, splitting firewood, and making kindling. Plus the added bonus of using the blunt end to hammer in ground stakes. Two tools in one.

3.) First Aid Kit

This shouldn't even have to be on this list, unfortunately all to often I find that I am the only one on my trips to have brought a first aid kit. It should be a no brainer. I have spent enough time in the woods and water to know that accidents will and do occur. Buy a pre-made kit or make your own; either way make sure its complete. Some of the basics: bandages, gauze pads, antibacterial ointment, medical tape, ibuprofen,  an antihistamine, anti-diarrhea meds, triangular bandage, trauma pack, safety pins, tweezers, and heat reflective blanket. 

4.) Headlamp

Oh the joys of navigating at night and having both hands free: whether to set up camp or cook dinner. A headlamp really makes your life much easier and more convenient. Be sure to look for one with Red/Green light options to keep the bugs away and preserve night sight while operating lamp. 

5.) Tent Seam Sealant

A leak in your tent can ruin a trip. Seal your tent once you buy it, reapply every other season, and have some with you just in case. Time consuming but it will help you ensure a great time outside.

6.) Bug Spray

I will admit I try and rarely use bug spray. I fish often and don't want the scent on me. That being said I always have some with me. This year the ticks have been horrible and I have had to, at minimum, cover my legs with bug spray almost every outing. Pests can ruin a trip fast, be prepared. 

7.) Knife

Camping without a knife is like trying to crap without toilet paper. You can do it, but its not very enjoyable. Invest in a decent straight edge folding knife. If you can open and close it with one hand, even better.

8.) Rain Gear

If you camp, you will get rained on. Bring at minimum a pancho or rain coat. It takes up little room and will turn a miserable time into a bearable moment.

9.) Spare Clothes

Be prepared. If you get soaked, fall in mud, spill coffee on yourself or are just plain stinky you are going to want a few extra pairs of clothes. At minimum I bring one full extra set, more for longer trips, and even more if I am camping with inexperienced campers whom I can bet will not have brought their own. 

10.) Hard Copy Map

GPS and Cell Phones are great, but they fail or lose service sometimes. Have a backup to get where you are going with a hard copy map. Print before hand or buy one. But have something tangible to prevent you from getting lost when your electronics fail. 


Mark Kautz said...

Going camping on the 15th. I've got 8 of the 10. Not bad.

What about the toilet paper???

Atlas said...

Haha, well yes I suppose should be on the list. As I say it is by no means exhaustive. I was trying to think of commonly forgotten items.

My 6 years in the coast Guard and many years camping has taught me that the big thing that gets people into trouble is the lack of preparation.
Add a small roll of Duct Tape(Arkansas Chrome) and you good!

Atlas said...

That is a good one to add to the list as well. Perhaps I need to add a round two. And fear not I always do bring some duct tape with me as well.