If you are preparing for your next vacation but are still unsure where to go, why not consider the majestic beauty of camping? Getting out into the wilderness and away from the hustle and bustle is a superb way to unwind, relax, and spend some quality time taking in your surroundings, rather than being glued to a screen.
You might already be a passionate camper, and if so, you know the essentials already. However, if you are looking for something different from the traditional sun-and-sea getaway, you should make sure you are prepared before venturing into the wilderness. Whether you are going it alone, travelling with friends, or taking your family on their first adventure, here are the top 10 essentials for a successful camping trip.
It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t consider how much space they might need inside their tent. Even if you prefer to fall asleep under the stars, you should still bring a tent along with you just in case the weather turns unexpectedly because you don’t want to wait up to a midnight downpour.
The same goes for camping at designated campsites. Consider who is joining you and how big of a tent you need. There are plenty of large tents that are ideal for family camping, while solo or couples’ tents are also available.
The space inside will be restricted by your mattress, so make allowances for this, especially if you don’t have a car to store everything inside. Experienced campers will also recommend gazebo canopies which everyone can sit under to protect them from the sun or the rain.
Whether you’re staying in the wilderness or at a local camping spot, you’ll need refreshments, even if you’re only camping for one night. Take plenty of water to ensure everyone remains hydrated, especially if you are going on hikes during the day in the middle of the blistering summer heat.
You’ll also need to think about refreshments later in the day. A camping stove allows you to cook dinner and breakfast, as well as gives you the chance to make that much-needed coffee first thing in the morning.
It’s also worth investing in coolers and stubby holders which will keep food and drink cold in between meals, as the last thing you want is to crack open a warm beer to celebrate the end of a long day.
Utility tools are a must-have whenever you venture into the wilderness. Pocket knives will make it easier to cut away branches for firewood, and they can also help out if you or someone else suffers an injury or you need to make any repairs to your tent.
These tools are often lightweight and, therefore, easy to carry. You may not need to use them at all, but it’s always best to have the option should you need it.
They will also give you peace of mind if camping alone. The odds of stumbling across wildlife may be slim, but having something to defend yourself with can increase your chances of survival, especially when camping alone.
Hopefully, neither you nor anyone else in your camping party will suffer an injury but accidents happen, especially if hiking and camping in tricky terrain. Your first aid kit will be crucial in this instance, but it’s more than just a couple of bandages and aspirin to dull the pain.
Bandages and disinfectant are crucial as they will support any sprains or injuries and prevent infection if someone cuts themselves on sharp branches or rocks. You can find comprehensive safety accessories at any local pharmacy. You could even look at outdoor websites and put together a first aid kit yourself with items you have around the home.
It’s best to keep this in your car at all times so you don’t misplace it before your next adventure.
Even if you’re camping during the summer, you still need a light source once the sun goes down and you want to keep the party going. Some camping sites will provide firewood, whereas more independent camping means you need to source this firewood yourself. Get hold of this as soon as possible to ensure you have some way to light a fire and practice the best ways to start a campfire before you leave.
It isn’t just firewood you need, though. Flashlights and head torches are also useful if you need to get up during the night to use the bathroom or search through your bag without waking others up. Make sure the batteries are charged, or invest in a rechargeable device so you can always rely on the flashlight when you need it.
Although many people will camp in areas that are easily accessible via roads or other means, some prefer to do it ‘properly’. This means they’d rather get themselves lost in the wilderness and experience nature as it should be experienced. Raw and, honestly, a little bit scary.
If you are someone who wants to test your survival skills, you must take navigation instruments with you. Your smartphone is a good place to start, but if you lose signal, there’s no telling what could happen to you out in the wild woods.
Besides your devices, you should learn to use a compass and take it with you. This way, you always have something to send you in the right direction should your smartphone or GPS device run out of battery.
The Right Clothes
When p[acking for your camping trip, you need to consider all types of weather. It isn’t just rain or sunshine; you may encounter chill and wind, especially at night. Furthermore, some areas might not be as dry as you’re used to in the city or suburbs, and this means you will get your socks wet, which makes for an unpleasant hiking experience back to the campsite.
Long sleeves and full-length trousers are essential. They will protect your arms and legs from sun exposure but also keep you from suffering scratches when wading through thick underbrush. Proper hiking boots (ideally waterproof) and breathable clothes are also essential, and you can consider what is best to wear before setting out. Light enough clothes can go in your backpack to swap out if required.
If you are camping with kids, make sure you bring something to keep them safe from the sun. a wide-brimmed hat will do wonders.
Camping is always more fun when you have someone (or something) to take along for the ride. Whether you’re introducing your family to the wonders of camping or going on your yearly camping trip with your old college buddies, there’s something special about sharing a fun and free experience of nature.
What’s more, bringing others along for the trip means you don’t have to carry everything by yourself. You will also feel safer and more secure, which is great if you’re nervous about venturing into the wild for the first time.
Of course, if you prefer solo camping, all you really need is one of the best camping books to get you in the zone, and they might even teach you a thing or two about how to make the most of your trip.
(A Little) More Than You Need
Some people are prone to overpacking whereas others prefer to pack as little as possible when they go on their camping trips. There are conflicting opinions about what is best, but it generally varies depending on the situation.
Solo camping with plenty of hiking will benefit from packing light (or even ultralight), but as most people will make the trip with friends or family, you can get away with packing a little more than you need, especially if you’re driving to the campsite.
There’s nothing wrong with packing more food or drink than you intend to use as long as you can keep it fresh. Likewise, extra clothes or accessories could prove beneficial, especially if someone else forgets something important.
A Backup Plan
While you may have planned out your camping trip down to the second, there is always the chance that something goes wrong. Maybe the weather suddenly turns as you arrive or perhaps your preferred campsite is unreachable via the regular route.
These reasons are why a backup plan is so important. You don’t want to be left out in the wilderness with nothing to do, so think about other options. There could be other campsites close by which still have pitching space. At the very least, you can attempt a hike so that the journey isn’t entirely wasted.
Camping can seem scary, especially to those who have never done it before. But there is a reason it is such a popular choice for people all over the world. You get away from the smog of the city; you can enjoy some fresh air; you might even stumble across activities that you’d never experience otherwise. With these essentials, you’ll have no trouble enjoying a successful camping trip, and it won’t be long before you get the itch to get out there again.