You can have an unforgettable adventure or a terrifying nightmare spending a week outdoors. It all comes down to what you pack for your camping trip. Your backpack could make the difference between a relaxing holiday among the trees and a trip to an emergency room. No matter whether you’re a new camper or a veteran survivalist, these items are essential for any nature trip.
Even if you love to sleep under the stars and snooze, it’s a good idea that you have a tent (or other emergency shelter) on hand in case something happens. A midnight deluge of snowstorms, freak snowstorms, or heavy rain can leave you feeling miserable and at high risk for hypothermia. Also, a tent can protect you and your gear against high winds. Be sure to take along the appropriate accessories, including rope, stakes or tent poles.
2. Sleeping Bag
It may seem like fun to lie on a bed of leaves and moss but it won’t keep you warm once the sun sets. The temperature can drop dramatically at nightfall, often dropping to 20 degrees or more. You should also remember that many insects are most active during the night and may come into contact with your unwaddled skin. You run the risk of waking up in the middle of the night, or worse, being exposed. A sleeping bag is essential for camping. If your kids have been camping before, you know they will toss and turn all night.
3. Water Bottle
Water is essential for survival outdoors. It runs out more quickly the further you go. It is not something any camper wants to do without water. Especially since drinking from a pond, lake, or stream can cause serious illness. You should always have enough water for a day, even if the wilderness is just a few meters from your car. In case of a need for water, you can keep a filter or water-purification tablet on hand.
4. Fire Starter
Camping without a campfire is not camping. Campers can use flint, steel, matches, lighters, or a magnesia fire starter to start fires. If you decide to use matches, ensure they are waterproof. You can always pack more than one fire starter in case the first fails. In a waterproof container, keep some dry bark and newspaper as kindling. Sometimes it is difficult to find dry typeling in the wild.
5. First Aid Kit
Although it is unlikely to sustain a severe injury while camping, you might get blisters from long hikes. If not treated quickly, even small cuts and scrapes could become infected. Make sure to have antiseptic and bandages ready. Additional necessities should be included in your first aid kit: adhesive, gauze soap, scissors, adhesive, gauze, and a CPR mouth-barrier. Also, remember to include insect repellent and sunscreen. Your trip can be ended quickly by sunburn or insect bites.
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6. Pocket Knife
The perfect multipurpose tool for outdoors is the pocket knife. A knife is a multipurpose tool that can be used to cut ropes, fish line, dice bait or slice cheese or other small animal skins. These tasks can be almost impossible without a knife. It is easy to become frustrated if you leave your knife at the house.
7. Map and Compass or a charged GPS
It is a good idea to have a map and compass in case you are planning on hiking in remote places. The sun’s position is constantly changing, making forest landmarks difficult to find. This can lead to hikers becoming confused. Some campers, who are not well-prepared, have been known to wander the woods for many days without being rescued or retraced. You don’t want to be lost or stranded, especially if you have limited water. Even if you want your children to simply walk down to the nearest stream from your campsite, be sure that they have a way back.
8. Weather-appropriate Clothing
You will need to bring only a few items of clothing with you when camping. Wet clothes can not only be unpleasant but also dangerous, especially in areas where hypothermia could be an issue. Wet gear is heavier gear that can make carrying a backpack difficult and uncomfortable. Make sure you choose a lightweight, waterproof jacket that can accommodate multiple layers. Consider purchasing an additional rainbag to protect your gear.
9. Flashlights, lanterns and head lamps
While a campfire might be very bright, it only works for six feet in all directions. You will need a portable, battery powered light if you need it to find an item in your tent or use the latrine. Many campers consider headlamps the best choice because they don’t require any hands.
10. Toilet Paper
Although hardcore survivalists may consider toilet paper an unnecessary luxury, many campers swear to its necessity. The only viable alternatives to latrine duty are leaves and bark, which can cause discomfort and even pain. It is not uncommon for campgrounds with toilet facilities to run out on occasion. You can either buy toilet paper that is biodegradable, or use a bag to dispose of your waste if you are camping deep in the woods.