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16 Camping Essentials For Your Next Camping Trip

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So, you want to go camping, but you don't know what you should bring to make your trip go smoothly?

That's okay. I've made a list of the 16 camping essentials you'll need for your next camping trip.

A lot of my posts deal with hardcore survival tactics and preparation.

This one's a little different, and you should be able to enjoy it without being the type of person that dreams of owning your very own bomb shelter in your backyard.

This is all about good old fashioned camping. So, there's a little more room for luxuries in this list. 

#1 You're Going To Want To Bring A Shelter 

Sometimes, it can be fun to make your own shelter on the fly.

Camping isn't supposed to be hard work, though.

That's why I highly suggest that you invest in a high-quality tent, or you can take it one step further by buying or renting an RV.

Bringing your own shelter along will make your trip a lot more comfortable, too.

You won't have to worry about insects and other wildlife nibbling at you in your sleep, and you won't have to worry about any annoying rain drops if the weather makes a turn for the worse. 

#2 Don't Forget Life's Most Important Resource 

water drip

Water should be one of your top priorities.

You can survive for quite awhile without food, but you'll die pretty quickly without a clean water source.

You can always try to purify water that you find out on your trip, but it'll never be as clean as what you can get before you start camping.

It's best to spend a few bucks on plenty of bottled water before you leave.

You don't have to go nuts and buy out the most expensive brands.

You just need something that's better than river water.

I also recommend that you invest in a portable filtration system.

If you don't know what I mean, look up a Lifestraw.

Portable filtration systems will allow you to drink water without having to boil it, and they can save your life in a pinch. 

#3 The Knife: My Favorite Tool 

I wouldn't recommend walking around your neighborhood without a decent folding knife.

I certainly don't recommend going into the woods with anything but the finest, full-tang, fixed blade that you can afford.

You'll need if something goes wrong.

It'll allow you to clean game animals, carve tent stakes, and craft any other item you may need to survive. 

#4 Backwoods Pharmacy 

You won't have access to a pharmacy in the middle of nowhere. 

If you wipe your rear end with the wrong plant, you'll be a lot happier if you happened to bring some poison ivy medicine with you.

The same goes for any other medical situation you can think of. 

If you have to take medicine for a long-term illness, you'll probably bring that with you out of habit, but I recommend that you bring along basic emergency supplies, too. 

This includes: 

  • Gauze
  • Medical tape
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Tylenol
  • Diarrhea medicine
  • Butterfly stitches
  • Itch ointment
  • Anything else that can treat minor ailments

#5 Sleeping Without 6 Legged Partners 

It may sound fun to sleep on the bare ground like a caveman, but I assure you that it's not.

The wilderness is packed with creepy crawlers that are itching to climb inside your jeans and bite away.

You'll want to pack a sleeping bag for each person in your group.

Sleeping bags will also help to prevent hypothermia.

That's not too big of a risk for RV users, but tent users need to have a sleeping bag.

Insects and vermin aren't the only threat to your health in the wilderness.

The temperature can drop drastically at night, and you can easily freeze to death without a proper sleeping bag. 

#6 Raiding G.I. Joe's Wardrobe 

Hipster with serious face at mountains. Guy or bearded man at cold weather.

If you go into the woods wearing a bowling shirt and shorts, you're going to have a very bad time.

You need something a little more geared towards outdoor use.

You don't need to raid G.I. Joe's wardrobe to go camping.

You just need clothing that matches the environment you're in, and you need to pack spare clothes for any weather changes that might happen. 

#7 Make Bugs Deal With Rejection 

Do you remember the insects I was talking about?

Even long sleeves and pants won't keep them all out.

You need to bring some repellent.

Take some time to find a brand that doesn't cause your skin to react negatively.

Other than that, insect repellent is a rather straight forward product. 

#8 Cutting Firewood: The Lazy Way 

You can chop this down at your campsite in most cases.

However, that takes a lot of time and effort.

In some areas, it's illegal to source your wood from your campsite.

So, you need to check out the local laws, too.

In either case, it's easier to bring a little firewood with you.

You don't need to bring a whole redwood tree with you.

You just need enough to get a fire going for a while.

This is especially true for people who don't have access to an RV and all of the luxuries they provide. 

#9 Defend Against UV Rays 

A sunburn isn't a big deal in most situations.

They can be annoying, though. In the wilderness, that can be disastrous.

I recommend bringing an SPF 40 or higher sunscreen with you to prevent going through the pain of a bad sunburn.

The added benefit of sunscreen reducing your risk of developing skin cancer is a bonus. 

#10 A Portable Refrigerator: Just Add Ice 

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You won't have a refrigerator in the woods.

That is, unless you brought an RV with you.

You will have to preserve your food, and your best option for that is a cooler.

You can also use a cooler to carry heavier parts of your kit around with you.

If you buy a model with a set of wheels, you can lug quite a bit of crap around in it with ease. 

#11 Prevent Back Pain With Modern Conveniences 

A sleeping bag is a good start, and it's a necessity, but it doesn't provide much padding to sleep on.

Trust me, I've slept on the ground a lot, and it's not that comfortable.

I've had my fair share of back pain from thinking that I was too good for an air mattress.

You don't need to buy a really expensive air mattress, but you should invest in one that inflates automatically.

Some models can use your car battery to power their air pump.

A sleeping pad is little less high-tech, and it can provide the padding that you need to sleep comfortably. 

#12 Smokey The Bear Friendly Lighting 

A campfire is a great source of light, but you'll want to bring a lantern with you, too.

Imagine that you have to go to the bathroom, and all you have is your fire.

If you want to see where you're placing your butt, you need light.

Without a lantern, you'll have to make a makeshift torch.

With that, you run the risk of burning down the entire forest by haphazardly run through the woods with a burning stick in your hands.

Invest in a good lantern. 

#13 Backwoods Chainsaw 

There is no better tool for splitting wood than an ax.

I know that it's possible to baton a knife through logs, but an ax is a lot quicker.

You don't need to bring a big felling ax along, but a decent hatchet will make your life a lot easier while you're camping.

I recommend buying one that comes from a reputable brand. 

#14 Wiping Without Risks 

I mentioned wiping your rear end with the wrong plant earlier.

You won't have to worry about that if you just take some basic toiletries with you.

Toilet paper, tampons, soap, baby wipes, and other bathroom products will make your camping trip a lot more fun.

If you care about the environment, I recommend finding eco-friendly versions of each item.

Camping is fun, but you don't want to litter the wilderness with products that won't degrade for decades. 

#15 A Pyromaniac's Best Friend 

Starting a fire is hard when you do it from scratch.

If you've ever tried to make a fire with a bow drill, you know what I'm talking about.

Luckily, you can find packs of fire starters for a few bucks, and a decent ferrocerium rod isn't expensive, either.

The starters are synthetic, cotton-like pieces that you can fluff up, and they'll burn for a pretty long time.

They make it easy to get a fire going.

The rod is like the ultimate lighter.​

You scrape it with something hard, and hot sparks fly off of it.

The sparks should ignite your kindling within a strike or two, and it'll work in any weather. 

#16 Cooking Like A Boss 

A camp stove will help you use your resources effectively.

These can be found as small as a tin can, and they'll make your natural fuel last a lot longer.

They can also work with any brand of camp stove fuel.

The fuel resembles a gel candle in a can.

If you want to get really fancy, you can buy a propane-powered camp stove.

These are a lot larger, and they can let you cook just as well as you can at home. They're a lot less portable, though. 

Conclusion 

Did you like the list?

If so, I'm glad to have been of some help, and I hope that you took something away from it.

Camping is supposed to be fun, but there are still a lot of items that you need to bring with you for it to be enjoyable.

A lot of people know some of the basics, but they tend to forget some of these essentials.

That's why I felt it was important to make a list of everything that you need.

If you liked the content, share it with your camping buddies.

Maybe they'll learn something from it to.

I look forward to seeing your comments, and I'm grateful for you taking the time to read my work.


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