I wanted to make this for anyone who wondered what they should take camping. Keep in mind that some things will get added or dropped depending on what I want to do while camping, and what the weather is supposed to be like. I’d also like to just get this out of the way and say that I love REI gear. More often than not, their gear will serve you just as well as the name brand items and will usually be cheaper. With that said… the stuff!
There are really quite a few options when it comes to food. You can take something pre made out with you, PB&J is always a solid choice, cans of your favorite soup, MRE’s can be surprisingly good or something you have to cook. Even though it’s more work, I like to to cook, it adds more flair to the whole experience.
First you need a stove. I use a Snow Peak one. On the left is the fuel that I used this past trip. It was a bit larger than what I usually use, but I didn’t have time to go to REI to get a smaller one, so what Wal-Mart had is what I used. On the right is a piezo igniter, which is used to create a spark to light to stove.
What you do is remove the red cap from the fuel source, and screw in the stove on top. The square thing in the middle is used adjust the fuel flow and thus, the flame size. You can then use a match/lighter to light the fuel, but I like to use a piezo igniter. It has a button on one end that when pressed will make a small electric spark at the other. I find that it works pretty well. Though I must warn you that the first time I tried this, I had the fuel on to high and I may have burned some hair on my forehead. The Lady was quite amused…
Next I bring a couple of plates, something to cook the food on, and some basic utensils. Also, because ketchup is the greatest thing in the world, I bring little refillable packets which I stuff with as much of the liquid red substance as I can. The utensils are pretty nifty in that they actually 3 pieces held together by a bungee cord in the center. They are joined at the silver tubes.
First you will need some kind of shelter. For most people that means a standard tent. But some people like hammocks that have been made to fully surround you. I’ve also seen someone wrap a mosquito net around a cot. Some even just throw a sleeping bag on the ground and call it a day, though I would not recommend that for many reasons.
The tent I like is a double called the Camp Dome 2. It’s made by REI, has a decent weight of a little over 4 pounds. I’ve put the thing together in a the middle of rain storm in about 20 seconds, so setup is quite simple. And it comes with a rain flap which is helpful for when said rain storms occur. Outside of the tent I use an old litter box mat as a place to take my shoes on and off so I don’t dirty up the inside more than I have too.
When it comes to what to sleep on some people prefer to use a simple pad like this . These come in various thicknesses and weight. Most are self inflating, which is pretty nice. You roll the pad out and in a few minutes it’s ready to go. I however don’t like them as much. Whenever I’ve tried one I’ve always woken up with some back pain. This isn’t to say that they are bad, many people use and love them. I’m just not one if those people. It also probably doesn’t help that most of my camping is done in Texas limestone country. Anyhow I like the Air Core mattress. It hasn’t puncture yet, and gives me a decent nights rest. That said it does require one to be able to inflate it. I’ve seen tools which can help here if you can’t/don’t want to do it yourself. These range from battery powered compressors to foot pumps.
For most of what I call, camping season I use a 55+ sleeping bag. That means it is suitable for 55 degrees and up. Keep in mind that 55 is the bare minimum. I can tell you from personal experience that 55 is still really really cold. You won’t freeze or anything, but don’t expect to be comfy. That said there are a lot of sleeping bags for different temperatures. The Lady use a 15+ that she somehow “acquired’ from my personal gear. When in doubt, get more than you think you’ll need. It’s better to be a little warm than shaking cold. Another option is to layer up. You can see from the tag, that mine that is can also act as a liner. That means you can stick it inside another bag. Layers are your friend.
Finally I carry a small pillow that folds in on itself. It’s not great, but it keeps the neck from aching.
I like to use 2 different lights. Some people will bring larger ones, but seeing as how I have enough to carry as it is, I tend to go with the ‘smaller is better’. To light the night, I bring two forehead lights and a Black Diamond Voyager Lanter. There are quite a few options if you prefer something else. I like this one because it has a solid 75 lumen output that will last for about 12 hours on 4 double A’s. I use rechargeable ones. And on the bottom is another LED light so it can act as a flashlight if need be. The top also has 2 metal hooks so that you can hang it wherever.
Tools and other things
The only tool I carry is a Leatherman multi tool. I believe I got mine as a hardware store. Next I bring along a battery to recharge my cell phone with. I like this one because it has 2 USB out ports which means The Lady can charge her phone too. Plus my version, the E4, holds 13000 mAH. Most cell phone batteries are a little under the 3000 mAH. That means it could charge 4 cells phones to full before itself would too need to be recharged. Though it is slightly bulky. Next is a small Bluetooth player that I got from Wal-Mart for 15$. I tried it for the first time this past trip. It’s pretty small, lightweight, and makes a decent sound for what it is. It was listed to last for 5-6 hours and though I didn’t use it for that long, I can at least confirm that it lasted for 4. And finally, a deck of cards, because Go Fish should always be an options.
No matter the distance I’ll always bring a first aid kit. You never know when you might need one and its better to always have one and never use it than the other way around. I got this one from… REI! Who would have guess that? You can read about what is in the pack by following the link. Suffocate to say, it has pretty much everything you’d need.
Though I don’t bring them, The Lady does like to carry some biodegradable wipes. They are pretty nice, their covered with an antibacterial liquid so you can keeps sanitary and it can be nice to get clean before heading off to bed.
Most people also bring toilet paper. It’s a good idea…
The most important thing, and sadly also the heaviest. It’s always best to have much more water than you think you’ll need. First,you always need more than you think and second the great unknown. If it’s a overnight trip I’ll usually take a 3 lt camel back that fits on the inside of my pack and maybe a 20 oz bottle water.
And that it! When it’s all pack I get that nice picture above. Hope you enjoyed reading!
- First Aid Kit
- Hiking pack (Preferably 70 Lt)
- Sleeping bag
- Light source
- Cooking wear
- Air Mattress
- Tent Mat