Everyone has to experience a camping trip at least once in their lifetime. If you are currently planning that perfect trip, you will need to be familiar with the essentials for camping. As easy as one might think packing for a trip is, try to be prepared and bring the items you require especially in case of emergencies. From deciding the correct hiking shoes to the camping equipment, a little help wouldn’t hurt to steer you in the right direction. Here is expert advice on the must have camping gear and hiking essentials.
Expert Advised Must have Camping Gear
Has it been awhile since the last time you hit the trail? So many aspects of camping have changed over the years: the need for stamina, the hiking destinations and of course essential gears. But all for good! One of the most important requisites for a good trip is the hiking and camping paraphernalia.
The must have camping gear in your bag may tend to change a lot. It feels good to have the assurance of hiking in the right direction, but with that, one needs to be prepared completely to lose contact with worldly pleasure and embark on a soul-searching journey for the discovery of a new you.
Camping in the hinterland without all essential tools can be intimidating especially when you are a novice and are not privy to treacherous trails and their traps. An ideal backpack may vary from camper to camper. While packing your stuff, always bear one fact in mind – go minimalist.
Pack only essential items. Be wise and rational while preparing your list of essentials. The more you will travel, the more you will realize that it is unnecessary to carry lots of clothes and shoes, as you really do not need them.
Here is an expert’s suggested list for Must Have Camping Gear:
Map and Compass
Camping and hiking into the wild are full of surprises. Always be prepared for the unexpected – injuries, bad weather, wild animals, trails with no end in sight, trails different than what your map shows etc. All this may lead to change in the route.
Though maps and compass are just two items in the list of your navigational aids, view them as team members. Just carrying them is not enough; you should know how to use them. Begin with learning how to locate north on a compass and read a map using a compass. During an emergency, the compass can also be used to reflect sunlight on your potential rescuer.
Camping is all about a change in your ceiling, from home to out in the open, under the embrace of the infinite blue sky. But do not let the open sky ruin your experience. Sunglasses and a sunscreen with SPF 30 (at the very least) are essentials for camping.
Also, do not forget to carry a hat and lip balm. These are lifesavers when it comes to saving your skin from the scorching heat of the sun. Sunglasses are also helpful during winters as they prevent from snow blindness.
The capricious nature of weather conditions even bamboozle scientists at times, and you are just a layman wanting to have a good hike. So, do not presage weather conditions depending on your experience or a friend’s advice. Weather conditions change without notice; therefore, be prepared for the same.
Carry an extra clothing and insulation as these are hiking essentials. In case you are camping in cold weather, have a variety of insulation clothing that will regulate your body temperature and keep your vacation comfortable and enjoyable.
Illumination is another vital component of the backpack when you are wandering in the ruggedness of woods or following a trail along a river. Carry a flashlight and extra batteries. Your trip can be delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. The flashlight will ensure sufficiently lit walking area in the dark. You can even opt for headlamps as they are small with a long battery life and allow hands-free operation.
Pack a lightweight and compact first-aid kit. The items in the kit can be different depending on the individual’s needs, trip duration, and the number of people camping. Ideally, the kit should include treatment for blisters, adhesive bandages, disinfecting ointments, pain medication and nitrile gloves.
Carry anti-allergic medicines if you know you are allergic to some specific stimulus and expect to encounter such stimulus en route. Also carry medicines to protect from bites of insects populating the area you are going into.
A small and compact survival or multipurpose kit also makes it to the must have camping gear list. It includes items like a Swiss army knife, sewing kit, safety pins, wire saw, duct tape and whistle. These items come handy to repair any torn gear and during times of emergency, they are the best camping gear to have on you. If you are camping in a group, ensure that you carry at least two such kits.
The importance of water needs no explanation and it should always be on the list of hiking essentials. The quantity of water depends on the duration of your camp trip. If the duration of the trip exceeds one day, then traveling with gallons of water is not a wise decision.
Take one water bottle, a collapsible water reservoir, and a portable water purifier. You can treat the backcountry water and consume it. Always look for resupply before the last drop goes down your throat.
Camping involves a lot of physical effort, so your body needs proper replenishment of energy in order to keep moving. Make room for healthy snacks in between meals to maintain the energy levels. Plan and pack nutritional meals for the camping trip to be prepared for lowering energy levels. You can opt for high-energy compact foods for a short camp or hike. For a camping trip that will last more than a day, carry easy-to-cook meals.
A sleeping kit is another important and useful piece of equipment of any backpacking trip. A sleeping kit keeps you warm, safe, and comfortable. Invest in a good sleeping bag to get a good nightʼs sleep on a cold or wet ground or just use it as a mattress on hot and sultry nights. After a good slumber, wake up early morning to melodious chirps of birds and sun greeting you for a good day.
Camping in a rough terrain comprises crossing of streams or walking down a steep decline. Trekking poles are must have camping gear and are a great accouterment that come handy as they reduce the strain on your knees and improve the balance.
They are also helpful in pushing away the thorny bushes and unwanted shrubs. In an extreme case, they could also be used to thwart and defend against an attack from a wild animal.
Read our article To use or not? Benefits of Trekking Poles
Trail shoes are your sole mates. This essential hiking gear will keep you safe from the gnarly and muddy tracks. While choosing them keep three points in mind – comfort, support, and sturdiness. Before going for the hike, use your shoes enough to be sure that there is no discomfort at all.
Good ankle support shoes will eliminate the threat of an ankle twist. The sole should be thick so that your feet is comfortable and do not start to pain even after walking the roughest parts of the trail. Also, a good rugged grip sole will keep you from slipping.
Read our blog on 9 tips to keep in mind while choosing hiking shoes.
A planned or unplanned night stay into the wild necessitates carrying the means to make a fire – for food, light, warmth and of course a campfire. Pack matches in a waterproof container to keep them from getting damp. Keep mechanical lighters handy as a backup. Fire starters are worth packing to jump start a fire in case of an emergency situation.
This list of must have camping gear can be altered and customized depending on the nature and location of the camping. Before you prepare your list, gather all relevant information, for example, about the weather, availability of life-saving resources such as water, whether the area is woody or barren, whether there are dangerous streams to cross, dangers from the insects infesting that area, fauna peculiar to the place and the surrounding habitat.
Be prudent in your choice of items so that you can have an enthralling experience while you summit the peak you always wanted to.
Dr. Seuss once said, “Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.” Pack all items as advised, put on your hiking boots, and escape into a grand adventure. Share your adventure stories with us along with your must have camping gear list.