Ever tried to show off your caveman camping skills to a partner only to find yourself rubbing two wet sticks against each other in the middle of nowhere, wet, confused and cold?
Been there myself, below are some of the things I’ve learned after many cringe-worthy such experiences.
Must-Have Items for Every Camper
There are some must-have pieces of gear that every camper should own. They don’t have to be expensive or from the top brands but if they serve their purpose well then it’s all good.
A Solid Backpack
In my opinion, a good backpack should:
- have a lot of space so you can have all of your gear inside or outside.
- be waterproof or at least to have a rain cover.
- be made from very good quality and tough material.
- have an internal frame. I have back pain problems so I prefer backpacks with an internal frame.
I own several backpacks that I use for my camping trips but for a year or so I’m using this one, I have it on the green. It’s a solid backpack at at a nice price on Amazon.
A Good Camping Tent
I have a messy sleep and I toss and turn a lot during the night so that’s why I like my tent to be bigger. I own a very well made tent that I take with me on my camping trips and when I go fishing.
It is very well put together and I never had problems with it on rainy days. I use the 2 person size and I love it. Check the exact model I have(link on Amazon).
I don’t do winter camping that often but I have this multi-season sleeping bagfrom Amazon for when I do. The bag is doing a good job of keeping me warm in the cold mornings near the lake when I go fishing.
It has an envelope shape, it’s waterproof and it comes with a compression sack (which is super useful because it helps me pack the bag as small as possible).
Something For Floor Insulation
In order to keep the cold from reaching your body, you will need something to put under your sleeping bag. What I recommend is to have a foam pad – that is a must for every camper. If you have more room (for example you are going camping with your car) you can take with you a self-inflating sleeping mat(I’m using this model from Amazon).
I don’t use the self-inflating sleeping pad that often because I like to travel light, but I do take one of the 2 foam pads I currently own.
It folds like an accordion, it is lightweight and it is protecting me from the cold ground very well.
I like my beer cold and food fresh so that’s why I recommend Yeti Roadie 20 camping cooler. Y This is the cooler that I recommend to all my friends. It is made in the US and it is extremely high quality.
If you want to read more about it I wrote an entire article dedicated to the most awesome camping cooler.
Let There Be Light
Even if you don’t camp overnight and you just do daytime hiking, I think having a flashlight with you is a must. I owned a lot of flashlights and headlights over time, some good and some very bad.
Every time I’m going camping or fishing I take both with me, no exception. I recommend you to do the same: have a flashlight and headlight and some extra batteries.
Knife or Knives
Oh boy! Knives, I love knives. I have a lot of them at home and every time I go camping I have this big dilemma – “which knife should I take with me this time?!”. From time to time I take two or three knives with me to practice some bushcraft.
Usually, the winning one is a Swedish made knife. The exact model is Morakniv Companion Heavy Duty with a carbon steel blade (check the current price – Amazon link). There are other models that look the same as this one.
This knife is a beast, it has a blade thickness of 0.125 inches (3.2mm) and it’s very tough. A Scandinavian knife (you know, Vikings) with a thick and tough blade at a very low price.
Any water bottle will do. The lighter the better. I usually pick something with a lot of reviews like this 1L water bottle.
If I get caught by the rain I always have in my back a rain poncho (rain jackets will work also but I prefer ponchos). This model I use is resistant and it comes in many colors so you have a lot of options to choose from.
Camping Cooking Gear
When it comes to camping, fishing, hunting, bushcrafting or any outdoor activity, in general, there is one general truth: we have to eat. We can’t skip this part.
I love to cook at home and even more so when I go outdoors, so I recommend buying a camping cooking set – I’d recommend this complete cooking set since it comes with a lot of accessories:
- 1L nonstick pot + pot cover
- nonstick pan
- 2 bowls
- a folding spork ( a spork it’s a 2 in 1 fork+spoon)
- soup spoon
- wooden spatula
- a cleaning sponge
- travel bag for all the accessories
- + marshmallow making guide eBook with recipes.
Fire Starting Kit
If you cook you will need some items to start the fire with. A simple lighter will do the trick but I prefer to have some backup in case the lighter will break. I also enjoy learning and practicing survival skills so that’s why most of the time I try to start the fire without using a lighter or matches.
What I have in my fire starting kit:
- ferrocerium rod + metal striker + personal water filter (this is the exact one Bear Grylls is using)
- primitive flint and steel kit, I replaced the stone with one that I’ve got from a trip to Ireland. This kind of kit is not mandatory but it’s nice to have and play with. Primitive peoples, the ones that discovered fire, where using a system like this one.
- waterproof match kit (this is perfect in case of emergency when all the fire-starting tools above fail).
- a normal lighter
Try to start the fire without the use of a lighter or matches because it’s a nice survival skill to learn.
Not Mandatory But It Would Make Your Life Easier
If you are going on a camping trip with your significant other or with your friends then it is a good idea to bring with you some board games. You will thank me later.
Below is a small list of board games that I own and I usually take with me when I go camping with my friends. They are excellent to have some fun with your group.
- Saboteur (card game)– This game is perfect for a 5-11 group.
- Carcassonne (board game) -Easy to learn and play with a group of friends.
- Catan (board game) – For 3-4 people.
If I really have to pick one of these three board games I would go with Saboteur (it is also the cheapest). Saboteur is a great example of a party game that will get the best or the worst lies from your friends. Sneaky saboteurs!
For washing your hands or washing the cooking utensil you will need some soap. Because you don’t have a lot of water at your disposal it is good to use soap without synthetic detergents. I’m using this soap with vegan and organic ingredients for some time because I want what is best for my skin.
Tip: use a smaller container when you go camping.
Solar Charger for Your Phone
When you go camping in the woods your phone battery will die at some point. Having a solar charger with you is a good idea. You can charge your phone, camera, your rechargeable lantern and so on.
I use a 10.000 mAh solar power bank. It’s waterproof, it has 2 USB ports and built-in led lights that can come in handy in your tent or in every situation. It charges my phone very fast and sometimes I use it to charge my eBook reader.
Solar Camp Shower
Nothing fancy here, any will do. I have this 5-gallon solar camp shower.
There’s nothing worse than being attacked by a swarm of mosquitos. I go a lot for fishing near the lake so for me, mosquitoes protection is a must.
There are devices that make a protection zone around you from insects like this portable mosquito repeller from Amazon.
I am confident the above gear will come in handy in your future trips in the great outdoors, our hunter-gatherer genes will surely snap out of their dormant state and help you with the rest.