There’s nothing quite like gearing up for the first camping trip of the year! Any seasoned hiker or camper knows that you’re only as good as the essentials you pack—and being fully prepared with your camping gear is a must before setting off for the great outdoors.
The right camping gear can make or break your trip, and in some cases, a simple backpack essential can even save your life! To enjoy your camping experience to the fullest, whether it’s your first time or your 100th, be sure not to leave your home without these five camping essentials:
Perhaps the most important essential, one should never leave for a camping trip without bringing enough water. Drinking from streams or lakes should only be resorted to in the direst of circumstances—and even that isn’t worth any bacterial illnesses you can get as a result!
To keep your backpack from being weighed down unnecessarily, bring enough water for the day and then bring some filters and water purification tablets in case you need a refill.
2. Tent and Sleeping Bag
Not having proper shelter during your camping trip will make the experience more difficult than enjoyable. It can also become dangerous if the elements don’t cooperate, which can often leave you drenched and freezing!
The sleeping bags will keep you covered and warm to protect you from insects and other nocturnal critters.
3. Flame and Steel
There are two essential tools you’ll need during a camping trip: a good knife and a fire-starting kit. After all, what’s a camping trip without a crackling fire to really enjoy the experience? Bring a flint and steel, matches, and a lighter, along with a little kindling to get a fire going.
You’ll also want to bring a multipurpose pocket knife—a versatile tool that makes it easier to move around in the woods. A good knife lets you cut rope, slice food, open packages, and slice flora and fauna. Don’t forget this essential, lest you prefer to do things with your bare hands and deal with a lot of frustration!
4. First Aid Kit
While you may not expect to sustain any serious injuries during an easy overnight camp, it’s better to be safe than sorry and patch up any scratches and scrapes that are guaranteed to happen during a night out in the woods.
A first aid kid will also patch up any blisters you develop from hiking all day (be sure to use waterproof hiking boots for any such trip). You must prevent any infection from festering on wounds that are left untreated in the wilderness. Ensure that your first aid kit contains bandages, antiseptic, gauze, scissors, soap, CPR mouth barriers, and emergency whistles. Add and change up these items as you see fit—but make sure you’re fully equipped to address any common injuries you can get from being in the forest.
While they aren’t necessary for emergencies, sunscreen and insect repellant are excellent additions to your first aid kit or backpack! A bad sunburn and insect bites can make your trip uncomfortable, to say the least!
5. Map, Compass, and Manual GPS
Last but not least, navigation tools are another item that you mustn’t leave behind when camping. No matter how familiar you are with the woods, there’s always a risk of taking a wrong turn and getting lost!
This is especially true when different lighting conditions fill the forest, often disorienting hikers who depend on certain trees or other markings as a forest landmark. Not being prepared with navigation tools can seriously endanger your life, so bring these tools with you to ensure that you’re headed in the right direction at all times.
The great outdoors is a place that’s begging to be explored—and doing so comes with a certain level of risk. That’s part of what makes it exciting, but it also shows a need to come prepared! Being ready for anything is the best way to enjoy a night in the woods, so stocking up on the essentials and a few extras is your best option. Not only are these tools and supplies important in preserving your life, if the situation calls for it, but they also make the camping experience more fun and enjoyable!
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