So you’ve got your essentials down pat. Tent, check. Sleeping bag, check. Camp stove, check. What else goes in the trunk? Making camping doable requires relatively few items, but making camping enjoyable relies upon a couple more things. After all, surviving in the woods is not that much fun in itself. Below are a few accessories that can make camping a little more manageable and help you have a good time doing it.
Most likely you already own a flash light of some sort, or your cell phone has one on it. But headlamps like the trusty Pelican Progear 2760 are a much more versatile item to keep on hand. It makes those nightly tasks like poking around for another piece of firewood or hunting down your water bottle less of a hassle. It’s more than just convenience, though. From the few times when I have gotten to the campsite a little later than intended, I can say that it makes for a pretty bad time to be stuck holding a flashlight with one hand and poking tent poles through tiny clips with the other. Doing any kind of essential task becomes a lot harder when you are restricted to one hand. As an added plus, headlamps can be turned inward and wrapped around a water bottle to create an easy, make-shift lantern.
Though you can get by without a multi-tool, it makes many tasks less time-consuming. It also helps you out
in those unplanned situations you might find yourself in. It’s hard to think of circumstances where you need pliers or a screwdriver or a ruler, but they do come up from time to time and it’s always nice to be prepared. Coming in at seven ounces, seventeen tools and a reasonable price of about forty dollars, the Leatherman Sidekick is a great first purchase when it comes to multi-tools. When you have a good multi-tool, you can rest assured that you can handle almost anything that comes your way.
Specifically, the very popular Eagle Nest Outfitters (ENO) hammock. ENO changed the game with their often creatively-colored hammocks that can be strung up between two trees to create a comfortable way to enjoy the outdoors. Packing down to the size of a grapefruit and weighing in at a mere sixteen ounces, hammocks make for an easy way to greatly increase your camping experience because, unsurprisingly, having a good place to sit or lie down is priceless.
If you are going camping, there’s a decent chance you do some hiking while you are out there. Personally, I like to have a sturdy pair of boots on when I go hiking but even you don’t wear boots or you were not planning on hiking you probably wore some kind of athletic shoes. And at the end of the day when you just want to sit around the fire, it can be pretty relaxing to have a light pair of shoes to wear around the campsite. I’m a big fan of a closed-toe shoe like moccasins but feel free to pack a pair of sandals or flip flops, temperature allowing. Minnetonka has been a big name in moccasins for years now, and for good reason. Footwear like the Men’s Classic Moc offer a sturdy and inexpensive option for camping comfort.
The outdoors are great, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it is nice to be outdoors and have something to do. On a thirteen-day backpacking trip this past summer, I made the mistake of forgoing any books or journals in an effort to maintain the least weight possible. I spent a good deal of time occupying my mind by studying the map in very close detail. And maps can be pretty cool but I found myself often fantasizing about the idea of reading The Chronicles of Narnia, or really just about anything. The point is, even if you are only going to be out for a weekend, you will likely find yourself with quite a bit of down time. Do yourself a favor and pack a novel you want to read or maybe a board game if you are bringing a few friends.
The items listed above serve as a great place to start your outdoors inventory, but there are a ton of other things you can take with you. Portable camp showers, solar panel cellphone chargers, or french presses are less essential but can definitely improve your adventure. At the end of the day, whether you enjoy your trip or not largely comes down to you. But with proper planning and the right gear, you can hedge your bet for a positive experience.