Camping is a brilliant way to experience the great outdoors and unplug from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Setting up tents or putting yourself into your unused sleeping bag for a couple of days allows you to reconnect with nature and explore sights that you’ve never seen before.
That said, in order to fully experience the benefits an outdoor getaway has to offer, it’s absolutely essential that you pack correctly.
If you’ve never been camping before, you may not know how to properly pack for your first trip. So we’ve put together an overview of the basics you’ll need.
Camping 101: Basic Gear You Need for Camping
Camping is all about getting back to mother nature. What better way than to rest or sleep completely under the stars in a cosy hammock.
Hammocks are an essential item to pack for any camping trip, and thankfully don’t take up much room in your backpack! They’re a great alternative to a tent, but even if you’re not planning on using them overnight, they make for great day use and afternoon naps!
Picture this: hours spent lying in a hammock you’ve strung up between two trees on a picture perfect beach, watching the sunset over the water as you decide it’s finally time to sleep.
Or coupling it with a canopy to keep the rain off while spending the night in your luxury digs listening to the sounds of exotic wildlife jump through the jungle.
Hammocks provide a comfortable place to rest and relax, all while right in the heart of the beautiful natural environment. Modern hammocks are quick and easy to set up, designed to be lightweight for transport and are durable against the wear and tear of any wild weather.
If you haven’t opted for a hammock, tents are the most important item for your camping trip. That said, they are also the one thing that are most frequently undervalued.
Most large supermarkets will stock tents during the peak camping season, i.e. summer, and you can also pick up bargains online, especially on eBay or other similar auction sites. That said, it’s important to think about your purchase, and not necessarily go for the cheapest tent.
Investing a few extra dollars in purchasing a modern, high-quality tent is the difference between enjoying and fighting against mother nature. The non-negotiable features to look for in your next tent are:
What to look for in a tent
Aluminium poles: Cheap tents often come with fibreglass or plastic poles that are likely to break. Aluminium poles help keep your tent safe and secure against the harsh elements of nature.
Noseeum mesh: Having insects crawling and flying around inside your tent is a sure-fire way to have a long and sleepless night. Noseeum is a lightweight, micro-mesh material that keeps you protected against all types of creepy-crawlies.
Heavy-duty Zippers: Tents are subject to some serious wear and tear. This includes the zippers, which are frequently dragged up and down on any given camping trip. It is therefore essential to choose a tent from a leading supplier that has heavy-duty zippers.
If you want to rest comfortably and cleanly of an evening then you need to think about bedding. Most tents come with ground sheets, but you might need to look into this if your particular brand doesn’t have one, or if it isn’t up to scratch.
On top of this, you need bedding, and/or a sleeping bag, but just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to sleep on the ground. This is often very uncomfortable, and often makes it difficult for you to get a good night’s sleep.
Consider bringing an air mattress with you to make sleep more comfortable. There are now battery-powered air pumps available that can make blowing up the air mattress quickly easier than ever.
Things to consider when buying a camping mattress include the size (making sure it fits you), it’s practicality (construction and ease of ability to pack), and methods for inflation. A camping mattress shouldn’t take you all your body energy to inflate it.
Image: The Greater Southwestern Exploration Company (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
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Clothing and Footwear
Packing the right clothing and footwear is essential to make the most of your camping experience. Poor choices of footwear and clothing can quickly take the enjoyment out of a scenic hike, and leave you vulnerable to injuries or illness.
It is therefore important to research the climate of your camping location well in advance of leaving for your adventure. Many outdoor retailers sell a variety of lightweight clothing that will protect you from the elements and keep your temperature optimal in changing climates.
The basic items to start off any camping appropriate wardrobe include:
Basic clothing you'll need camping
➤ Waterproof jacket
➤ Fleece jumper
➤ Thick socks
➤ Cap or hat
➤ Sturdy hiking boots.
Of course, you need to fill your belly whilst you’re away, and one of the most iconic scenes of any camping adventure is sitting around the open fire.
Now, that’s all very well and good, but you’re probably going to want to actually cook food in a more timely manner at some point; this is where a small camping stove will come in very handy.
These can be picked up very cheaply from camping stores, or again online from most hardware outlets. On top of this, a travel fridge, cool box, and a few handy cooking utensil essentials are also a good idea.
Also consider a water purifier. It’s not always practical to carry large quantities of the bottled stuff, so a water purifier is a great investment.
Whether you’re interested in stargazing or bird watching, binoculars are the tool to bring you closer to nature. Binoculars are easy to carry, lightweight and usually come with an affordable price tag.
First Aid Kit
You’d think that taking a first aid kit along when you’re travelling to remote destinations would be a no-brainer, but in fact it’s something that people often overlook.
Whether this means re-stocking an existing first aid kit or buying a new one make sure to take one with you on all of your travels.
You generally don’t have to be a doctor to help yourself, or others, in an emergency, though you do have to have the first aid skills and tools to administer the care required. Read this post for what to pack in a first aid kit.
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