Everyone knows to bring a tent and a sleeping bag when they camp, but these six essential items might be overlooked by a camping novice. Check out these recommendations from Kendall Auto Alaska.
1) Fire-starting objects
An essential part of camping is sitting around the campfire and either relaxing or stressing out over the potential of one of your friends tripping over a stick and landing face-first in a pile of hot ashes. It is, therefore, essential you bring fire-starting supplies.
- Wood—This can usually be purchased at the campsite host or at a nearby location. In some places, there is enough wood on the ground to gather and burn. Chopping down a tree is probably not the best method for gathering wood, especially if you forgot to bring an axe.
- Kindling and tinder—You don't need to bring kindling. You just have to find it. The same goes for tinder.
- Matches or a lighter—Unless you're Grizzly Adams, you'll find it difficult to start a fire without matches or a lighter. (Lighter fluid isn't a bad idea either.)
2) Sleeping Pad or Mattress
It's bad enough you have to go without cable for the entire weekend, so don't compound your misery by sleeping on the ground. Bring a sleeping pad or an air mattress. If you opt for the air mattress, you'll need a way to blow it up that doesn't involve putting your mouth around a small tube and blowing the life out of yourself. By the way, there's no prize for being the tough one who thinks they're too cool to sleep on something semi-soft.
So you've been watching wilderness shows on the Outdoor Channel and you think it would be a good idea to take the entire family to the mountains and live off the land. Think again. Bring food, even if it's a small amount, in case of emergency. (Starving to death is an emergency.) A well-organized camper will have specific meals planned for each day of camping with a list of necessary ingredients.
Nothing ruins a camping trip faster than dehydration, except for drinking contaminated water and being exiled from your campsite for making bear noises while throwing up at 3 AM. Bring water.
Unless you plan on eating highly processed, individually wrapped peanut butter crackers and potato chips for every meal, you'll want to bring some foods that require refrigeration. Unless you wish to contract food poisoning and make bear noises again at 3 AM while vomiting, you'll want to refrigerate those foods. Because your refrigerator is too big to bring, you'll want to bring a cooler. (A cooler, by the way, isn't going to be very useful without ice, so don't forget that either.)
6) First aid kit
Sometimes bad things happen while camping: sunburn, cuts, bug bites, a fall from a precipitous cliff, drinking contaminated water causing you to, once again, end up vomiting like a bear. For that reason, a first aid kit is an essential part of your camping supplies.
So what are you waiting for? Gather up your things and get camping!