What’s that phrase you hear – be prepared for anything?
Whether you’re deep in the woods, in a friends backyard, or on the Manitou Islands, make sure you show up prepared for any situation.
Don’t have the gear you need to go camping? No worries! Many local “outdoors” businesses, will have what you’re looking for, for rent. For example, if there’s an REI, Tent & Trails, Gear to Go Outfitters, Traverse, or a Back Country North near you, be sure to ask about their rentals!
None of these places ring a bell for your area? Be sure to ‘google’ the area you are in, or the area you will be in, so no hassle with bringing everything along (just make sure you’re stuff is on hold for you when you arrive!) – “rentals for camping out.”
CORE CAMPING GEAR:
Tent – It wouldn’t be an absolute bummer if you forgot it, as long as you still have your sleeping bag, it’s easy access to the stars.
First Aid Kit
Burns, scratches, cuts or bumps—one of these is bound to happen on an active camping trip, making a first-aid kit one of the most important camping essentials you could bring. Be sure to bring this on your adventures as well.
Sleeping Bag – self-explanatory.
Headlamp, Flashlight or Lantern
Whether you’re stumbling to the bathroom after dark or sneaking a midnight snack, you should always have a lantern and/or flashlight in your camping essentials box. Be sure your light source is easy to reach in the car, in the event that you arrive at your site after dark.
Pack of matches
Unless you’re a veteran boy scout, chances are you need some sort of flame to start a fire. Without a fire, you have limited food options and nights become a whole lot colder. Don’t risk it, and buy matches in bulk.
Maps & Compass
You have GPS on your phone, and you may even have a GPS system sitting in your car console. Unfortunately, you may not get a signal in remote camping spots, or as you disappear into the forest to go hiking. Have your navigation essentials, such as a map and compass, with you at all times in case your GPS is less than reliable.
Rope has so many uses at a campsite, especially if you can tie a variety of knots. Make a clothes line for wet garments, hang your coolers from a branch at night, create a shelter, or tow people out of a tight situation on a hike or swim. Bottom line: don’t go camping without one.
Whether you’re using it to protect the bottom of your tent or as an extra shelter at your campsite, tarps are essential. They’re easy to fold, and only take up a small amount of space in your camping bags.
A Jar of Peanut Butter (unless someone is allergic)
Peanut butter has a long shelf life, and can be used in more ways than you can count. As a versatile source of fat and protein, this should be with you on every camping trip. Enjoy it in spoonfuls, if in a bind.
Alternate Weather Wear
You’ve checked the weather forecast for weeks—no rain, only sun. Unfortunately, the weather can change at the drop of a dime, leaving you stuck in the rain or huddling around your campfire. With an extra set of clothes, you won’t have to worry about sudden weather changes; you can swap out wet clothes for dry ones or layer during a cold front.
Most commonly known as a Swiss Army Knife, this tool is a camping essential that takes up almost no space in your bags. With a knife, corkscrew, saw, small scissors and more, you’ll have a variety of camping essentials in an easy to pack, compact size.
Water bottle – fresh water is always good to have!
Bug Spray – while it might not be essential for everyone, the bonfire only keeps me safe for so long!
Fully charged phone – then turn it off, for emergencies. Let Go. Enjoy nature.
Rolling ice cream maker
Kick-around foot bag
Geocaching materials (with GPS receivers)
Paddle ball set
Puzzles (crosswords, etc.)
Interpretive field guides (flowers, insects)
Star chart/night-sky identifier
Notebook and pen/pencil
Sketchpad with art supplies
Pet food (with favorite bowl)
Pet toys (such as Chuckit!)
Alcohol or antiseptic wipes
Spare eyeglasses/contact lenses
Toothbrush, toiletry kit
Freeze-dried food (purchase anywhere where there is camping equipment)
If you are allergic to poison ivy/oak, be sure to bring some oatmeal, or medicated lotion, just in case you brush up next to it.