Archive for Camping Essentials

Hiking Essentials – Survive Anything With Our Top 10 Hiking Essentials List

Whether you’re hiking for a few hours or a few weeks, there are certain items that you must have before you start your trek. Leave without them, and you could find yourself lost, cold, sore, or worse. Make sure you have everything you need to survive with this hiking essentials list.

The top 10 hiking essentials list was developed in the 1930’s by a hiking organization as a general list of things you shouldn’t be without. We’ll take a look at the classic hiking essentials list, then add on a few to make an updated version. Not that theirs is outdated, but a couple more items would be a good idea to carry.

The Classic Hiking Essentials List

  1. Map
  2. Compass
  3. Sunglasses and sunscreen
  4. Extra clothing
  5. Headlamp/flashlight
  6. First-aid supplies
  7. Firestarter
  8. Matches
  9. Knife
  10. Extra food

Our Expanded Hiking Essentials List

1. Navigation

A map and a compass are both part of navigation – so both should be included as hiking essentials. But since they’re so similar we can lump them together as one. Plus we have a lot of new technology that they didn’t have in the 30’s like GPS and altimeters that can be counted as one item as well. Oh and pack a real compass, the last thing you need is your battery-powered one running out of juice if you’re lost.

2. Sun Protection

This covers all things that protect you from the sun. It can include a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and sun-protection clothing (lightweight & breathable). The last thing you want to do is deal with a sunburn if you’re trying to survive in the wilderness.

3. Extra Clothing

This one goes unchanged, though there is new gear available that’s light and still insulated well. The hiking essentials definition of extra clothing can vary depending on season and location, but the basics are a layer of underwear (tops & bottoms), extra socks, a synthetic jacket, and a very well insulated hat (not just a ball cap). You’ll lose the most heat through your head, so a good hat is essential.

4. Light

It’s going to get dark no matter where you go. Depending on the season and location it could get dark much sooner than you want. Make sure you can still see and function when the lights go out by packing a flashlight or headlamp. LEDs are the best to get, since they are tougher and won’t break on you. Always bring extra batteries. If you have a tent to setup or need to work with your hands, a headlamp is one of the hiking essentials that you shouldn’t go without.

5. First-aid Kit

Injuries happen even though you hope they never will. You can find pre-assembled first-aid kits made for hiking that have all the essentials are and still lightweight and easy to carry. Your basic kit should include treatments for the common hiking injuries like blisters, plus an assortment of gauze pads and adhesive bandages, disinfecting ointment, pain medication and a pen and paper.

6. Firestarter

Instead of 2 items being firestarter and matches, we can compress these into one item on our hiking essentials list. Matches should always be part of the gear you take hiking. They should be waterproof matches and carried in a waterproof container. Matches are light, so take a lot, they are one essential you don’t want to be without.

Firestarter is more of an emergency item to get or keep a fire going. Don’t depend on matches alone – a good firestarter will ignite quickly and sustain it’s heat for more than just a few seconds. It’s a good idea to have a firestarter and a fire sustainer (candles, chipped wood soaked in resin, wax covered cardboard)

7. Multi-tool (with Knife)

While a knife is an important part of our hiking essentials list, we have better options today than they did 80 years ago. Get a good multi-tool that has a knife or 2 in it, but also other things that will be very handy like pliers, screwdrivers, can opener.

Other items that could be included in #7 are repair kits for your air mattress and strips of duct tape.

8. Sustenance (food & water)

Packing extra food is essential whenever you go hiking. If you’re going backpacking for an extended period, pack an extra day or two of food just in case. Yes it will weigh more, but it could save your life. The more nutritious the food you bring the better.

The other side to food is water. We can go much longer without food than without water, so be sure to bring extra water or at least some way to purify water you come across. You can get a collapsible water reservoir that is easy to carry, but can hold water in a pinch if you need some extra. Always plan to carry too much water so you’re not caught off guard by an long stretch of waterless country.

9. Emergency Shelter

Since we compressed our hiking essentials list by including multiple items together, we have room to add two more. The first is emergency shelter. This can be a tent or as little as a emergency space blanket. Those little blankets are compact and weight very little and could be your key to survival if you spend the night in the woods.

10. Signaling Devices

The last hiking essential to make the list is a means to be found if you are stranded and lost somewhere. Bringing something as simple as a good whistle will help you find help much better than yelling alone (You’ll get tired of yelling fast).

Another great item you can use to signal help is a small mirror. Many compasses come with a sighting mirror which will do the trick.

Our New Hiking Essentials List

Now we’ve got a top-10 hiking essentials list that includes everything on the classic list, as well as some new gadgets that will help us stay alive and keep trekking no matter what. Put together your bag of hiking essentials (at least the things that won’t expire) and keep it handy for your next hike. Just be sure to check the bag for everything before you head out the door. You’ll also notice this list is very close to the backpacking essentials list.

Backpacking Essentials – Top 10 Most Essential Items For Backpacking

Backpacking essentials

Backpacking essentials - don't leave home without 'em!

Backpacking is one of the most intense camping adventures you can have. Armed with just yourself and the pack on your back, you can go trekking through the wilderness and put yourself to the test. Because you don’t have a car or truck to pack a lot of equipment in, you’ll need to be very careful when packing your backpack. Start with these 10 backpacking essentials, then add other items as needed.

Forgetting one of these backpacking essentials could make for a long trip that is uncomfortable and no fun at all. Being prepared is the most important thing when backpacking.

Backpacking Essentials Top 10 List

#10 – Shelter

When you’re backpacking through the woods you can’t predict the weather. Even if you checked the weather channel before you leave and it was supposed to be sunny during your whole trip, you could get hit by a freak rain storm that you didn’t see coming. It’s very important to plan for the worst, that way you’ll be fine no matter what comes your way.

The backpacking essentials here would include your tent and/or other items that are small but useful in an emergency like a reflective blanket, tarp, or bivy.

#9 – First-Aid Kit

Whenever you’re out away from civilization like when you’re backpacking or even camping, it’s essential to have some form of first-aid kit handy. Obviously you don’t want it to be huge or heavy, but it needs to have some of the vital items like antiseptic wipes, bandages, and medical tape. Click here for a good first aid checklist.

#8 – Lights

Depending what time of year you go backpacking, you may find that it gets dark a little earlier than you’re ready to sleep. Or if you time something wrong or get held up you could end up setting up camp in the dark, which is almost impossible without some form of light.

One of the backpacking essentials is either a small headlamp or LED flashlight along with extra batteries to make sure it doesn’t quit on you when you need it most.

#7 – Sun Protection

Depending on how conditioned you are to the sun, a backpacking essential item for you may be sunscreen. You’ll be hiking outside all day, which means a lot of exposure to sun. Getting a bad sun burn will make the rest of your trip uncomfortable and put a damper on the fun you can have.

Some other essential items to bring backpacking are lip balm (your lips can get sunburned too) and sunglasses.

#6 – Repair Kit & Tools

When you’re backpacking you’re likely to have compact things like a stove or air mattress and you don’t want to have problems with these when you need them most. Bring a repair kit for your mattress as well as a multi-tool that has a knife and basic tools like pliers as part of it. Strips of duct tape can also be very handy for repairing rips.

#5 – Fire Starter

Fire comes in very handy when you’re backpacking, depending on what you find to fuel it you can cook almost anything you want without carrying a propane cylinder and camp stove around. To make sure you can start a fire, bring these backpacking essentials:

  • Matches
  • Lighter
  • Waterproof container
  • Emergency Fire Starter

#4 – Proper Clothing

Like mentioned earlier, when you’re backpacking you never quite know what you’ll be up against. Usually nights get very cold in the woods even if they don’t in town. Backpacking essentials as far as clothing goes are a jacket, hat, pants, and gloves. Remember you’re going for lightweight but still insulated.

#3 – Nutrition

Even though you’re packing light, don’t just pack all empty calories. You’ll be expending a lot of energy and your body will need proper nutrition to keep going and stay strong. Always pack an extra day’s worth of food to be sure you don’t run out and are prepared if you get lost. Here’s a list of backpacking food ideas that may help you out.

#2 – Water

Water is one of those backpacking essentials that you must not leave without. Getting dehydrated will make you lethargic and is very dangerous. Since it’s so heavy, it’s unrealistic to carry a 5-days supply of water. Along with water bottles or a hydration pack (like a CamelBak), bring along a treatment or filter system to gather water during the trip.

#1 – Navigation

The most essential item to bring backpacking is navigation. You must know where you are and where you are going at all times. Getting lost out in the wilderness is not enjoyable and can have some bad endings. Even if you know the area you’re hiking bring a map and a compass along – they’re not very heavy and they can save you in a pinch. GPS can be handy, that one’s up to you.

Don’t Leave Home Without The Backpacking Essentials

Remember, missing one of the items above will make your trip less fun, more work, and possibly dangerous. Take the time needed to prepare your trip beforehand and double check to make sure you have all the backpacking essentials. Unless you’re very experienced and go backpacking a lot, leaving on a whim is not recommended.

What To Take Camping – Essential & Fun Things To Take Camping

What to take campingWondering what to take camping? Making sure you have everything you need is a very important part of the camping trip. While some things to take camping are more important than others, forgetting anything can be a pain and stress you out. Forget to bring games for the kids and you will have to expend extra energy to help them find something to do. Forget one of the camping essentials, however, and you’ll have a much harder time “improvising.”

What To Take Camping To Ensure You Can Survive

For starters, you should always have a written list of things to take camping. That way you know exactly what you want to bring, and you can check it off as you pack it to be sure you don’t forget anything important. If you’re tent camping, be sure to check my tent camping checklist.

The most important things to take camping are those that you need to survive out in the woods. This list includes camping sleeping bags, sleeping pads, food, water, campfire cooking equipment, and a tent. If it’s cold outside (day or night), you’ll also need a way to build a fire. Bringing a chainsaw and an axe (assuming you know how to use them) can be a lifesaver. Forget any of these essential things to take camping and you’ll have to make an extra trip to the nearest town (or home which could be much farther away)

What To Take Camping To Have The Most Fun

After you’re sure that you have the most essential things to take camping, it’s time to move on to items that will make your camping trip more fun. Depending on what you like to do while camping this can be any number of things.

If you like to get exercise while you spend time outdoors, then bringing a football or frisbee can make a world of difference. If you enjoy hanging out and taking it a little slower, horseshoes or bocce ball might fit perfectly into your trip. If you just want to relax and sit down while you’re out in the woods, a deck of cards may be one of the best things to take camping.

What to take camping to have as much fun as possible really depends on you and your hobbies. Be sure to check these fun camping activities for adults for more ideas.

What To Take Camping If You’re Bringing Kids

Taking your whole family camping can be a real joy and lots of fun as long as you’re prepared. If you just go camping with kids willy-nilly and hope they’ll find something to do, you may be in store for a really tiring weekend depending on how old they are.

Bringing real little kids camping is usually going to be more work than bringing older kids along on your camping trip. What to take camping really depends on their age and what they like to do. Planning a treasure hunt can be a great activity for older kids, while just bringing a shovel and a bucket can provide hours of fun for 1-3 year old kids.

Put Some Heavy Thought Into What To Take Camping

Remember, you’re going to be away from home for a few days, so don’t just leave the house and hope that you have everything you need. When you’re thinking about what to take camping, take your time and use a pen and paper to make sure you remember everything you thought of. Your kids, family, and friends will thank you!

Tent Camping Checklist – Camping Essentials Checklist For Tent Camping

Tent Camping Checklist

tent camping checklistIf you’re going tent camping, you’re going to be away from your home and other civilization (sometimes many hours away) so it’s important that you pack everything you need. I would highly recommend you build your own tent camping checklist that’s personalized to you and your family so you don’t forget anything.

It’s way too hard to remember everything you need without it written down, not to mention it’s stressful because you always have that nagging feeling that you’re forgetting something (I’m sure you know what I mean). Creating a camping essentials checklist for tent camping will give you peace of mind and help you relax, knowing that you have everything you need for a weekend of fun.

My Tent Camping Checklist

Below you’ll find the tent camping checklist that I use to keep everything straight. Use it or build your own camping essentials checklist from it.

General Tent Camping Essentials Checklist

  1. Camp Stove
  2. Barbecue
  3. Campfire cooking equipment
  4. Sleeping Bags
  5. Blankets
  6. Pillows
  7. Camping sleeping pads
  8. Extra coolers for ice & drinks
  9. Water Jugs
  10. Tent
  11. Lantern
  12. Propane
  13. White gas
  14. Coffee maker
  15. Towels
  16. Chairs: camping/reclining/kids
  17. Shovel
  18. Rake
  19. Broom
  20. Pavilion
  21. Mat for outside tent
  22. Tarps
  23. Rope
  24. Camp Tables
  25. Radio & Batteries/CDs
  26. Dingle Ball set
  27. Outdoor Knife/Letterman
  28. Camera (charged batteries)
  29. Camcorder (charged batteries)
  30. Splitting maul/axe/hatchet
  31. Chainsaw
  32. Paper
  33. Stocked First aid kit
  34. Toolkit
  35. Cellphone
  36. Wallet
  37. Tie downs/Stakes
  38. Battery powered clock
  39. Toothbrush
  40. Deodorant
  41. Bar of soap
  42. Shampoo
  43. Panti liners/tampons
  44. Sunscreen
  45. 2 Containers baby wipes
  46. Vitamins
  47. Huge fire skillet

Camp Box Checklist

  1. Paper plates & bowls
  2. Utensils: forks, spoons, butter knives, metal & plastic spatulas
  3. Kids dishes & utensils
  4. Big cutting knife
  5. Serrated knife
  6. Steak knives
  7. Salt & pepper
  8. Garlic salt & steak salt
  9. Paper towels
  10. Coffee mugs
  11. Small cutting board
  12. Can coolers
  13. Matches & lighter
  14. Kitchen towels & washcloths
  15. Dish washing bowl & scrubbie
  16. Dish soap
  17. Ziploc bags lg & sm
  18. Cooking sticks
  19. Trash bags/sm grocery bags
  20. Flash lights
  21. Playing cards
  22. Toilet paper
  23. Aluminum foil
  24. Natural bug spray/candles

Camping Activities Checklist

  1. Dingle Ball set
  2. Throwing knives
  3. Guns/ammo/targets/clays
  4. Paint ball gear
  5. Horseshoes
  6. Bocce Balls
  7. Frisbees
  8. Bibles & books
  9. Cribbage
  10. Farkle
  11. Deck of Cards
  12. Cranium
  13. Yahtzee

How To Create Your Own Personalized Tent Camping Checklist

First, start with a basic camping essentials checklist like the one above, it will give you a lot of ideas for your own tent camping checklist. Start up a word document (or OpenOffice Writer if you don’t have Microsoft Office). Create a few columns then do a numbered or bulleted list and start listing all the items you need for tent camping.

Once you have your basic tent camping checklist, then it’s time to put it to the test! Print it out and keep it with you while you’re packing for your next tent camping adventure. As you put the items in the truck, cross them off. If you see or remember an item that you should have on your tent camping checklist but don’t, write it on the list, pack it, then cross it off.

Bring your tent camping checklist with you when you go and keep it handy. During the trip, if there’s anything you wish you had or forgot, write it on the checklist. Then when you get home, open up your tent camping checklist document and type in the items you wrote on the paper.

If you keep doing this you’ll find you soon have an awesome tent camping checklist that’s personalized and helps you remember all the stuff you need, and nothing that you don’t need.

Campfire Cooking Equipment – The Best Equipment For Campfire Cooking

One of the joys of camping outdoors is cooking your own food over and open fire. Having the right campfire cooking equipment is one of those camping essentials that you shouldn’t leave home without. You can’t simply throw a hot dog or a potato on a rock near the fire, you’ll need some specialized equipment for the best open fire cooking results.

Types Of Campfire Cooking Equipment

There are many different types of campfire cooking equipment, everything from pie irons to roasting sticks to campfire grills. Also keep in mind that you’re not restricted to open fire cooking, camp stoves and dutch ovens are great alternatives to cook some tasty meals while you’re in the outdoors.

Planning ahead is an important part of campfire cooking. The first thing you should do is make a list of all the camping meal ideas that you have. Then pick enough meals to cover the number of days you’ll be camping. Planning your meals ahead of time will determine what types of campfire cooking equipment to get so you will have everything you need when it comes time to prepare the meal.

What To Buy – The Best Campfire Cooking Equipment

If you’re going to buy some pots & pans for open fire cooking (or any camp cooking really) I would highly recommend going with cast-iron. Cast-iron pots and pans are heavy, but they’re nearly indestructible and won’t get ruined if you accidentally over heat them like teflon pans will. Plus, they distribute heat really well which is important when you’re cooking over a campfire, it’s not like the stove top =). Remember when you buy cast iron, be sure to clean and season your pan before you take it camping.

No matter what surface your cooking on, having a high quality pot (aka dutch oven), a skillet, and a griddle all come in very handy. Cast iron is one of my top picks of campfire cooking equipment.

Lodge LCC3 Logic Pre-Seasoned Combo Cooker

campfire combo cookerThis is a great choice because it’s a combo pack. It’s a 3 qt. dutch oven with a lid that doubles as a 10″ skillet. Buying this one piece of campfire cooking equipment will help you cook a ton of different meals, whether you’re open fire cooking or using a camp stove. It’s very versatile and highly recommended.

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Complaints: The only complaints of this set is what you would expect from any cast-iron cooking equipment – it’s heavy and it rusts if you don’t treat it right. Click here to read a ton of good reviews about this combo cooker.

Lodge Logic L9OG3 Pre-Seasoned 10-1/2-Inch Round Griddle

campfire cooking griddleThis cast-iron griddle is 10 1/2″ wide and complements the above combo cooker very well. It’s a very shallow pan (almost flat) which makes it easy to cook eggs, bacon, pancakes, anything that requires a flat surface – the low sides make flipping a cinch.

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Complaints: Again a very solid cast-iron pan, the only complaints I could find were that the “pre-seasoned” part is probably not good enough, it should be seasoned 1 or 2 more times before cooking with. Also there’s some reports that the surface is extra bumpy, which can complicate cooking. Click here to read all the reviews about the Lodge 10 1/2 inch Round Griddle.

Lodge Pro Logic Cast Iron Dutch Oven, Black, 7-Quart

dutch oven cooking equipmentIf you’ve got a big family or are cooking for more than a few people, this is a great dutch oven for you. It’s made of the same heavy duty cast-iron that distributes heat well on the bottom and up the sides so it cooks evenly. This pot is 12 inches in diameter and almost 5 inches deep, holding 7 quarts, which is a heap of food. Just remember, it’s going to be heavy when it’s full, also don’t forget the oven mitts!

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Complaints: Another great piece of campfire cooking equipment by Lodge, the only problem customers have had with it is the pre-seaoning not being enough. Click here to read other customer reviews.

Camp Chef Dutch Oven Tripod

campfire cooking tripodIf you’re open fire cooking this tripod will come in very handy. Simply set it up over the fire, adjust the chain to the right height, and hook your dutch oven to the pot hook. The legs are 50″ tall and it folds up when not in use, making it easy to store and transport as long as you’re not backpacking. This piece of campfire cooking equipment will make your life much easier if you’re into Dutch Oven cooking. Comes with the 3 sturdy legs, an adjustable chain, and a pot hook (which some don’t come with)

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Complaints: This tripod has lots of good reviews about it’s solid construction and sturdiness, while 1 complaint that it was flimsy. Set it up right and I think you’ll be OK. Click here to read other reviews about this dutch oven tripod.

Texsport Black Ice The Trailblazer H.A. QT. Cook Set

camp cooking setThis is a whole cook set that includes an 8 1/2 inch fry pan and 2 pots that nest inside each other for easy packing and carrying. They aren’t cast-iron, but are hard anodized aluminum, making them much lighter. These pans are also covered by a non-stick coating that works really well. These pans are lightweight and durable, but may not be a great choice if you’re doing a lot of open fire cooking. Great for cooking on a camp stove though.

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Complaints: These pans have a lot of great reviews, only complaints are that the handles seem to be a little flimsy. Click here to read other customer reviews about this camp cooking set.

Other Campfire Cooking Equipment

If you’re looking to roast hot dogs or barbecue burgers over an open fire, then you’ll need a grill to put over the fire and put your food on. This type of campfire cooking equipment is great for all sorts of meat, veggies, kabobs, and anything else you want to roast over the fire. Below are 2 awesome grills to use for open fire cooking.

Texsport Rotisserie & Spit Grill

campfire rotisserie

This is an easy to set-up grill that includes a steel rotisserie spit that turns and locks in four positions to give your food that slow-roasted flavor. The grill surface itself is 24″ long by 16″ wide, big enough to load a bunch of food on. Plus you can adjust the height in case your coals start getting low or that new log  burns a little hotter than you expected.

The Texsport grill is self standing so you don’t have to pound any stakes in for it to work (really handy where there’s rocky ground like where I live). It’s even got steel side arms that you can hook a pot onto and swing over the fire to keep it warm while the rest of your food cooks. This is a really great all-in-one type grill for open fire cooking.

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Complaints: This grill has a tendency to be a little unsteady. The rotisserie only has 1 skewer which can make it hard to balance a whole chicken on it. While it is adjustable, it can be hard to adjust while it’s loaded with meat, especially if you try to do it alone.

Camerons Products Pioneer Campfire Grill

campfire cooking grillIf you’re just looking for a simple way to barbecue meat or veggies over the campfire, this grill will likely be your choice. It’s built with 1 heavy duty stake that you pound into the ground, then you can easily move the grill up and down to the desired height. The grill rack is an 18″ diameter circle with a raised edge to keep your food from rolling off into the fire. This grill comes with a hot pad, a glove, and a carrying bag to haul it all around. This is probably the simplest solution for easy open fire cooking.

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Complaints: This is a fairly new product so it doesn’t have a bunch of reviews. Those that it does have on Amazon are very good.

Campfire Cooking Equipment Buying Tips

When you’re looking at campfire cooking equipment be sure to pay attention to quality. There’s no use buying a cheap item if it’s just going to break on you and you’ll have to buy something different. It can really pay to spend a few more bucks for a high quality product. Stick to brands that have good reviews and a reputation for quality products. Be sure to read reviews (especially the low ones) to see what the potential problems are of a piece of equipment.

Having the right campfire cooking equipment can make your camping experience much more enjoyable, so get the good stuff and you’ll be happy you did.

Welcome to Camping Essentials 101 dot Com

Camping Essentials 101 is a hub of information for campers to learn what is needed on their outdoor excursions. We’ll be talking about camping gear, camping accessories, camping games, anything and everything that has to do with camping!

Soon we’ll have a camping essentials checklist up that will help you get organized for your next camp out and make sure you don’t forget anything important