Are you going camping for the first time? You will need a list of camping essentials you can’t do without.
Modern life is pretty comfortable. We have all the benefits of technology and modern convenience in our homes, we have nice cars to get us around our cities, we have heating, cooling, hot running water and many things that human beings have lived without for thousands of years.
You can get so used to all of this that it’s a surprise when the power goes out and you have to dig through the cupboards to find those candles so you can see what you’re doing!
Yet, there is something to be said for the ritual of unplugging, for stepping away from the mod cons and the rat race and for getting away for a few days or weeks. Camping is the best way to do this. But what if you’ve never been camping before?
Let’s explore a few camping essentials and just what you’ll need for a break in the bush:
While it may seem like an obvious thing to consider early in your packing process, you would be amazed how many people turn up to camping trips completely unprepared for the climate and terrain.
Stylish shoes may look fantastic in your camping pics, but only if you’re ready for them to get destroyed by rough ground and mud. The same goes for most clothing that provides style over substance.
While it’s good to have some loose, comfortable clothing for hanging around the campsite, m0re trail-ready alternatives should be brought for hiking, rafting, and any ice cold nights where the sleeping bag just won’t cut it.
Food and Water
There are no grocery stores out in the bush. You need to pack enough water to last you for as many days as you’ll be away. A good rule of thumb is two liters per person per day in the colder months and three liters per person per day during summer.
Pack food too, but ensure that you use an Esky if you’re packing perishable items like meat and dairy. Plenty of fruit and nuts to snack on is also a good idea, as well as a few treats like chocolates or chips — after all, it’s not camping without some snacks.
Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst
When you’re leaving the success of your trip up to the whims of nature, it’s best to have a backup plan if things go awry. Things can go wrong, with results ranging from mild annoyance to dire circumstances depending on your location and level of preparedness.
To combat many of these potential issues, extra supplies and clothes should be packed. Bringing an extra few days worth of food may seem excessive when you’re trying to pack for the trip to come, but if you find yourself in a tight spot, you’ll be glad that you went through that extra annoyance.
You can’t have camping without tents. Well, there’re caravans of course, but that’s cheating. So the most important one of the essentials you need to go camping is a good tent.
While your local discount store may sell tents in all shapes and sizes, these models usually don’t last beyond a few trips. You need something that will last and stand the test of time, so consider spending a bit and looking at it as an investment.
You can opt for anything from two-person swags to family-sized tents and what you need will depend on how many people you need to fit in and your budget.
Unless you want to sleep on the cold hard ground, you’ll need a mat or mattress. You can choose anything from a basic roll-up camping mat to a fully-fledged inflatable queen-sized mattress, it just depends on how comfortable you want to be.
Know What Plants to Avoid
Let’s face it – sometimes, it can feel like nature is out to get us. With a large number of dangerous plants spread out in the bushes and rainforests of the world, it’s essential that you try to do some research before you go out camping or hiking.
Keep in mind that, while you may be familiar with the common contenders, such as poison ivy and poison oak, each area is going to likely have local dangers that you may be less aware of.
Luckily, there is a number of resources online, and most parks and campsites will have their own information for those interested.
Shade and Shelter
As well as your tent, you’ll want a bit of shade during the day, especially if you’re camping in the warmer months. A small gazebo will do the trick just fine.
Consider getting one with walls because that pesky sun likes to move around all day. With that said, having a collection of shading options available is always a good idea. Just make sure that whatever you choose is up to the task of weather conditions start to turn.
A cotton sheet may protect you from the sun’s rays, but it would be quite as helpful once the torrential rain hits midway through your trip.
Cooking Stoves and Utensils
Unless you plan on eating cold and raw food, you’ll need something to cook with. Cast iron pans and pots can be used over a fire or you can use a portable gas stove for normal cookware.
Here’s a tip — buy some cheap cookware and utensils from an op shop or garage sale instead of packing your nice stuff, because they’re going to get battered and bruised from their time in the bush.
A picnic set can come in handy when it comes to bowls, plates, and cutlery. On that note…
Final Words on Camping Essentials
Speaking about camping essentials — you’ll need a tent of some sort, and then something to sleep on like a camping mat or mattress. Next are your food and water, and something to cook on and with.
Then, remember to plan for any potentially negative outcomes with extra supplies and a decent understanding of the nature around you. Finally, grab a gazebo so you’ve got some shelter and shade through the days.
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