The first step in a successful camping season is getting your hands on the right camping gear. Use the checklist below to find out what essential gear you need for camping- and why.
– Tent. Not only do texts provide protection from the elements (which no one can change or accurately predict 100% of the time), they also protect against annoying bugs and critters.
– Sleeping bag. Especially at high altitudes, temperatures can drop drastically at night, and you'll be glad you've got a warm and cozy bed to combat them.
– LED lanterns. LED lanterns are simply the best tool for lighting up the night because they are energy efficient, long-lasting, and brighter than most other lights you'll find.
– LED flashlight / headlamp. Trips to the restroom or late night snacks can be burdensome without a proper light. Lanterns and other lights can be big and bulky. A reliable LED camping flashlight is perfect to accomplish your late night task.
– First-Aid kit. You never know when an accident could happen, minor or serious. Always be prepared to handle any situation with a well-stocked first-aid kit.
– Food storage. Unless you plan on foraging for berries and edible plants all week long, you'll need some reliable containers to store your food. These containers should be durable enough to keep out animals. Finally, do not overlook the fact that you might need containers fitted to keep foods cold.
– Cooking equipment. Whether you're cooking meals over a campfire or using a camping stove, think carefully through all the equipment you'll need to prepare your food.
– Entertainment. Sometimes we focus so much on just getting there that we forget to prepare for the destination itself. Packing games, activities, music, and other forms of entertainment will help make your experience a memorable one.
Once you've got your hands on the right camping gear, you'll need to know how and why to prepare your camping supplies for optimal success. Below is a checklist of everything you should do before you leave.
– Set up your tent. Do not neglect to do this, especially if your tent is rarely used or brand new. The last thing you want to discover is a leak, broken pole, or other malfunction upon arrival at your destination.
– Stock your first aid kit. In addition to medical supplies, be sure to include matches, a whistle, multi-tool, an emergency blanket, and poncho. Voila! A basic survival kit.
– Test your lights. Batteries die and bulbs burn out. Do not get caught in the middle of the night with a weak light. This is why I recommend LED lights. Since they consume less energy, LED battery and bulb life are markedly longer than conventional camping flashlights.
– Test any miscellaneous equipment. Cooking stoves, electric coolers, air mattresses, and anything else necessary for a successful trip should be tested several days before your departure.
– Look through storage bins and containers. Look through all your storage containers to ensure all your camping supplies are accounted for and functioning properly.
Make it your goal to get ready for the camping season, and use the checklists above to guide you through the process. Take advantage of everything nature has to offer you this summer. Happy camping!
~ Ben Nystrom, 2009