As an outdoor enthusiast, whether you’re camping, hiking, hunting or fishing, it’s important to always remember that the wilderness can sometimes be dangerous and inconvenient. And if you’re not prepared for any contingencies and emergencies that might present themselves, you won’t be able to ensure your comfort and safety.
But have no worries, we’re here to help! Here are ten items you should always have with you in the woods, besides the obvious tent and sleeping bags. It’s a great idea to always consult a checklist before you head out into the woods so you don’t forget any necessities.
Essential Camping Gear and Equipment
- First Aid Kit – Obviously, whenever you’re roughing it out in the woods, even if you never leave the campsite, you’re exposed to the danger of at least minor injuries such as cuts, burns, insect bites, poison oak and ivy, and sunburn. A well supplied first aid kit with bandages and band-aids, aspirin, antiseptic cream, and sunblock is a must have, and it’s a good idea to have a small kit to take along on hikes.
- Lighters, Matches, and Fire Starters – Being able to build a campfire is a necessity to truly enjoy the camping experience, and it can be a lifesaver if one is camping in colder weather.
- Lanterns and Flashlights – Even if you plan to turn in when the sun goes down and get up at the crack of dawn, you’ll need to find your way in the dark, if for no other reason than to answer the call of nature. And make sure to bring plenty of batteries too. Or better yet, get the rechargeable ones (if you have access to a power supply).
- Knives and Hatchets – Nothing is handier around the campsite than a good knife. Choose a quality fixed-blade type with a shorter blade, and forgo the large Bowie type. Also carry a good pocket knife. A Swiss Army knife is a great choice for all-around duty. A hatchet will be useful around the campfire too.
- Appropriate Clothing – You should have the right clothing to meet any environment you might encounter, whether it’s hot, cold, or raining. You might be surprised by a sudden change in the weather, so be prepared.
- Stove and Cooking Gear – Cooking your meals over a campfire is fun and in the spirit of camping outdoors, but having a small Coleman stove and fuel is much more convenient on cold mornings when you want your coffee and breakfast right away. You should also have at least one frying pan and a large and small pot, as well as a spatula, large spoon or ladle, and eating utensils, plates, and cups.
- Portable Phone Charger – Having a working cell phone when you’re out in the wilderness is an essential these days, both for the purpose of calling for assistance in an emergency and for keeping track of business, as well as for entertainment. There are many solar-powered chargers on the market these days that work well and are easy to carry.
- Toilet Paper and Toiletries – If there’s one thing you want to make sure of having in the woods, it’s toilet paper. If you’re in a park, don’t count on the facilities having it available. Having the necessities for keeping clean and groomed is also very important to comfort.
- Portable Shower – If you’re camping at a site where showers are available, you probably shouldn’t count on them always working. There are many small portable showers available that work well in a pinch, are easy to pack, and some will heat the water quickly in sunlight.
- Animal-Proof Containers – You have to be mindful of bears, as well as smaller varmints like raccoons and possums, raiding your pantry in the evenings. Take along a few plastic containers to store your food in, which will not only reduce the aroma that attracts animals, but can be secured against opening.
Camping and hiking in the wilderness is fun and relaxing, but always having the right equipment and gear to meet any situation will ensure comfort and safety for all.