When you’re buried in expensive, complicated in outdoor camping gear, it’s very easy to forget the really essential items that you should be bringing on each and every trip.. Before your next excursion, put together a must-bring-bag with all eight of these essential pieces of camping equipment so you’re never without that thing you failed to remember to bring.
Medical First Aid Kit
Burns, scrapes, cuts or bumps– if you’re a regular camper or hiker, you know how frequently these happen. Make sure that you have a medical kit or first aid kit on every single trip – it could end up literally being a lifesaver. You can find first aid kits for reasonably cheap on Amazon. Don’t go camping or hiking without it – it’s absolutely essential.
Light, Flashlight or Headlamp
Ok. the first thing we want to say here is that you should not bring a generic light/lantern. Don’t bring anything unwieldy. You might think it’ll be fun to have a proper light in the tent (and it is) but in a bad situation (for example, someone gets lost) you’ll be kicking yourself for not bringing a traditional handheld flashlight.
Headlamps arealso not a great idea. We recommend flashlights over headlamps any day of the week. The issue with headlamps is that you can only illuminate the direction you’re facing. Flashlights offer more flexibility. For example – if you suspected there was a bear off in a certain direction, you wouldn’t want to look directly at it with a headlamp on. You’d look in that direction, but shine your flashlight off to the right or to the left to try not to startle it.
With flashlights, there’s a huge variety in terms of quality and price. Some people get really into the nitty gritty details of which flashlights are the brightest, which are the best value etc. Our advice is to just buy something that seems solid and reliable. If you need help picking a flashlight, check out this guide to the best flashlight. Long and Winding Trail is our favorite destination for outdoor gear reviews, so we’re giving them a shoutout here.
If you ain’t got fire, you’re severely limiting your dining options – also, it’s worth noting that in an emergency situation, being able to start a fire could be essential to survival. Matches are preferable to lighters because lighters can break or malfunction. We suggest you buy (or make your own) waterproof matches so that you’re well protected against rain.
Pocket Knife or Multitool
For your reference, a multitool is sometimes also known as a swiss army knife.
Knives are important. You can cut things with them. You can kill things with them (if neccesary). You can gut, skin, peel, pare, shave, whittle – the list goes on and on. If you’re going into the wild, you should always have some kind of knife – we recommend something small, so a pocket knife is absolutely appropriate.
If you need help choosing a pocket knife, we think longandwindingtrail.com has an absolutely great guide to the best pocket knife. quality really makes a huge difference when it comes to knives, so do pay attention to what you buy – the wrong knife might cost you $20 less but it might last you a year, whereas a really good knife can be a life-time purchase if you use and maintain it correctly.
If you’re looking for a multitool, Victorinox swiss army knives are never a bad idea. We personally prefer pocket knives – from what we’ve seen, multitools are jacks of all trades and masters of none – and half the things that are included are things that aren’t necessary in an outdoors context. If you think about how often you use the knife part of a multitool versus all the other stuff, you’ll probably come to realize that it’s mainly the knife that’s useful – all the other stuff that comes with a multitool rarely gets used.
Rope is endlessly useful in the wild. This is doubly true if you know your knots. You can hang clothes, build shelter – even rescue people – if you have rope with you. Always have rope. It’s super useful, super versatile, and super lightweight – there’s quite literally NO reason to not have rope with you (other than because you’re an idiot).
For those of you who aren’t familiar with what Tarp is, it’s basically the same material that your tents are made out of, except that it’s a big, loose sheet. Again, this is an almost endlessly useful piece of gear that can be used for a huge variety of things – use it as a picnic blanket, use it as a shelter, use it as a backdrop to put on an awesome shadow puppet show against the campfire – endlessly versatile. It also doesn’t hurt that it takes up an absurdly small amount of space.