Backcountry camping is not for the unseasoned campers looking for comfort and luxury. You will not have a bed and breakfast laid out for you with modern amenities. If finding out where you can rest your head and protect yourself in the wild sounds like your thing- this article is for you.
Always take a minimalistic approach while packing because overpacking will only ruin your experience. You will not use most of the stuff, so only the extremely basic things and kits for emergencies should get priority. Once you start piling, you’ll soon have half of your belongings with you if you are not careful. But that doesn’t mean packing a sleeping bag is enough. If you’re less versed in this endeavor, don’t worry. That’s what we’re here for. Continue reading to know what those essentials for camping are:
A Sleeping Pad
We are not mentioning a sleeping bag/tent here because those are a no-brainer. But a pro camper will bring a sleeping pad/ ground pad with them for that extra protection. You can never predict the weather, so if you don’t want to end up in a puddle after a sudden shower in your sleep or want to have a more comfortable sleep, sleeping pads are the answer. They are very lightweight (and even inflatable), so you don’t have to worry about carrying around something heavy. You can roll it right up after the night’s sleep. Depending on your need, there is a wide range of sleeping pads out there.
A knife is such a versatile tool that you should never leave for a camping trip without one. You can practically use it for everything, starting from clearing the tiny bushes/branches on your path to gathering firewood or picking some fruits from trees. We advise you to opt for small knives as with the right kind of sharpness, you don’t need a dagger. You can take your pick from various online knife shows that will help you in understanding the different usage of knives. Just make sure it is sharp enough to get the job done.
If you’re going on a camping site where the temperature can drastically change-especially at a higher altitude or near the sea-you need to make sure to bring extra layers to make sure you don’t freeze. Hypothermia is the number one cause of death of people lost in the wilderness as most of them don’t remember the drastic change in temperature after sunset. Try to pack lightweight layers that wick away sweat and dry easily-like merino wool or synthetic materials. Don’t bring one extremely heavy layer; pack things in layers, so you can remove layers when necessary. Don’t forget to bring extra socks and big monkey caps to protect your head and ears in case you ever face a cold wind.
This one should be a no-brainer as you’ll get no facilities in the wilderness and you’d have to attend to nature’s call-well, in nature. But it can be difficult to forget while packing, so make sure to make a list before and include it there for you to check.
Reusable Water Bottle and Filter
Depending on your campsite, you need to do your research beforehand for water source availability. There are hydration points in organized campsites, but you have to identify them on the map to be able to use them. Camelbacks for hydration on the go are quite neat, and for multi-day excursions, you would need filters because you might have to utilize natural sources. We would urge you to bring a reusable water bottle to minimize your footprint and environmental impact by cutting down on plastic usage.
This should be another no-brainer. You need fire to survive in the wild. For cooking, staying warm, and warding off unwanted animals, fire is the best possible solution for all of them. I’m sure if you are a boy scout, creating a fire the old school way is a fun activity for you, but lighters are the best for igniting a quick, durable fire. You just have to remember to keep them dry.
You must pack this item as a responsible camper and human being. It is one of the most neglected items when packing. This is the reason why we see traces of trash deep into the wilderness. One of the important mottos of a camper, which you should remember, is ‘leave no trace behind’. They can also have versatile uses like you can use them as a raincoat or an extra layer of protection or even a makeshift tent! You can always cover all the items with a garbage bag, which is quite a space-saving technique.
Although most of the campsites will probably not have good enough reception-you wouldn’t want to miss out on the photography, would you? Unless you have special gear for that, your phone is your resort. You can also save a map, which you can use on the go, even without reception. For all of that to happen, you need to conserve your power and have enough power banks on you to last the trip. Depending on your usage and the number of days, take as many fully-charged power banks as you need with you.
Yes, you have your power bank and your phone, but a seasoned camper ALWAYS has their map with them. These maps have way more campsite-specific information than your Google map and take up almost no space. They also can help you navigate without using up any battery power.
I know we all have flashlights on our phones, but their use isn’t recommended for a long period of time in the dark. Imagine washing your dishes at night or getting lost on your way; holding up your phone isn’t the most ideal option. Besides, flashlights run on batteries, and you can pack plenty of them as they don’t take up a lot of room. That way, you never have to worry about running out of battery. I recommend a hands-free headlamp as your flashlight because… well, it’s hands-free.
A Mess Kit
Backcountry camping might create an image of gnawing at a piece of meat freshly roasted in the fire using your hands, but trust me, you don’t want to be without your utensils. Mess kits are designed under the motto ‘less is more,’ and the components have versatile usage. It helps you in avoiding bulky pots, pans, and coolers. The kits are lightweight and portable. A camping mess kit usually has pans, a pot, a spork, and a mesh bag for transport.
This one is a game changer -really, especially when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep in peace. Imagine, you’ve just had a big feast with a lot of crumbs lying around in the grass, which you can’t possibly clean. Just spray it around the tent area to protect yourself from any unwarranted attacks. This should definitely include a mosquito repellent as the bugs can really ruin your sleep and possibly cause diseases.
First Aid Kit
Even though we try our best to stay out of trouble while camping, accidents can happen, and it only takes one small slip-up to get hurt. Sharp branches, rocky hikes, mossy and slippery trails- all of these can lead to an injury. A portable first aid kit is essential when you’re going on a backcountry camping trip. These kits are readily available with bandages, antiseptic, pain relievers, and a splint. Other than the general first-aid materials, if you need some customized aides, like an allergy shot-you should also include that in the kit.
So, are you ready for the trip? We sure hope so!