From about 18-24 I was a camper whether it was a weeklong campout in one spot, lake side or a backpacking trip in the New Zealand mountains. My best-friend Emily and I never stayed in hotels; we had all the gear for camping and we took full advantage of this at every turn. I had the mentality of camp or bust which helped me to see a lot of the world for very little and also, I think, relax (nature has a calming effect on me).
When I moved to America in 1999, I was initially in Tennessee then Kentucky. Wanting to move to SEattle so badly and being broke, the only way to drive across country was to do it by staying at campgrounds. No problem, I thought, I’ve camped a lot.
But this trip happened years and years after regular camping. The gear I had was cheaply made and lots of essential components were missing. That meant when camping in Kansas, the winds beat like a heavy drum against the tent all night. I froze in the Colorado mountains and was soaked in the Grand Tetons.
Needless to say, camping wasn’t that much fun.
I essentially gave up on camping over the years – not because I lacked interest but because comfort began to mean more as I got older and having the financial ability to stay at four star hotels made me less inclined to sleep on dirt.
It wasn’t until this summer when a friend suggested we go camping – and he said he’d bring all the gear and food – that I went again. We camped in Big Sur CA with a million dollar view and ate by camp firelight every night. It was a good first trip that reminded me why I loved camping in the first place.
But it also reminded me that camping now requires some basics – and some comfort – that I’m not willing to compromise on. Call it glamping if you will but I need to have camping feel as good as possible from knowing I have the right tools (and always put together in a kit for easy access when I want to go camping) to having the right gear (a great tent, blankets, food prep etc).
There’s several camping trips already planned for this year so in preperation I’d love your help on building my camping gear kit. If you’re a camper, what are your tricks, your essentials, your ‘things that just make it better’?
- Tent supplies (lights, sacks, cleaning etc).
- Lights (lamps, flashlights)
- Pots/Pans (what ones do you use, what’s the most essential)
- Making coffee/tea
- Wash bin (for dishes)
- Clean up supplies
- Storage for food
- How do you prep/keep food? What food do you bring?
- Organizing it all (how do you keep it all together so you can just take a box and go camping?)
- Extras that make camping better?