A favorite summer pastime for many Americans is the use of camping trips as an excuse to escape the chaos of everyday life. Just in 2012 a surge in the average number of people camping per year jumped 3 million above that of 2010. While the idea of sleeping in a tent in the woods may seem like a simple task, it’s easy to get caught in the rain by forgetting even the smallest piece of equipment on your camping checklist. Here are three critical items to remember:
- A tent and sleeping bag: Nature is wild and unpredictable and without proper shelter and precautions, camping can quickly become more of a disaster than a vacation. You can check the weather channel all you want but the truth is, there’s never a guarantee of nice and calm conditions. Even if you are lucky enough to have beautiful weather the entire trip, the woods around you become alive with wildlife in the dark. Most of us would prefer not to sleep with raccoons and insects. Not to mention without a sleeping bag there’s little more than a sheet of plastic cushioning you against the dirt.
- Fire starting equipment: Fires are almost as much a staple of camping as tents. Whether it be to cook s’mores and hotdogs or just to have an excuse to sit with friends and stay warm, any campsite is assured to have one burning by nightfall. They can also be important in keeping the pesky wildlife at bay. Some animals have actually come to associate fires and campsites with food scraps but while the fire is still roaring, it should keep them away from your camp until you’ve had time to move on. This makes the equipment necessary to light one an essential factor in your camping checklist. Even though the most popular camping gear purchases of the past year were related to battery lighting, you’ll be especially thankful for your fire if the batteries in your flashlight die.
- Backpacking gear with first aid equipment: When traveling in the outdoors, a container to hold your equipment can alleviate a lot of the stress of being out in the wild. Especially if an injury was to occur, having a first aid kit handy can be a life saver. Hiking for instance, has become one of the most popular activities for campers with a little over 38 million people traversing their way through dirt paths and trails just in 2014. Of the essentials, the backpack and first aid kit are necessary equipment for some leisure wandering. You’re never further from civilization than when you’re roaming through nature. This makes having some camping supplies on hand even more important, while also making the experience much more pleasant.
Whatever activities one may be planning for their trip, the first step should always be to double check the entirety of your camping checklist to ensure it fulfills all of your camping needs. There are few things worse on a vacation than being stranded in the woods, hungry and covered in mosquitoes. Check out local sporting goods stores for pretty much anything you would need to have a successful and relaxing trip.