Camping has been apart of American family traditions since the early 1900's. Survival in the wilderness on the other hand helped find this new land. From the first nomadic groups that traveled across the Bering Strait over 15,000 year ago to modern day camping, wilderness survival is human nature. If you like camping with friends, yourself or the family the essentials to camping and survival are always the same. Food, Water, Shelter, and Tools are all required to survive in the wild or at the recreational campsite. We have created a list of 10 essential Items needed for camping.
Here at 2cents we prefer dispersed camping, dispersed camping is basically "roughing it" in the wild. No amenities or facilities to accompany your camping trip. This means we stay out in the middle of the woods, and use a "poop bucket." We will talk more about the poop bucket, we know its in everyone's interest. We have created the list of essential equipment for your next camping trip, the list is in order by necessity.
It may be the most important aspect of camping or survival, your shelter. Depending on what you choose for shelter it could determine if you have a good trip or a rough one. This also depends on weather, climate, and location of course. If you get a perfect night with a perfect sky then shelter might be the least of your concerns... until the bugs show up. Picking the right shelter depends on a few things. Occupants, season, and area. You need to choose the right shelter based on your needs.
What type of tools you might need?
- Shovel - A tactical shovel that folds up easy and can be used to chop or saw is a fantastic item to add to your bag.
- Knife - Having a sharp knife will greatly help you, whether you need it for cutting kenneling for your fire or cutting rope.
- Protection - Some choose to take bear spray, some stick with the knife, I prefer a 9 or 45mm at least. You must keep yourself safe in the wild.
- Navigation - Maps and navigation tools like a compass will come in handy, and if you have kids they are a great way to keep them entertained while educating them.
- Poop bucket - Now this isn't technically necessary but it better than squatting. We have made our own DIY poop bucket and purchased a toilet seat bucket cover for it.
Food & Water
Technically you can last 3-4days with no water and about 20 some days without food. It will not be a fun experience but you might not die. Having a good water supply and canteen is important. It is always a smart move to bring cleanser pills for collecting water or a purifier. Having a backpack with a hydration system is a plus for those that like the camp and hike.
For food you can take a variety of items, non refrigerated, canned foods, ramen noodles, or if you have a way to keep food cold hotdogs, and grill foods are always a good choice. Recently we tried the adventure meals from mountain house.They are a dehydrated meal in a bag, we did a review during a trip to the Linville falls. You can watch the video here. Bottom line is make sure you have your food planned out.
For the most part when camping you will be pretty active, moving and sweating. It's always best to wear non-cotton clothing, and hiking shoes. We also take a pare of water shoes just in case, and they act as good camp slippers as well. It's always a wise move to pack emergency clothing. Either for cold temperatures or a wet climate, mother nature can be full of surprises. We pack 4 emergency Ponchos and 2 emergency blankets, all of which can fold nicely to fit in your bag. We use climbing clips to hang our water shoes to not take up any space.
First Aid Kit
A simple first aid kit comes in handy way more than you hope for. We wouldn't recommend doing any hiking or camping without the basics. Alcohol, bandages, and bug spray. Heaving some tweezers and bleed stop packages are not a bad choice either.
Getting a fire started in the wilderness can pose some issues sometimes, especially when the weather is not on your side. Having a good source of dry materials for burning and a good source for fire I.E. Lighter, or water proof matches. We always carry 2 lighters and 2 packs of waterproof matches in a water proof, float-able container. There are a few good tools that can be purchased to help, Fire-starter sticks and fire start flint sparks can become useful in desperate times. Some camping sites such as in the nationally protected forest do not allow you to harvest live wood so bringing your own supply, if able too, is a good idea.
A good sleeping bag will not only keep you warm on a cold night it will add a second layer of protection from you and the wildlife. Choosing the right type of sleeping bag is just as important though depending on your location your climate and how long you plan on staying. If you like camping all season or all year-round there are some great options for all season camping bags. You don't have to buy two or three different types of sleeping bags and you can always buy basic sleeping bag or even use blankets depending on how you prefer to camp. Having a soft sleeping mat will help as well if you plan on sleeping on rough terrain so basically everywhere but sandy beach.
Cookware isn't all that vital, technically you can use sticks to hold your meat that you just gathered that sucks sometimes though. Having a good cookware set will help you out and make things a little bit easier. All our cookware is cast-iron or stainless steel. Anything that we have water boiling in is stainless and everything else is cast iron. Usually we get the small cast iron pots and pans since they are so heavy. They can hang right from your bags and same with the pots and dinnerware. like to drink coffee? A nice stainless steel French Press by Stanley would be great to take. It's always handy to have some fold-out cups, tough plates, and fold-able bowls. You can get outdoor silverware or utensils along with cutlery that you can easily store and clean easy. Cookware depends entirely on what you will be cooking, so plan accordingly.
The lighting doesn't seem that important until you don't have any light. What we like to do, since we do dispersed camping, we get the solar panel lights garden lights. We'll take about 10 of them with us on each camping trip they are used to light up our area. From the trail for our bathroom to lighting up our living area and tent. Basically we try our best to have light just in case. Also having a few flashlights helps and if you can, pack a few extra batteries. Having a good emergency flashlights also helps and is good practice.
Biodegradable wipes or toilet paper
Everybody poops. This may be one of the most unforgiving item if overlooked and maybe one of the most forgot about items when you head out to camp. So often you get to your site and then you have to use the bathroom, "did anybody bring any toilet paper." It's good to use items that are easily biodegraded, toilet paper is a good item. Although sometimes when you're camping out in the wilderness the toilet paper might not cut it. Taking along some biodegradable wipes is a smart choice. biodegradable wipes take considerably less time to decompose than flush-able wipes. Best of all biodegradable wipes usually degrade within about eight months to two years. If you're practicing your poop burials and your waist burials that's not a problem. Be sure not to forget something to wipe your hiney.