Camping is a great activity that you can do with anyone on a small budget. Just make sure you have your supplies, set up your camp and enjoy the peaceful serenity. There are lots of different varieties of camping equipment for different functions, many of which can be done with 1 tool that saves you money. But there are other tools you may be unaware of that can increase your enjoyment and efficiency. Here’s 10 pieces of camping equipment you need!
I will be avoiding obvious entries like a tent, stove, lighters etc because well, you already know that!
Also this list is aimed at wild/wilderness camping, no camping in your backyard or at a site.
Total cost: $
A firesteel is a piece of equipment that is simply a chunk of steel and a striker. This is used to produce sparks, which you can combine with tinder to get a fire going. It’s an invaluable piece of equipment that is only used as a last resort but having one is a necessity when you’re out there. They’re particularly cheap, you can get one for just over a quid but it’s worth getting a reliable one as you don’t want it breaking.
Tinder is used to get a fire going, it’s a small resource that can be ignited by a spark (from a firesteel for example) but doesn’t produce a flame. Once your tinder is ignited you can place it into the fire you’ve built, blow on it and the heat will ignite the resources in the fire into flames. This is of course another last resort as a simple lighter will get a fire going but if you have nothing else available, having tinder to hand is important.
There are a wide variety of tinders available, especially natural tinders that you can find in the wilderness. It’d be worth getting a small guide book to take with you until you learn to recognise them yourself.
An example is a char tin. A small tin (anything from an air rifle pellet tin to a tobacco tin) that has a small hole punctured on the lid. If you place cloth inside it, throw it on the fire and give it a good few minutes (until the flame has gone from the hole), you can open it to find charcloth that will take a spark really easily.
A tarp is another useful piece of equipment that has a multitude of functions. It can be used to cover your tent/hammock, act as shelter, emergency clothing and much more. It can even be used as glue if you burn it and apply it fast enough. The uses are too many to list but take one with you on your next camping trip, it’ll work wonders if anything goes wrong.
Any cotton bandana will considerably improve the versatility of your kit. It can be used as a washcloth, a water filter, a trap and can be used as charcloth in an emergency. You can tell this list isn’t about having an item for every situation, it’s more about having multiple items that have multiple uses for multiple situations.
6. Med Kit
Of course everyone always has a med kit to hand but 99% of wild campers will have a ‘set’ they bought from Amazon. Not only are these sets ineffective, overpriced and take up too much space, they are simply aimed at ‘newbies’ looking to get everything they need in one go. There are things you need but take a look at this list, it’ll save time, money and maybe even your health.
- Anti Septic Wipes: Used to clean wounds, cuts or scrapes. Also great just for cleaning your hands regularly.
- Crepe Bandages: Self explanatory really, if you don’t know the usage of a bandage, you shouldn’t be wild camping!
- Steri Strips: Used to close open wounds, perfect for punctures or deep cuts.
- TCP Anti Septic Liquid: Similar to wipes but having a bottle allows you to use it in ways that wipes will not let you.
- Anti biotics: Take these whenever you’ve had a bite, cute, wound etc.
- Duct tape: Variety of uses like fire material, bandage, clothes or shelter repair etc.
- Tweezers: For ticks and splinters.
That’s all you need for a regular small wild camping trip! Of course if you’re in an especially remote place for a long period of time, you’ll need more like a glow-stick, whistle and space blanket too.
You can’t be expected to take a few huge bottles of water with you, you’ll need to take a steel water bottle and collect it from nearby sources. However, this water will more than likely contain a myriad of viruses, infections and stuff like grit. You need to make this water drinkable, what you can do is take some water purification tablets, pop one into the bottle and wait a bit. If you can build a fire, simply place the bottle inside it and wait for it to boil. Then use a filter (such as a bandana, or sock) to get rid of all the debris and grit. Please do read up more on this before trying it though as water infections are a nasty business.
Surviving in the wilderness can be a pain, especially when the food you’re eating is salvaged and tastes horrible. This is why you need spices!
Take some sugar, tea, salt, coffee etc with you. Contain them in some small seal bags and they won’t take up much space but will make life with mother nature a lot more bearable. This is by no means an ‘important survival fact’, it’s just something to make your travels a lot nicer.
3. Wind-Up Items
Really try not to take any kind of equipment that requires battery power, the problem lies with unreliability. You don’t want your batteries running out in the middle of the night and carrying more batteries just takes up more space. Get yourself some wind-up items, you can get anything from a radio to a flashlight.
2. Wet Weather Firemaking
Making a fire in wet conditions is much easier than people think. Of course it’s preferable to have dry conditions but if you find yourself stuck, you can get a fire going. A good idea is to build a small shelter to cover your fire, simply place the driest logs you can find on an elevated balance point (like a tree or between two rocks) and build a fire as normal underneath. But what if you don’t have any dry wood to get a fire going? Got you covered! You can use your knife to cut ‘feather sticks’ from pieces of wood, by cutting the bark off and hitting the inside to knack off small sticks, as the inside is dry. Alternatively you can use a pencil sharpener to shave off small pieces which are excellent as tinder.
Make sure to keep your fire slightly elevated from the wet ground, you can make a platform out of logs and build the fire on that. Or you can simply use tin-foil laid on the floor as that works great.
Knowledge is the most valuable resource you can take with you. If you go wild camping after spending £100 on Amazon, without any research, you will have a horrible time. You need to learn how to build shelters properly, keep yourself safe/warm at night and how to take care of yourself if you get injured. A lot of this comes from experience but you should learn as much as you can. Read guides, watch videos, learn first aid, learn the SOS signal, practice in a safe environment etc. Equipment cannot work without knowledge and vise versa.