Affordable Must-Have Items to Bring Camping

Posted by Leland On May - 20 - 2015 0 Comment

Camping is just as alive as ever, and with summer here, people are hopping in their RVs, taking train vacations, or biking to the campgrounds for some outdoor adventures.

Camping is the cheap alternative to hotels and resorts. No expensive stay, bring your own food, and no added costs. What can get pricey, however, are the items you bring. The questions remain: what do I need and do I really need it? It all depends on your style of camping. There’s the hardcore camper who brings very little and then the laid-back camper who may need to pack their bags a little more full. Nonetheless, camping is no easy task and certainly can warrant some safety hazards.

So what exactly are the essentials? Bug spray? Check. First-aid kit? Check. Tent? Check. They’re all the obvious checklist items, but what about those items you wish you had brought once you think of  them at the campground? In fact, the not-so-obvious items are some of the cheapest–found at a local grocery store or right in your garage.

Bring a mallet or hammer with you–it’ll come in handy when you’re tying down the tent with sticks in the ground. Easily found at a hardware store or in a home toolbox. In fact, it’s a good idea to bring tools camping. You never know when you’ll need a Swiss Army knife.

Check out your garage. You may have an old milk crate or box sitting around. These are inexpensive and an effective item for toting firewood in or virtually anything. Store food, blankets, or anything you can imagine in a crate or box–a perfect, not-so-obvious storage item for camping.

It’s not easy to admit, but don’t forget to bring a phone. There’s a reason most people have cell phones–ultimately for safety. While some campgrounds may not have cell service, phones are usually helpful in other circumstances. They come equipped with flashlights and compass apps. Charge it with a portable charger or your car if you choose to drive to the campground. They can save your life if you’re ever lost, and you end up having cell service to make that important call.

Bring a mirror. You never know when you might need one. Mirrors can be beneficial for both the avid camper or the rookie camper. You can start a fire with the reflective effects of the mirror and the sun or simply use the mirror for cosmetic purposes if desired.

While sunscreen is an obvious one, lip balm is not. Lip balm is like sunscreen for your lips and sometimes even comes in a variety of SPF ratings. It’s also perfect to apply after being in the sun all day after lips are feeling dry and flaky. Pick one up at a local drugstore–cheap and effective.

The relaxing camper always needs a place to hang, so look no further than a netted hammock. Inexpensive and safe, a netted hammock prevents mosquitoes from disturbing your relaxation or sleep. Netted hammocks start around $20 at any local merchandise store.

Why waste on batteries when the sun can do all the work? Plus, we all know a real camper uses the natural elements. A solar-powered light is perfect and convenient if you don’t want to waste money on batteries. The sun will do all the work–just be sure to leave the flashlight’s solar panel out to charge during the day. Just like the solar-powered light, a hand-crank light and radio will do just the trick without batteries or electricity, but this time, with no charging. Power up a hand-crank device with the spin of a crank. A radio is a must-have for camping, especially during bad weather.

Many campers probably don’t think of it, but glow-in-the-dark or reflective tape is essential for marking areas to find later in the dark. Tie the tape to the corners of your tent, so it’s easily visible in the dark, or mark trees and and nearby landmarks for reference later. Similarly, for safety, glow sticks for pets and kids are a must. You can secure a glow stick to your dog’s collar or fasten one around your child’s neck to wear as a necklace. They’re perfect for everyone on a camping trip!

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