The checklist for the camping trip gear is done, and everything is checked off. But wait a minute – have you thought of everything you might need?
by Leon Pantenburg
Go camping long enough, and you’ll figure out things that are nice to have along, in addition to the standard stuff.
Here are 10 miscellaneous camping-related items to include. You can thank me later.
Tarp: I take a tarp everywhere, be it backpacking, camping or a trip to the grocery store. On a camping trip, the tarp can be used to create a rain shelter, to cover a leaky tent, as a ground cloth or carpet etc.
In your car, you can use to kneel on while you change a tire, or a rain shelter while you’re changing that tire. Size is up to you, but I always carry a 5×7 and a 10×12. I’ve had to use both to change a tire in the rain!
Toilet paper and paper towels: Because you never know if the porta potty or campground toilet will be out of the one-layer waxed TP. Paper towels are for everything, and you’ll regret running out.
Tent stakes: Always take extras. Chances are you will lose or break one. If you don’t take spares, you’ll end up whittling a stake from a stick. Murphy says this will happen as you desperately try to set up the tent before the rainstorm and wind hits. Best portable battery?
Small rug: I put a small rug outside the entrance of the tent, and sometimes inside. The rug is a great place to stand, off of the dirt while you wash your dirty feet prior to putting on socks or hiking boots. Or to change pants. Or anything. Inside the tent, the rug insulates the floor and gives the dog a place to sleep.
Paracord: Paracord is the cordage used on parachutes. Today is used for everything. There are a millions uses for the stuff, and you’ll need a lot to set up tarps shelters in the rain. Take a minimum of 150 feet.
Individual keyring lights: I’ll bet 99 percent of your lighting needs around camp can be met with one of those tiny LED keyring lights. Get the ones with the on-off switches , and make them into necklaces, using paracord, for everyone.
These will work great for trips to the bathroom in the dark, finding stuff in duffle bags, reading in the sleeping bag etc. These are so handy you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it sooner.
Extra trash bags: Extra large bags, sure. But also take along smaller gallon and quart-sized Ziplocks. These can be used cover things in the rain, to put wet, nasty dirty clothes in and to waterproof items in your pack. The large, 55-gallon contractor grade trash bags can be used for shelters, pack covers, improvised ponchos – you name it.
Duct tape, zipties and bunji cords: I take duct tape with me everywhere, and use it for everything. Take along zipties to fix things, and bunji cords to fasten coverings around gear.
Personalized drinking cups: This can be anything from a red solo cup with you name on it to elaborate drinking mugs. People will be using the water container, and using a disposable cup every time is so wasteful and American.
Individual hand towels: If everyone sticks a hand towel on their belt around camp, it will make a world of difference in how clean everything stays! Wipe your hands frequently, as needed on the towel, and you won’t be wiping them on your shirt. This hand towel becomes particularly appreciated when cooking. When the towel eventually gets dirty, was and hang it out.
That’s my miscellaneous list, and it has evolved after many years of camping in all sorts of climates, weather conditions and seasons. The items are cheap, easily found and possibly invaluable later on!