In novels, all you need is a penknife and a few pieces of string – but in reality, a few simple hardware items will add convenience and comfort to any camping trip – even if you’re planning to live off the land as much as you possibly can. You don’t need to pack the kitchen sink: after all, you’re trying to get away from it all rather than taking it all with you. Aside from the obvious must-have camping equipment, you can impress your camping buddies with your foresight by bringing these items along.
1. Ratchet Straps
They’re straightforward and low-tech, but they sure make a difference when you need to secure items. From securing loads to keeping bundles of firewood together for easy hauling to suspending food items out of reach of the local wildlife, 2” ratchet straps are all you need to make the job easy. Do ensure that the strapping is of a high quality and that the fasteners are stainless steel. After all, they will be exposed to the elements. High quality ratchet straps can last a lifetime and are low-cost items even when you choose the best. You can afford to be picky, so check the specs and shoot for the best.
2. Rope – Plus Tow Rope
Even if you aren’t planning to go mountain climbing, rope should be part of your outdoor kit. Regular woven nylon rope has hundreds of uses and comes in mighty handy in a wide variety of situations. But if roads are rough, even 4×4 vehicles can get bogged down, and you may need to go a step further with a kinetic tow rope that actually adds to your pulling power when helping friends get back on the road. And, in the event of a breakdown, they’ll be thanking their lucky stars that you brought a good tow rope along.
3. A Hatchet / Ax
It’s amazing how many people forget this camping basic. An ax to split firewood into manageable chunks may be something that every girl or boy scout knows about, but city slickers taking on the wilderness are inclined to forget its importance. There are many variations on this theme, but ideally, you don’t want to lug an enormous chopper along. Lightweight camping axes and hatchets will do the trick nicely! You can even get multi-tool versions that incorporate a shovel and a pick. It’s like having the contents of your garden tool shed in one, neat, compact package. Just be sure you know how to use an ax safely! Nobody wants accidents to happen.
4. Groundsheet or Camping Blanket
Folding chairs may not be quite your style when it comes to roughing it – and if hiking is on the cards, lugging a chair is out of the question. While you might be quite happy to sit on the bare ground while its dry, there’s no guarantee that it will be – and the consequences can be rather uncomfortable. Modern fabrics allow waterproof camping blankets or groundsheets to be literally pocket-sized, so there’s no reason to suffer the consequences of not taking one along.
5. Water Repellent Spray
From shoes that get wet on the first day of a camping trip and stay wet throughout to leaking tents or outerwear that gets soaking wet in the lightest shower of rain, you’ve probably experienced a wish for some form of extra waterproofing in the wilds. The solution is simple and compact. Silicone water repellent works wonders for keeping out the damp – and your buddies will be queueing up to use yours since chances are good they didn’t think of bringing this nifty item along.
6. A Solar Shower
When you’re venturing far off the beaten track, you get an opportunity to be close to nature – but in nature, most water comes in three temperatures: cold, colder, and icy cold. After a long, action-packed day, you’ll be missing little luxuries including easy access to a nice, hot shower. Problem solved! A compact, black colored water bag left suspended in the sun all day gives you an opportunity to enjoy hot (or at least warmer) water in the wilds. This time, your friends will have to settle for envying you, though – this luxury isn’t for sharing unless it’s with someone very special indeed!
7. Reflective Insulation
This product is more likely to be seen on construction sites than on camping trips, but the bubble-wrap-like, reflective insulation comes in very handy on camping trips. When the weather is cold, even insulated sleeping pads aren’t immune to cold creeping in from the ground up. Cover your sleeping pad with reflective insulation, and you have an extra layer of protection against the cold. You can also use reflective insulation to cover food and drink containers, keeping their contents hot for hours. Once again, even if you’re using insulated containers, the extra layer of protection can be very welcome in cold weather, and this cheap hardware item is low-cost into the bargain.