How do you camp comfortably and confidently without being an "over-packer"? Well, simply (or not so simply) you figure out what you need and what you don't. What is worth your vehicle's limited space ranges from person to person and vehicle to vehicle, but some things should always be accounted for. Let's start with the basics: Water, food, and shelter.
A reliable water container is a must for hydration, washing your hands, or some fresh coffee in the morning. One of our favorites is the "Reliance Aqua-Tainer". Trusted by many with a hide-away spigot that makes life outdoors so much easier. They offer jugs in different sizes for various uses... Don't forget your flask for water on the go and a thermal mug for that morning brew of coffee.
Something about camping in the wilderness enhances a person's senses, and taste is no exemption. Simply put, food tastes better when you're camping. Maybe because it was well-deserved or maybe you were just really hungry from the long hike or drive. Whatever the case, be sure to pack food.. and we aren't talking granola bars and trail mix, we are talking meals. Breakfast in the morning, lunch in the afternoon, and a good hearty dinner at night can make your camping experience even better. Plan your 3 meals p/day plus 1-2 meals and bring the correct cooking gear. Here are some necessities when cooking at camp:
A stove top burner with 1-2 burners - propane or butane, but we prefer propane
Cookware, silverware, plate ware, and other cooking essentials
High-performance Cooler or Plug-in 12-Volt Refrigerator
Okay so you got the food and water situation handled, next is to figure out what the weather and temperature will be during the day and night. You want to be prepared with the correct clothing and sleeping gear. Trust us, if you are cold, you will not sleep well and it will dampen your camping experience. We always recommend overpacking warm gear, especially in cold months. Utilizing down and down-alternative blankets can help save space while keeping you warm. Our favorite blankets are made by Rumple and are made of eco-friendly and recycled materials. Some other essentials are:
A sleeping bag with the correct temperature or season rating - ratings are approximate and vary from person to person and tent setup
Lightweight blankets and a camping pillow - trust us, sleeping without a pillow is not the move
If you bring a heater - ALWAYS be extra careful with the emissions, carbon monoxide is a silent killer
One camping hack, as simple as it is: sleep early and wake early. Enjoy the sun while it is out and go on a hike or drive to check out the scenery and wildlife. This of course requires proper outdoor gear - hiking boots, bug spray, water container or bladder pack, and of course other hiking attire that is fit for the season. Make the most of the day, and when night falls, be sure to have your lights and lanterns ready. We highly recommend bringing at least one lantern and one headlamp with extra batteries or a source to recharge. Having both hands free will allow you to move around much more freely. Our favorite lantern is the Packlite Lanterns from LuminAID which pack lightly, are solar rechargeable, and can even recharge your small devices.
Last but definitely not least: Have fun, see something new, make some great memories, and remember, the outdoors is the Antidote!