If we haven't made it clear already, we love summer. There are almost too many reasons to count. But one of the biggest ones is Camping Season-- a time when young and old alike ditch the creature comforts they've grown to love and go out into the wilderness to sleep on Styrofoam pads and warm themselves over an open flame.
If you're a city slicker who refuses to leave, that's fine. We won't convince you how awesome camping is, and we've got plenty of suggestions for your kind to make the most of the summer. But for the rest of us, there's nothing quite like camping out in nature. If you're thinking about fleeing the city and doing just that, we're here to help.
You can pack an SUV full of everything you think you'll need--most of it you don't, if you were wondering--and you'll still forget things. You'll never have everything you need, unless you're camping in a Walmart parking lot, but there are some things you'd be wise to remember over others. Here's a little list to get you started.
Long a staple among camping hipsters, headlamps are actually extremely useful. Think of it as a flashlight that you don't have to hold. Because that's exactly what it is. This is a must-have. And it's as cheap as a twelve pack of beer.
If you're not sure which one to get, we recommend this modestly priced, reliable little diddy.
Utensils and Dishes
That's awesome that you brought your 12-pound cast-iron skillet. Kudos. But no mess kit is complete without a few simple, everyday items that are disturbingly easy to forget when packing for a weekend in the woods.
A plate, a bowl, a cup, a fork, a spoon, and a knife.
We've been there before. You buy hundreds of dollars worth of groceries but forget to bring your trusty spork. Eating is arguably one of the best aspects of camping. Whether you're cooking over a fire or a mini-stove, please remember to bring all the basics you need to serve the food! Don't be that grumpy guy without a plate. Think ahead!
No need to get fancy here. Just grab the most rugged junk in your kitchen cabinet and bring it along.
But, if you like fancy things, might we suggest a cup like this? Serves as a coffee mug, soup bowl, and mini cooking pot. Bingo!
PRO TIP: Dress Appropriately Awesomely
You don't have to be a genius to look up a weather report before going camping. But you do have to be a genius to look cute while being prepared. We're not about to tell you how to dress. All we'll say is- it might get cold, it might get hot, and it might get wet. Taking those possibilities into account, we're confident that you can assemble several practical, adorable, fashion-conscious outfits. Leave the makeup kit behind, grab your favorite jeans, and bring your style out into the remote wilderness .
If you're lucky, you won't have any reception at all. If you're unlucky, you'll really, really, really need to make a phone call. For any number of unforeseeable circumstances, it's important to at least bring your smartphone along (maybe download a Google Map of your campsite for offline use while you still have reception!).
Still, if you're camping with seasoned pros, you might be a little embarrassed about bringing your six-hundred dollar mini-computer into mother nature's chapel. We've got you covered. Literally. This Timber iPhone case will camouflage your iPhone to the point that it's virtually indistinguishable from your surroundings. No one has to know you're taking a picture or checking in with your significant other. They'll just think you're whispering into a log. Far less embarrassing. If anyone asks, you're "communing with nature."
For those of us weaned on Gary Paulsen, there's no question as to the usefulness of a hatchet. Survival strategies aside, carrying around a hatchet or an ax is just plain cool. Like James Dean cool. If you're not convinced, let's run down a few reasons you might want this mini-death machine at your side.
And let's be honest- if you've ever woken up in the middle of the night to hear something sniffing around your tent, you'd feel just a little bit safer if you were cuddled up with a nice, sturdy ax.
PRO TIP: Your tent is too big and your cooler is not big enough!
Unless you're planning a ménage à quatre, anything bigger than 5 x 7 feet is probably overkill, especially if you're sleeping alone. Less is more, with one notable exception: the size of your cooler!
You need food, lots of food! On top of that you need beer. What's more is you need a lot of ice to keep it all fresh! Coolers are the wrong place to "go small." You may look like a jackass lugging a toddler-sized cooler out of the car, but you'll be the talk of the woods when the campsite runs dry and you tap into your emergency stash of brews.
That's it. We've given you our two cents. All we ask now is that you share your camping stories with us! Comment below or find us on Facebook, Twitter-- pick your poison-- and tell us all about your summer fun.