Summer is the season of adventure. Swimming, hiking, fun runs, bike rides, trail conquering, yoga-atop-mountain-doing… you get the idea. This season is one marked by a sense of exploration, excitement, and putting yourself into the great unknown. You’re encouraged to simply let loose, and go with the sunny vibrations of summer. It’s a great feeling, and a great summer is full of these very feelings.
One of our favorite activities is camping. Not only can camping pair with other activities, like hiking, river rafting, or road tripping, it also can be great just on its own. Whether you’re making a whole escapade out of camping or simply going for the weekend, spending time in nature – sleeping on the ground – helps connect you to the world, settle the mind, and potentially reset your circadian rhythm.
So what are the very essentials for making the most of the summer activity? Here’s 5 things we won’t ever go without!
1. Comfortable, Quality Tent
Let’s start with the basics: a great tent. If you’re someone who likes to go camping often, you probably already know the benefit of having a great tent. Rather than going with the most cost effective option, just a small increase in budget can save you time, headaches, bug bites, and water droplets.
You should aim for a tent that covers a few key areas:
- Big Enough: A 6-foot tall person probably needs 7′ of room, plus about 2-3 feet of width to be comfortable. Is your tent big enough?
- Environment: If you’re going somewhere potentially wet, grab a tent with rain guards, which help keeps water out. If you’re going some hot, humid, and by water, be sure to get a tent that comes with a mesh bug screen – no one likes mosquito bites.
- Packing Size: Keep the total dimensions of the packing space in mind. If you’re having to hike in, you don’t want to carry around a big, bulky, heavy tent. Look for designs with lightweight rods and fabric.
2. Thick Yoga Mat (Helps with Sleeping)
If you’re doing yoga in the wilderness (you should!), there’s another purpose for that mat: sleeping! A thick mat, or frankly a mat of any thickness, can really help keep you comfortable throughout the night. I’ve used just about anything I could find for sleeping, even packing plain foam pads on some trips. Be sure to bring your mat, even if you don’t have time for yoga!
3. Fire Source
This is a no brainer. Having a small stove, firewood, charcoal, and tools used in fire tending is a serious must for just able any camp trip. It’s around this big bonfire that everyone will be telling stories, sharing laughs, and cooking food.
Remember: This is a hot summer, and we’re not the only ones who feel it. The outdoors are basically hot, dry, and fire-prone everywhere in the States. That means you need to take extra care to prevent forest fires and keep the risk low. Try to avoid flaring up the flames or adding anything that can cause your fire to get out of control.
4. Plenty to Drink
“We know, Mom, we know. We’ll bring water!”
If I had a nickel for every time I said that growing, well, I’d have a handful of nickels. But in truth, Mom wasn’t wrong. Bringing plenty of water is essential. Remember, you’re supposed to drink eight 8-ounce glasses every day, not considering extra activity, like that which goes with camping. And yes, that was eight 8-ounce glasses – a total of 64 ounces per day.
If this sounds like a ton of water to carry, that’s because it is. One simple solution (outside of boiling): iodine tablets. These handy little tables are effective against bacteria, viruses and giardia, meaning you can drop them in just about any source of water, wait 30 minutes, and be drinking soon after. Now, I’ll admit: these taste terrible. That’s why you should also bring some dry drink mixes, like Natural Calm, to flavor your water a bit after treatment.
5. Weather Proof Camera
Campings = memories. Mobile phones = distraction and potentially damage. Just leave your phone in the tent, and take out your handy, water-proof, fall-proof point and shoot camera. You’ll end up with hilarious and memorable photos to develop, and you can always scan them into digital form. Either way, be sure you have a mean of capturing all the best moments during your camping trip!
Feeling inspired? Now’s the perfect time to start planning out your camping trip. With so many amazing national parks in the US, you’re almost guaranteed to be within arms reach of an amazing camping experience. Don’t think so? Check out the Outdoor Project!