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These Necessities Will Turn Your Camping Experience Up To Level 11

The 10 Essentials (And The 19 Necessities)

By: Aaron Rickel Jones + Save to a List

There are 10 things every ranger, website, outdoor guidebook, and overzealous camping friend agree upon as the “10 Essentials” – basically a smattering of items that will keep you alive in the event of an emergency and which you should always have in your pack. You can find those in one...million...different...places. But since you probably won’t go look them up, here they are again with absolutely zero elaboration.

The 10 Essentials

  1. Navigation
  2. Sun Protection
  3. Insulation
  4. Illumination
  5. First-Aid
  6. Fire
  7. Repair Kit & Tools
  8. Nutrition
  9. Hydration
  10. Emergency Shelter

Are you still with me!?

I know, I know. When I think of a next-level weekend I don’t think Repair Kit & Tools either. I’m sorry I had to bore you with that. Don't tell your overzealous outdoorsy friend I said this, but you honestly would have to try pretty hard to not pack enough stuff to keep you alive through a night or two in Southern California, which is where I happen to be [except Joshua Tree...or Death Valley...those places will kill you]. 

In all seriousness...the 10 Essentials are actually very important and you should actually memorize them and actually bring them with you on all your adventures. But in some ways, the following list is just as important...

I firmly believe in the Three Rules of Camping:

  1. Always Bring A Hammock
  2. Always Camp Near Water
  3. Always Bring A Hammock

Here are the 19 Necessities that will bring any camping weekend to the next level.

The 19 Necessities

  1. Hammock
    Because duh.
  2.  French Press & Fancy Coffee
    Everyone knows coffee tastes better in the woods. Leave your Starbucks at home and get some Verve or Groundworks.
  3. Cooler full of cold cruisers
    The bigger the cooler the better.  
  4. Some extra cold cruisers
    This is totally worth the extra slot it takes up on this list. When my family goes camping our cold-cruiser cooler is bigger than our food cooler. I'm not kidding. (Cold cruisers = beers, hopefully you got that by now.)
  5. Firewood
    You should buy your firewood where you burn it to prevent the spread of non-native pests and species. The shorter distance you move it the better. Read more here.
  6. Camp Chair
    A rock or log will do the trick in a pinch, but everyone is always jealous of the girl with a tricked out camp chair.
  7. S’mores stuff
    Don’t forget the peanut butter. Haven’t tried that? You’re welcome.  
  8. Portable Speaker
    Just like…be respectful and don’t be those people.   
  9. Cornhole
    Or Kan Jam or Spikeball or some other awesome game that people around you will be jealously gazing at from their boring campsites without any of your unique fun stuff.
  10. A Guitar
    No matter what else happens, the last song sung around the campfire before bed must be Wagon Wheel.  
  11. A Frisbee
    Anything from regular old catch to ultimate frisbee to frisbee golf, I don't think there will come a day when I tire of playing with a frisbee.
  12. Vintage Film or Polaroid Camera
    This camera doesn't even need to work, it's literally just to be used as a prop to make your campsite look more hip. Take pictures of this camera with your iPhone.   
  13. Your Favorite Adventure Book
    If you don't have a favorite, try My First Summer in the Sierra, Into Thin Air, or The Push to get started. Check out a few other ideas here, here, and here!
  14. An Old Hat
    The older the better. My straw hat looks like it's been through the war.
  15. A Fishing Pole
    It's actually better if you have zero idea what you're doing. They're just fish...how hard can it be right?
  16. Jiffy Pop Popcorn
    You will burn it…the end product isn’t really the point, it's all about the experience.   
  17. Cards
    And some instructions if you don’t know any games by heart. Hearts, there's a good one! Nertz and Oh Hell are two other personal favorites.
  18. Birks or Flippy Floppies
    You don't want to be tromping around camp in tennies or *gasp* hiking boots. Comfort is king here.
  19. A Bandana
    Because you look way cool wearing one, and who doesn't want to look way cool.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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