I was a newborn in diapers the first time I went on a camping trip. Well, at least that’s what I’ve been told … I was pretty much a no-necked blob that looked like Winston Churchill and was mostly asleep the whole time back then, apparently. My father was an avid outdoorsman, though, and he loved to pack up the family and take us out to some secluded lakefront or backcountry site to pitch a tent, sit around the campfire and enjoy a few evenings sleeping under the stars. As I grew up and ditched the diapers, I found I was also keen to commune with the great outdoors, and started slowly acquiring my own camping gear. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to find a few like-minded buddies who also like to get outside for a few days of camping fun, and they’ve been great at filling in the gaps in my own camping knowledge. But, what if you don’t have much experience or don’t really know anyone who goes camping? How do you know what is essential equipment? Well, just sit back, grab some marshmallows, Graham crackers and chocolate, and I’ll tell you “s’more” about what to bring camping with friends, and how to make the trip special and hassle-free.
Create a Comfortable Campsite
The most important aspect of any camping trip is the camp site itself. No matter if it’s a private lakeside site, packed public campground or deep in the middle of the forest, you want to ensure your site is comfy, cosy and weather-proof. So, of course, your first consideration for any camping trip should be your tent. Make sure it’s roomy enough for everyone who will be sleeping in it, because you and your friends are close and all, but trying to occupy the same space in a cramped and humid tent will test any lifelong friendship. But, considering I’m older and wiser than when I used to camp out, I think today I’d really opt for a nice big tent (for when you bring your significant other, or just want a private tent) with a sleeping area elevated off the damp and stony ground like the Sportz by Napier 4 person Truck Tent shown above. I bet it would go a long way towards convincing my camping-shy wife that the experience can be a bit more modern than just a piece of canvas propped up on the dirt. But either way, make sure it is water-resistant and able to withstand Mother Nature. I’d also invest in a good tarp, as well, for that extra weather protection you’re bound to need camping in Canada’s temperamental climate.
Explore new ways to bring light to your campsite
You’ll also want to have some sort of lighting, like a heavy duty flashlight, or better still, something like the North 49 LED Dynamo Lantern. It uses a crank for power, so you’ve always got light even when the batteries have gone dead on your flashlight or headlamp. You could also go with the BioLite NanoGrid System, featuring a rechargeable power bank and lighting system that can illuminate your whole campsite and also charge up your devices at the same time. You may also want to look into a solar charger, too, so you can always have power for any of your camping needs. I wish some of those things existed when I first went camping.
What are some camping cooking essentials
You’re going to need food for your camping trip, and really it is up to your own tastes—burgers and dogs, corn on the cob, bacon and eggs, they’re all great camping food. But you’re going to need a way to cook it all, and few things beat a camp fire, except maybe the BioLite CampStove 1-Burner Wood/Biomass Charging Camping Stove. Seriously, this thing creates a smokeless campfire using twigs and pinecones, plus it can recharge your devices. If only it actually made the food, too.
And depending where you’re camping, it’s a good idea to have some way to ensure you have drinkable water at all times, such as the very portable ÖKO ODYSSEY 650ml 6-in-1 Filtration Water Bottle. Oh, and this is camping after all, so you absolutely must have a coffee percolator like the World Famous Coffee Percolator. Real outdoorsmen … er, “outdoorspeople” (or whatever is the term that won’t get me angry emails in all-caps), like good, strong coffee in the morning, not something instant from a jar. Percolated coffee is a camping tradition.
Camping entertainment comes in many forms
Finally, after you’ve set up a comfy home-away-from-home in the woods or by the lake, eaten some tasty grub, and kicked back with a couple of beverages … it’s time for some tunes! That’s when you can bring out the portable Bluetooth speakers, and crank your favourite fireside songs while reminiscing about the good old days with your best buds. I like the iHome Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker, because, well, it’s waterproof, and that’s what you need when you’re camping in Canada. Of course there are many waterproof portable speakers to choose from—they are great at providing music while you are preparing the meal and socializing. Don’t let a little moisture ruin your good times. I’m sure I saw that on a T-shirt somewhere.
And since this is a traditional camping trip, how about bringing along an acoustic guitar? I know it sounds corny, but something magical happens when you’ve got a guitar around a campfire … and a couple of beers in your tummy. Somehow even the guy who only knows three chords rips out a Neil Young song, and it’s karaoke night in the forest. I think the Epiphone guitar shown here on the left would be perfect to play next to a campfire. Bring a guitar. You’ll thank me for it.
So? Have I missed anything? What would you bring camping with friends? Let me know in the comments section below, and don’t forget to check out the BestBuy site’s camping page for ideas.