Between perfectly staged Instagram photos, lifestyle brand marketing and #vanlife, camping is trending harder than ever. For as accessible and fun as it is, things can go wrong real quick without the right preparation and gear. So instead of resorting to brushing your teeth with stale beer and rationing out a bag of Doritos around the glow of an iPhone, follow these 11 tips to spare yourself some struggles and make your first trip more enjoyable.
1. Way Cooler
In addition to keeping brews cold, having a quality cooler and enough ice will help keep food from spoiling. Unless you want to subsist on freeze-dried meals, the best food is usually kept refrigerated (i.e. bacon). Those cheap styrofoam coolers found above the frozen food aisle can hardly make it to the checkout without breaking, and shouldn’t be trusted to carry valuable food and drinks to camp. Likewise, you might not need a full cooler, but that doesn't mean you couldn't use a Lil' Buddy.
2. An Intents Experience
It can be hard to drop in on a tent, and from a distance they pretty much all look and function similarly. But trust us, the pains of leaky seams, broken zippers and soggy materials aren’t worth the extra $100 it would have taken to get a decent tent. Even on a crystal clear night, going sans-rain fly is a surefire way to wake up to rain, so at least keep it handy. Long story short, a tent is not something to skimp on. Get yourself a good one.
3. Table It
It’s easy to take a table for granted, but one night cooking without one and you won’t look at them the same again. Many campgrounds come with picnic tables, but it’s smart to keep something more portable for when there’s not a table available. Collapsible, lightweight options like the Burton x Big Agnes Camp Table are a good route.
4. Weather Watcher
Between fluctuating highs and lows, passing weather systems, and tornado warnings, checking the weather before heading into the wilderness is a good call. Having an idea of what weather to expect can also help with wardrobe selections, destinations and timing. Will you need something waterproof? Something to swim in? Don’t let the weather call the shots. Be prepared for anything.
5. Singles Chair
Rocks and logs are loosely considered nature’s lawn chairs, but save the
stumps for a footstool and pick up something collapsible, comfortable and
durable like the Burton X Big Agnes Camp Chair to pay immediate
dividends towards a happy
6. UV and Bug Protection
Looking like a boiled lobster after day one of vacation isn’t becoming, for anyone. And no, it’s not going to “fade into a tan,” it’s going to peel like dried paint and be super nasty. Save yourself the discomfort and lather up more liberally than an organic farmer at a Sanders rally. Likewise, whether it’s some heady organic citrus extract or a batch of nuclear-grade backwoods moonshine, bringing bug repellant will help prevent bites as well as preserve your mental state.
7. Game On
You’re going to spend a lot of time out there just hanging around, supposedly “getting in touch with nature.” What you’ll actually be doing? That’s up to you. Bringing an arsenal of games along means saving even the most conversation-less company from the clutches of boredom. Kan Jam, solitaire, stump, or wizard staffs – there’s a game out there for everyone.
8. Hammock Vibes
Suspended in mid-air, swinging gently in the breeze is the most relaxing way to chill. Comfortable and versatile, hammocks usually come in a small, compact pouch, making them perfect for tossing in a bag. The Honeybaked Hammock also comes with a built-in coozie and stash pocket so you never even have to leave your comfort cradle.
9. Fire It Up
Even though the song claims, “rubbing sticks and stones together makes the sparks ignite,” that type of friction won’t actually get a fire going. While it’s possible to find some good scavenged firewood, sometimes it’s a good idea to bring a few dry pieces, as well as a safe way to light it that doesn’t involve anything from a gas station.
10. Jam Band
Whether it’s a vintage Martin, rusty trombone or wooden flute, bring along instruments to get some campfire jams flowing. The more friends camping, the more instruments there should be. In fact, everyone should have something that makes noise. Just keep away from covers of “Wonderwall,” “Fast Car” and “Hotel California.”
11. Pack it In
Soft-sided duffel bags are the best. Not only can they fit everything from clothing to camping gear to food, they pack around other hard-sided objects really well. A durable, versatile, duffel available in a variety sizes like the Backhill Duffel is a far better alternative to digging around the bottom of a trash bag for a clean pair of boxer shorts.
With the right preparation, gear and a few accessories, camping can be an enjoyable, comfortable experience for everyone. Without it, you may be in for a cold, wet, hungry weekend spent rubbing sticks together for a fire and counting down the hours until daylight.
Look through Burton’s collection of Durable Goods and camping essentials before your next wilderness getaway. ∆