Even seasoned campers can forget a few things from time to time. Along with the basics you're bound to put on your list – a sleeping bag, food, clothing and the gear you always use – here are four extra supplies that could make all the difference on your next outing, whether you're a few miles from home at Kopachuck State Park or far out in the wilderness.
You never know what conditions the ground ¬– or weather – may present once you get to your campsite. A tarp provides a clean place to set up your tent or seating area in the event of a mucky, muddy campsite. It can also serve as a makeshift sun shelter outside the tent. A tarp also comes in handy if the tent develops a leak on top during a rainy night. If you're expecting wet weather and are meeting others at the campsite, bring more than one tarp – they won't go to waste.
Duct tape just may be one of the most versatile inventions on the planet – especially while camping. Temporarily patch your tent or inflatable raft, or mend a torn seat on your camp chair. Use the indestructible tape to make a broken fishing pole functional once again. In a pinch, duct tape can even be used in place of or on top of a bandage to protect a blister.
A match or lighter may be all you need in most cases, but those may not work when wet. Specialty fire starters, typically made from metal or flint, create sparks to get a fire started without a match or lighter. Opt for a version that can be carried on a key chain or that doubles as a knife, for added usefulness. You'll also need dry tinder and kindling – some fire starter kits even come with weatherproof tinder to help you light a successful fire every time.
More Tools and Supplies
A multi-tool and pocket knife come in handy for all sorts of tasks, from cutting rope to opening bottles and repairing damaged gear. Don't forget a camping axe or hatchet for splitting wood. Opt for one with a hammer head opposite the blade; you'll need the hammer to pound in tent stakes.
A rope and clothespins prove useful for drying out clothing and towels, or even airing out your jacket after a night spent near the campfire. Use the rope to hold up a makeshift tarp shelter, carry firewood or help a friend across a stream. The clothespins can function as clips to keep snack or treat bags closed, or to hold open a tent flap for fresh air.
Bring a roll of trash bags. Besides using them for trash, they come in handy for keeping things (and people) dry during wet weather. Add a few extras to your first aid kit, too – zippered bags to make ice packs, antihistamine tablets to reduce swelling or itching, plus an elastic bandage to use in the event of sprains.