Everybody has their list of packing essentials, which includes tent, sleeping bag, first aid kit, etc. For someone who goes camping fairly regularly, I like to keep a list handy to ensure that I have packed all the important items for those nights when I am throwing stuff in my backpack at 1 am.
But how about the non-essential essentials? These are the things that you might not necessarily need, but are worth its weight in carrying in your pack. What luxury items will give you that much more comfort and enhance your camping experience? Is it that late night snack to indulge in, or your favourite pair of slippers for changing out of your sweaty hiking boots? Here is my list of non-essential essentials:
I don’t go camping without my camera gear. That includes my DSLR with 1-2 lenses, extra batteries and a light-weight tripod. Even though I’m lugging around an extra 10 lbs of equipment, it’s worth it! For the more casual photographers, I recommend a waterproof and shock-proof camera to hang off a shoulder strap of your backpack for easy access. I also bring my GoPro for those rainy PNW days.
2. Favourite Snack
Camping isn’t camping without dried mangoes and beef jerky. What’s your go-to camping snack?
3. Coffee or Tea
Keep a few bags of tea in your food bag for those cold, brisk mornings. If you have a sweet tooth like me, small packs of sugar or honey from McDonald’s are a great way of packing light. Or if you want that extra kick, you could always add that little something-something. (Whiskey. Rye. Rum. Whatever floats your boat!)
I always carry a small, light weight game. It’s a great way to spend the night with a bunch of friends. We once fit five people and a dog in our “three” person tent to play games. Good thing Rey was tired enough that she was completely content with lying in the middle as our card table. Some of our favourite go-to games are Munchkin, Exploding Kittens and Star Fluxx. And of course, just an old school deck of cards can do the trick.
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We may not always be wearing flannel, but we always carry it. You can wear it as a light summer evening jacket, or bundle up using it as an insulation layer in the winter.