Last month, I accepted the challenge to camp out for a total of 31 nights between May and September. It’s not for any big campaign or some sort of a contest – just a gentle nudge in the rear to remind you that you don’t have to sail away on a month-long sabbatical to reconnect with nature.
I really think that’s the best way to do it – a night here, a weekend there. Getting out when and wherever you can. Reminding myself that it’s just as easy to spend a night at the local park (or even in my own backyard), as it is on my couch. So, I’ll keep this one short and sweet and start by saying: whether or not you consider yourself the ‘outdoorsy type,’ you should totally do this. Wait, you should do this especially if you don’t consider yourself the outdoorsy type.
Why? Because it’s a breath of fresh air, a break to the monotony and a really good time.
And in the nature of a good time, here’s some extras I pack that make for a great camping experience (even if they do add some unnecessary weight to my pack).
- Fun Lights
I recently bought a Big Agnes tent on the REI garage sale that has an LED interior lighting system built into it. A luxury I would normally forgo but, hey, the price was right. And let me tell you, this has totally upped the ante on camping. Delightfully, my new tent is even lighter than my previous one so there is never a reason not to have it with. Plus, there’s no more fumbling with a lantern or having my flashlight fall out of its pocket onto my face.
And, while you are at it, get yourself some rope lights. Seriously. I was just out last weekend and someone had brought a string of lights from Ikea. It’s the perfect thing to set on a picnic table or string up across the trees.
- A Pillow
It sounds small, but you begin to appreciate the little things after one too many camping trips without somewhere proper to rest your head. Backpacking or bikepacking? Find yourself an ultra-light inflatable one, or a puffy that packs into its own pocket. Otherwise, I’d say have some fun and bring any and all pillows you can find from home. Pillow fort, anyone?
- Board games
My go-to game for any setting is Scrabble. It seems a little out of context when you first pull it out of the box, but if you can keep track of all the parts, you’re sure to have a good time. Plus, you don’t have to worry about someone not knowing how to play (as is the case with some card games).
Another option is Bananagrams. It’s basically a compact version of Scrabble that is easier to transport. I have yet to get myself one of these, but it’s on my list.
- Homemade guacamole
A necessity? Not at all (also not a gadget). But guess who’s going to be the popular one when dinner comes around and everyone is heating up their freeze-dried finds. Popularity aside, guacamole tastes delicious in any situation, especially when enhanced by the smell of a campfire. I’m including this here because people often bring pre-packaged foods or snacks – which I also do – but it’s a total luxury to have some of your homemade favorites pre-made.
- A coffee filter
Just because you are waking up in a tent doesn’t mean you should forgo the morning coffee. I’ve been surprised to see a wide variety of pretty advanced coffee gadgets while on the trail – from French presses, to hand grinders and pour-overs. I personally want to elevate my coffee experience but for now, I have a reusable filter that clips onto any size cup and works similar to a pour over. It’s simple, lightweight and eco-friendly.
But the most important point here is, no matter your caffeine style, it’s possible.
Did I leave anything out? Let me know. I’m always looking for new things to bring along that will add some fun to an overnight trip. Just be sure you already have the necessities (need advice on gear? Ask below!) before worrying about all the extras.
Then sit back and relax, that’s why you’re here in the first place.
All photos belong to Averi and were taken from her blog, The Pedal Project.