I’m not going to cover loads of kit in this section, certainly campers have a massive array of equipment to play with, but if you’re just camping you’ll have more time and space to carry and play with kit (for the most part). The aim of this guide was to keep a streamlined, simple setup so you shouldn’t have too much kit to worry about on top of your combat kit.
Having said that, there were a few things that didn’t fit into the other categories that I thought were worth adding in.
First thing that goes into any bag, whether I’m camping, hiking, airsofting or doing anything outdoors, is actually a microfibre towel. There’s nothing that makes you feel better than being able to dry yourself after getting caught in a storm, or wiping irritating sweat off in the summer months. A towel is a comfort thing but always useful. The microfibre ones are great because they pack up incredibly small, but more importantly, dry out quickly too. They don’t need to cost a lot, the link above is just under £7. I’d always get a bigger one rather than a hand towel so that if you use one corner, there’s still three other dry corners for other things. Useful for drying cups and pans after use too.
On the washing up front, I found some very small 100ml containers in the travel section at my local supermarket. I have two, one for washing up liquid, and one for cooking oil. Both go in seperate plastic food bags inside the cook kit, in case of leakages. It’s also worth carrying a small hand soap too.
Quintessential to any outdoorsman, or woman, is a good bushcraft knife. Realistically, because of the way my camp kit is set up, I’m not going to be carrying a large machete or jungle knife, it just needs to be something for little tasks like cutting paracord or tape, or chopping food up if needed. The best recommendation I have for a multipurpose knife is the Mora Companion. Swedish made, great quality stainless steel and very cheap. Stainless steel is more durable, and rust resistant, whereas the carbon steel knives need care if they get wet. Stainless steel is easier to sharpen and more hygienic if you’re using it for food prep too. The plastic sheath has a clip on the back which is handy to clip to a belt when you’re using it. There’s really not a lot wrong with a Mora Companion despite the price, except perhaps looks. There are plenty of “military” type bushcraft knives available out there but unless you get an original, or are paying a lot, most tend to be pretty crap. Don’t be tempted to carry knives or axes on the outside of your pack (in the UK at least); showing off blades will likely get you into serious trouble. keep them hidden away until you’re at camp and need to use one. It’s worth getting a good sharpener to look after your knife too.
Also in my kit, I have two dry bags. A very small red one (2 litres), and a slightly bigger orange one (5 litres).
- Red bag – first aid kit – plasters, bandages, paracetamol, burns cream (because pyro), wound healing gel, diahorrea tablets in case cooking goes wrong, water purification tablets, pack of tissues. Basic, but covers most things.
- Orange bag – utilities – phone charger and wire, power bank, penknife, torch, spare torch, batteries for torch (you’d be surprised how life saving a torch is while camping), paracord, spare food bags.
These are the only two dry bags I carry. Resist the temptation to pack your kit full of them, It’s a lot better space, weight and cost wise to put a black bin bag in your bag, or use carrier bags for side pouches. The reason I have these two, and in bright colours, is that they’re easy to find when I need something, and they keep things together. When I go to sleep, they’re next to my head.
On that note, an inflatable pillow is a godsend for sleeping, much better than realising you forgot one and trying to sleep on a jacket. Don’t go for any self inflating, or foam pillows. An inflatable one is cheaper and packs down very very small. I carry a shemagh everywhere I travel because it has a lot of uses, and for camping, just to use as a pillow cover which makes it much warmer at night. It doubles a spare towel, cleaning cloth, sit mat and whatever else you need it for. I can also look much cooler in the safe zone afterwards.
Last thing on the list, is a good torch. I have a small one that I picked up at the local supermarket, LED metal type, which came with a neck cord so in theory I can’t lose it. The other one I carry is a molle clip style torch, like this one. Which I can clip onto my bag so it stays in place while I’m doing stuff, or on my person if I need hands free. The one linked has a red filter, which is ideal if you don’t want to illuminate yourself too much and give your position away.
For other small bits and pieces, check out my EDC/utility pouch article. It’s not strictly EDC in an apocalyptic sense, but a handy utility pouch packed with all the basic survival essentials.