With a huge love for the outdoors, hiking and camping, I enjoy mixing all three and getting out to backcountry campgrounds. Being able to spend time in more secluded places away from the hustle and bustle that you get at many pull-up campsites in the summer months has it perks, but it also has its drawbacks. Since I have to hike kms and kms to get to many of these amazing locations, I have to bring all my gear with me on my back, which means packing lightweight items and prioritizing what I should and shouldn’t be carrying with me. Also, backcountry camping can be very costly, as for a more enjoyable experience one would need to purchase higher quality, lightweight gear, which may do a little damage to the wallet.
Since I spend a lot of time in backcountry campgrounds, when I base camp I LOVE being able to bring anything with me and not having to limit myself. Some of the main items I like to bring with me are:
- A bigger tent - When I have the opportunity to bring a bigger one with me, I grab hold. Being able to move around inside your tent, standing up and having space to store things makes sleeping so much more comfortable, especially when camping with a number of people. The 8-person Coleman Prairie Trail Cabin Tent has a room divider that also adds a privacy wall to make two rooms if necessary.
- An airbed, like the Coleman Support Rest Elite PillowStop Double High Airbed makes it feel like I took my bed from home and plopped it inside the tent. I’m used to sleeping on a thinner thermarest in the backcountry, so this is a big luxury.
- My camping stove - Coleman Hyperflame Fire Sargaent 2-Burner Grill Stove and grill is so easy to use and portable. It’s lightweight and stores nicely in the back of my vehicle. It can act as a full size grill, grill/stove, or two burner stove. It’s perfect when cooking for a number of people! I also bring with me a number of other cooking supplies, including pots, pans, utensils, etc.
- A water heater like Coleman’s H20asis Hot Water on Demand Portable Water Heater is AMAZING to have with me when I am base camping. Being able to take a hot shower/rinse off after a long day in the woods or out doing activities… well, there’s nothing quite like it, and it beats taking a cold lake dip in the cooler evenings. It’s also handy when washing any dishes.
- A number of pillows and blankets along with my sleeping bag - I always bring with me my Coleman Granite Peak Sleeping Bag. It’s a staple base camping item, though I also throw in a few other blankets and pillows for extra comfort/luxury.
- A cooler full of fresh food, my coffee press, a variety of drinks and snacks, etc. (can’t forget the wine and Baileys). The Coleman 62 QT Wheeled Xtreme Cooler is perfect when packing for a number of people - it’s also easy to wheel out to any picnic/lounging area or around the fire at camp. It can also act as an extra seat as well. When base camping, I like to pack a lot of fresh food (fruit and vegetables) and other items that I don’t bring with me when I am in the backcountry.
- You can’t forget the lawn chair! The Coleman XL Broadband Quad Chair is always in my vehicle and ready to go. It’s another staple item when I am on the go and need a comfy place to curl up at the end of a long day.
- For extra lighting, I like the Coleman Divide and Twist Lantern, as it’s nice to have in the evening when sitting around the picnic table or inside the tent, instead of simply using a headlamp.
When I bring all of these items with me, it’s as if I am setting up a home away from home. During the last camping trip Timber and I went on, we hiked and explored around the Banff area (as pictured below), and after a long day it was so nice to come back to a campsite with all our little comfort items awaiting us. A good night’s rest is key, especially if you plan to go back out again the next day, which we did!
Besides the camping gear, I like bringing different things to do, like lawn games, Frisbee, a water floaty if there’s a lake in the area we are headed to, roasting sticks, firewood, my kayak, bike or paddle board, etc. I always take full advantage of the space I have in my vehicle and overhead storage bin. I always say: “If I have the space, then why not bring it along, even if I don’t end up using all of it?”
I have always been a ‘go with the flow’ person, and when I head out camping I don’t always have a plan, so I like to be prepared for whichever situation comes my way. Having summers off allows me plenty of time to adventure, camp, hike, and take part in numerous other outdoor activities, so over packing tends to be a thing in my world. A two-day camping trip could easily turn into a one week trip in my world depending on weather conditions, not to mention who I am with or end up running into along the way. This is just one of the reasons I like to pack for a variety of activities and bringing along many of my ‘comfort’ items.
Next time you plan to head out on an adventure, whether it be to the mountains or wherever else you enjoy spending time outdoors, give camping a try. With the right equipment, you may end up feeling right at home!