Camping & Backpacking Essentials: Don’t Forget These Must-Haves

Andy McVey

As an alternative to traditional vacations and tourist destinations, backpacking has increased in popularity in recent years. This is especially true for millennials, who are increasingly visiting under-the-radar vacation spots in mass numbers and ditching popular beach and hotel resorts for unconventional activities, such as a two-week long backpacking trip. In fact, The World Youth Student and Education (WYSE) Travel Confederation found this to be a universal trend among young people.

But it’s not just millennials; travel is being redefined, and it’s crucial that new and experienced backpackers hoping to take part in this trend learn the essential products needed to have a safe and eventful excursion.

Backpacking requires packing to be as minimal as possible, which can be overwhelming as it requires serious thought when deciding what’s worth packing and what’s not.

To ensure that you have a successful trip, Ranger Ready has created a list of absolute must-have products which should not be forgotten.

Rain Covers

The most liberating part of backpacking is that it allows you to be one with nature. However, mother nature can be unpredictable, and it’s important to be prepared for whatever unexpected weather you run into. The most common obstacle will likely be rain, but

having a rain cover handy will help assure that your belongings stay dry, especially those that aren’t waterproof. Purchasing a small cover for electronics, like a cell phone or compass, will help provide additional protection. Don’t worry about these adding extra clutter - even the thickest covers can be folded small enough to fight the tightest of backpacks. 

Water Filtration

Remaining hydrated during long hikes is key. However, not all water is trust-worthy, and it’s always best to be prepared to avoid falling ill. A straw filtration system is a great option as they can remove up to 99.9999% of bacteria and absorb bacteria, allowing you to drink directly from a stream of water. 

Multi-Purpose Toiletries

Forcing yourself to compromise on toiletries can seem daunting, but the reality is that they’re bulky, heavy, and take up a lot of backpack space. Try using concentrated multi-purpose toiletries that can do everything from serve as shampoo, hand soap, dish wash, and even laundry detergent.

Bug Spray

Bug spray is a must-have if you plan to be out in the wilderness for long periods of time. With tick and mosquito-borne diseases hitting an all-time high, it’s better to be safe than sorry. However, more and more studies are revealing some of the downsides to DEET, the main ingredient found in most insect and tick repellents. DEET-based repellents often have an unappealing smell and are corrosive, so they could harm your adventure gear.

This is clearly not ideal when out in the woods with expensive gear; and for this reason Picaridin 20%, the active ingredient in Ranger Ready, is the best DEET alternative. It is the safest and most effective repellent that provides 12 hours of protection from mosquitos and ticks, and 8 hours of protection from gnats, flies, fleas, chiggers, noseeums, and other pesky insects.

You’ll never have to worry about a greasy bug spray feeling again, as Ranger Ready is non-sticky, non-greasy, and best of all, not stinky like the DEET repellents that you’re used to. All Ranger Ready products are safe for pregnant women and children age-1 and up. 

Lightweight Camp Shoes

Most people prioritize camp shoes and typically invest in a pair of sturdy hiking boots that offer all around protection and comfort. It’s equally as important to pack a pair of lightweight shoes, like sandals or water shoes. These come in handy when winding down for the night and want to throw on something comfortable.

Also, give your camp boots a break to air out during evenings. Giving your boots time to air out not only gives your feet a chance to breath, but it also prevents blisters from forming.

Compass

Getting lost in the woods is no laughing matter, and you should take all of the precautionary steps to prevent this from ever happening, starting with learning how to properly use a compass. At least one person in the group should have experience and/or feel comfortable navigating using a compass. Although smart phones come equipped with a compass, please do not rely on this as your only form of navigation.

You never know what could happen on the trails; and it’s best to come prepared with several backups in case you won’t have opportunities to charge your phones. Compasses are small and lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about them taking up much room in your backpack.

First Aid Kit

Getting injured while out on the trail is serious; it’s imperative to be as prepared as possible in order to have a safe and memorable experience. A first aid kit for camping and backpacking is a must. We recommend including the following in your kit:

  • Sunscreen and after-sun repair cream
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Calamine lotion
  • Bandages in various sizes
  • Gauze wraps
  • A splint
  • Insect & tick repellent
  • Ibuprofen
  • Prescription medicine
  • Tweezers

Wherever your adventures take you, explore safely and don’t slack on the essentials.

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