The coolest trips are often spur of the moment pack-the-car-and-pick-people-up-on-the-fly, but you’re going to need a few things to make a camping trip work. It’s not fun to try and make dinner with sticks or sleep in the rain because your tent won’t stand up. Keep in mind, you’re not going camping to hike a giant mountain and plant a flag. This list is the bare essentials you’ll need to replicate exactly what you do in the city, but with fresh air. Alcohol is not on the list because it’s a given. Drugs aren’t on it either because I just assume you’ll bring a big bag of your favorite flavor.
Get a tent that sleeps at LEAST two people. You want to be able to sleep in there with a girl. Ideally, a 3 or 4 person is best, that way if it’s you and a buddy you have room to starfish out. If you can get a buddy and two girls in there…. fun stuff happens. Always remember to attach the rainfly – you don’t want a storm to hit at 3am and have to deal with it in the dark. Plus it makes it more entertaining to hotbox. Check out some great tents here.
The most underappreciated item in anyone’s packing list for a camping trip has got to be shoes. Always bring two pairs: one cheap pair of flip-flops and one pair of actual hiking boots (even if you’re not planning on doing one second of real hiking). Stomping around in the woods and shooting guns at beer cans is hilarious, until you step in mud and destroy your sweet sneakers. The flip-flops are great for late night trips from the tent to pee, and if you’re near water its nice not to have to put on shoes right away. Also, hiking boots will give you better ankle support when you’re feeling a little spacey from that tent session. Check out some great hiking boots here.
It doesn’t really matter if your sleeping bag is the first one your parents got you from L.L. Bean when you were 6 or if it’s the finest North Face bag that money can buy. You just need to have one. Summertime camping is nice and warm at night, so unless you travelled into the Upper Peninsula or Northern Maine, you should be fine. Sleeping bags are funny as hell too. If you get this giant 8-person tent you can have some hilarious worm wars. Check out some affordable sleeping bags here.
Everyone fucks this one up. You get to the campsite, and there aren’t any logs around to drag up to your fire, so the next thing you know you’ve got your ass in the dirt. Don’t be an idiot and get a Crazy Creek either. Yes, they are convenient, but this is not summer camp. Get a nice folding chair with a cup holder for that brew. You’re not actually hiking anywhere remember? Check out some good camp chairs here.
If you sit down at your desk on Monday and you look like tired, hungover lobster, its not going to be a short day for you. Bring a nice pair of sunglasses, a big tube of sunscreen, and convince a girl to lather up your back. You’re going to get some nice color no matter what when you’re outside all day, so do your future self a favor a dodge the skin cancer bullet for a few years longer. Check out new 2012 sunglasses here.
You would be surprised how fast you can lose and/or destroy a few lighters. Everything from throwing it to your buddy and him missing it to jumping into the lake with a Bic in your pocket will spell trouble. Check out this super bad-ass lighter. It will work just as well for starting fires and sparking trees.
Have fun out there f*ckers!
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