Me and the guys like to mix up the adventures we partake in by imposing silly rules or by setting up some sort of restriction for the weekend trip before we go. Last weekend was no exception. We had planned on a simple camping trip to the Adirondack mountains for the weekend. Everyone agreed to make the trip interesting that I was the only one allowed to pack anything for the weekend trip for everyone. If I forgot something then we would have to do without it. Oh yeah, the other restriction was that I could only bring one bag worth of gear. Whatever didn’t fit in to the one bag I was packing was not allowed to make the trip. Since I am the least experienced guy in the group, this restriction could have made for a very interesting camping weekend. Skip to the end of the weekend and I have to admit that everything went smoothly and I brought everything we needed for a decent weekend. Of course I sort of cheated in two ways. First, I used a very large army duffel bag to pack the gear and secondly, I made a checklist of all the items that we normally use in a camping trip and ordered it by importance so that I could pack from the top of the list down and when I ran out of room, the least important stuff is the stuff that didn’t make the trip.
I’m going to share my list with you and I will mention a few words about the importance of some of the items so that you can see why the list is ordered the way that it is.
Essential Camping Gear Checklist:
- 4 of my best survival knives (there were 4 of us going on the trip). Survival Knives are #1 on the list because of all the uses you can get out of a good survival knife which include building shelter. (After much research, I consider the Gerber Trident to be the best survival knife out there.)
- Paracord. Mostly for help with building shelter but paracord can also be used for many other things when camping or in a survival situation.
- 2 Collapsible water buckets. Because they’re portable (space was a huge consideration) and an excellent way to collect water should the need arise.
- 2 Heavy duty tarps. Used for building our shelter.
- 1 portable camping toilet. I know this can be considered a luxury because you can simply dig a ditch but I’m not quite that hardcore. I prefer to sit on a toilet seat whenever I possibly can.
- A 4-man tent. I prefer to sleep within the walls of a tent wherever possible but my camping buddies enjoy building shelters and “getting in touch” with nature, so the tent was a shot in the dark, in the hopes that they would agree to using a tent for that trip.
- 4 gallons of water. We have boiled water in the past to make it drinkable but this was supposed to be a fun camping trip, not a lesson in survival.
- A collapsible camping shovel/axe tool. I prefer to use the shovel/axe tool when I need to dig or hack through some branches as opposed to using my survival knife. I’ll save my knife blade for the less intense tasks.
- Portable fishing gear for 4 people. We planned on hitting the river for some fishing most of the weekend.
- Plenty of canned food and boxed camping meals. Just in case we didn’t fare so well with the fishing. I tend to get grumpy when I have to starve. As I mentioned before, the guys I go camping with are really in to self sufficiency but this trip wasn’t supposed to be a training exercise. It was for a fun weekend getaway so I didn’t think anyone would turn down a good camp stew if we didn’t have any fish to cook up.
There you have my essential list of gear to bring for a weekend camping trip. Everything worked out well and it was a great trip. We used the tent for sleeping and the tarps went up as extra protection against the rain. We caught plenty of fish that weekend and we mixed it in with our canned food to make some great meals. We did a lot of hiking and fishing. The guys razzed me a bit about the camping toilet but every one of them wound up using it so I don’t feel bad.