For distraught lovers of the great outdoors, after the pandemic struck the world and shook up the very foundation of the concept of travel last year, a lot of possible avenues emerged. With social distancing becoming the prerequisite to everything, greater a amount of faith in road trips began to be placed, and rural tourism, travelling in bio-bubbles and camping became buzzwords.
Read: Travel Trends for 2021
Tourism authorities also announced schemes for caravan travel—and camping picked up as people sought out ways to experience a change of scene or even go on a workation in isolation. As more travellers continue to appreciate the value of the #slowlife and independent ways of discovering nature, we decided to incentivise camping even further with a special camping edit—cool gear picks that you may forget as you scramble as you arrange the essential ones for a tryst with the great outdoors. Here we go:
We know, you're scoffing, but the importance of foldable chairs simply cannot be stressed enough. Whether it's gathering round bonfires, sipping on some birdcall-time coffee or savouring sunsets, you should at least carry two of these in the boot. Trust us, once folded, they can be quietly tucked into a unused nook and are easily available at online stores, Amazon and—brick-and-mortar one-stop sports stores where you can get a pair that is exactly to your liking.
Come now, did you think your sleeping bag will be enough to retain crucial body heat? Unless you're planning to have a horrid time failing to fall asleep through all the shivering, sleeping pads are a must in lower temperatures. They also help prevent backaches or other discomfort that you may get from sleeping with no support on hard or uneven ground. They also make for great daytime mats (just like in the picture above). Buy one along with the chairs.
Mini espresso maker
Let's face it—camping can be challenging and a thoroughly knackering experience for even the pro-est of the pros. If you know where we're going with this, great. If not, just imagine having a little handheld buddy to depend on when you're short on sleep and are moving camps or driving to the campsite. Manual espresso makers are the size of a small bottle, and can fit easily into a small hiking backpack. Go for a no-frills variant (preferably with a bullet-style shape); mini espresso makers are easily available on the internet. However, order in advance and make sure you get used to them before popping it into the rucksack.
Firepit and firestarter
The humble old firepit remains both the centerpiece and the cornerstone of the outdoors lounge space, and if you are to remember your camping trips fondly, don't discount the importance of one. A basic wood fire pit is both easy to find and to carry, and something that allows you to have a raw experience. These days, one also gets really small firestarter flints—they are available online for dirt cheap and work like a charm to get a fire going.
It goes without saying: exercise caution and take care of the surroundings.
If you pick the right one, though, you'll probably need just one knife to get you through with most kinds of jobs as you camp. From uncapping a beverage bottle cap, pitching your tent, helping with preparing food and cooking to cutting rope, whittling twigs and branches to fashion rudimentary tools, and eating itself, it's important to pick the right camping knife.
However, as far as possible, don't imagine you'll be using the knife for self-defence of any kind. It is important to be a responsible camper and respect your surroundings and their other inhabitants.
A good book
Reading is a massively underrated and under-recommended activity for when you are camping. It helps with both taking your mind off the rigours of the experience every once in a while and helping you stay excited and geared for challenges and about the exclusivity of the experience. If you're camping right, there aren't going to be a lot of screens around you, so might as well carry a couple of your faves—we recommend something true to the experience like Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust or Under The Sun: The Letters of Bruce Chatwin. The more adventurous could even think about Jon Krakauer and Jim Corbett!
How are you going to read with the highest leisure if you don't have a hammock? While that's partly a joke, hammocks do make a very useful addition to your trunk. Some campers can hammock-camp, but even if that's not your scene, they are fun and add a dimension to the quality of your daytime naps. They're great to catch some sun in colder climes and if there's a lake nearby, you've probably won a lottery.
Portable jet spray
These cost very little and can prove to be a blessing for those who are terrified of using the wide variety of material available in nature to clean oneself after defecation. Wipes/toilet paper are unsustainable are harmful to nature, so why not order a portable jet spray? It takes very little space and can be rolled away into a small pouch.
Even if you're not carrying a headlamp (in that case, keep a pocket torch), camping lamps and lanterns are extremely important. You could get a battery-operated variant that can be carried even in rain, or a solar-chargeable one.
No, by a pocket blanket, we do not mean that comforter you carry everywhere. Pocket blankets are highly useful mats that take negligible space (they're as big as a card holder when folded), are pretty sturdy and irresistible to cuts, water repellant, and keep you warm as you settle on the ground to enjoy a view or rest for a bit. Available on ecommerce sites.