These handy camping items are small, but they sure can make life on the trail and in camp much more pleasant, efficient, and safe.
I try to make sure these basics are always in my camping gear.
- A multi tool, such as the Leatherman multi-tool. These tools include a knife and a pliers - two simple tools that can do many tasks your teeth and fingers can’t.
- Dental floss. I use this tough thread for sewing on buttons, and repairing tears in clothing, tents, backpacks, and other camping gear. I’ve even braided it to make a strong lanyard.
- Sewing needle. I bring a needle that is large enough to accommodate dental floss as a thread. Also handy for dealing with slivers.
- Electrical tape. I use this stretchy tape for temporary packing, such as to keep canoe paddles and other loose items tightly together on a portage. Duct tape is handy, too, but rolls are bulky and duct tape does not stretch.
- Bandanas. Carry a few of these in various colors. A bandana can become a washcloth, towel, neck warmer, hat, bicycle pant protector, bandage, sun blocker, insect protection, short rope – on and on.
- Trash bags. Besides being used to pack out garbage, these can turn into rain gear, laundry bags, waterproof pack protection, and rainwater and dew collectors.
- Butane lighter, matches, and match striker. I bring a striker because some matches, especially waterproof matches, do not always light well on other surfaces.
- Candles. These are great for starting fires, as a tiny stove, for sterilizing, and as a light.
- Parachute cord. Use this for tents, tarps, packs, belts, repair – tons of uses for this strong, lightweight rope.
- Moist towelettes. I scatter these hand and face cleaners throughout my pack and in more than one pants pocket.
- Compass. Even a small, cheap compass can keep you on course.