Camping essentials you’d never think to pack

Danielle Fox

In addition to a first aid kit we also suggest you bring a car emergency kit in case you break down or pop a tire while en route.

Camping essentials you'd never think to pack

For camping fans, it doesn't feel like summer until you've managed to slip away for at least one camping trip. Viewing the stars on a glorious night, reconnecting with loved ones and the beauty of nature -- what could be more perfect? But packing for the perfect camping trip isn't so simple. How rough do you want to rough it? What will you do if you forget something at home when you're miles deep in the mountains?

Here are some problems the typical camper encounters and some camping essentials that perhaps you haven't packed before. Once you learn about them, we predict you won't want to camp without them.

Problem: flagging energy

You're tired after hiking all day. You've been sipping from your water bottle, but you're still thirsty and sleepy, and a cup of instant coffee is the opposite of what you want.

A few packets of Emergen-C will help you perk up and rehydrate. This fizzy mix isn't just for fighting colds; it contains electrolytes and antioxidants that, as a hiker, will take your water further. They can even help with a hangover.

You can also take a tip from marathon runners and bring a couple packs of Honey Stinger energy chews with you on your trip. These high-carb treats help you stave off both hunger and fatigue, supplying you with your vitamin C for the day as well as natural caffeine to power you through the trail.

All of these food items come wrapped in sealed packaging that won't attract bears or raccoons to your campsite. Remember, however, that all other food items should be kept in airtight containers.

Problem: dirt and grime

You're a camper, so you consider dirt to be just part of the fun. But you have to draw a line somewhere, and a travel pack of Burt's Bees unscented baby wipes goes a long way in the woods. They're more durable than paper towers, and you can use them to wipe down camping equipment, clean your hands before you eat, and even wipe off your cooking utensils. They also come in handy for removing the day's sunscreen and sweat and cleaning up any wounds or scratches you may sustain.

Problem: unforeseen emergencies

What about emergency supplies? While you already know you need a knife and a first-aid kit, there are some other vital items you might not have on your checklist.

It's a good idea to have an emergency survival blanket on hand to keep you warm if needed. You can also use it to cover a hole in the top of your tent, and if you need to attract the attention of others, the brightly colored blanket could serve you very well.

It's also a good idea to invest in a safety whistle, which you can use to signal others if you get separated. The piercing noise is handy for scaring off wild animals, too.

In addition to these items, a headlamp can be your best friend in the woods. When it's too difficult to hold a flashlight -- say you're fixing your tent or patching up a wound -- the hands-free convenience of a headlamp will quicken your tasks and light your way.

Problem: swarming mosquitoes

You're well aware of the wrath of hungry mosquitoes, particularly if you've ever camped near a lake or stream. Indeed, the waterfront is a delight during the day ... but a mosquito pit at night.

Instead of covering absolutely everything you own with chemical bug repellent, try dabbing citronella essential oil on pillows, sleeping bags, under clothing, and anywhere else you want protection. The natural oil repels bugs without the strong chemical off-load of DEET. That said, you will probably still want to use some DEET elsewhere to keep bugs away. Consider spraying it on your outer clothing, your tent, and your hat if you wear one.

With these safety and comfort items in tow, you'll be set for a memorable camping excursion with no fatigue headaches, bug bites, or emergencies you can't summit. You're pack won't be much heavier, but your trip will be that much better.

Danielle Fox is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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