Monday, September 01, 2008

Top 10 camping supplies

We're just wrapping up our first summer as regular campers. In years past, we might have camped once a year or so, but this summer, we've gone many times, thanks to our new gently used popup camper and having kids in Scouts. This past weekend, we camped at Algonac State Park, and it was just okay. It's a little more crowded than I would prefer, and it doesn't have a lot of trees. Between the two campgrounds - Riverfront and Wagon Wheel, I think I would prefer Riverfront, because we got to see many freighters making their way up or down the St. Clair River. The Wagon Wheel campground has more trees, but less things to see. Both are a little too dense with people for my taste.

During this camping trip, I was reviewing all of my camping supplies and thinking about the stuff that I have always packed in the camper that are really "must haves". Here is what I came up with:

1. Wide width heavy duty aluminum foil. Foil can be used in a million ways for camp cookery. You can make individual foil packs of meat and potatoes to cook in the hot coals. I never cook in a dutch oven without first lining it with foil. Foil is a camping necessity. Never buy regular weight foil for either home or camp, it will just get holes in it easily. Always get wide width, which can be made smaller if you need it.

2. An electric kettle. One thing about camping is it always requires hot water, and lots of it. Even if you are tent camping, it is nice to have an electric kettle if you are camping in a spot that has power. Besides for doing dishes, hot water can be used with a French press style coffee pot to make coffee first thing in the morning, which is a must for me.

3. Books. Camping is the perfect time to get some reading done, especially about Michigan when I am camping in Michigan. This summer, I finally read "Anatomy of Murder" by Robert Traver while camping in the U.P. I am sure Voelker would have been proud!

4. Crocs. There are no better shoes for camping than Crocs. They are so comfortable to walk around camp in. You can leave them outside the tent, and if it rains, it doesn't matter, they can be dried with a towel. Canoeing? Crocs float. I have found that the cheap Crocs knockoffs aren't as durabile as the real thing.

5. Rain poncho. If it rains, you won't care if you packed a rain poncho. Put one in your camp box for each member of the family.

6. Mancala. We keep a Mancala set in our camper. It's our favorite camping game.

7. Dutch oven. Indispensable for camp cookery, I have two of them now. We love them both - make sure to get the Lodge brand. They are worth it - their sides and bottom have a uniform cast iron thickness.

8. Charcoal chimney. You'll never need to use lighter fluid again. I own a couple, my favorite is the Weber one that is a little more sturdier than the bargain brands.

9. Jiffy mix. You can make a gazillion camping meals with Jiffy Mix and some water.

10. Butane lighter. Too many nights with soggy matches convinced me that a trigger lighter is required for camping.

I'm looking forward to some fall camping...


Jen said...

It's fun to read this list. Good choices, all!

TennZen said...

I am with you 100% on your list, especially on the rain ponchos and butane lighter. Learned those lessons the hard way!

My "must-have" for the camping supply box is baby wipes. There's nothing worse than going to a park to camp and finding out that the showers are out of order.

Edward Vielmetti said...

Good pick for reading materials.

There's a scene in the movie version of Anatomy of a Murder where Jimmy Stewart is sitting in front of the lower harbor coal unloading machines eating a boiled egg - I wonder if that was a pickled egg?

Eric Jordan said...

Good Choice on the cast iron dutch oven, and I agree with the Lodge brand. A little history for your readers on Lodge Manufacturing. Lodge is the only american manufacturer of cast iron and has been doing so since 1896. take a peek at our site
(Follow the Squidoo Link) and we'll show you a video of how they are made. Plus cooking with cast iron is good for your health, you actually pick up iron for your blood stream, this is beneficial as stated by Dr. Oz.

Bex said...

Great list! We need our kettle for morning tea. We also include baby wipes and a first aid kit on our "essential" list.