Summer Camping Essentials

June 22, 2011    |    By +
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Last weekend I had the pleasure of taking a camping trip in upstate New York to stay in a friends remote cabin. The scenery was beautiful, the stars were bright and the mosquitoes were aplenty.  Full disclosure: I’m not exactly what you would call an “outdoorsy” person.

This mantra perfectly sums up my general attitude to the great outdoors. As a city dweller, my camping experience has been limited to a few Girl Scout Field Trips and pitching a tent in the backyard. But despite my newbie status, I ended up loving the experience and learning a lot in the process. I’ve already made up a wishlist of things I want to bring on my next trip. As for shopping for fellow outdoor enthusiasts – think practical but not expensive.

Chances are if someone is into camping and outdoor sports, they already have the big ticket items like tents and sleeping bags. So I’ve included a list of items I thought any camper would love – some more useful essentials and of course some fun items as well.

After all, you’re not doing it right, if it’s all work and no play!

Herschel Supply Co. ‘Little America’ BackpackA sturdy bag is essential for any camping trip but that doesn’t mean it can’t look good at the same time.

S’more MakerNo camp outing is complete without s’mores. Make this campfire dessert more efficiently with this clamping utensil that holds up to 3 s’mores at a time.

I Will Never Take This Camping Water BottleShow all those naysayers who’s boss and stay hydrated at the same time with this humorous travel bottle.

L.L.Bean Coleman Value Pack Stove/Lantern/CoolerGet all your essentials in one shot with this great value pack. Since most of us don’t “catch” our dinner, this propane stove is great for easy cooking and the cooler can store any perishable items and drinks. Plus the lantern will certainly come in handy for those late-night “bathroom” trips in the woods.

EMS Camp Lounger – A camping must – this versatile lounger folds up for easy portability and features cup holders for camp-side sipping. It also has a reclining setting for optimal star gazing.

Zippo Outdoor Line Emergency Fire StarterThere’s nothing worse than being stuck with damp wood and a few matches. Zippos Fire Starter comes with its own flint and waterproof-tinder sticks so you can start a fire where ever you are without the use of toxic gas or oil.

Advanced Elements Summer ShowerThis is by far my favorite camping discovery! It’s perfect for those who still like to feel fresh even after a camping trip. All you have to do is place the bag in the sun for the solar energy to heat up the water. Then attach the bag to a high branch and push the button to allow sprays of hot water to come out. Voila! Instant shower. It comes in various sizes depending how many people are in your camping party.

Solar Powered System for iPod and iPhoneThe next best thing to an acoustic guitar around the campfire, this solar-powered player streams music from any iPod or iPhone without the use of cords or batteries. 

To see more of my camping pack-list, check out all my favorites HERE, including deet-free bug spray (don’t leave home without it!) and other summer camping essentials.


Photo Courtesy of: SightSeeing Review

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Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.