Before the world tour we were both not avid campers. Infact, Dos hated camping while I did not mind it at all. Both of us however had not done much camping in our lives before the trip thanks God to cheap accommodation in Kenya. While in Kenya, most of our travel was within the country and there are numerous options of good and cheap rooms in all campsites in Kenya and where we did not find rooms, we found already set up tents. So when we left, we left with very little experience and of cause with varied love for this type of accommodation.
We have however, through the time, come to love it and we find great camping sites on our trip. We use iOverlander App for all our accommodation. There are tips we would like to share with you on camping essentials. Here goes our list.
Tent is an obvious requirement for camping in fact am sure you are wondering why would that top a list of camping essentials? Its camping! The reason why as obvious as it is, it tops our list is because we learned a few things that would be necessary to think about when shopping for your tent.
We are traveling on motorcycles and therefore we do not have much space for luggage. While a person overloading with a car can carry a bigger tent or pop up tent, we are not able to carry very big or a pop up tent for two as it would take quite some space and dimensions may not be safe for having it on the bike. Though we are two, we need a three man tent to accommodate our luggage because it is rarely that we can leave it outside the tent. Camp sites have lots of people, animals and the weather can also be very un-accommodative for leaving stuff outside.
Your mode and type of travel, number of people to use the tent, durability, available space to carry the tent, design, shape and dimensions when parked and when unpacked are things you should think about while shopping for a tent. Though one spends the least of time in a tent, ensure it is comfortable space to dress up and move around without breaking your back.
SLEEPING BAGS AND WARM CLOTHING
Sleeping bags come in various temperature ratings and it is important to know the temperatures ranges of the region you are traveling through in order to buy one that fits the weather. In addition, it is good to have a sleeping bag liner, warm clothes such as warm pajamas, socks and thermal vests/tops for extremely cold places.
A mallet or light hammer – All tents will come with pegs and rods to set it up. However, they do not come with the extra tools that you may need when setting it up. Some grounds can be soft enough to be able to push down the pegs with bear hands but other grounds and campsite set ups may require that you have a mallet or light weight hammer, more stronger pegs especially if you find extremely hard surface. Ensure you get these items in your tool kit ready for that one tough campsite ground. We have had to look for stones to hammer down those pegs and bent enough before we got our mallet.
Tarps – This is the tarpaulin sheet or cover that you place below or under your tent. It protects your tent bottom from heavy rain and rough grounds. It can also be used as a cover, shelter or shade. Depending on the weather, we sometimes use it under the tent and other times make a really good shade in front of the tent for resting. When we do street parking, it makes the best cover for our bikes.
Bungee Cords – Your bungee cords are not just for tying down your luggage on the motorcycle, after this, they make the best clotheslines and you can also use them to reinforce the tent and tarp especially if you are camping in a very windy area. You can also use them to hang things inside the tent, such as your lump.
Whistle – This is probably the least of the items you will ever have to use because unlike what you read out there, the world is a safe place. But what if you need to call for help not to save you from an attack but to help you get your stuck bike out of a river crossing or you are simply lost in the woods? Keep a whistle in your pocket especially if you are wild camping. For example, blow three short, firm sounds to signal you are in distress and need help. Familiarize yourself with other distress signals you need to know.
Remember when camping there is nothing provided to you beyond the shower and toilet and even these are not always guaranteed. Wild camping comes with absolutely nothing else apart from the grounds and good views.
a) Kitchen ware – You have to bring your own kitchen fully kitted with everything you need from cook ware, cutlery, cups, plates, spices, oil and even food to cook.
b) A lighter – Even if you don’t have a camping gas stove, you can always gather firewood and make a meal and you will need a lighter. We however, do not encourage use of firewood as we are keen on conservation of the environment. Pack a separate lighter for camping. Even if you are a smoker and have a lighter with you at all times, keep a separate one for camping. The best is a gas one is it can last long.
c) Flash light and a camping lantern – Most established campsites will come with lighting in your camping spot but none for inside your tent. If you love wild camping, then there is no electricity provided for you and you will need a flash light to walk around and a camping lantern to light up your tent and the sarrounding as you cook or enjoy watching the stars.
d) Survival Knife/Swiss Army knife– This survival knife is necessary during your entire travel not just camping. It will open cans, cut firewood, cut fruits and vegetables, tighten screws among a host of activities. It is recommended to invest in a good quality one in addition to a larger blade knife for more kitchen work.
e) Filtered water bottle – sometimes getting bottled or clean drinking water can be difficult when you are camping. Having a filtered water bottle helps you convert any available water to safe drinking water or at least you can not get dehydrated because of lack of clean drinking water. It is also difficult to carry bottled water especially if your means of travel are limiting.
OTHER IMPORTANT NEEDS
First Aid Kit: – Shit happens anywhere and so a first aid kit is not only required for camping. We have a first aid kit even at our homes. The essential of a first aid kit include; bandages of various sizes, antihistamines or any anti-allergies, insect repellants, pain killers, tweezers, scissors, antiseptic cream, gauze, hydrocortisone cream, antibiotic ointment, emergency blanket and eye drops. You can customize your kit based on your health needs. Make sure you have what is your most important.
Tent repair kit: Depending on how long you are on the road and are going to be camping, this is important to carry with you. Not really necessary for a one time but if your life involves a lot of camping, then you need to invest in this. Otherwise, keep a duct tape with you at all times. It is a savior.
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