Stephanie is a cherished member of the Sampling America writing team, dedicated to crafting captivating narratives that transport readers to thrilling adventures across the country and beyond.
Camping and backpacking are excellent activities to get out into nature, explore new places, and bond with friends and families.
Knowing what to bring along on your first camping trip and what to leave behind, is essential for a successful overnight trip. Read on to find out our top items that might weigh you down on your next outdoor adventure.
An Axe or Saw
While it might seem wise to bring along an axe or large saw on your camping trip to cut wood for your nighttime fire, they’re a heavy waste of space.
Cutting down fresh wood from a tree is too moist to use in a fire. Firewood usually needs a few months of drying after being cut to be ready for use in a fire. An axe is also a super heavy item. You’ll regret it after a few dozen miles with this serious metal tool in your backpack.
Instead, opt for a small utility knife or Swiss army knife that can be used to cut up kindling or create splinters to start your campfire.
Hiking through the wilderness is the last place for an iPad or a Nintendo Switch. These items are heavy and will weigh down your pack.
It’s also naive to think you’ll have time on your backpacking or overnight hiking trip to enjoy these gadgets.
When exploring the natural world, it’s best to leave the music and movies at home and connect with the world around you or your friends and family hiking alongside you. Noise pollution is also a nuisance for the wildlife in these areas. Loud music and noises can scare them off and cause unnecessary stress.
Perfume and Deodorant
While it’s preferred to feel and smell fresh, it’s important to remember that this won’t be your primary goal on a long hike.
Perfumes and aerosol sprays can be toxic and add unnecessary chemicals into the air. If you plan on swimming at the peak of your hike, it’s best to leave any scented creams or beautify products as they can unintentionally leach into the water.
It’s better to leave these products at home and plan on taking an extra long shower the minute after getting home.
Toys for Little Kids
It might seem scary to leave the colorful buckets, shovels, and dump truck toys at home that usually keep small children occupied, but national parks are actually great places for kids to find excitement.
Instead of fearing they’ll become bored on a hike, trust that kids love exploring with their hands. Plastic toys covered in bright primary colors can often be too stimulating for kids and might be why many people say that their kids become overwhelmed and bored with toys and activities quickly.
The old saying is true; boredom is essential for creativity. Consider allowing your kids to become bored on your hike and watch them create stories about wood nymphs and faeries before long.
Even while being careful, accidents can happen with fire starters or accelerants. Consider leaving matches, lighters, and even flammable items at home during hotter months and anywhere there is a fire ban.
Always check the fire rules and regulations for the parks and campsites you enter. If campfires are allowed, follow the rules and containment sites meticulously. And always leave behind any cigarettes or smokable items. Leaving behind a lit cigarette butt and potentially starting a forest fire isn’t worth it.
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