Every summer we go camping and over the years we have found some great products that we cannot camp without. There are also some homemade accessories to make camping easier. From cooking to setup and accessories that are nice to have, here is our list of our must haves for camping. We have even included our favourite campfire snack at the end.
Cast Iron Skillet– This is a must for campfire cooking. Cast iron will stand up to the fire and makes food taste so much better. It is perfect for bacon and eggs or searing a steak. This is one item we can’t go camping without.
Butane Stove– yes, cooking over an open fire is amazing, but there are some things that we use a stove for. A butane stove heats up quickly and is easy to use.
Pour Over Coffee Maker– I can’t live without my coffee in the morning. And I can’t take my Keurig camping so this is the next best thing for coffee. It is easy to use and to clean. And the bamboo filters are chlorine free, gluten free and 100% compostable.
Pie Iron– this is perfect for the kids to make grilled cheese sandwiches over the camp fire. They can also be used to make quesadillas, cinnamon buns, and many other items, just search pie iron recipes on Pinterest and you can find so many ways to use this tool.
Tent Kit– this is a must when tent camping. Having a rubber mallet for the tent stakes makes it so much easier to put up a tent. This kit also has a broom and dustpan for sweeping up any sand that accumulates inside your tent. And the extra stakes and stake puller come in handy, too.
Twelve in One Scissors– These are one of my favourite tools for camping. These eliminate so many other tools. This handy tool is scissors, of course, but also a bottle opener, can opener, screwdriver, wire cutter and stripper, nut cracker, jar opener, wrench, knife, fish scaler and magnet. I not only use these for camping, I have a second pair that are kept near the BBQ for use.
Battery Operated Fans– These are a must for air circulation in our tent. We have two that we set up inside our tent to circulate the air on both sides of the tent.
Camping Shower– This is a great product that we use as more than a shower. We use it to rinse off dishes, flip flops and to wash our hands.
Mosquito Coil Holders– These are our go to for inside our screen house. They hang nicely inside and keep the mosquitoes away from the zipper openings, meaning we can go in and out without mosquitoes flying in when we open the screen. These are also great around a patio, pool or BBQ.
Items That Are Nice To Have
Portable Charger– You may think that going camping means unplugging, but let’s face it, cell phones have become almost a necessity, so keeping it charged is a must for some. Cell phones can be our flashlight, camera and in case of an emergency, you want to keep a charge. This charger can charge my Samsung twice with enough juice leftover for almost another 50% charge. And with two outlets, we can charge both our cells at the same time.
A Toilet– You don’t need a portable potty which can cost over $100, but I like to have a place to go on site, especially at night. I made a simple toilet out of a Home Depot bucket and a pool noodle. A quick search on Pinterest for DIY Camp Toilet will give you more ideas but this is the simplest one. If you prefer to purchase one, my in laws have one that is less than $100 and works well.
We went camping a few years ago and it rained the entire week. In one night, over 100 mm of rain fell on us. Our campsite was soaked and we had a stream running through it. Good thing we had a deck of cards to pass the time.
Since then we started bringing a few other card and dice games in case of rain. Also we like to relax at night with a few games before bed.
Skip Bo– This is a game I played as a kid and now I have introduced it to my kids. It is a card game that travels well and is fun to play.
Uno– another popular game with our kids and easy to pack.
Cribbage– My mom taught me to play Cribbage when I was about ten. Now my kids enjoy playing this game.
My Must Have for Camping
There is one thing I have to bring with me to enjoy camping. It’s my e reader. I am an early riser even when camping. Mike enjoys sleeping in. And the kids, who are now teenagers, have decided that they no longer want to go camping.
So when I wake up, I like to make a coffee and relax by reading. An e reader makes it easy to bring along multiple books without the extra bulkiness of actual books. I usually borrow a few books from my local library so I have a selection of different reading material.
My tablet also makes the journey to the campsite. This is where I download multiple magazines to read as well. And in case of rain, at least we can enjoy a movie on Netflix or Prime, which I download before leaving.
Of course, roasting marshmallows is a must for any campfire, but our favourite food when camping is queso made over the open fire. We have two recipes for queso that we have tested over an open fire and both are a must have when we go camping.
Both of these queso recipes are perfect with tortilla chips, corn chips or for topping chili dogs.