The essential packing list for (wild) camping

The essential packing list for (wild) camping

A new world is emerging. It is no longer the norm to cross borders and enjoy any place anywhere. Fortunately, nature is always to be found close by. Filling a backpack or a few panniers with the right equipment has become a habit for me. I live in a city and regularly look for a beautiful place in remote nature to have a good night under the stars. I value the connection between the things that I take with me and the reason for going outside. I try to keep it as simple as possible.

Adventure has a dual meaning for me. One is to be able to challenge myself, training my body and putting it to the test in challenging and sometimes extreme weather conditions, the doing. Another one is to create circumstances where I’ll be able to relax more, to experience silence, the being.

The doing part is moving. By challenging my body with walking or cycling, I learn a lot about my body. When pain arises or negative emotions come, I try not to move away from it, but to move through it in a conscious way. By surrendering to these sensations while walking or cycling, it gives a very strong and satisfied feeling after a long day of exercise. When I’m really exhausted in the evening, that feeling always comes in the morning.

The being part with camping. Experience silence in nature. When I‘m surrounded by nature for a while I start to feel its presence. I try to recognize the silence in myself. By looking at the sky, the stars, a tree or a forest. Listening to the sounds of deers, birds and insects. In this silence often comes the very strong realization that, like everything in nature, I’m part of an infinite universe. That realization, this feeling, is liberating for me.

In my backyard is a nice refurbished racing bike and I have a closet that always contains a number of essential things. I share this in a list that is meant to be useful to go outside quickly and without forgetting anything. Here and there I have added links to articles to provide you with additional information when necessary.

Essential packing list

Tent or bivouac. Depending on the weather conditions and the length of a trip. A night under the stars in good weather can be very nice to spend in a bivouac. In the cold and rain I prefer to use a tent, especially if I’m out there for several days.

Sleeping bag. I use a sleeping bag with down and with a comfort temperature of around zero degrees. If the temperatures fluctuate a lot, for example in the mountains, I bring a sleeping bag liner.

Sleeping mat. A four-inch thick three-season inflatable sleeping mat. In extremely cold conditions I also use a thin foam mat with aluminum foil under this sleeping mat to reflect my body heat and don’t let it go into the ground.

Pillow. An air inflatable pillow. Another option is to put clothes in the cover of a little bag used for a sleeping bag or sleeping mat. You can use that as a pillow.

Merino base layer. A base layer with a long-sleeved shirt and leggings. I use this base layer in the evening or when it is very cold while sleeping.

Liner gloves. For walking or cycling when it freezes softly and nice to use when setting up a tent in colder conditions up to -10 degrees Celsius.

Telephone and/or camera. To take pictures and read e-books in the evening. Depending on the length of the trip, I will take one or two power banks with me. I have learned to be aware of digital devices while camping. Excessive photography, listening to music, etc. takes my attention from the now, which in turn makes me experience the wow moment of the beauty in life and nature less often.

Diary. Along with a book to read and a pen to write with. The best thing besides taking in nature is to write down thoughts that arise and to read them back home at other times or to process them in an article on this website.

Bankcard and cash. A bankcard to do groceries and cash for when I cross the river with a ferry and cannot use my bankcard.

Rain gear. A raincoat and pants. When it is very wet, I also bring a few extra hiking or cycling clothes. In my opinion, it is always difficult to keep clothes dry when it rains for hours. Extra dry clothing is my salvation. Even the most expensive jackets will not hold back pouring rain for hours.

Down jacket. In the evening it can cool down quite a bit, especially in the autumn and winter months. One way to deal with this is to immediately dive into a sleeping bag. A down jacket is great for cooking outside the tent or reading a book when it is colder.

Burner. A camping gas burner is the easiest. For longer trips I use a benzine or alcohol burner. Do not forget to bring matches or a lighter.

Cookware set. To cook. If it is a single evening under the stars, a pre-prepared meal (salad) may also suffice. But, to be honest, nothing is better for me than cooking extensively and deliciously somewhere in a forest.

Percolator. Although I consciously try to drink as little coffee as possible, a fresh cup of coffee in the morning is a pleasure. In the evening I usually drink herbal tea, which makes me sleep well.

First aid. Some plasters, disinfectant and emergency bandages for you never know. Something to remove a tick in the summer. Mosquitoes are good to keep at a distance with a campfire.

Toothbrush, toothpaste and (hygiene) wipes. For personal hygiene. I value the use of toothpaste that dissolves naturally. The same goes for toilet paper and/or wet wipes, I always take these with me after I have used them.

Mug, pocket knife, spork, etc. In addition to a pocket knife and a spork, it is nice to bring a wooden or plastic plate with which you can cut vegetables.

Head torch. Always nice to be able to cook on winter evenings. Or when I’m cycling late into the night I often use a head torch.

Things that are of quality often also cost a bit more money. That is why I mainly try to buy stuff second-hand through, for example, a thrift store or on Ebay. If you have any questions about the preparation of a (few) night(s) camping, please send me a message, maybe I can help you out.