When you leave the house for work during the day you grab a handful of things on the way out the door, your essentials for everyday. Without even thinking twice about it you have your keys, phone, wallet, sunglasses and away you go. Well that’s how we feel about a handful of objects in our full-time Rving lifestyle, it has become second nature to pick up these items and be ready for anything. Camping should be full of star-gazing & campfire lounging not scurrying around trying to reinvent the wheel of camping. We’d like to share with you a “his & hers” list of what these choices are and why, in hopes to take some of the thinking out of your next RVing experience. Everyone knows men and women think about things differently, and approach certain obstacles from various angles. We feel that offering both the male and female perspective often gives better balance to any situation, especially when it comes to living and playing outdoors.
HER PERSPECTIVE, Written by Jes
I guess I give a lot away about myself having this as my numero uno, but I don’t think I’m alone on this front. Coffee first, everything else second, right?! As an avid coffee consumer when I took to the road, finding the right device to make the perfect cup was key. The Aeropress fit every desire I had. Not only does it make the most delish cup o’ Joe imaginable, do to its inverted slow press technique, it’s super small and packs into its own tidy bag complete with filters. As I am the only caffeine addict in the family the size is just right for my needs by offering up a 16oz cup at a time. It’s incredible easy to clean and makes a second cup for your companion as well, so don’t let that persuade you to the old standard cowboy coffee method on your camp trip. I promise just a couple of minutes of patience and you will be pleased with tasty, hot comfort in your favorite camping mug. Find out more or buy this handy-dandy creation here.
Ever since I was first introduced to a headlamp, way back when they weighed five pounds and looked like you should be coal mining, I have adored them. For the past 2 1/2 decades I have carried one, if not two, everywhere with me. Seriously, Everywhere! I mean why wouldn’t you want this amazing invention tucked into your backpack, glovebox, next to the front door or purse at all times? Sure flash lights are great, but to be able to use both hands and have light, now that’s luxury if I ever could define it. My current trusty headlamp fav is manufactured by Black Diamond, but I would be thrilled to use just about any brand out there. Here’s a link for a closer look.
I feel that this essential camping item has a part B to it, Batteries (AAA or whatever your headlamp requires). I always carry backup batteries with me, and I don’t hesitate to change them out at the first signs of dimness. Depending on how long your trip is, it’s always great to just throw a fresh set of batteries in your headlamp before setting out to ensure optimum lumination.
How many times are you at the super market check-out and say, “Oh, man I forgot the bags in the truck”? For me, it’s absolutely every time. Thankfully, I wised up several years ago with an impulse buy, one (actually several) of those cute little re-usable bags that tuck into themselves. There seems to be a zillion brands out there now and they are usually located near the cash registers for the absent-minded shopper like me. I have a few of these stashed into pretty much the same places you would find my headlamp. I also keep one in the pantry or food box for an easy solution to containing the days snacks before hitting the road or heading to the beach.
Right now we really like the Chico Bag that we use, Here’s a link.
As you may have pickup on from the above essential item, I am all about the “going-green” movement and generating less waste on this planet. So you maybe surprised that I suggest this item, but hear me out. This one has really been life changing for camping and living on the road. Let’s just get it out there once and for all, I am a clean FREAK and living outside is dirty. But I have found ways to get past all of this. One of the little things that helps, is in fact those nifty little wipes doused in whatever substance to make cleaning anything from your hands to your floor easier. I’m not partial to anyone brand, I tend to lean towards the more natural options that are slathered in essential oils. They are less abrasive on the skin and smell amazing. There are also a slew of “clean-up” type wipes out there with Clorox or Lysol for the really down and dirty needs. There is also no need to fill up your trash with the used ones, instead use them to help light your campfire once they have dried out.
The South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone weren’t joking with their character, Towelie’s famous quote “Don’t forget to bring a towel…”. My husband, Jason and I always have a small sized quick-dry towel in our quiver of camping essentials. If you are a water lover like us then swimming will always be an option. Whether we plan for a short hike along a creek or taking the day to search for new swimming holes we strap this simple piece of fabric to our packs. Major bonus is it will dry long before you even return to camp. You can find several brands and sizes of quick-dry towels in the camping section of most outdoor stores. We really like this one.
HIS PERSPECTIVE, Written by Jason
Howdy folks! Jason here and ready to talk about the 5 essential items I won’t travel without. I am a big believer in traveling light, but there are a few essentials that I have with me that get used every day or that hardly ever get used. Except for the one day when you need them… and then you really need them…
Not to start off with a stereotypical male answer, but I find my tool kit is on the top of my essentials list. For full-time travel I keep a small 113 piece mechanics tool kit handy. Its nothing fancy, just a low cost kit I picked up at Wal-Mart, but it gets the job done. I feel like I am always fixing some piece of gear, or tightening up a loose screw. This type of kit is small, fits easily behind the seat, and has most of what you need . That said, it might be overkill for the shorter trip, or for a quick side of the road repair. That’s why I also keep a Leatherman in the center console at all times. It’s quick and easy to get to, and has everything you need for a shorter trip.
1st Aid Kit
When we are off playing in the woods we like to have fun. For us that means getting dirty mountain biking, surfing, backpacking, hiking, climbing, snowboarding or whatever other kind of activity we can devise to spend time being inspired in beautiful places. As much as we enjoy playing in the woods, sometimes things don’t always go as planned, and it’s always good to be prepared with a basic first aid kit. As a former EMT I might carry a bit more that most, but if you plan on playing outside in remote places it’s a good idea to bring a small first aid kit along, just in case.
Who does not what to end their day of playing in the woods sitting around a crackling campfire, sipping wine, roasting smore’s, and planning the next day’s adventures. But if you want to enjoy the warm glow of a fire in the evening you need to be able to light it. Most campgrounds don’t allow you to gather fire wood in order to prevent environmental damage, and when you buy a bundle of wood at the store it will generally be large pieces of split cord wood. Great for a nice long campfire, but hard to light on its own. That’s why its a good idea to bring along something to start it with. My favorite is the brand Fat Wood . It is 100% natural, no added anything, just wood from the truck of a tree that has so much resin in it that it lights easily and burns for a long time. You can get a box at most supermarkets or hardware stores, and just a few pieces will do the trick. It may also go without saying, but don’t forget the lighter!
I once heard it said that a good pocket knife is one of the handiest tool’s a person can carry, and I agree. I carry a small folding single blade knife in my right pocket at all times, and I can’t even begin to describe the multitude of things I use it for. At this time the point is chipped off, and it’s beginning to fall apart. When it does I will replace it right away, because this item is that essential to me. Here’s a link to good option.
Jes and I used to be the proud owners of a whitewater raft. We loved to spend our weekends out on the river floating through a deep red rock canyon. If you have done any rafting then you know that everything in the boat is held down with cam straps, so we always had a bag of the blue NRS cam straps in the back of our truck. We have found so many uses for them over the years that we now always keep a few straps in different sizes around all the time. We use them for anything from strapping our surf boards to the roof, to securing things in the back of the truck while driving, to keeping the camper door held open on a windy day. These straps are a low coast, simple, and effective way to keep just about anything secure while you are driving down the highway and also a great thing to have for just about a million uses in camp.
There you have it folks, essential items this Guy & Gal love. So now you have 10 less things to think about and more time to focus on the important stuff, like toasting that perfect marshmallow under the Milkyway in your new found campsite. If you have any must have essentials you want to share with us please do so in the comments.
Written by Jes & Jason Striker
Jes & Jason Striker left their previous careers, community, and home behind in 2014. To embark on an endless journey that includes countless single-track trails, mountaintops, ski-lines, and waves around the globe. They are currently on the road full-time in a 17’ Casita travel trailer and Toyota Tacoma throughout greater North America. Otherwise you might find this sweet rig available to rent on Outdoorsy.co. To find out more about their daily adventures visit allpointsinbetween.com