Technically Geeking: Camping Gear Jul08

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Technically Geeking: Camping Gear

a blogumn by Justin Time

Photo Credit: Francesa Tronchin
Photo Credit: Francesa Tronchin

Camping is supposed to be cheap fun, right? Just you and a couple friends, communing with nature – roughing it. All you need is a tent, a fire, a sleeping bag, and a clearing. Right? Turns out, if you are a gear head like me, this is just the very beginning of a long list. We’re going on a four night camping trip in the Sequoias, and what you see listed below is only some of what is going in our kit.

It starts when you go on your first big backpacking adventure, and you want to be sure you’re prepared. You buy the coolest, lightest, most waterproof stuff you can afford, and then you get out in the mountains and discover you are carrying 50 lbs of crap that weighs 80 lbs when it rains. So next time, you buy even lighter stuff, that packs even smaller, and costs even more. And then you discover what a pain it is to pack some of that stuff back up to its unnatural diminutive size.

A little while later, you settle down some, and you do mostly car camping, which is way easier and comfortable — especially for drinking. So then you need a different set of items, like a big cooler and folding chairs. And then you watch a lot of medical dramas on TV and become acutely aware of your own mortality, so now you need a fat first aid kit. And then you get a puppy, and you need another set of gear for the dog. And don’t forget about the bears or marmots.

So, here is a list of items we are bringing, for both education and entertainment purposes. Feel free to have a snicker at my expense, but please let me know if I am missing anything – you could save a life. We are now major shareholders at REI, and I am beginning to think that hotels are cheaper than camping. But only half the fun!


  • Tent, tarp, footprint, stakes
  • Sleeping bags, pillows and blankets
  • Bed rolls or thermarest
  • Folding chairs
  • Flashlights, headlamp, lanterns (LED whenever possible)
  • Batteries
  • Camera
  • Crank radio & battery powered ipod dock
  • Clothes pins & line
  • Pocket knife and/or multi-tool
  • Work gloves
  • Rope
  • Folding shovel
  • Hammer (for stakes)
  • Compass and maps
  • Trail Maps on my iPhone iPhone’s Google maps will disappoint in the wild. They get their data from the internet, which is pleasantly absent in the woods.

Cooking & Fire

  • Stove (I recommend the MSR DragonFly)
  • White gas
  • Matches, flint, tinder
  • Skewers for grilling meat and veggies
  • Cooler
  • Pots and pans
  • Sporks and cooking utensils
  • Can opener
  • Coffee maker, or Java Juice (NEW)
  • Wash bin, dish soap & sponge
  • Towels for drying yourself and dishes. we’re testing these odd things.
  • Grill scraper
  • Aluminum foil & zip-lock bags

First Aid & Safety

  • Bear Cannister
  • Bear Bell
  • Rubbing alcohol, Iodine or peroxide
  • Snake bite kit
  • Syringe for flushing wounds
  • Saline
  • Topical benzocane
  • Activated charcoal
  • Pain reliever
  • Benedryl
  • Bandages, tape, gauze
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Tweezers (sharp head for gauging stuff out)
  • Instant hot and cold packs
  • Emergency electrolytes
  • Scissors
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunblock