When I started dating my husband, I quickly realized that going camping with him was not a question of IF but of WHEN and HOW OFTEN. In fact, about 4 months after we met, I found myself on a week-long backpack trip in the middle of a desert canyon in Utah, stuck in a snow storm without a tent and hiding out in an ancient Anasazi ruin. This whole camping and backpacking thing was new to me: though I grew up in Colorado, my family never went camping. I’d tried a few trips with friends in my 20s, but sleeping outside was never something I sought after on my own account.
Contrast my background with that of my husband, who not only grew up camping, but also opted into a program in college where he lived outside – for an entire semester. He followed that up by working as a rafting guide on the Colorado River and as a mountain guide in Durango, Colorado, and Peru. So you can see how my fate was sealed.
For the most part, I’ve been incredibly grateful and thrilled that I lucked into marrying a guy who makes these experiences happen. With my husband, you’re roughing it, but you’re never uncomfortable. He’s spent so much time outdoors with a backpack that he knows just what to do to keep you relaxed and content. In fact, I’m certain he is one of the original “glampers”. “Glamping”, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, means “glamorous camping”. In our case, “glamour” is achieved because the experience feels so luxurious and delightful that you almost forget you haven’t showered in at least 3 days and a fluffy, warm bed is nowhere to be found.
A piece of this luxury exists in its simplicity. You have everything you need but out of necessity you can’t bring anything superfluous. Early in our relationship, my husband taught me about a few of the items you want to have handy at all times on your outdoor adventures. I began to assemble my Camping Kit, and added a few incidentals to the mix to inspire a little girly delight when I’m far away from creature comforts.
The green Granite Gear stuff sack is actually my wardrobe for a week. My Camping Kit is in the little orange and white pouch in the upper right corner.
I always keep my Kit together in its bag, and it’s the first thing I grab when we pack for an outdoor trip. Here are the Camping Kit Essentials:
1: Everyone Hand Sanitizer Gel ($3) The chemical smell of traditional hand sanitizers grosses me out, but when you’re without water, hand sani is a necessity. I really like this one.
2: Bic Lighter ($8 for 6) It’s true you may have to light a campfire, but if you’re forced to use toilet paper in the woods, you also need a convenient way to burn it (safely!) to ashes so you don’t leave a trace.
3: Kleenex Pocket Pack ($2 for pack of 8) I bring a few of these packs along. You go through them surprisingly quickly!
4: Black Diamond Headlamp ($35) As twilight approaches I put my headlamp on around my neck, like a necklace, so I always know where it is once the sun goes down. Bring extra batteries for your headlamp, too.
5: Aveda Lip Saver ($8.50) I have used this chapstick exclusively for at least 10 years now. None better!
6: L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream ($12 for travel size) This is my favorite hand cream to keep my hands in good condition in the dry Colorado climate. It smells delicious and has a sumptuous texture that feels extra special when you’re roughing it.
7: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 in Sugar Rosé ($22.50) I know, I know. I already have chapstick and a tinted lip balm is hardly a “necessity”. But when I slick on this treatment the setting goes from frumpy campsite to polished date night. This blog is mountain chic, after all, so there must be some attention paid to appearances.
8: Compact Magnifying Mirror ($6) You may not always like what you see after a week without shampoo, but at least you’ll know.
9: Tweezerman Mini Slant Tweezer ($14) Splinters, stingers and other tiny annoyances abound in the outdoors. A pair of good tweezers helps.
10: Camping Knife ($35) I definitely looked at my husband askance when he handed me a knife before our first trip. But I use it all the time – quick food prep, tape, string – you name it.
11: Cosmetic Bag ($14) I’ve been using a toiletry bag I received for free when I purchased Clinique eye cream like 10 years ago. But when I was writing this post I found this bag on Glamping Essentials (yes, such a site exists), and now I must order.
And now – get outside!