The Must Have Camping Gear of Experienced Locals
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The Must Have Camping Gear of Experienced Locals

Camping season is here! Aside from the essentials and a 6 pack of Apres Lager, we’ve rounded up Whistler locals must have camping gear of the 2018 season. There are so many “extras” when it comes to camping gear that it gets pretty tricky to know what’s worth bringing and when. The best way not to get overwhelmed when selecting only the must-have camping gear to purchase or pack? Ask the pros. In our neck of the woods, the pros are the avid local campers, some of who disappear into the woods for weeks at a time and really understand the value of light gear that is tough as nails, while others prefer to drive to campsites and know a thing or two about playing Tetris when it comes packing your truck. We spent some time checking in with experienced Whistler campers to see what must have camping gear they were currently loving the most.

Cook: MSR PocketRocket

The MSR PocketRocket is collapsible, extremely reliable and very affordable. Want to get the best use of space? Put the PocketRocket, MSR Fuel Canister, utensils and biodegradable dish soap all inside of your cooking pot, because it will fit! Some of the larger stoves offer a bit more protection from the elements when cooking, but for a fast boil, lightweight and tiny space commitment, it is a very easy trade-off to lose the bulk. Windy? Build a little cooking shelter around your stove with rocks, cook behind a log or dig into the snow for protection – problem solved and it didn’t take up space in your pack!

The MSR PocketRocket camping cooker.

Toasty warm. Because nothing says camping like a hot drink on a cool morning. Image: Abby Cooper

Technology: Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone

Okay, before you think it is overkill to suggest a satellite phone for your must-have camping gear, think again. What if your phone dies and you have car troubles while out car camping? Well, now you don’t have to hitchhike or walk 20km+ to alert a friend. Did your phone just go out of service and you have friends in need of directions to meet you at the campsite? Just give them a shout. Not to mention in case of a big emergency this thing could save your life. The Iridium Extreme is a logistical dream; in an emergency, when plans change or if you just want to check in on a big trip. Once you have this piece of gear, you won’t understand how you felt comfortable without it. It has SOS functions, text and call features with coverage like you can’t even imagine.

The Iridium Extreme satellite phone in use in the mountains.

From local campsites to remote locations, always be in contact with the Iridium. Image: Abby Cooper

Sleep: Therm-a-Rest Slacker Hammock

While there are many times when a tent is part of your must-have camping gear, there are also a few cases when it’s not necessary at all, and that’s when locals love the Therm-a-Rest Slacker Hammock. Bring this if you’re staying someplace with lots of sturdy trees, and the weather is going to be beautiful – and always bring a tarp for your hammock just in case! Its weight is minimal and is less invasive than a tent in your pack. Why does this version make our must-have camping gear list? It’s light, and the soft polyester fabric is stretchy and cozy unlike any other!

Lounging in a Therm-a-Rest sleeper hammock by the lake.

Lakeside lounging. The Therm-a-Rest slacker hammock lets you kick back and take in the views. Image: Abby Cooper

Hydrate: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

It’s literally a lifesaver. The LifeStraw a cool piece of gear no doubt, but its function is most impressive. This small, lightweight straw is capable of turning 1000 liters of contaminated water into drinking water. It’s an absolute no-brainer. If you can’t boil water or get fresh stuff, carry this guy, and you’ll always be able to hydrate!

Drinking from a river is easier with a LifeStraw.

Quench your thirst. Drinking from any water source will be a whole lot easier with a LifeStraw. Image: Abby Cooper

Multi-Tool: Leatherman Skeletool

Most experienced Whistler campers will claim they don’t leave home without a multi-tool. But which model is considered a must-have camping gear item? Well, the polls are in – the Leatherman Skeletool is the favorite. It has needle nose pliers, regular pliers, hard wire cutters, wire cutters, knife, carabiner/bottle opener and a large bit driver with multiple heads. It will crack a beer, fix a tent peg, cut your dinner and fix just about any mishaps with ease. To accompany this little treasure, most would strongly encourage you to keep duck tape, a bit of wire and a few zip ties to solve just about any gear malfunction you may encounter. Don’t forget an antibacterial wipe for when you switch from first aid to dinner tool.

The Leatherman Skeletool cutting cheese at a campsite.

Cheese anyone? The Skeletool can be a lifesaver, or make your camping trip that little more luxurious. Image: Abby Cooper

Luxury: ENO Twilights

The not so necessary, favorite camping gear we love? Twinkle lights! They’re not just a fad; they are actually useful. The ENO Twilights take up less space than a lantern or candles and can be changed with an extra AA battery. They are awesome for lighting the table for cards, leaving in the tent to avoid headlamps in the eyes, lighting a hut kitchen for cooking, or serving as a landmark when left in the tent at night. This luxury item just makes sense, and that’s why we love it and have included it in our must-have camping gear guide.

Setting up twinkle lights in the forest.

Twinkle, twinkle. The ENO Twilights are pretty and practical. Image: Abby Cooper

Whether you’re going near or far, by plane, train, boat, feet, horse, helicopter or plain old automobile, we’re pretty sure this list of must-have camping gear should come along for the journey. We feel pretty strongly that these items will only improve your camping comfort and efficiency. Have a favorite piece of gear that you want to tell us about? Share it with us on Instagram by tagging @GibbonsWhistler and hashtagging #ThisIsWhistler.

Want More than the Must Have Camping Gear?

Planning your next big adventure and craving more Whistler intel? Check out our Whistler local secrets for locations to get you away from the crowds. Or, if yoga or biking is on the camping agenda, check out these locations for an unforgettable outdoor yoga experience, and our essential mountain biking gear list. We’ve posted plenty to help you create your own Whistler adventures.

Abby Cooper

A lover of all things outdoors, Abby Cooper is a splitboarder, hiker, adventurer, year round snow seeker, photographer and writer. She's living life one adventure to the next with her dog by her side.