The Must Have Camping Gear of Experienced Locals
Camping season is also learning season. Roughing it without much more than the essentials teaches us what we really need and helps us refine our packing process. With so many luxury camping items these days it’s easy to get caught up on the gadgets, the gizmos and the I’ll-never-use-that-but-it-looks-cool items. 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 drive to campsites and know a thing or two about playing Tetris when it comes packing your truck. Over the course of the summer and fall, we checked 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!
Technology: Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone
Okay, before you think it is over kill to suggest a satellite phone for my 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 hitch hike 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. 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.
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 some place 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!
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 litres 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!
Multi-Tool: Leatherman Skeletool
Most experienced Whistler campers will claim they don’t leave home with out a multi-tool. But which model is considered a must have camping gear item? Well, the polls are in – the Leatherman Skeletool is the favourite. 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.
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.
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 favourite 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.