My Camp Kit

This section is a list of my favorite camping gear that I use on my adventures. Some items I have don't full reviews on and I will link to those reviews throughout this list.

Cooking

I currently carry two stoves in my car at all times.

My primary stove that I use is a Sterno brand butane stove. I purchased it from Sportsman's Warehouse last year and so far I have had no complaints with it. It's performed decently in windy situations, and doesn't seem to loose too much heat in those conditions. I believe the stove may be discontinued at this point, but if I can find a link to it I'll provide it HERE (ebay). I have a full video review on this stove that I will embed below this section.

My backup stove is a cheap folding camp stove. It's a small butane powered backpacking stove, I've used it on several backpacking and hiking trips. I like keeping it on hand in case I need a second cook surface or want to throw it in my daypack when I go for a hike. It has a self igniting piezo lighter, mine still works great years later. It will struggle a bit in windy conditions, so some kind of wind screen is advantageous when using in a breeze. I paid just $5 for it many years ago but it has since gone up a bit in price and received the brand name Etekcity. You can find it on amazon for around $15 now.

For cookware I mainly use a small green non-stick pan that i got at good will, and a nice spatula. No need to get any more complicated than that. I also have a small Tokes titanium pot for boiling water that is pretty affordable as far as titanium goes on Amazon.

For a while I was using a custom table top that I made out of a cutting board and a post welded to my car. But I found it not quite as sturdy as I would have liked, and with the dog hopping in and out of the car, the risk of my stove toppling over was too dangerous. I've since switched to this simple folding laptop tray that I found on Amazon for around $25. It's much more stable and as a bonus it fits perfectly in my storage area under my spare tire lid in the Subaru.

Sleeping

I don't carry a tent with me at the moment because I like the simplicity of just climbing into the back of the car. However I have been eyeing some quick set up tents that would allow me some more wiggle room should bad weather keep me holed up in the car for extended periods.

I've tried several sleeping pad situations, and always come back to using this trusty thick Therm-a-Rest Dreamtime self inflating pad, with a foam insert and fleece liner. I usually have to give it a bit of help inflating by blowing in it, but once its full it's very comfortable. I just have to fight the dog from kicking me off in the middle of the night. It's not super cheap at around $185 on Amazon, but there's a saying that goes something like: "Spend good money on your boots and your bed. 'Cause if you're not in one, you're in the other." I don't see why this shouldn't go for camping as well. Especially if you are doing this long term.

I carry two sleeping bags most of the time. One huge one and one lighter down bag.

The big bag I carry is a Coleman Peak -30 degree flannel lined bag. The exterior is thick duck canvas that is very tough. This is a beast of a bag, and honestly a little unwieldy in a car, but I've never been a hint of cold under this bag. If it's too hot to use this bag I simply roll it out under my sleeping pad for even more comfort. This thing is like a mattress all by itself. I'm not sure if it's still made as it was a hand-me-down from my late grandfather, but if I find it or a newer model I'll link to it. (It appears that Coleman no longer offers a similar bag, but there are two that seem similar rating and construction that I found on Amazon, this one from Brownell @ $185 and this more affordable one from ALPS Outdoorz @ $110.)

The lighter bag I carry is a 20 degree down bag from REI. It's an REI brand that I picked up at the REI garage sale as a used rental bag for around $35 I believe. If you are an REI member, the garage sales are a great place to find awesome deals on very high quality gear.

It may be worth mentioning that I don't actually zip myself into these bags. I keep them all the way unzipped and lay under them like a blanket so that I can keep the dog under the covers with me so she doesn't get cold. Teamwork.

Lighting & Power

My lighting setup is very simple, just one item.

I use the awesome little inflatable solar powered Luci Lantern (amazon) for my nighttime light. I keep it hanging in my back window at all times to charge and it hasn't failed me over the last 4 years or so of owning it. You can read / watch a full review of it here.

For auxiliary power to charge my phone and laptop and camera batteries I run a dual battery system. My auxiliary battery charges off of the awesome CtekD250sa (amazon link to the updated model) via my vehicles alternator. You can read more details about this setup here.

Cleaning / Bathing

Again, not a terribly complicated setup. I keep the standard supply of baby wipes and disinfectant wipes handy. A good brush is essential for wiping out dust and sand that gets tracked into the car. For car smells (dog smells really), I use this awesome deodorizer called K.O.E. Kennel Odor Eliminator (amazon) that is safe to use around dogs. I worked at a dog daycare for a period of time and this was the stuff we used. It smells clean and fresh, it sort of reminds me of Woolite. It's concentrated, so mixing up a bit in a spray bottle will last a very long time.

For bathing I have two options besides a baby wipe scrub. I have a cheap 12v water pump with a spray nozzle that I can use for a shower. It's listed on Amazon as a portable pressure washer, but it's not that powerful so it doesn't hurt to spray yourself off with. The other option I have doesn't use quite as much water, and that is simply a sort of sponge bath operation. I have a collapsible bucket, and some no-rinse body wash that you mix in with some water a wipe yourself down with a rag. This is the kind of stuff that is typically used in hospitals and nursing homes, and even though it's "unscented" it can have a bit of a clinical or "baby powder" kind of smell. But it's better than a week old stinky armpit.

For the dog, her grooming is fairly simple. She has a short coat that doesn't shed too bad. But she can get a little funky some times. I keep a few things in the car with me for her. Most of these things can be found in normal pet stores or on Amazon like almost everything. These Earthbath grooming wipes do a good job at freshening up her fur between full baths they are around $13 on Amazon. I use the Mango Tango scent. Since she is a weimaraner her floppy ears tend to dirty up bit quicker than anything else. I make sure to regularly keep her ears wiped clean with the Earthbath ear wipes. I also keep some medicated ear ointment on hand in case she starts to get an infection.

Tools

These tools are also listed in my Fulltime Travelers Tool Kit list, but they get just as much use as camp tools.

Cutting Tools, an axe and a good knife (or two, or three) and a decent saw of some kind.

The axe I use and absolutely love is the Husqvarna 26" Multipurpose axe. This is not a cheap axe, but it is far from the most expensive either. Forged in Sweden by Hultafors, it comes out of the box wicked sharp and ready to go. At around $90 on Amazon, you are getting a much more expensive Swedish axe with a little less refined finishing for a big discount. Heads up, this is not the axe you lend to a buddy that will bury it into the dirt. You buy it and you will treasure it and keep abusive inexperienced hands away from it.

For my money, there is no better camp utility knife than a good old MoraKniv Companion. Another Swedish legend, but this time its only $20. They come razor sharp out of the box, especially the carbon steel version. I own both the carbon steel and stainless. Both are great but you need to take care of the carbon steel blade by frequent drying and oiling with regular use otherwise it will rust and tarnish.

Saws. As far as these go I don't carry a particularly large saw, I'll typically only use it to cut shorter pieces of firewood. The one I keep in my camping gear is the Felco F600 (amazon) folding saw. It's light and although small, it has a fantastic blade that eats through limbs and branches. I've had it for years, and its held up fantastically well.

I'll add more items to this list if I find anything I forgot about or discover new gear that I enjoy.

Stay safe and go adventure!

-Donnie

#Tools