Nate comes from a woodsy, roughing-it kinda background. I, on the other hand, have always been more of the five-star resort sort of traveler. Since getting married and having kids we've merged our two traveling styles and now do a little bit of everything. When we do camp – and we camp a LOT! – I insist on comfortable camping. I need all the accoutrements to make my experience in the great outdoors as hassle-free and happy as possible. Here are my six must-have items whether we're tromping through the backwoods, climbing rocks offroad or holing up in a little cabin in the middle of nowhere.
What You Really Need for Comfortable Camping
An eye mask and ear plugs. Have you ever been stuck in a campsite next to a rowdy fraternity or found yourself in an idyllic setting that just happens to be next to a bizarrely-placed blinding light of insanity? I have. It sucks. Be prepared to ensure a more comfortable camping experience.
Klymit Cush inflatable seat pillow. This thing has saved my butt (quite literally) more times than I can count. You're bound to wind up plopping your buns down at some point on a lumpy log or hard rock, and some extra cushioning can really help. It can also fold up and serve as a makeshift pillow or even be stashed under your hips if you find that your bedding is a little lumpy. Best of all, it cinches down to the size of a soda can for easy storage and comfortable camping in a flash (trust me, Nate whines about this thing a whole lot less than the times I've tried to bring my body pillow along backpacking).
Advil. At some point during any given camping trip, you're bound to feel some pain. Trust me. There's a lot of stuff to haul around on your back, bizarre situations that may give you a raging headache of stress, and unfamiliar spots where you're bound to trip and fall. We always pack Advil to be prepared.
Extra towels. Roughing it gets dirty. Really, really dirty. Bring a ton of extra towels to make for a more comfortable camping experience. You're bound to need them to wash yourself, dishes, and rub the general dirt and grime off of all of your possessions (especially if you're using a truck or open-air trailer to transport everything).
MummyLiner. My biggest gripe with camping used to be that no matter where we went, it seemed like I was perpetually freezing. Someone suggested MummyLiners – a thin fabric bag, usually made of silk, that inserts into your sleeping bag to add up to 20 degrees in warmth – and I was SOLD. I cozy up in this thing anywhere and everywhere around the campsite for the most comfortable camping imaginable.
Extra water bottles. Carry one with you at all times or you WILL get dehydrated and cranky.
What are your must-have essentials for comfortable camping?