Camping 101: 10 Things You Must Have and How to Get by Without Them

September 23, 2020

I think that we can all agree that there are essentially ten things you need to have a successful camping trip for you and your family. These things, I would argue, are as follows:

1. A Tent

2. A Sleeping Bag

3. A Flashlight

4. A Skillet

5. A Boiling Pot

6. Cordage

7. A Ground Cloth

8. Water

9. Matches

10. A Knife

The problem is that at any given time, you are likely to find yourself without one or all of these items, especially if you are in a survival situation. The good news is that these items can all be accommodated for with items you can find right in the woods. Keep in mind that two hundred years ago, many people in America and elsewhere, (read some Jack London books), enjoyed going camping too. They, however, didn't have a local Wally-World and credit card to get their camping supplies together. Here are ten alternatives that you can find in the wilds:

A good tent alternative is a Debris Hut. This is basically a huge squirrel's nest consisting of a ridgepole and V-frame structure covered with leaves, grass, evergreen limbs, etc... (debris). A sleeping bag can be substituted by stuffing your clothing with debris such as dead grass, leaves, etc... anything that can create dead air space , if you need a flashlight and don't have one, consider making a torch from cattails and tree pitch. Did you forget your skillet? A flat rock works just as well, but be careful getting one out of water because moisture can get trapped and cause the surface to explode sharp shards off when heated up. Need to boil some water? Any container, made of wood, clay, grasses, bark, etc... that is watertight, can be brought to a boil with heated rocks placed into it with tongs made out of twigs.

Cordage can be made with inner bark from trees braided in strands of three and spliced as needed. A ground cloth can be formed from evergreen tree boughs. You can gather water easily one of two ways; either use a shirt or other piece of cloth to soak up early morning dew and wring it out into a container, or cut a grapevine close to the ground, early in the morning, and as the sun rises it will act as a barometer and water will flow out of it from the ground.

You can compensate for matches by learning either bow drill or hand drill, and knives can be easily fashioned by many different kinds of rocks found in creeks or outcroppings.

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