Required Items For The Civilized Camper

For some people, the entire point of going camping is to “rough it.” To live off the wild eating things like berries and mushrooms; to make a fire without matches or a lighter; to sleep outdoors without the comfort of a tent; some individuals consider such pursuits to be the height of fun. But such an approach to camping is not for everyone. Some people prefer to retain their creature comforts while getting back to nature, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Fortunately for them, there are quite a few devices available to make backpacking a camping a bit more civilized.

Cooking over an open fire is not easy. Show me someone who says he can do it, and I’ll show you someone who enjoys burned food. Fortunately for everyone’s palates, the propane stove and its relatives have come a long way since their initial invention. Today, manufacturers offer a range of compact backpacking stoves that usually use white gas or unleaded auto gas. These little devices are extremely lightweight, sometimes weighing as little as 3 oz. The MSR Pocket Rocket, the Coleman Exponent Feather, the Brunton Vapor and many other models are all available to the camper who is sick of capricious campfire cooking.

A few decades ago, campers and backpackers were limited to metal utensils that were heavy, bulky and awkward. Today, camping forks, knives and spoons are often made from nylon, which is lightweight but strong and resistant to melting. Other utensils are made from polycarbonate substances, which have the strength of steel but only one third of the weight. The wide range of offerings and styles ensure that no one has to eat with their hands unless they want to. Such convenient implements also make for better quality meals, since a spoon with an extendible handle is a much better cooking utensil than a stick.

Camping plates have come a long way too. Instead of thin, dented dishes made of tin, campers can now dine on platters made of a variety of materials, including nylon, silicone, polypropylenes and polycarbonates. These substances all have the advantage of being highly durable and relatively lightweight. As an added bonus, modern camping plates are often collapsible, taking up much less space and allowing campers to bring more. Those plates and bowls that do not collapse are usually designed to nest inside each other, another space saving tactic. The upshot is that, instead of having to share two plates among five people, campers can actually bring enough for everyone. What a civilized concept!

Finally, even camping food has gotten better. Does anyone else remember how disgusting the first energy bars were? They were barely edible. Today, there are dozens and dozens of food options for the trails, from energy gel, to varieties of granola, to all-natural powdered eggs that actually taste good! Natural High offers a good range of products, such as cinnamon apple crisp and hash browns, that only require the camper to add water. Mountain House offers dishes like blueberry cheesecake, and Backpacker’s Pantry even has options like huevos rancheros. We’ve come a long way, baby.

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