Wild camping is becoming more popular and many people are looking for a new adventure. But what equipment do you need for camping in the great outdoors?
In the following article you will find everything you should have with you on a wild camping trip.
Over the last few years I have gained a lot of experience in backcountry camping. I tested all kinds of equipment that you might need for camping in the backcountry. From my personal experiences I know exactly what you should have with you when wild camping.
Backpacks for camping
To carry all your gear as comfortably as possible you need a good backpack. There are a lot of backpacks that do the job of stowing your gear. But especially for camping it is important that the backpack has other great features that make your life easier.
Make sure that your backpack has a padded hip belt. This provides a higher wearing comfort and relieves the shoulders. For one to two nights in the mountains, I recommend a backpack between 45 and 55 liters. As soon as it comes to multi-day trekking tours, you should choose a backpack around 80 liters.
To attach your sleeping mat and tent to the backpack, the backpack should have loops and external pockets.
The sleeping bag ensures that you are nice and warm at night. Therefore, it is important to buy a high-quality sleeping bag that is ideally suited to the weather conditions of the adventure. Especially if you plan to go camping in winter, you should choose a sleeping bag with a limit temperature of at least -5 degrees Celsius. It can be life-saving to choose a high-quality sleeping bag. After all, the risk of hypothermia cannot be ignored.
The space in the backpack is limited. Therefore, make sure that your sleeping bag can be packed as small as possible. A low weight is also an advantage. The lighter your sleeping bag, the less weight you have to carry on your hike.
Tent for your backcountry camping trip
The tent is like a roof over your head in the mountains. It protects you from wind and weather. When it rains, a tent can give you a dry and protected shelter. That’s why I recommend a tent with a high water column. So that even several days in the rain are no problem.
Since I am usually on the road with a partner, I use a 2-person tent. If you want to go camping with four people, it is better to take two 2-person tents than one big 4-person tent. Because a 4-person tent weighs much more and is more complex to set up.
My best experience so far has been with the tents from MSR. I personally use the MSR Zoic 2-person tent at the moment. It’s lightweight, durable and perfect for spring, summer and fall. Winter camping is also possible with the MSR Zoic, but requires a good sleeping bag and mat.
Sleeping mats for camping in the mountains
Sleeping mats are essential for backcountry camping and are part of the basic equipment of any camping gear. In addition to providing a comfortable base, a sleeping mat serves as protection from cold and uneven ground. I personally use the SYNMAT UL sleeping mat from Exped. The sleeping mat is ultra-light, compact in packing and very comfortable. The SYNMAT UL does not have to be rolled up on the outside of the backpack, but can be easily stowed in the backpack to a packing volume of 1.7 liters.
Backcountry camping kitchen / Stove
To enjoy a delicious dinner in the mountains, I recommend you to get a camping stove. The best one is a gas stove. Depending on what you want to cook, a conventional gas stove or a Jetboil is suitable for you. If you only want to boil water, it’s worth getting a Jetboil. A Jetboil like the MSR Windburner, which I use myself, can boil a liter of water in 4.5 minutes.
However, if you prefer to cook a larger dinner on a pan, a regular gas stove with a pot or pan is recommended. My best experience has been with MSR gas stoves.
To eat my dinner in the mountains I prefer to use flat foldable plates or bowls, which are very space-saving in the backpack. I personally use Sea To Summit products, including cutlery.
Food and snacks on a backcountry camping trip
After a hard day in the mountains, I like to enjoy a warm nutrient-rich dinner. I usually take trail food from Trek’n’Eat, Real Turmat or similar companies. The advantage of trail food is that I don’t need anything else to cook besides the Jetboil and water. I can also eat directly from the bag. In addition, high-quality trail foods are extremely rich in nutrients and ensure that you eat high quality even in the mountains.
When hiking, I take a variety of snacks with me. Different snack bars, fruits & vegetables, nuts or a piece of Swiss cheese. For the morning meal I usually have some cheese with bread or porrige with honey. To wake up we also make coffee or a warm tea.
And the most important thing on the hike is enough water. Make sure you have more than enough water for your adventure. It happens that the hike is more intense than you thought it would be and once you reach the summit you have nothing left to drink. If you know you’ll pass fountains, streams or springs, you can refill your bottles with fresh mountain water. Otherwise bring an extra bottle of water with you.
Emergency and first aid kit
In the mountains, you never know what’s coming. A small slip can quickly lead to an injury. That’s why I, or someone in the group I’m camping with, always carries a first aid kit in the backpack. The kit includes band-aids, bandages, disinfectant wipes, scissors and a few other useful items. In addition, I always carry a Swiss Army knife. This contains a wood saw, a bottle opener, a can opener, two screwdrivers, a large blade and tweezers. All these tools I can use in certain situations. Just a practical Swiss Army knife.
More useful backcountry camping tipps
In more and more places wild camping is prohibited. In most cases this is because there is not enough respect for nature. Waste, feces and self-built fireplaces of wild campers make camping in the wild not welcomed by everyone. That’s why I urge you to treat nature with respect.
Take your trash back home, find a public toilet, and cook your food in a gas stove.
You also want to find a nice place in a clean condition. So leave it that way for the next one, too. 😁
Boil water if you’re cold.
At higher elevations it can get cold quickly during the night. A good trick to keep you warm and cozy in your sleeping bag is to take a bed bottle into your sleeping bag.
To do this, boil some water before going to bed and fill it into a bottle. (The bottle should not melt).
Now take the warm water bottle into the sleeping bag and put it all the way down to your feet.
The simple bed bottle will warm your sleeping bag from the inside throughout the night.