These 20 camping essentials make camping feel like...not camping

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That’s a lot of expensive gear. An alternative plan that feels like “not camping” involves a tent in the living room, open windows, and the TV playing nature videos like this:

A bit of pine-scented air freshener and a knapsack full of treats completes the scene - unless kitty wants to join in and the scene turns into this:


Know what else feels like not camping?


Where is the pith helmet?

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“I rolled up some bread and tea in a pair of blankets with some sugar and a tin cup and set off.”
– John Muir (he fails to mention his copy of Emerson)

Not always feasible today, for various reasons, but one can strive for a happy medium.


But what if I like how camping feels? Do you have something that will make my not camping feel like camping?


I wonder if bears enjoy snacking on humans in a blanket - with bread and tea filling and sprinkle* of sugar on top. :thinking:

*The only sprinkles would probably be the bread and tea coming back out of the humans, right before the bear eats 'em.

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Looks like a lot of shit that takes up a lot of space and could easily break, making “not camping” feel more like “rage aneurysm” when your collapsible silverware keeps collapsing and your solar stove dumps boiling pasta into your waterproof gaiters.


It’s been said that some denizens of the more fashionable parts of the galaxy like to visit some of Earth’s 5 star hotels for a brief reminder of what it’s like to live dangerously, close to one’s ancestors. They think of it like we might consider camping with just a knife, and maybe a flint and steel if the weather’s bad.

One might wonder what a human might think of a reciprocal visit to one of those more fashionable places… but wild animals are unfortunately not allowed in such places.


For $80 you could get enough isopropyl alcohol to have a real bonfire.

I’m pretty sure that burning isopropyl alcohol will infuse smores with various nasty chemicals. Ethyl burns much cleaner and safer. Don’t use methyl, either.

I noticed that the campfire percolator was missing.
Shhhh…nifty little secret to start your fire is that motel tenants constantly leave cigarette lighters (and phone chargers!) behind. Ask the front desk clerk while you’re on vacation or tomcatting.

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Right beside me, filled with winegar.


I have six or seven butane lighters, all picked up from parking lots or sidewalks. The amount of fuel left in them varies, but they all work. They just seem to be something that people lose.

But in 1972 Albert Saijo had a small book “The Backpacker”. He references Muir, and while it’s not about hiking as simply as Muir, the idea is to be simple, and not get wrapped up in the gear. It’s still a good book, forty years after I got my copy. I don’t think it’s become necessary to be more complicated today, just that there’s an awful lot of stuff available tgat companies want to sell you.

I have a little book from Bantam from about the same time, that maybe doesn’t strive for the same simplicity, but does spend time trying to convince the beginner to make do with what you have or can buy used (like surplus or rummage sales). Not the lightest stuff, but way chesper. At the very least, you can learn the value of the more expensive stuff through experience. And if you start with the basics, you may be better able to live with simplicity, while if you start with endless stuff you think you need, you may never streamline.


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