Everyone always discusses what you need to pack on a camping trip, but when’s the last time you heard someone tell you what not to bring? Knowing what to leave at home can add just as much success to your trip as knowing what to bring with you. Below, you’ll find the three things I think shouldn’t grace your pack.
1) Portable electronic devices. Ipods, laptops, video games, cell phones — whatever. In my mind, the idea of camping is to get away from the complexities of life, and that includes technology. Nature has a plethora of sights, smells, and sounds that you won’t get to experience with earbuds crammed into your head or your eyes glued to an LCD screen. Instead, enjoy the Great Outdoors and the company of the people around you.
Note: The only obvious exception I can think to make is taking your cell phone to use in case of emergency, but only for an emergency! It should be left turned off for the duration of your trip. And let’s face it, if you’re camping in a spot that actually gets a signal, you’re probably not far enough away.
2) Nice clothes and/or shoes. This is a classic greenhorn camper mistake. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone mourn over dirty designer shoes, a spark-singed shirt, or a weather-beaten, smoke-smelling jacket. We’re camping, people! Your clothes will be dirty, singed, and smelly by the end of the trip. Deal with it.
3) Anything that plugs in. If you’re close enough to a power source to plug something in, you might not be camping. You can survive a few measly days without a hairdryer, stereo, or espresso machine. In the wild, batteries are your friend. As a result, make sure you’re utilizing battery-friendly devices like LED flashlights and lanterns.
There are plenty of other things I wouldn’t recommend to take camping with you, but I think these three are the most detrimental, defeating the very purpose of camping. Those, and portable showers.