When you go camping or backpacking, all you really need is the basics like a tent, a sleeping bag, water and food. When my husband and I started camping as a family, we had one sleeping bag, a small cook stove for backpacking, a two person tent and we hauled it all in a white trash bag. More than a decade later, we have evolved into using totes instead and have collected a few more things along the way to make camping easier. And as always with any of my outdoor adventures, I try to use my stuff for all of my outdoor adventures to get the most use out of it.
This last year, I have discovered many great products that I now regularly take with me camping, hiking and backpacking. There are so many great things out there, that have made all of my outdoor adventures more manageable and easier, so that I can do what I love. Here are my top ten…
Smelly Proof Bags– These were a great find this year. Not only are they reusable, but these plastic bags are also smell proof. Because of their design, they keep odor in. They are great for food storage while being outdoors, dirty laundry, trash that needs to be packed out and also keeping my fridge odorless from onions or garlic. Because they come in all sizes and can be washed again and again, it’s one of my new favorite practical items I pack for all of my outdoor adventures. Because I loved them so much, I did a review earlier this year. There are multiple sizes from very small to extra large. And now, they have a child resistant bag as well.
Proven Bug Spray or Lotion– Bugs and ticks are definitely a problem, not only when we are spending time in nature, but also where we live because we live in the woods. Finding a good bug spray that is effective has been really hard. I wish I had discovered Proven at the beginning of the summer, because it has become my first choice in big sprays. Because it is deet free and uses 20% picaridin (saltidin), it can be used safely on the skin, for children over 2 months of age and pregnant women. Picaridin is a synthetic compound derived from the natural compound piperine, which is derived from black pepper. Because of Proven’s formula, it can last up to 12 hours for the spray or 14 hours with the lotion, without needing another application every couple of hours. Because it lasts so long, the 6 oz bottle we got has lasted us the majority of the summer and i can say it worked better than any other product we tried to keep away ticks and mosquitos. It comes as a spray or lotion, and either scent-free or lightly scented with lavender, cardemom and rosemary. It’s not sticky and doesn’t leave a residue, and the kids did not mind applying it at all. The scent-free spray is my favorite.
Elyptol Hand Sanitizer and Wipes– Whether in the woods, traveling or at school or work, keeping safe and germ-free is a priority. The alcohol-based sanitizers leave my hands dry and I smell like a brewery. When I tried Elyptol this year, I not only loved the smell (eucalyptus) but I loved how my skin felt afterwards. Elyptol products are 100% bio-based ingredients and come in all shapes and sizes from a spray and a gel, to handy wipes. It’s also environmentally friendly and cruelty free. It was pretty nice to take camping with us and very practical to use on the trail. I have also enjoyed using them at work with having really high traffic in my office and someone who is very sensitive to the smell of hand sanitizer, when disinfecting is highly recommended. Elyptol has a pretty neat travel kit, which is perfect for our family. I’ll be sending my kids to school with one of Elyptol’s travel bottles. I love the Elyptol travel kit and mums-on-the go kit.
Reliance Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Water Jug– This is such a must for camping. I cannot believe we haven’t invested in larger water jugs before. I used to buy the two gallon jugs at the store, but with trying to reduce the amount of plastics we use and the the amount of money we spend on our adventures, it was very practical to get. Not only is it BPA free, it is also big and durable. This is also great for water storage, if it is eve needed. I absolutely love it and I like the little spigot so that it’s easy to get water out of.
LifeStraw Go– It was trial and error to find a water purifying system that worked for our family. There are so many different ones out there, but the one that has worked best for us as a family, has been the LifeStraw Go Water Bottle. You just fill up your bottle, screw on the lid, and you are good to go. We have had a few experiences with other water purifying systems, that because they didn’t work, we were stuck in the back country and had to come back home early. I can’t say enough about this water bottle, that filters the water as you drink it. No more frustrations with pumping or squeezing the water through filers. It is so great that we did a review the end of last year for the LifeStraw Go Water Bottle.
myCharge Adventure Max Portable Charger– This is by far my favorite portable charger. Because I use my phone to take pictures and videos of all of our adventures, it is such a relief to have a way to charge my phone. It has also been great for charging our wireless speakers and one of the head;lamps that we have. It lasted four days in the back country charging two phone and still had juice when we came back. For a complete review, you can check out my previous post about myCharge from earlier this year.
Green Goo Double Mint Castile Soap– I was totally floored by this soap! Because it is so multi-purpose, I can take it anywhere and use it for almost anything. From washing hands and body, to doing laundry and dishes, this is one product I was happy to discover this year. Because it is 100% natural and plant based, you can safely use it outdoors and also at home without worrying about leaking chemicals into the water. You can even use it in streams and lakes safely. A little also goes a long way. When backpacking with seven people, I used a little over 1 oz. for hand washing, dishes and even washing out a shirt. I used it this year for backpacking and car camping, and also at home. The double-mint smells so good and leaves everything squeaky clean. Plus, it’s cruelty free, vegan and does not contain any petroleum, mineral oil, parabens, glycerin or gluten. This was an item I got in my monthly Nomadik subscription box.
Mizu Stainless Steel Camp Cup– Another item that I picked up through my Nomadik subscription box, this has now become my favorite camping mug. Because it is double insulated, it keeps my tea or coffee hotter longer than my old enamel mug. It’s really durable unlike my enamel ones that have gotten several chips and dings in them. I love it so much, that I now have three of them. They also come in really awesome colors.
Falcon Guides Scat and Tracks Books by James Halfpenny and illustrated by Todd Telander- It’s not something I need, but these great books are so much fun to take with you outdoors. Want to know what animal left that scat or tracks at your camp site or by the creek? We have curious minds and these small books have been so much fun for us. When we discovered some bear tracks backpacking, the kids really enjoyed getting out the books when we got home and comparing our pictures to the book. They also enjoyed the fun facts too. My kids have also referenced these books regarding the wildlife we have in our yard like garter snakes, mice, chipmunks, wild turkeys and elk. It’s a great resource for anyone who is curious and loves exploring. These books are available in paperback and for Kindle. They are well written, with very detailed drawings and information.
Cryofreeze CBD Pain Relief Roll-On– The older I get, it seems like I have more aches and pains. Because my pain has increased, especially in my ankle, I need a little bit more than what I used to. This is a great product and works better for me than any other roll-on pain reliever. I now carry it for all of my adventures, to relieve my pain at the end of the day. Because of the CBD oil, it is more effective than other rollons and has better anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties. It is a life saver and ingredients include menthol, CBD and eight other botanicals.
These are just a few of the outdoor products that I have enjoyed this last year. As a reminder, I only recommend products that I love and have tried out myself. I hope you find a few of these useful for your next travel or outdoor adventure. As always, be outside with no limits.