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If you’ve followed any of our travels so far, then you know Eric and I are obsessed with finding hidden gems. We specialize in off-the-beaten-path travel and get so excited over quirky properties and experiences. That’s why when we found this little eco-hut in the woods of Connecticut, we knew we had to jump on it.
There was one small wrinkle though… the hut didn’t offer any electricity or plumbing!
Given that this “glamping” experience was closer to the camping end of the spectrum, we needed to get up to speed quickly on how to fend for ourselves. I scoured the internet looking for blogs and videos that helped us understand the basics of camping and turned up empty handed. Turns out there are two types of people out there: people that LOVE to camp and people that DON’T camp. While I came across great resources for experienced campers, I realized their recommendations were a little too advanced for what we’d need for this simple glamping experience. So what did we do? We ordered a ton of camping essentials, packed them up, and headed off to give them a try first-hand!
After giving each of these products a try, we came out the other end with a sound understanding of what’s truly needed for beginner campers. And luckily for you, we’ve compiled all our favorite necessities (and a list of not-so-necessary items) to help you plan for your first glamping/camping experience! Read on to see all our top tips or skip to the bottom to give our camping vlog a watch if you want to see any of the products in action!
PS: Before you read our list, I have to admit our personal favorite place to purchase these items is REI. If you have a membership with them, they should be your first stop! However, if you don't have any sporting goods allegiances, we have direct links to Amazon for all these products!
Let’s get to the point, shall we? Here are the top products we found to be absolutely essential during our trip:
Jet Boil Flash - Without a doubt our favorite camping tool on this trip, this back country cooking system allowed us to boil water and french press coffee every day. We decided not to use it to cook food this trip, but you can also purchase a pot attachment that allows you to plop a pot (or pan) right on top and start cooking up some meals. (View at REI / View on Amazon)
UCO 6 Piece Mess Kit - We ordered two of these kits on a whim and we were so happy we did! We used these every day while glamping, but we also continued to use them throughout the rest of our trip, even when we stayed in a fully stocked Airbnb. Each kit contains a plate, bowl, cup, spoon, fork, and knife all in a single compact case. They wash & dry easy and we'll definitely be using these for many trips to come! (View at REI / View on Amazon)
Head Lamps - I was honestly surprised how often we ended up using our head lamps. I thought I would just use my phone flashlight to help me navigate my way to the bathroom, but being hands free was so convenient! Don't underestimate the power of these guys either - we purchased one higher end headlamp and one budget version and both were awesome! They also came in handy when the lantern in our cabin died, we used the higher end version lamp to give us light after the sun set. (Budget at REI / Budget on Amazon / High End REI / High End Amazon)
Hiking Boots - This might seem like a given, but we typically hike in our sneakers and just tough it out. We both purchased boots for this trip and I swear I will never hike in my sneakers again. Both of our boots are super comfy while on hikes and are stylish enough for us to wear out to lunch without feeling like total geeks. I love my Altra RSMs and Eric is obsessed with his Solomon Gore-tex.
Pocket Knife - (I tried to put this on the “maybe” list since we didn’t actually use it too much, but Eric thinks it’s necessary to feel like a camper. Plus it did come in handy to open a few things since we didn’t have scissors available!
Non Perishable Food & Water - (bonus if it's easy to prep too!). Our go-to was PB&J sandwiches, trail mix, and protein bars. Bringing food and gallons of water was huge for us since we road tripped to our glamp site. Not having to stop for these essentials made it all very convenient.
Tick Spray - I found this tick and mosquito spray last minute on Amazon and am so happy with it! It smells amazing, isn't sticky, and WORKS! No ticks or bug bites in sight with this on us. Only draw back is that it feels kind of thick on your hands - but it's skin friendly and the directions even encourage you to use it on your face. I can deal with the hand grossness to avoid tick bites! (View on Amazon)
These are the products we used but probably didn’t need to buy right away. If you’re looking to keep your camping supplies minimal, you may be able to skip on these depending on what you're planning on doing.
Smart Wool Gear - I jumped at the opportunity to buy my first Smart Wool shirt and although I'm happy I did, I definitely didn't need it for our trip. Major tip I learned: smart wool keeps you comfortable, not warm. I needed warm at night so I opted for my UA Cold Gear most of the time and wore my Smart Wool for hikes. (View at REI / View on Amazon)
Kitchen Cooking Utensils - This cooking kit went totally untouched during our time. We bought this because we originally thought we'd be cooking more, but eventually opted to bring mostly pre-made foods. This kit rocks though, so grab it if you do plan on cooking!
Fire Starter - Eric got us two emergency fire-starter tools with all the bells and whistles (literally), which were super cool to have around, but not needed for glamping. I'd recommend holding off on these unless you plan on spending some serious time in the woods!
Hiking Socks - This might seem crazy to some people, but I don't think our fancy hiking socks were needed for us as beginners. I switched between these cushioned socks and regular crew socks and didn't see much of a difference. I won't speak for Eric here though since I'm pretty sure he's wearing these mens hiking socks daily! (Women's at REI / Men's at REI)
To be honest, we were so prepared for this experience, there ended up only being one item we wish we had: an insulated thermos. Hot Tip (see what I did there...): Use it for the hot tea/coffee you're making on your new JetBoil Flash, but also load it up with room temperature water overnight so your water doesn't freeze while your snuggling in your glamping hut!
Want to see all these items in action (and our epic fails of our first glamping experience? Click here to watch our vlog!
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