Fave Non-Necessity Items for Camping?? (or deem them necessary if you wish!)

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by equilibrium, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. equilibrium

    equilibrium Member

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    :)

    We have a bigger family (4 kids) and they love camping and could care less about things/organization etc but I however would love to be on the lookout for somethings that make it nicer, organized, easier, etc.

    The best tip I received at the beginning of the summer was to buy one of those plastic drawer cart/bins (the type with a few drawers on a rolly cart). We used for kitchen stuff and used top small drawers for tin foil, ziplocks, and then a cutlery drawer etc. It's fantastic and easy to put in our vehicle to go somewhere and to keep it organized beside our cooking area (outside on picnic table) while we camp.

    My next thing is looking for a piece of outdoor turf /rug for in front of the popup that we just got. I also think we might need to make or find something to keep the awning poles in the ground because I hit them twice really hard and made it fall [:O]

    Some of the "ugh" areas tend to be our washing dishes set up outside (I think we need another portable table) and what to use for garbage/recycling, etc.


    What do you love to bring with you or is on your wishlist?
     
  2. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    We added 2 square, aluminum roll-up tables t our equipment last year. One adjusts in height, which makes it a much better level to cook or wash dishes on. They are compact to carry. I discovered the fabric-backed laminated vinyl (?) fabric I have is idea as table covers, and binder clips work well to secure them, since it is often breezy to windy when we are camping. The vinyl is easier to clean than the aluminum slats and the fabric takes up very little space, especially compared to most picnic table fabrics. this year, we discovered it was easy to removed the tops between uses, when the weather was windy enough to blow the tables over, but the frames could stay in place.
     
  3. BarbaraFaith

    BarbaraFaith New Member

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    I have a Coleman Camp Kitchen, which has a sink and drain, a countertop and a fold out table that is intended to hold your Coleman stove. It folds flat, and is stored on our folded down table/bench in the PUP. Very helpful for doing dishes and meal prep.
     
  4. Sushidog

    Sushidog Active Member

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    Well, I have several. First is my shower/cassette potty - invaluable for late night "gotta go fast" potty breaks and taking a hot shower when far away from amenities.
    [​IMG]

    Second and third is my little inverter and TV/DVD player used during inclement weather when we are without hook-ups.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And finally is my awning and screen room at 4th and 5th.
    [​IMG]

    And oh yeah, our bird likes to take us along (to drive her where she wants to go, set up camp, wait on her wing and foot, etc.) when she goes camping. So I guess we are her invaluable camping accessories. [;)]

    Chip
     
  5. NJGuy

    NJGuy Active Member

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    Ice making machine.
     
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  6. cowboy11753

    cowboy11753 WD, SCJ and HRH Charles the Furball

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    We have no room in the PUP to cook (kitchen space was sacrificed to make room for two king beds and the bathroom - I'll take the beds and bath any day).

    So, we have a Cabela's camp kitchen that we bought two years ago and we just bought a vintage Coleman camp kitchen with a sink and lots of counter space. They keep meal prep very organized. I love them both, but will need to sell one or the other. It's probably the Cabela's that will go since I don't like its sink as much as the Coleman's. I've seen several Coleman kitchens on Craigslist for about $50 - it is money well-spent.

    My absolutely favorite gadget is the toaster. It folds out like a flower and sits on the camp stove. You can toast bread, bagels, waffles, you name it. I put my DH in charge of watching it and we have perfect toast every time.

    My sister just gave us an awning mat which is awesome. Prior to that we had indoor outdoor rug which worked great until it didn't (old, musty, dirty, heavy, etc.) We definitely got our money's worth out of the indoor/outdoor and would do it again - captures so much dirt that would otherwise end up in PUP. Plus it's a tidy area for the furball to lie down.

    We are still struggling with organization of clothing, books, accessories (ie the first aid bag, equipment manuals, towels, toiletries, etc.) Your rolling cart sounds great - but, not sure where we would find room to pack it.....

    Our worst struggle is with the coolers. We cannot seem to keep things frozen or even safely cold (in my opinion). We always end up throwing out things that scare me. Meat and dairy and fish, mostly. I looked at small camping freezers but they are too expensive and take up too much room. On upcoming trip I will try to master the dry ice/reflectix/pre-cooling strategies. On last trip I put DH in charge of ice and we must have spent $40 on ice cubes (no, they didn't have blocks [:(] ).....yikes. We have a very small refrig at home and so making blocks of ice ahead is tough.

    For garbage and recycling and dog waste, we just take a million plastic grocery bags (from the recycling bin) with us and take everything to dumpster/bins after breakfast and every night before bed. We tie one small bag to the sink inside and one to the kitchen outside. I DID see several sizes of collapsible waste paper baskets/garbage bins at Camping World last week. They are extremely lightweight and fold down to the size of a dinner plate - you might find them helpful. Otherwise you could use a 5 gallon bucket from the hardware store. Maybe get a lid too so it's not so easy for the animals to get at it.

    Re the awning poles, DH ran a long rope across the middle of the awning around the framing and then diagonally to the PUP - it does not move now at all. (HE also uses heavy duty ground stakes as usual, but it's that extra strap that keeps it from going airborne (or down to the ground for that matter.) He puts orange tape on the wires so I don't bash into them (as much).

    Have fun with your camping - making your system work well is at least half the fun!
     
  7. equilibrium

    equilibrium Member

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    I love all these answers! Thank you :)

    ice machine..man...if we used power while camping I would definitely use that. And I'd bring my coffee maker or grinder haha.

    Cowboy11753-
    I am guessing you live somewhere hot. We are in BC and while were were camping it was about 30 degrees celsius (google tells me about 86 degrees). For here that is hot. It's extremely muggy here on the west coast. Anyhow, we had two coolers and one of those 5 day cooler things. We even here spent about $30 on extra ice and the loose cubes that were available didn't work that well. My mom's system was one cooler you do NOT open. It's for one thing of say meat to take out per day or pre-done meal. No open and closing , grabbing etc. I am definitely doing this next time with some blocks and hope our meat doesn't thaw again (ugh, actually everything was icky).
    -We will try that idea with the rope/awning. Do you mean sort of like an x through the middle and rope around it (I envision a box with an x in it)...lol.

    I would like a camp kitchen. We have bears and raccoons, and deer and in some places cougars here so we have nothing left out at night-no garbage, dishes, anything really. We don't go anywhere really remote so we don't have to lock up our stuff in the bear lockers but we do have to make sure no campfire cooking is left (drippings, etc). I think we could leave our camp kitchen up as long as well clean it up each day/night (where we go anyhow). My mom also has a kitchen but the stove area was SO LOW it hurt my back (and I am only 5"3!). I will look around for them but figured it was only Coleman out there. Sink...what is nice about the sink?? Anyone have pics?

    Sushidog-thanks for the pics! I am jealous of your bathroom shower set up. Awww...it would be my own little space haha. No more outhouses here haha. And I love the bird! I thought of taking our cat with us because we don't have someone to watch her while we leave. She stays close to us, and follows us around but not sure how that would work. lol. Cool seeing a bird out though!
     
  8. lbcarr87

    lbcarr87 New Member

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    My I phone - definitely not needed but great for weather reports, mapping and photos. I usually turn it off unless I want to check something specific - I don't want work people calling me :)
     
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  9. Sushidog

    Sushidog Active Member

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    Our sun conure likes camping more than we do - if that's possible. I've had her for 27 years, and during that time she's been all over the country, to both coasts twice. She likes to go on hikes and flies to nearby trees she likes. But she always comes when called, as we carefully watch for raptors.
    [​IMG]
    Here's a unique tree she liked in the Smokies.

    [​IMG]
    Here she is on a bridge looking down at a stream (actually the beginning of the Chattahoochee River, by Horse Though Falls in N. GA - think Deliverance.) She had to take a bath in it - till she found out how cold the water was. [LOL]

    [​IMG]
    DW and DB at Horse Though Falls

    Chip
     
  10. cowboy11753

    cowboy11753 WD, SCJ and HRH Charles the Furball

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    Dear Equilibrium (I wish I had some myself!),

    You're right - we live in AZ - much too hot! However, our cooler woes have all occurred in colder (supposedly) places like Colorado and Wyoming and Idaho. In fact, it was in the 90s in all three places even though we were at 7,000 feet or higher! And, we have a five day cooler, but since it's the only one, of course we're opening it constantly. Will get a second one and enforce your Mom's rule - only open it once a day to take out dinner.

    Re the camp kitchen. The Cabela kitchen has a nice high counter - I'm 5'9" and it's even high enough for me. The Coleman has two heights - the higher one might be ok for you, not sure....The sink on the Coleman is nice because you have room to spread out (unlike inside) with as many dishes, pots, drainers, etc. as you need. Our PUP literally has no room to wash more than one mug at a time. This is the Cabela kitchen - don't have Coleman photos yet.
    http://s1335.photobucket.com/user/cowboy11753/media/cabelakitchenjpgcopy_zpsc13fdad9.jpg.html[img]

    We never take down the kitchen while camping (in spite of what others may suggest). (The whole bear aware thing is to make food unavailable rather than to eliminate it altogether. Think about all the stuff in the dumpsters...it's all in there - it's just not available.)

    What we DO is to wash down the kitchen with Clorox wipes during and after every use. (It's all metal and or melamine or something and so not a permeable surface.) The day I see a bear or raccoon or deer or dog licking the Clorox off of it will be the day I change my methods. We also wipe down the Coleman stove with the same product. And then clamp it shut. We do not leave food out at any time other than when we're cooking and eating.

    Re the awning. Here is photo I hope [img]http://s1335.photobucket.com/user/cowboy11753/media/_IGP8478copyBcopy_zpsb3637f19.jpg.html[img]
    if you look closely, you can see the extra rope going across the top and then coming down at a diagonal. The rope is wrapped around the frame a couple of times on each side before extending down to the rig.

    Hope this helps. Hope the photos come through!
     
  11. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    @equilibrioum. the height issue was the reason we looked until we found a table that was adjustable. Actually, I had considered using the bed risers that I use for my cutting (sewing) table, but was glad to find the roll up table with adjustable legs - I wasn't sure how the risers would cope with less-than-even ground.
    Friends really like their portable kitchen, but I found it way too short; I'm 5'6" with a iffy back. We just use our Coleman stove and dishpans on our roll-up tables (the second one is standard height, but one high seems to be enough) and it works fine for us. I actually prefer dishpans we can store in the TV.

    An item I just packed today, for my solo trip to Grand Canyon, is a "old lady" shopping cart I got in a silent auction at church last year. In some campgrounds, e.g. Watchman at Zion NP and both rims of Grand Canyon, there are stores close enough to walk to for ice, etc. Carrying 8-10# of ice gets old really fast, so I'm trying this experiment. I had wanted to use it to haul water, but our usual 5-gallon jug doesn't fit into the cart.
     
  12. cowboy11753

    cowboy11753 WD, SCJ and HRH Charles the Furball

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    GRRRR. Photos not cooperating. Here's the Cabela kitchen - I'm not using the tallest cooking surface in this photo but you can see that it's more than waist-high.

    [​IMG]

    Here's the awning photo...
    [​IMG]

    the magic rope is pretty hard to see but it's blue and runs across the middle of the awning...
     
  13. Bullfrog Bheer

    Bullfrog Bheer Active Member

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  14. generok

    generok Well-Known Member

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    I guess my fav non-essential item is a crock pot. I normally make something ahead, like chili or stew, and then freeze it in the crock. Then I seal that bag with the vacuum packer and use it as "dry" ice on the way there. Then all I do is throw a crock pot liner in the crock, dump in the partial stew-cicle and set it on low and do my thing. When I get back, dinner is served. Of course, it only works when I have shore power, but it does work.
     
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  15. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    Not to stir up a hornet's nest, but I have seen several people refer to reheating food (cold, partially frozen or frozen) in a Crockpot or other slow cooker.

    Here is just one reference: " It is not recommended or safe to reheat leftovers in a slow cooker. Heat leftovers in the oven, microwave, or stovetop, until it reaches 165°F and then add to a preheated slow cooker. In the slow cooker, food should remain hot for serving, 140°F or above, as measured by a calibrated food thermometer." http://www1.extension.umn.edu/food/food-safety/preserving/safe-meals/slow-cooker-safety/

    There are other, reliable references to the same, I something like "safety of reheating food in a slowcooker". Not that I wish food poisoning anywhere, but while camping is definitely even worse than at home.
     
  16. froggie

    froggie New Member

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    We got a 3 drawer rolling cart last spring. We keep all of the dry food stuff, bread, etc. in it. It has been amazing. No more lost items in the cabinet. We place it on its back between the table and cabinet for towing, lift it up and put it on the counter while camping. I realize it might not work for food in bear country, but it sure works for us. You could use it for non-edible items if you wanted. Love it!
     
  17. Genie2010

    Genie2010 Active Member

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    I too use one of those drawer carts. I find it invaluable!
     
  18. Jimbow

    Jimbow Well-Known Member

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    Books. Lots of books.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  19. stef234237

    stef234237 Member

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    Simply my fan. I like white noise, to sleep by.
     
  20. cowboy11753

    cowboy11753 WD, SCJ and HRH Charles the Furball

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    Stef - We could not sleep without our fans. Also forgot to mention our walkie talkies. These are the best for backing into a site (both of us are more or less deaf) and they also have a NOAA weather station option which is critical when you're out camping, kayaking, fishing, etc.....Most of the time we're in areas without cell service, but the WT work great even in these areas (not always, but mostly)....
     
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