10 camping essentials for weekend getaways

Plan ahead by creating your own camping safety kit.

Besides the usual camping items like sleeping bags, tents, portable chairs and a cooler, having a camping safety kit packed with essentials is the best way to be prepared for the unpredictable when camping outdoors.

Creating a kit is relatively easy. Start by purchasing a medium sized snap-lid storage container and filling it with the following items that you can find online or in the camping aisles of big-box and outdoor retailers. (Sizes vary – approximately 24” X 15”W X 12”H)

You can also find a variety of compact necessities that can be added to the container:

First Aid Kit
The great outdoors is filled with many things that can happen unexpectedly. The most common injuries and maladies related to camping are skin related (e.g. Sunburn, frostbite, cuts, scratches, bites, stings, burns and poisonous plant contact) A first aid kit has most of the items needed to address these issues, but you’ll want to make sure to pack extra insect repellant and sunscreen.
Sprains and fractures are more serious and may require immediate medical attention. It’s best to conduct online research before travelling to understand how to treat broken bones with traction in place(TIP) and the use of splints so as not to cause further injury. With that in mind, keep two 1”Hx2”Wx18”L boards at the bottom of your kit along with some popsicle sticks for fingers and toes. Also keep a roll of plastic wrap in the kit for protecting major burns, large wounds andkeeping splints in place. Plus, having knowledge of CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)could be a life-saver in a major trauma incident like a heart attack or drowning.

Butane Gas Utility Lighter
Enjoying a campfire goes hand-in-hand with the camping experience and long stem gas fuel utility lighters are perfect replacement for starting fires versus matches. Lighter types range from inexpensive ones available at drug chains to higher cost wind-resistant models that are refillable. Pack two or three. There are also a number of fires starter available to make starting easier. Always remember to make sure your fire is completely out and doused with water before leaving the campsite.

Fleece & Solar Blankets
Having a fleece or solar blanket (or both) helps take the chill out of cold nights will add that extra layer of comfort and will not take up a lot of space in your safety kit or backpack.

LED Lantern, Flashlight and Headlamp
The days of camping with fuel-burning lanterns has given way to new energy efficient and safe LED lighting. LED lanterns are available in all shapes and sizes. LED headlamps are ideal for hands-free walking safely in completely dark areas.

A 20 line of nylon rope provides a variety uses around the campsite. Like making a clothes line for wet garments, hanging a cooler from a tree branch at night, pulling heavy branches for firewood, tying down tarps and other items and for any emergency use when on a hike or swim.


The versatile multi tool comes in handy for a multitude of needs around the campsite. Cutting rope or small branches, making repairs or carving a branch into a decorative walking stick. With various sized knife blades, pliers, screwdrivers, corkscrew, saw, small scissors and more, the multitool attached to your belt in leather sheath is the way to go.

Compact Folding Saw
A sharp razor-tooth folding saw is one of the most reliable tools to have around the camp or in your backpack. Perfect for cutting small deadwood branches for kindling and firewood

Tarps & Bungee Cords
Compact and easy to store, tarps are available in various sizes and unfold to add an extra layer of protection under tents or to cover camping gear, vehicles, ATV’s and more.  Bungee cords are the tarps best friend for secure tie-downs or bundling items together.

Maps and Compass
When camping in remote areas where cell phone service and GPS locator system signals may be
weak, the traditional map and compass are still a reliable for navigation. Plus they make great learning tools for kids.

Portable Indoor Safe Heater
There may be nights when the temperature drops and rain takes away the warmth of a campfire. A small indoor-safe portable propane heater can help take the chill off and add a little more comfort to the evening. There are certain portable propane heaters now available that are designed to significantly reduce the risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning for safe temporary heat inside a tent, cabin or RV.

Indoor safe portable propane heaters are designed to automatically shut off in an enclosure if the oxygen level is reduced. These small and compact heaters operate on 1pound propane cylinders and are available at most major retailers and sporting goods stores. When purchasing a portable propane heater, be sure to read all product packaging carefully to make sure that the heater is designated safe for indoor use and be sure to read all, operating instructions and safety guidelines carefully before operating.

Outdoor-only propane camping products like tank-top mounter heaters, camp stoves, lanterns and grills, are designed to be only used outdoors, in freely ventilated areas.  They should never be used inside, especially while sleeping.

Portable propane-fueled products burn and consume oxygen for combustion. Incomplete combustion can produce carbon monoxide, an oderless, colorless and non-irritant gas which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, sleepiness and confusion. Carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen leading to low oxygen levels in the blood which could result in the loss of consciousness and death.

Camp Safe is dedicated to educating the public about the safe use of camping products, helping people avoid potentially dangerous situations.