Enjoying the outdoors is all about the details. It’s the small things that make a weekend in the woods such a wonderful experience. We all know we need the basics; a sleeping bag, a tent, some sturdy hiking boots, a stove and appropriate clothing. But it’s the stuff you might not think of that can make or break your adventure. Here are 5 things to bring on your next camping trip so you never have to say “I wish I had brought..” again.

1) A Good Book

This might sound obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times people I’ve gone camping with have forgotten to bring a book with them. There are few things better than reading by headlamp in your tent or on a rock as the sun is going down. Diving into a good book is the perfect way to unwind after a long day of hiking.

2) Bandana

You see them stuffed into a back pocket or wrapped around a neck, but a bandana isn’t something that’s usually on a packing list for camping. Sure, it’s just a square piece of cotton, but the bandana is so versatile, there’s a reason that they’re sold at just about every gas station on Earth. You can use them to clean your plate, wipe your face and protect your neck from the sun. And if it’s a cold day of hiking and your nose won’t stop running, you’ll thank the heavens for that little cotton square. Just remember to get one in advance and wash it a few times so it’s nice and soft.

3) Tasty Bite

Ok, this one might be obvious but Tasty Bite are eaten by all sorts of outdoorsmen, so you know there’s something good going on. For the casual car camper to the 20 mile a day PCT thru-hiker, Tasty Bite are some of the best camp meals around. They’re easy, they’re tasty (hence the name) and they’re lightweight. I’m not saying to ditch the peanut butter and tortillas (those are imperative items), but make sure to pack a few extra yellow bags next time you head out into the wilderness.

4) Camp Shoes

After a long day of hiking, there’s nothing better than taking off your heavy boots and putting on something comfortable to wear while walking around the campsite. This is not the time to be stylish, it’s the time to pamper your feet and let them breathe until you have to put those boots on again in the morning. Think cheap, lightweight and easy to fit in a backpack. Flip flops, karate shoes or even – dare I say it – Crocs work well.

5) Eyewear Retainers (Croakies)

Sure, they’re not the “coolest” thing you can wear. They might remind you of golfing or your grandfather. But being able to pull off your shades while hiking and not having to constantly stuff them in or grab them out of your pocket is SO convenient. You can take them off when you get back home (though maybe you won’t want to?), but while you’re in the woods, wear your Croakies. You’ll thank me later.

Tasty Bite by themselves are a fantastic camp food. They’re delicious, they’re easy and they’re healthy. But whoever said you couldn’t play around with them a little bit? Here are a few recipes utilizing the Indian dishes that we’ve used over the years in the great outdoors.

Jaipur Vegetable Tacos

Heat up a bag of Jaipur Vegetables and spoon it over a few flour tortillas. Add a few slices of red onion and chopped fresh cilantro and you’ve got yourself an Indian taco in minutes. And if you’re car camping and have a cooler along, put a dollop of Greek yogurt on top.

Bombay Potatoes and Eggs

This one is just like the original diner combination, but with an Indian twist. Grab a cast iron skillet, put it over the fire and fry up some eggs. Throw those eggs on a plate full of hot Bombay Potatoes and you got yourself an amazing hearty breakfast in the woods.

Vegetable Tikka Masala Pasta

We all know that pasta is a mainstay on any camping adventure. It’s quick and it fills up even the hungriest of bellies. Cooking a fresh sauce at a campsite isn’t usually an option and the stuff that comes in a bottle is usually pretty awful. Instead, try turning that pasta from Italian to Indian by cooking your spaghetti/macaroni/rotini and pouring on some Vegetable Tikka Masala. You might never go back to that bland red sauce again.

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