by Gary Hawkins, August 24, 2017
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With two years of teardrop camping behind us we've added a number of helpful items to our packing list that we did not initially think of:
- Walkie Talkies: These can be useful in a couple of situations. Firstly, they help when reversing the trailer into a parking spot - no more shouting out open car windows and hoping your partner hears. Secondly, they're great if you want to stay in local contact. For example, Sophia likes to take Xaria for a walk in the stroller before bedtime, and it's an easy way of finding out where they are in the campground. You could use a phone but I'm sure many of you have discovered more than one campsite without mobile coverage - we certainly have. GMRS/FRS mobiles are available in multi-packs for less than $50 from a variety of vendors.
- Propane Fire: There's no denying the sight and sound of a crackling campfire can't be beaten. However, if you're away for more than a few nights we've found a propane fire is a good alternative. It either saves transporting a lot of wood or buying expensive firewood locally. We purchased the Outland Living Firebowl Deluxe Portable Propane Fire Pit for around $125. It produces a whopping 58,000 BTU of heat and includes cover/carry kit, pre-attached 10-foot hose with regulator, and a decorative rock set. This type of fire is often OK to use when campfires are banned during high fire risk situations, and it makes a great fire pit for the back garden when you're enjoying time at home.
Camping with A Friend - Portable Fire in Action at Joshua Tree NP
- Portable Grill: Typically, we try and keep cooking simple, and that frequently involves reheating homemade chili or stew. However, sometimes it is nice to grill and for that, we have a Nexgrill 2-Burner Portable Table Top Grill. The grilling surface is large enough to cook four large steaks, six to eight burgers and as many as twelve hot dogs. The Nexgrill can be made to run at a high temperature, so it's also good for searing fish. If we take the grill, we usually take the propane fire rather than wood since they both run off the same fuel source.
Xaria Looks On in Expectation of Yummy Hot Dogs Cooked on Table Top Grill
- Solar Lights: Recently, I picked up a couple of solar garden lights from Home Depot; they were about twelve bucks for the pair. Since our teardrop is pretty distinctive, we've found these are perfect for showing off her looks after the sun has set. If I'm sleeping in the tent away from Sophia and Xaria, it's also easier for me to quickly see what's going on around them in the middle of the night.
- Earplugs: Sadly, we've found that earplugs should always be carried. You never know when you're going to get noisy campsite neighbors and there's nothing worse than getting a poor night's sleep. We use 3M E-A-Rsoft Uncorded Earplugs. Make sure you get the small or regular size initially. We once got the large size by accident and these were far too big to be useful.
A follow-up to this article can be found here.