By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.
While we travel fulltime and camp year-round, the summer season offers a unique blend of longer days and warmer weather, creating a contagious energy to get outside. In this article we’ll review some of our favorite summer camping essentials. Be warned, these aren’t your father’s essentials; they’re items that blend the rustic with the modern, shaping a uniquely 21st century camping experience.
Our Beloved Internet
We’ve heard folks internet-shaming campers, but we believe staying connected is important; it allows us to have outside contact in case of an emergency, we can plug in GPS coordinates to easily find trailheads, and after a long day of exploring, we can catch up on American Horror Story. Let’s be honest, the pros are much better at telling scary campfire stories.
Our first camping essential is T-Mobile. I know it sounds strange, but T-Mobile’s Binge On program lets us stream movies and music without eating into our monthly data. I’ll wake up in the morning, brew coffee and stream my summer camping playlist to get the day started.
The starting price for a plan is $30. That’s pretty cheap, especially since it includes unlimited streaming of Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, and so many more.
Wireless Blue Tooth Speaker
A wireless Blue Tooth speaker makes it easy to listen to all that free streaming music. There are countless options from cheap to expensive. We started with a UE Mini Boom, it lasted us 8 months before self-destructing. Then we bought a clearance speaker from Walmart. We don’t have a specific brand to recommend; figure out your budget, try a few out, and buy your favorite.
Earlier this month we wrote an in-depth article about free camping, the general premise is – get onto freecampsites.net, search your desired location, and find free camping! This style of camping is private, scenic, and inexpensive!
Eating & Drinking
Living in the wilderness means adapting the ways you eat and drink. Cooking over an open flame – whether its a campfire or propane stove – is usually mandatory.
Coffee is essential to getting the day started right. To brew our coffee we use a Bodum French Press. Its sleek design is constructed with quality materials. We’ve used ours more than any other kitchen product and its still as strong as day one.
As for coffee beans, we swear by Trader Joe’s Wake Up Blend. It comes in a huge, rugged container and if we buy it in the store, we can grind the beans to an ideal texture for our french press.
Since meal preparation is more time consuming in nature, we love having snacks to eat between trail hiking and lake swimming. Fruits & nuts are great healthy options, and tortilla chips (my favorite) are inexpensive and tasty. Depending on your location, you can grab a large bag of Hernandez chips for less than two bucks.
Nothing compares to a huge pot of chili. Its easy to make, easy to serve, and full of protein! Chili also has a lot of room for interpretation. Our favorite is vegetarian chili with quinoa, but don’t be afraid to throw in some beef, buffalo, chicken, jalapeños, or whatever else you have on hand.
The morning after: if you have left overs, just fry an egg and throw it on top for breakfast!
Step it up a Notch
If you really want to step it up a notch, these items can transform your experience from primitive to prime-time. We don’t consider them essential for fun, but they do make camping a little more luxurious.
Our pavilion tent serves as a shaded living room. We spent a little too much on ours – its an Easycamp pavilion, made in Europe. The set up is easy and the materials are strong, but we’d recommend spending less and not having it shipped so far. You can pick one at Walmart, Camping World or Amazon.
The Honda 2000i generator is our favorite purchase since we began life on the road. Its lightweight and quiet – two qualities uncommon for most generators. There are a few different models that offer varying connection methods; ranging from UBS to 30amp.
What Are Your Essentials?
Everyone has their unique camping style! We’d like to know what y’all consider summer camping essentials.
Comment below and link your favorite items.
Thanks for reading our blog. Help support our mission – to live freely and deliberately – by checking out our Etsy store or shopping Amazon through our link.