How to Pack an Entire, Comfortable Campsite Into a Backpack
Ten lightweight, compressible and collapsible essentials for your next outdoor adventure
MIMI JI has spent the last decade summiting over 80 peaks in New York’s Adirondack and Catskill mountains, often camping for multiple nights to stay as close to the trail as possible. Hauling heavy gear over these peaks can get old quickly, so the 40-year-old corporate procurement director severely edited the list of supplies she crams into her backpack.
One can easily go from having no camping equipment to having far too much. Ji once suffered this affliction, but over time, she’s found she can camp with a lot less, especially after investing in high-quality versions of the gear she has. The notion of “essentials” is purely subjective, said Ji. “Personally, I never bring a pillow, but for many people, a pillow is essential,” she said.
Learning to live without some creature comforts has a serendipitous upside: All of Ji’s camping equipment fits in a closet of her tiny one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.
A 20% DEET Premium Controlled-Release Lotion will work well against mosquitoes, but Dr. Zimring says he prefers the 20% Picaridin lotion since it also protects against ticks, gnats, chiggers, and flies. (In both instances, he recommends Sawyer brand.)
Part of spending time outside means battling ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. For this, Nelson swears by permethrin.
And out of the products we tested, Dr. Zeichner highly recommends Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.