When you think about camping adventures, issues that may arise during your stay are not likely gonna be at the forefront of your mind. Usually, the focus is on where we want to go, what we want to do and how we want to do it.
One small, but important consideration, is the gear we need and how we can ensure it performs during our time away. The frustrating catch is that we spend large amounts of hard-earned money on products that, in the pursuit of our adventures, can at some point break or become damaged. However, this is when the creative fun begins!
Having a toolkit is a pretty handy addition to any setup, whether it be your hiking pack, the storage shed or in your car boot.
Why is it important to have a toolkit?
These toolkits are invaluable for the next time you’re faced with a camping obstacle that needs to be overcome. Whether it be trying to peg into solid ground, getting a fire going in wet and windy conditions, or fixing something that has snapped, ripped, leaked or punctured. Toolkits can save you lots of money as it changes your approach. You can find a creative solution with what’s in your toolbox, which can save you from reaching for your credit card.
Whether you’re kilometres from home, at your favourite campsite or just back after a memorable trip, I’ve listed a range of items you should consider keeping in your toolkit. This will ensure you can get back to doing what you love with the gear you love, for a lot less than replacing it.
A well thought out toolkit can save you plenty of cash and will help make sure your trip runs smoothly.
Toolbox or Bag
The first item you need to get sorted is the box or bag you’re going to keep your toolkit in. Whilst it is easy to get carried away here, aim small because you don’t want this to consume valuable space which can be taken up by other gear.
Solid and durable tool boxes work great for vehicle camping, whereas soft pouches like this Sea to Summit one are fantastic for lightweight adventures.
Pick a toolbox size that’s going to work for your adventures.
Once you’ve decided on the size of your tool box or bag, you can then start working on what consumables you might want.
Capable of many uses, duct tape is a go-to option for when things need to be stuck back together. Covering holes and repairing tears are just some of its many uses.
Like duct tape, cable ties can be used to re-attach or hold things together. Organising cables, ropes or hoses, closing open food packets, locking tubs or bags, and mending broken hooks and loops on a tent are just some of their many uses.
It might be a screw that has gone tight, a pin that won’t release or a pole that can’t extend. Having a lubricant spray, like WD-40 available will ensure that you can get out of sticky situations easily.
Your shoe sole might be coming apart, your tent seam might be leaking or sleeping pad valve may be seeping air. Fixing tasks like these and many others requires a strong, adhesive and fast drying glue to get the job done.
Having a solid set of consumables in your kit will make small repairs easy.
A form of glorified duct tape, repair tape is transparent, very adhesive and perfect for mending precious items of gear. It might be a tear in your tent fly, a rip in your rain jacket or a slit in your hiking pack. Repair tape is designed to bring your gear back to life whilst still looking somewhat new.
If repair tape can’t fix the rip in your rain jacket, maybe sewing it up can. Whether the seam in your pants gives way, the buttons on your waistband pops or the visor on your hat un-ravels, having a sewing repair kit can take care of all these basic sewing jobs.
It can also prevent issues from becoming worse and ensure that the next favour you ask from your mum is more meaningful.
Easy to source, super strong to use and small enough to carry, paracord is fantastic for all kinds of use. It can be used to reinforce your tent, secure your tarp, hang something from a tree, create a clothesline, tow something to your camp or secure something so it doesn’t move. The options with this versatile rope are endless.
Hexamine tablets burn smokelessly, don’t liquify and leave no trace of burning. They have a high energy density making them fantastic to use as either an emergency stove or as a supercharged fire-lighter.
The next lot of items to consider are your tools. It’s important to remember that we’re not aiming to build a tradie’s toolbox, our goal is to include multi-purpose gear which can be used across a range of applications. Here’s what makes my list:
When it comes to multi-purposeful tools, having a multi-tool on hand like the Leatherman Surge makes perfect sense. With 21 tools and a sturdy feel in the hand, this multi-tool is my tool of choice when tackling any adventure. There aren’t many unique tasks that this tool can’t play a solving role in.
While we’re likely to have a headlamp or lantern amongst our gear, a multi-purpose lighting back up is never a bad thing. The Goal Zero 250 Flashlight is a fantastic option with 3 ways to recharge (including an emergency crank), which powers either a flashlight, floodlight and red emergency light mode.
Don’t waste valuable space and weight by selecting multi-purpose tools.
When it comes to camping and hiking, the value of mallets surely speaks for themselves. While the pressure of your foot or the weight of a rock can often do the job, having a heavy-duty mallet on hand to put all your pegs into the ground is much easier.
The beauty of a mallet, like the Coleman Wakjak, is that the peg puller at the end of the handle offers just as much help when its time to pack down and pull all the pegs out of the ground. If you’re more of the lightweight hiker type, you could consider a lightweight mallet like this one from Zempire.
Whether your adjusting the wood on the fire, digging up coals for your camp oven or clearing space for the bowels to open up, having a shovel is incredibly handy. Many chose to opt for adding a long-handled option to their gear kit, however, I often get away with a simple tri-fold shovel in my toolbox. It’s small and compact yet it still gets the job done.
Not critical, but very useful, especially during fire season. Hatchets are great for chipping away at kindling, clearing vegetation at campsites and cutting down wood to fit. They’re also multi-purpose as you can use the other end of the head as a hammer for putting pegs into the ground.
Sure you can just use matches, but having a butane gun on hand will help to light a fire in testing conditions. Whether you’re lacking tinder or struggling with wet or windy conditions, having a steady flame can be beneficial. Butane refills are very cheap and I find the convenience to be absolutely worth it.
Water Tank Spanner
Again, not critical but very useful especially if you plan to carry water in reusable tanks. Having a tool to ensure your lids and bungs are screwed on tight and that your taps can be removed for transit may not seem that valuable… until your water tanks start leaking.
Lastly, are the spare parts. While this list can quickly become endless, I’ve identified some common parts that are regularly sought after. Please adopt this for whatever gear you carry as you need. Don’t be afraid to add items after you’ve learnt from your mistakes. It took breaking four buckles on my hiking pack before I started carrying a spare.
Check that you’ve added spare parts to your kit in case you get caught out mid-adventure.
Tent Pole Splint
The unfortunate reality is that no tentpole is indestructible and once it becomes damaged, it’s a pain to manage. Having a sleeve handy makes repairing a crack or break easy. Sleeves are usually included as a spare with your tent. You just slip it over the damage and then reinforce with your duct tape or cable ties as needed. A much sturdier option than a taped pole that doesn’t have much support.
Whether it be for your esky or your water tank, having leaking fluid going everywhere is the worst! Spend a couple of dollars to ensure your covered just in case you lose or break your bung.
Stove Service Kit – O-Rings, Knobs, Adapters
Gas Stoves can often be fidgety pieces of gear complete with many different parts that often need maintaining. With hiking stoves, it’s relatively easy as many come with pre-assembled repair kits.
Camping stoves are a bit trickier. A great way to try and stay on top of things is to carry: correct sized rubber o-rings for your seals, stove knobs, and gas hose adapters so you can use it between 3/8 to POL to BOM fittings.
It never hurts to also read the manufacturer instructions in case they make any recommendations on parts as well.
If you’ve been camping for a while, you’ll know that broken, misplaced or un-returned tent pegs are a frequent occurrence. Having a few extras on hand can never hurt. It’s pretty easy to get your hands on heavy-duty steel pegs or lightweight alloy pegs.
While many wouldn’t even think of buckles breaking, the inconvenience when they do can be pretty frustrating. Whether it be in your tent, backpack or awning – buckles play a part in the setting up of many pieces of gear.
All it takes is for that misplaced footstep, along with some pressure and the next thing you know, the buckle is crushed.
Do you have anything else you take along in your toolkit when you head out on an adventure? Let us know in the comments.
About the writer...
Currently the Experiential Learning Manager at Youth Inc., the outdoors has always been Ben’s second home. His adventures have taken him to almost every continent in the world. He’s hiked in the United States, mountain biked in Cambodia, 4WD through South Africa, kayaked in Laos, skydived at Uluru, white water rafted in New Zealand and much more. However, nothing beats home where he now gets to live out his passion, bringing young people together for adventure-based learning experiences to help them build a life that is purposeful for them.
Ben is also part of the Snowys staff family, having worked here for a few years as a resident ‘gear guru’. While many say Ben has a poorly developed sense of fear and no idea of the odds against him, he puts his adventures down to the planning and preparation of his gear that he’s bought from Snowys.