When it comes to Christian camping, most of what you'll need is common sense - some place to sleep, some things to cook with, something to eat from, etc. However, there are some everyday items which will make your trip much easier and more enjoyable - things you don't need, but shouldn't be without. What follows is our list of OPTIONAL ESSENTIALS!
A backpack or hip-pack: It's always better to have your hands free, out on the trail.
A serrated knife: Skip the go-go-gadget Swiss Army knife. All you really need is a sharp blade with a serrated edge. It slices more easily and cleanly, and stays sharp longer.
A good pair of scissors: Surprisingly, these come in handy more often than you might think. It seems something is always in need of proper cutting around a camp.
An extra tarp: Tarps are inexpensive and versatile additions to your campsite. They can be used to cover supplies in case of rain, as tent foot prints, or can be strung up for shade on sunny days.
A good length of rope: Twenty-five, at least, preferably of high quality synthetic materials. This can be used for tent / tarp setup, as a clothesline, or for hoisting food into trees when appropriate.
A "quick boil" camp stove: These are stoves that are designed mostly for one purpose - to boil water as quickly as possible, which comes in handy for everything from coffee in the morning to making just-add-water meals to cleaning the dishes.
Fire-starters: Whether waxed incense or simple newspaper, fire-starters are a blessing when you're too tired to mess around with damp wood or little kindling.
Toilet paper: When you need it, it's never there, so keep a roll in your pack for emergencies, including use as tissue or as a fire-starter. This is an old traveler's trick which has worked wonders around the world.
Hand sanitizer: Your hands may be dirty, but at least they won't be full of germs. Alcohol-based no-wash gel is your best bet in a pinch.
Water jugs: Easy to fill for drinking, can be used as a table lantern in conjunction with a flashlight, excellent for putting out fires.
Rubber-soled slippers: Give your feet a break and get comfortable! Slippers are an amazing treat after a long hike, and the rubber soles will keep your feet safe and dry.
Candles: Perfect for lighting your campsite after dark, and some keep bugs away!
Headlamps: Forget the flashlight - these devices may look better-suited to subterrannean exploration, but they're incredibly convenient and great for reading at right, doing the dishes in the dark, and generally keeping your hands free.
Pie Irons: These ingenious cast-iron contraptions allow you to make hot sandwiches filled with anything you choose, from pizza sauce and cheese to apples and cinnamon. Don't forget the butter on the outside of your bread so you can pop these toasted morsels out!
Air Mattresses: Unless you're going backpacking, take the plunge and get yourself a nice air mattress - not the ones that are an inch thick, but the ones that are six inches thick. You'll sleep better and your back will thank you.
Cloth Sleeping Bags: These cotton sleeping sacks are perfect in any season - great by themselves in the summertime, or pop it into your regular sleeping bag in the winter time to put some "sheets" under your "covers".
Camp chairs: They're worth it.
S'more stuff: A camping staple - graham crackers, chocolate, and toasted marshmallows add something to every good camping trip.
Musical instruments: Harmonicas, hand drums, backpacker guitars...a musical instrument is the perfect complement to nights next to a cozy campfire.
Any or all of these items will greatly augment your youth group or men's ministry camping experience. Keep them in mind to help keep your trip happy and joyful as you commune with nature in the service of fellowship and togetherness in God's love.
For the basics of camping supplies, please see Camping Supply List.