Okay, so you’ve got all your camping basics covered (as seen here: http://forum.campfiretails.org/2012-carpooling-gear-exchange/cft’s-big-old-list-of-camping-supplies-to-bring!/- if you haven’t read it yet, go read it now!). But, what other things might you want to bring, that are not essential, but instead FUN? This post is my collection of resources, aimed specifically at those of you who want to go the extra mile, get involved, set up theme camps, create and participate! How can we truly “Keep Furry Weird”? Here are some of my ideas…
(And just to note, I’m not staff nor speaking on behalf of CFT officially - but these are tried and true tips, from my own past experiences with attending a variety of outdoor festivals!)
A sturdy camp tent to sleep in and store your belongings away from bugs/critter is, of course, essential - be sure you have that taken care of first. But once you do, then you can start thinking about making additional covered or enclosed spaces, where you might hold a class or event, set up an art project, party, or just hang out!
Tarps. If your budget doesn’t allow for a structured shelter (like the Carports/Canopies and Monkey Huts discussed in the main gear thread), fear not… all you really need to make creative shelters, especially when tree trunks are available, are tarps and rope! http://www.ddhammocks.com/tips/tarp-tutorial has a great overview of different ways to do this, with or without the addition of poles. You will also need ground stakes in most cases; as mentioned in the main gear thread, it’s best to get the “heavy duty” kind so your shelter can stand up to the wind.
Sheets & Tapestries. These are great to have in addition to tarps, and come in all sorts of neat designs - check your local thrift shops for good deals. They aren’t waterproof, of course, but can be used in all sorts of creative ways, like adding an extra shade layer to your tent, adding “walls” to a canopy or even just between trees for decoration or a little extra privacy.
Miltary Camo Netting. Moderately priced, depending on the size, but this stuff is great for decorating, adding walls to your canopy or campsite while still allowing you to see out and get lots of cooling airflow.
Hammocks. 'nuff said. ;D
A Note of Caution: FLAG YOUR LINES! If you’ll be using any line or rope at a level where people can trip on them or run into them, be sure to FLAG them so they are easy to see and avoid! I’ll have several colors of neon flagging tape with me for this purpose; you can also use glowsticks or LED lights, or strips of shiny materials like foil or mylar.
So you’ve got your standard, trusty camp flashlight - good! You might even want to bring two, and extra batteries, just in case you lose the first one, or a friend needs one. A favorite of mine are the battery-powered combination flashlight/glowsticks, available at most hardware stores for about $5. Camp lanterns, whether gas or battery powered, are great if you have them. But, what other options are there to light things up at night?
ELwire! Great for camp decorations, art projects, or adding to clothes and costumes. As mentioned above; google “electroluminescent wire” for info and dozens of online resources.
Battery-Operated LED Lights. All sorts of different styles are available, but my favorites are: LED xmas light strings and LED votive candles. These are great to put in/on your shelter, trees, tents… as well as costumes… and to mark out obstacles and paths.
Solar-Powered LED Lights. These are even more convenient for camp lighting, if you get the kind that automatically charge during the day, and turn on/off at dusk/dawn. My personal favorites are Solar LED Path Lights, Hanging Solar Lanterns & Solar LED xmas light strands.
Other Camp Decorations
All sorts of porch/garden decorations can personalize and add color to your camp: just a few ideas include wind chimes and bells, flags, signs and banners, sun catchers, wind socks, and other wind-powered spinner/pinwheel types of things. It’s little touches like this that can turn an ordinary campsite into a work of art!
While premade decorations/etc. are certainly fine, home-made items can be even better: spare fabric or paper can be made into unique flags and signs, shells or tin can lids strung into custom wind chimes, and so on. The same goes for musical instruments: just because you don’t have an expensive professionally-made piece doesn’t mean you can’t join in the fun. Something as simple as an empty bucket and wooden spoon can turn into a great drum, for instance! Really, the only limit here is your imagination.
Fun Clothing Ideas
Sure, everybody brings jeans and t-shirts on a camping trip. And they’re good to have when it’s time to get down to the business of setup and teardown! But what else can you bring to make your time in the desert more comfortable and fun?
Robes! I just love robes. Light flowy cotton robes are great for the day time, hanging around camp or on the way to/from the creek. In general, anything loose and flowy is most comfortable for the day: think silk PJs, sarongs (for guys and girls!), skirts, board shorts or yoga pants, etc. These all let your skin breathe, while keeping it covered enough to help avoid sunburn and heatstroke.
Warm, fuzzy type robes are also convenient to throw on over your clothes when night falls, so you can keep cozy even when the party is out of range from a campfire. Various kinds of capes, shawls, scarfs and coats all work great to layer yourself up, too.
Fursuits are another option if you have them. While it would not be a good idea to wear in the heat of the day, fursuits will definitely keep you warm at night! Also, fursuit pieces can make great accessories: big fuzzy paws, for example, can make excellent warm gloves for night time!
Hats! Wide-brimmed, with light material, Big-Assed Straw Hats™ and the like are great to keep the sun off your head and shoulders. For night, beanies and fleece/faux-fur hats (especially furry or animal-themed ones!) are awesome.
Make Water Easy & Fun!
In the desert, it’s important not just that you drink more water, but also that you drink more frequently. This means you should plan to always carry water with you, day and night. (Remember that it is just as important to stay hydrated at night - even moreso if you’re imbibing any alcoholic beverages.)
One good way to accomplish this is to make your water-carrying container fun, comfortable to wear, and maybe even a part of your costume - the idea being that then you will be more likely to take it with you! This might mean attaching a fuzzy strap to your canteen, stickers or googly eyes to your water bottle, a tail or wings to your camelback - use your imagination! Or if you’re simply more the utilitarian type, that’s okay too: a basic carabiner and/or cotton scarf attached to a loop on your bottle can easily be clipped to your belt or slung over your shoulder, so you can have water with you comfortably and hands-free anywhere you go.
In addition to your personal water bottle, it’s also a good idea to bring an extra gallon jug to fill with water and keep at your campsite. This makes quick work of refilling smaller bottles (especially in the middle of the night), washing hands, cooling off, etc.
Lastly, I highly recommend bringing a handheld spray bottle or mister (in addition to your water guns and other water toys). During the heat of the day in the desert, nothing beats a nice breeze and a cool mist.
The floor is yours - feel free to ask questions, and add your own ideas for extra/fun things to bring.
[Edit: added DIY section, fixed some typos and wordings, etc.]