Several Dad’s Advice on What to Bring Camping

Collage of individual illustrations of dads on a camping trip. There are dads in sleeping bags, decked out with caping gear, holding beers, and even a raccoon.

All Terrain Edition

Illustrated by Alex Balosie

The Whalebone R&D team went through an extensive amount of research to compile the definitive list of the most necessary three items you might need while camping, in any and all terrain. But halfway through the research phase, which was long and arduous, the team realized we had not consulted the firsthand source—and ultimate reference when it comes to gear in any situation: Dads.

With this shaking realization, the team quickly texted our dads and other dad-like humans to pose the question to them. And then of course, instead of texting us back they gave us a ring and asked, “What is this for? Why are you camping? What would the weather be like? Do you want me to ask your mom as well?” To which we said, “Dad, it’s something we’re doing for work and could you please just help us out.” And then they said things like, “What is your job again? What does camping have to do with a magazine? You should have been a lawyer.” Don’t worry, we filled them in and they eventually texted us some ideas. The answers came back in varying degrees of practicality, so take their advice lightly. Superlatives below. 

Most Practical:

Matches, Flashlight, Dry socks

Mr. Congenial:

  • Water
  • Beer
  • A friend

Most Classic Dad:

  • Not my wife
  • Electrolyte or water flavor packets
  • Bug spray

Most Precise:

  • Shelter
  • Fire-starting device
  • Consumable food

Most Beer:


Least Likely to Survive in Case of Emergency but will be Happy:

  • Ice
  • Gin
  • Linguini with clam sauce

Here for a Good Time, not a Long Time:

  • Acoustic bass
  • iPhone
  • Sleeping bag

Second Most Practical:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Tent
  • Beer

Valedictorian Bear Grylls Award:

  • Wicking clothing
  • Water
  • Walking stick
  • Flashlight
  • Handkerchief
  • Leatherman Free P2 (includes knife and scissors)
  • Good shoes
  • Nice hat
  • Small caliber handgun

Survivor Man:

  • Canned pork and beans
  • Flashlight
  • Matches