Select Page

With spring right around the corner, we outdoors enthusiasts—those of us up here in the frigid Northeast, anyway—are eagerly anticipating warmer days. Hiking, fishing, getting away from the noise of everyday life, connecting with nature. Back to basics.

One activity that often encompasses all those things is camping. It’s a starting point for endless adventure.

One of the biggest keys to a fun and fulfilling camping trip is preparation. The Internet is full of camping hacks and tips, the majority of which are of the more traditional, common-sense variety: food, sleeping bag, tent, fire-making utensils, bug repellent, etc.

Here are five of mine that are hopefully a bit outside the box…


This may seem like the antithesis to getting away from it all and connecting with nature, but the truth is we still live in a technological world, and technology can be a lifesaver. So why not use it? And I’m talking about simple things like the Dakota Lithium 10ah Powerbox or the 60ah Powerbox. Both are lightweight but pack a punch in terms of power.

The 10ah Powerbox has two USB charging ports, a 12v power port, binder posts, and a powerful LED flashlight. More importantly, a fully-charged lithium battery has enough juice to last an extended period of time compared to traditional batteries.

If you want something more robust, the 60ah Powerbox includes a 60ah starter battery suitable for all manner of charging, including jumping car batteries (jumper cables included). With it comes a Multifunction 300-watt Power Inverter (DC 12v to AC 110v) that boasts four USB charging ports and two AC wall plugs, suitable for powering small fans, coffee pots, small electric grills, and more.

So while one may want to get away from the hustle and bustle of that aforementioned technological world, something like a battery box can greatly enhance reconnecting with nature. Powering a CPAP machine, for instance, ensuring everyone gets a good night’s sleep, free of Uncle Bob’s snoring.


We all have coolers. Many work well, many more have no business being called a cooler. Some surpass all, like the Orion Cooler, which can hold ice for days. But ice melts in all coolers, some slowly, some fast. And while an Orion Cooler will keep melted ice very cold for even longer, it’s not an ideal place for wrapped or sealed food, as too often it is not sealed well enough to keep the water out.

A good alternative is to freeze gallon jugs or smaller bottles of water.

These jugs and bottles of ice melt slower and become cold drinking water, a godsend on hot summer days. The only moisture you’ll find in the cooler is condensation, which will not turn your food into a soggy mess. Freezing pre-cooked meals will also help keep everything nice and cold inside your cooler .

An Orion Cooler also seconds as a convenient seat. Add an Orion HandiBak and Cooler Pad for added comfort!


If you’re camping at a more off-the-grid location and not at a campground or RV park, totes are ideal for storing your gear necessary to set up your camp. Over the course of your trip, these totes can be used to store food, firewood, and clothing.

If you’re staying at a carry-in campsite or just heading off into the woods, a camp wagon is ideal for transporting your totes—and any other gear or heavy items you may have—to and from your campsite. Dollies and hand trucks can also work. Obviously the rougher the terrain, the less useful and sensible these would be, but in the right conditions they can alleviate a lot back-breaking work.


Unless you’re the antagonists in ZZ Top’s 1985 hit single “Sleeping Bag,” slipping inside your sleeping bag is annoying. Sleeping bag material is made to be soft on the skin and breathable. Tents are constructed of similar material. Placing one on top of the other can create a slippery situation, as anyone who’s ever camped on uneven ground can attest to. You go to sleep on one side of the tent and wake up on the other, having slowly slid from one end to the other during the night.

While built on a firm, sturdy frame, cots are often wrapped in equally slippery-smooth material. Air mattresses as well.

A good way to keep these surfaces from sliding is to put something in between them, and rubber shelf liner is the ticket. You can buy rolls of this non-adhesive gripping material at any hardware store. Even the dollar store…


The dollar store may have a reputation of selling low-quality goods because the prices are cheap, but that’s not always the case. When stocking up for a camping trip, don’t overlook the local Dollar Tree or Dollar General. For a small amount of money, you can walk away with everything from toiletries, plastic utensils, snacks, small batteries, and much more.

Beyond the basics, you can find some unique ways to put other items to good use…

Fire outside a fire pit can be dangerous, so for some additional, unobtrusive light inside your tent and around your campsite, grab some LED tea-lights or string lights, or solar-powered stake lights. And if you have small children with you, you can grab some battery-powered lamps in all manner of shapes: dog, cat, flamingo, pineapple.

Dollar stores have cheap tools, pots and pans, matches, storage totes, rubber shelf liner…the dollar-store options are virtually endless. And of course very budget friendly. Never a bad thing.

Enjoy your next adventure!

Ken Wood has been competing in kayak bass fishing tournaments for sixteen years. He is the founder of Massachusetts Kayak Bassin’, as well as the co-founder of the Elite Kayak Fishing tournament series.

He is partnered with Jackson Kayak, Three Belles Outfitters, Dakota Lithium, YakAttack, Rocky Ledge Tackle, and Yakrods.

You can follow Ken on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.