Camping 101: What to pack for your first camping experience?

Camping 101: What to pack for your first camping experience?

Heading over to the wilderness for the weekend? Camping is a liberating activity that takes you away from the comforts of your four walled heaven, right into the wilderness. First timers usually over-pack or under-pack for their first camping trip. I know because I did.

I've learnt how to pack for a camping trip on a trial and error basis. Over the years, I've realised the absolute essentials that I use and the luxury EDC's that are optional. This blog post lists down the items that I believe are the absolute essentials based on my experiences in the wild.

Rope - Paracord

Do not go into the wild without a rope! They can be used to hang your wet clothes. as a rescue device, to set up your tent or to tie something up etc. You may ponder upon the size to choose from; for most of my Camping Trips I have carried about 10 metres of a thick cotton rope that I found at a Hardware store in Mumbai and a few metres of paracord. Paracords are said to be heavy Duty and lightweight ropes that is very strong as compared to their weight. A few metres of paracord is a must for any hikes/camps. You can find them here:

Gipsel Sarpa 12mm low stretch rope (recommended)
Vibes 50ft 550 Cord Paracord Parachute Survival Cord


This has to be the most obvious addition to the list. You ain't no Bear Grylls to make your own shelter out in the wild. You have to buy your own tent or rent out one! Tents protect you from wind, rain, insects and the wilderness. While sleeping out in the wild under the stars may sound like a thought right out of a Hollywood movie, it is not a very good idea in real life. You may fall sick because of the moisture that accumulates on your body in the early hours of the morning the next day. Choosing the right tent is a bit tricky, however there are a few factors you should consider when buying one.

You need to know the weather you're buying the tent for. For the Sahydaris, where the monsoons are heavy and the summers are really hot, you should opt for a two layered tent. For the Himalayas where the weather is really cold, you should opt for a tent specially designed for the cold weather. Cold weather tents have thick vestibules and a thick waterproof cover along with a wind resistance of more that 40km/hr winds.

Quechua Arpenaz 2 Tent (2 Person) - Recommended
Coleman Sundome Tents (3 Person)

First Aid Kit

Important! This is not an option, it is a must. Carry a basic first aid box which includes common medicines, band-aids, bandages, antiseptic lotion, sanitiser, cotton etc. You never know when things go wrong on a camping trip and being stuck in an emergency without basic medical supplies is not a good idea. You don't need the cliched metal box with a plus sign on it to store your medical supplies. You can buy a first aid kit off the counter or just buy all the supplies independently and store them in a small waterproof pouch. Be sure to carry some creams for bug bites, antiseptics, pain killers and some antacids.

Top Gear Pre-built Medical Kit


Important again! How else do you light your fire? We've had this one time when we actually forgot to carry something that seems so insignificant. Long story short, the experience wasn't pleasant. While you may think of all the primal methods of lighting a fire with stones and twigs, nothing beats the ease of using a matchstick or even better, a lighter. They are really cheap, though the expensive fancy ones like the stormproof ones are the ones that I generally use. Don't get me wrong, I do like lighters and they are much better in terms of durability and storability but I really like the primal feel that a matches gives. Tuck one of these in your backpack for all your camping trips. You can additionally add a few newspapers in your backpack as a hack to start a fire really quick. P.S. A little Kerosense/Alcohol/Gasoline carried does help too.

Stormproof matches - recommended
Swiss Military Lighter (Best seller on Amazon)

Windproof Jet Flame Lighter (Can melt metal too!)

Tarpaulin Sheet
A tarpaulin sheet can be mainly used for mainly three purposes on a camping trip; as a ground sheet, as an extra rain cover or as a sheet to lie on. Most of the times the rain cover that is provided with the tent doe not suffice. The Tarpaulin sheet can be used along with the tent anchors to build an extra layer of protection on the tent. Incase if it's not the monsoons, you can use it to build an extra layer of comfort beneath your tent. This helps increase the life span of the tent's floor.


You don't want to be stuck in the wild in the dark without a good torch and it is always advised to keep one in your survival pack. You will definitely need this on a camping trip unless you're camping in your apartment. You may want to take a torch which is bright enough to illuminate upto 10 metres with adjustable focus. Waterproof torches are a bonus! There are some camping specific torches available. I'd recommend to invest in a headlight as this keeps your hands free while you're doing a task. I'll list the ones that I have here and where you can buy it from:

Pop-Up Camping Torch/Lantern (Highly Recommended)
Rechargeable 3 Mode Torch 
Rechargeable Head light - Recommended to buy but you can get a better and cheaper one from Decathalon

Army Knife

The cool quotient, this one also features on my other article about hiking essesntials! Multifunctional knives are awesome. While they may or may not be used during a usual trek, they do give you a sense of being well equipped for any hike. One should pray that they may not find the need to use one in a hike, having them in your daypack will keep you at peace. I purchased one made by "Grand Harvest" locally on the streets of Lamington Road in Mumbai. The same product is available online on Amazon. I bought mine for Rs 300/- off the streets and I think 320 for an online reseller is a good deal. Buy it here:

Multifunctional Knife

Duct Tape

Duct tapes are underrated. Period.
Nothing can be as handy as duct tapes when it comes to tears, rips and blisters. Duct tapes can fix broken soles, tears in the bag, waterproofing bags and open ventilated shoes etc. A long piece of duct tape can also be twisted into a strong rope/string if you want to tie something. You can also make loops out of duct tapes to stick other essentials to your backpack. They also help in fixing holes on your tent. Carry one!

48x50mm Duct Tape


While finding dry wood and twigs is not difficult during the summers in India, carrying coal always helps! Wood burns really fast whereas coal burns slow. Adding coal to a fire means you have a sustainable heat for some time. Wood is great for campfires whereas coal is great for cooking. We always carry about a kilogram of coal whenever we go camping. Yes, it's a pain to get them started but once they are ignited, they last for a really long time.

Wet Wipes / Toilet Paper Roll / Tissue Paper

Wiping the dust and grime of your face or completing business after the nature's call, wet wipes have you covered. Wet Wipes work better than tissues as the dust that settles in after a hike, or the soot that your face gathers after sitting next to a campfire is best taken care by a wet towel rather than a dry tissue paper. Wet wipes come in different packaging and quantity. I usually buy a small pack of 10 wipes for a 2 day camping trip. I accompany this with a roll of toilet paper.

Johnson Wet Wipes
Face Tissue (Pack of 10s)

Bug Spray

Another item that is common to my article about hiking essesntialsThe wild is full of creepy crawlies and one must make sure that they are protected against them. You need to apply a good layer of an insect repellent before you do any activity at the campsite and especially before you sleep. An over the counter insect repellent should work but consider your doctor's opinion before using any product. I prefer using anything that comes in a spray bottle rather than a tube reason being the ease of use and applicability. The one's that you could take a look at are:

Budget option
Expensive but a fancy one

Full Clothing

This seems like a no brainer but is not usually followed. Depending on the season you are camping in, you may either choose to go for a full length bottoms or short ones. Full length bottoms are generally preferred throughout all seasons as they protect you against bug bites. Half length bottoms can be worm during the monsoons and summer nights.
I usually prefer to camp in my sleeveless t-shirt during the summers, however I switch to full length uppers during monsoons and winters to shield myself from the cold. One drawback of wearing sleeveless T-shirts is the amount of skin you expose to the happy to feast insects.
In terms of the fabric, I prefer wearing quick dry fabrics dry-fits.

Quechua Women's Pant - Convertible (Highly Recommended)
Quechua Forclaz Men's Pant - Convertible (Highly Recommended)


Hiking 101: Best eatables to carry for a day trek

One day treks have gained popularity in the last few years with many institutions organising treks in Maharashtra. While it may not be as taxing as a  day long Himalayan Trek it is still quite tiring especially for a first timer.

In all the excitement of the impending adventure, one can not underestimate mother nature. Hiking takes you away from your comfort zone, right into the wilderness of nature. While many love this experience, one needs to be well prepared for their first hike.

Eatables is one of the essential stuff you need to pack for your day hike. After all not everyone is Bear Grylss or Ed Stafford to eat anything that you get in the wild. Packing for a day trek needs is an easy task. Eatables to be packed should not be easily perishable and light in weight. This article is written especially for the first time trekkers.


Dates are highly nutritious and one of my favourite items on the list for two reason because it is light weight and because it actually fills you up. It is a wonder food as it's low in cholesterol, high in proteins and rich in vitamins. The only downside to eating too many dates is that it makes you feel thirsty.


Fresh fruits are a favourite amongst many trekkers and rightly so. Trekking can be exhaustive and dehydrating. Fresh fruits have vitamins and a lot of water content that replenishes your body. My personal favourites are Apples, Oranges and Bananas. You can carry them in your backpack or in a separate bag altogether. Be careful when packing fruits like Bananas and Oranges, keep them in a place where they will be in minimal contact with other things and there's no chance that they can get squashed.

Dry Fruits/Trail Mix

Carrying dry fruits is a brilliant way of saving on space and weight in your back and not compromising on the nutritional value. Dry fruits are power packed with energy, proteins and good fats. A trail mix is usually a mix of different dry fruits with some optional chocolates and fruits. It can easily be carried in a zip lock back and can be very handy to eat on a trek.

Dry Cake

Dry cakes are not only a popular snack for most occasions, it's quite a convenient snack to carry on a trek. While it may not boast nutritional values like the other items on this list, it certainly helps lift up your mood during a trek. A bar of ready made dry cake can be easily packed in your day pack. It is very light in weight and does not occupy much space in your bag.

Granola Bars

Granola Bars is the best item on this list in terms of weight to nutritional value ratio. I personally carry Granola bars to all my treks. I consider them as my backup for the food supply. Granola Bars can be home made or can be purchased online or at any general store. They come in different flavors and I prefer the ones by Nature Valley especially Apple cinnamon variant. They are high in energy and will keep you going for long. The only downside to them I feel is that they are very dry and make you feel very thirsty.

Boiled Eggs

If you are a non vegetarian or an eggitarian, boiled eggs are a great source of protein and exactly what you need after you climb the elevation and your muscles are sore. They can be easily carried in a ziplock or a small tiffin. One whole egg packs about 5gms of proteins and is a brilliant food item to replenish your tired body. They can be taken as it is or in sandwiches. That's one food item that can never go wrong!


Who doesn't like sandwiches? They can be consumed as full meal on a trek and is easy to prepare. Vegetarians can opt for sandwiches with a filling of cucumber, lettuce, boiled potatoes or a combination of all. Non-vegetarians can opt for egg or salami sandwiches. I like to carry sandwiches on a trek because they make you feel that you're actually eating something (They are my comfort zone in the wild). The downside of carrying sandwiches is that the shelf life is low and it has to be carried in a tiffin which takes up some space.


Into the Sahyadris: Sudhagad Trek

Sudhagad, also know as Bhorapgad is a hill fort situated in the Sudhagad Wildlife Sanctuary. It is about 110 kms from Mumbai and about 132 kms from Pune. The fort lies in the Raigad district of Maharashtra.

[table color="theme1"]
[row] [col]Location[/col] [col]Lonavala, Maharashtra[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Base Village[/col] [col]Thakurwadi[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Height[/col] [col]1935 ft[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Difficulty Level[/col] [col]2/5[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Duration[/col] [col]2 Hrs[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Season[/col] [col]Monsoon / Summer / Winter[/col] [/row]

[item title="History"]
The fort is said to be as ancient as the Thanale Caves and Khadsamble caves nearby, which dates back to the 2nd century BC. Prior to it's capture by the Marathas in 1657, the fort was called Bhopargad. The Marathas renamed the fort to "Sudhagad" meaning "The sweet one". Sudhagad is a large fort and was considered by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj to be the capital of his kingdom but he chose Raigad because of geographic reasons.

During the Peshwa rule, the ‘Pantsachivas’ of Bhor became the custodians of this fort. After the annexation of princely states in 1950 the fort became patron less. Hence the fort is in a state of ruins, even though it was never captured by the Britishers.

[item title="How to reach"]
By car
By Public Transport

[item title="The trek"]
By car
By Public Transport

[item title="Important things to note"]
Things to carry



In the woods

He was in his elements in the woods.
The birds, the occasional chirps never made him feel alone.
The feeling of touching upon a square of Earth that no one else has stepped on, gave him a high, better than any other high.

For in this moment, there was no one who could hurt him. Even himself.
It's true, loneliness felt intimidating but here it was liberating.
He could hear every leaf rustle. A Melody his heart would beg to listen every week-day.

He could hear his heart beat too, a reminder that it'd beat for eons, should he stay still.
A sight before his eyes which only he could see in this brief passage of time.
Ubiquitous, like an eye in the sky. 
He wondered if anyone could feel what he felt at this moment.