Everyday Carry

5 Tips for Your Next Weekend Camping Trip

presented by Leatherman

Everyday Carry
5 Tips for Your Next Weekend Camping Trip

If staying focused at work is getting harder and harder these days, we don't blame you. It is summertime, after all. And when it's looking so nice out, you can't help but want to leave those e-mails unread, stretch your legs, and get out there.

We can't think of a better way to do that than by going camping. Just imagine: you and your best buds, all geared up, taking in everything nature has to offer. Finally, a chance to relax and recharge.

Better yet, it's a great opportunity to use your favorite EDC gear or a reason to pick up something new. If you've been meaning to put together an outdoors kit, it can be tempting to keep collecting gear until you have this huge, expansive, all-bases-covered loadout. But for weekends away and casual camping excursions, you'd probably be better off with a setup that's easier to carry and still able to get the job done.

Your New Outdoor Companion

The multi-tool experts at Leatherman recently released a new tool designed specifically for that purpose: the Signal. It's another entry in their line-up of full-sized plier-based tools, packing a total of 19 functions in a DLC-coated stainless steel frame that won't weigh you down.

With the inclusion of a saw, combo-edge blade, can opener, and hammer, the Signal makes for a suitable companion for your outdoor adventures. It even includes some last-ditch survival features too, like a ferro rod firestarter and safety whistle.

And in true Leatherman fashion, it's got a complement of features for day-to-day utility: pliers, 154CM steel wirecutters, bit drivers, wrenches, a bottle opener, a carabiner, and a pocket clip. You can check it out in full detail at the link below.

Learn More

So You Want to Go Camping…

Remember, it's not always enough to just have the right gear. You've got to know how to use it, too.

If you're new to camping or don't do it as much as you'd like, it can be intimidating to get set up properly. So grab your gear, and we'll cover the rest. Here are a few things you'll want to keep in mind before you go camping that'll really save you some headache and stress.

1. Pitch a Tent the Right Way for an Amazing Night's Sleep

Before you set up your tent, pick a spot that's flat and clear of roots or debris. You'll be doing your back a huge favor, and it'll keep your tent from tearing on something sharp.

Next, lay down ground tarp to keep the moisture out, and secure those stakes deep into the ground. It's a small but important step, and the hammer end on the Signal is especially handy for this.

2. How to Start a Fire Without a Lighter or Matches

Matches can get wet, and lighters run out of fuel eventually. Here's how to do it with just a ferro rod firestarter, like the one on the Signal. First, gather some tinder, a material that can catch a spark and ignite, like some nearby dry grass or birch bark (as a backup, you can bring a few cotton balls along).

Get a firm grip on your ferrocerium rod in one hand and a striker in the other. Use deliberate strokes to scrape sparks off the rod, and don't rush it. Repeat until your tinder catches, build the fire by adding your kindling (small twigs, bark, etc.) to it, then bask in the triumphant glory of your new flame.

3. Use the Right Tool for the Job

Use your knife for slicing, saw for paring down wood, and a proper screwdriver for turning screws (and light prying if you must)—not your knife tip.

It might seem obvious, but it's worth emphasizing: treat your tools well, and they'll serve you well in return. When you're out camping, you have to make do with the limited tools you have with you, so it's important to keep them in top shape. The Signal has plenty of tools optimized for specific outdoors purposes for this reason.

We don't mean to baby your gear, just don't abuse them so they'll work reliably if you ever find yourself in a pinch. If you do happen to dull your blade, the Signal has its own knife sharpener to get it back to working condition.

4. The Ingredients of an Incredible Campfire Cookout

You'll want a hearty meal you can cook up with limited refrigeration and an open fire—we suggest canned foods and cured meats for this. If you’re bringing a cooler, pick up a block of dry ice to keep perishable foods nice and fresh.

Leave the kitchen utensils at home, your EDC blade and a can opener (like the one in your multitool) are really all you need to get a meal ready.

Pro tip: pre-cut any vegetables and meats at home and store them in a resealable bag. This way you're spending more time eating and less time prepping.

5. Have Fun, Be Safe!

Pay close attention to the wildlife near your campsite too. The last thing you want is an hungry bear crashing through camp, a raccoon making off with your bacon, or a deer rummaging through your vegetables.

If possible, set up your camp kitchen at least 100 feet away from where you’re sleeping. If you’re car camping, store garbage and food right in your car (but remember to close the windows!). Not near your vehicle? Rig up a bear bag with a duffel bag and some paracord. Throw your food inside, sling the line over a tree branch and make sure to hoist it at least 10 feet off the ground and four feet from the trunk of the tree.

Now you're all set up to do what you love, whether it's hiking, fishing, or cooking and eating. Just be sure to stay prepared with the right gear and surrounded by your favorite company. Happy camping.

What's your favorite camping memory? Whether it's why you love to get outdoors, some sage advice for camping newbies, or your best campground experience, we'd love to know in the comments section below!

This is a sponsored post presented by Leatherman.

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Discussion (13 total)

Bill ·
Did article mention widow makers when setting up tent or campsite? Lots more deaths from falling trees and limbs than from bears.
I'm a big Leatherman fan and have ownd a few of their multitools for decades, and like the general idea of their Signal model featured here. However, given its intended outdoor use, I fail to understand why its available only with an easy-to-lose black finish. I'd like to see a high-visibility safety orange or chrome yellow option.
Iam Greyman ·
Agreed. I can't remember how many I've set down mid skinning to snatch up the shotgun for another shot and never found them again. Hence the blaze orange slings on all my hunting firearms now.
White Knight ·
Interesting article, and some good tips along the way. The Signal ticks a lot of boxes, especially the 'specialisation' of camping tools eg ferro rod, hammer etc. Nice to see the inclusion of what looks like a decent saw, but surprised they saw (sorry) fit to include one on the rear of the main knife blade.
I'd much rather have a full blade on there, especially if I was using the thick end of the blade for making a pot hanger or the like.
Useful tip on looking after the tool, and that there's a sharpener included. Leaving the blade stuck in a tree won't do it much good, however butch it looks ;)
When preparing a fire, I concur that dry grass (crushed / rubbed in your hands to remove all moisture and create more surface area) will usually work. A tampon is excellent tinder as you can scrape off bits as you go along. My bud managed to ignite over 20 fires from just one.
Fires tend not to be successful when the tinder is good but there is insufficient detail spent on adequate kindling. Have next to you three prepared piles of kindling, starting with thin twiglets, then pencil thick, then around an inch thick, all as dry as possible. Then when your tinder takes light you won't be running round like a headless chicken as it goes out on you. Site your fire in a carefully chosen spot, at least one big step from where you are sitting / sleeping, and if possible lay a fire bed of dry logs on which to place your tinder. This will keep it off the ground and also allow air to circulate.
I do like experimenting with differing methods of lighting, including drills, ferro, feathersticks, and flint.
Making fire in the rain is a challenge too.
Please ensure you put the fire out thoroughly, as heat can get into the ground and can combust days afterwards. Water the fire out completely, then get your hands mixing in the slurry until it's cool.
That actually helps to clean your pots and your hands too.
Feel free to ask any questions, and have fun.
The feeling you get once the fire has taken is elemental...
my dear Watson ;)
Alex Phillips ·
This was just a commercial for the Leatherman...
Valerie Deandra Schultz ·
Excellent article
Matt Magnum ·
What's that timepiece?
Bernard Capulong ·
It's the Field Navigator from Huckberry
Bruno ·
I can't recall any fun camping memories from the East Coast of N. America where I've usually done my trips. Saw a lot of neat stuff, but no real unusual incidents (or mishaps, either). Never been in any trouble. But I've been in mountains, woodlands, glaciers, lakes, and jungles all around the rest of the world and witnessed far more bizarreness. But gee whiz thanks to TSA I never had any gear with me that might've helped. No helpful EDC items at all. None whatsoever. That's what happens. When you're travelling, it's no time to try to re-stock your EDC from merchant's stalls selling junk in a vendor's alley or tourist-trap somewhere. All you'll get is cheap plastic knock-offs. So I always just winged it. Waylaid by dang bandits once, on a cliff road in China once. Sheesh. Threaten them with Chapstick? Nope. I did not.

Anyway, for camping in the Northeast USA I'm a firm follower of the legendary George W. Sears (aka, 'Nessmuk').

His tiny manual on wilderness trekking ('Woodcraft & Camping', written in the 1880s) is still the best. Sears was against taking lots of supplies into the woods. To his way of thinking, fussing with conveniences and gear, interferes with the enjoyment of the trip. It's usually not necessary to overload a kit bag. So other than his rifle, all he took was a simple backpack with some tea, cofffee, sugar, etc. He had fish-hooks and line. With just this, he would typically stay out there two weeks on his own.

Most important item in his pack: a hand-axe. Much more useful than any knife, for setting up a camp and building a fire. An axe makes quick work of all the limb-felling and limb-trimming you need to do. The EDC team should do a feature on all the new hand-axes which are out there nowadays. They're very clever and versatile in design and materials.

This Leatherman (Signal multi-tool) looks pretty good though, wouldn't mind owning one.

No, never store food or food waste in or near your vehicle! A bear will still smell it and peel open your car like it was made of tissue cardboard, always use a bear bag. Raccoons are smarter than you are, so use the smallest line you can and suspend the bag 12-15' off the ground and away from things that a bear or raccoon could climb to reach it. Trust me. I'm not a Guide, nor do I play one on tv, but I've spent a lot of time in the woods and seen what critters will do to get at your food waste.
Nate Lussier ·
Does the Signal have basic screw driver functions, i didnt notice them in the video
Taylor ·
Yes, a flathead and a philips that can be flipped. You can see them in the last photo, very top, as the black bit.
Ed Jelley ·
They utilize the leatherman flat bits, they're swappable and there's a kit you can buy with tons of allen keys, torx, and various screwdriver bits. I absolutely love the kit, it's come in handy around the house countless times. The Signal has a flip out bit holder next to the can opener and awl that locks into place.