Depends. If you're actually camping (fire, all that) you'll find a few things indispensable. I'll make a list of ten things I never leave without, and you can decide how many will be useful.
1. A hatchet. Good for pounding in tent stakes, getting firewood, marshmallow sticks, and other heavy chopping.
2. Pocketknife. There's all sorts of things that need to be cut at a campsite, and what you can't cut with a hatchet, you'll want to cut with a knife. They're also nice for making walking sticks. don't get a leatherman type thing, they're more trouble then they're worth. I have a SOG Twitch II, and it's served me very well.
3. Parachute string. basically really strong nylon twine. It's good for hanging towels on, and hoisting food up into trees so animals don't get at it. Also, you never know when you need string.
4. Gatorade powder (just add water). You don't know what kind of water the campsite you're on will have. The powder won't make it any cleaner, but it will make it taste a lot better. I just realized that this was a vital item a few years ago, and it has made camping so much better for me. If you bring nothing else, pack this.
5. A good cooler/water bottle. Again, water is very important, it's probably going to be hot where you are, and you'll want cold water. That cuts out nalgenes, no matter how trendy they are. Get something insulated. This also means you'll need to find out where to get ice. Most campsites have places where you can buy it for cheap.
6. Flashlight. You ever try to find the toilet at night when the power's out at your house? Imagine that but with bears. You'll want a flashlight. I use a Maglite, with an incandescent bulb (some people swear by LEDs, but i don't think it lights stuff as well. I know it's technically brighter, but it's a blue light, and it's h ard to see with)
7. Food/pots and pans) You wouldn't think this would be important, but you don't want to eat coldcuts all the time. Bring some stuff you can cook. (hot dogs, pasta, pancake mix, eggs) as well as breads. You won't be able to find much on a campsite. Mostly gas station food, and that's only sometimes.
8. A good pillow. It doesn't entirely make up for the fact that you're sleeping on the ground, but comfort goes a long way towards being able to wake up and have fun the next day.
9. Extra towel. You don't know what's going to happen between the two times you go swimming. An extra towel is a good idea.
10. Bear mace. Just kidding. Bears are more afraid of you than you are of them. And if they're not, there isn't much you can do about it. have fun.
-edit- oh yeah, and matches. Get strike anywhere matches if you can, so if the box gets damp you can still use them.
Edited by zaphodB, 25 June 2008 - 08:29 AM.