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11 Essentials to Pack for a Smarter Camping Trip

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Before you trek into the wilderness for the weekend, load up everything you’ll need to make your campsite as comfortable as home.

1. Axe

If you need to split firewood or clear a campsite, you’ll feel like Paul Bunyan after just a few swings. This important tool has been essential for ages—the ancient Egyptians even had a hieroglyphic for it.

2. Tent

At best, a tent is a comfortable home-away-from-home. At worst, it’s just shelter, which is still pretty good. Toss in a rubber mallet to help with driving in the stakes so your temporary home won’t blow away.

3. Backpack

You won’t regret having a good pack. You don’t have to take our word for it—Ötzi the Iceman, a naturally preserved mummy from 3,300 B.C.E. found in the Italian Alps, will attest to that fact as well. Scientists believe he was carrying a rudimentary backpack.

4. Canteen

Stay hydrated with a good canteen or camping water bottle. The easy-to-drink spout is not a new invention—ancient tribes would make their own by poking holes in ostrich eggshells.

5. Cast iron skillet

The workhorse of the outdoorsman’s kitchen. Besides being durable, cast iron skillets may have other benefits; they’ve been known to add dietary iron to food.

6. Pocket knife

Though called a “pocket” knife, campers will tell you these tools spend far more time in use than in storage. The Swiss army’s iconic knife first came into use in the late 19th century when soldiers switched to a rifle that required a screwdriver for disassembly, and it’s no less useful on a modern campsite.

7. Tarp

If you want to pack a versatile piece of gear, the choice is easy. A tarp can be almost anything: a floor, a roof, a dining room table, you name it. It can also be a “hootch” (Australian slang for “tarp”).

8. Sleeping bag

A definite must for any camping trip, sleeping bags can be the difference between restful slumber and an unpleasantly chilly night. The first version of the sleeping bag was called the “Euklisia Rug,” and it was patented in 1896.

9. Flashlight

Flashlights get their name from the finicky old batteries used in early versions in the late 19th century. The batteries were weak, so the devices would only work in flashes.

10. Lantern

A natural back-up for your flashlight. Early Chinese lanterns were perhaps the most eco-friendly—they’d catch fireflies in clear containers.

11. Waterproof Matches

You can buy them, or make them yourself in a pinch. Just light a candle and dip match heads in the melted wax. Once it’s dry, it will protect the match from inclement weather. Just scrape away the wax when you’re ready to use it.

Whatever adventure you’re embarking on, make sure you’ve packed the right gear. To learn more about the new Mercedes-Benz GLA and see what some of your favorite celebrities pack for their own excursions, visit

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11 Essentials to Pack for a Smarter Diving Excursion
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Before you jump overboard and start exploring the depths, make sure you’ve packed all the right gear.

1. Mask and Snorkel

They may not be advanced equipment, but they’re often the best for underwater exploration. They’ve certainly stood the test of time - snorkeling is such an old hobby, even Aristotle wrote about it.

2. Wetsuit and Compensator Vest

A wetsuit does more than keep you warm - it also gives a diver added buoyancy. This is why you’ll need to pair it with the weighted vest.

3. SCUBA Gear

Regulator, octopus, depth gauge, tank-pressure gauge — if you’re a licensed diver, you’ll know what all these things are and how to use them. You’ll also know that SCUBA is an acronym, meaning “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.”

4. Dive knife

These blades aren’t just for show — they can help you out of many submerged binds like fishing lines or nets. These knives are stainless steel to prevent corrosion, but you should still clean and remove any film after a dive.

5. International Medical Emergency Plan

The best diving is often in exotic locales, so prepare for whatever comes your way. You hopefully won’t need a rescue, but people who are saved by air evacuation have the Serbian Air Force to thank — they performed the first-ever medevac operation in 1915.

6. Underwater camera

Memories are great, but a picture of an incredible eel is even better. Find out how deep you’ll be going and invest in a camera that can handle it. Soon, you’ll be a regular William Thompson (the first person to ever take a photograph underwater, in 1856).

7. Dive Log

This is essential to keep track of your dives. The sea is a vast and confusing place — so make sure to record all of your adventures.

8. Underwater Light

You’ll be plunging to where the sun barely shines, so there’s a chance you’ll need some illumination. Modern lights use LEDs and are extremely durable and long-lasting, something that will come in handy if you venture below the dark zone where sunlight stops penetrating, usually around 200 meters deep.

9. Dive Repair Kit

If your gear breaks, don’t let it ruin your trip. A good repair kit will help you seal, patch, and repair any minor damage your equipment suffers.

10. Waterproof Case

Keep your valuables dry and safe with a good waterproof case. You can even bring your smartphone with you and use one of the many dive log apps — but maybe it’s smarter to take this time to enjoy life away from your phone.

11. Sunscreen

It may be dark once you start diving, but open water equals lots of sun. Dermatologists recommend you use one ounce, or enough to fill a shot glass, to cover your entire body.

Whatever adventure you’re embarking on, make sure you’ve packed the right gear. To learn more about the new Mercedes-Benz GLA and see what some of your favorite celebrities pack for their own excursions, visit

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11 Essentials to Pack for a Smarter Weekend Getaway
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Slipping out of the office a little early on Friday for a weekend of fun? Load up with this essential gear, and you’re halfway to having the best weekend ever.

1. Weekend Luggage

The best thing about a weekend bag is its inherent limitations. There’s no need to worry about overpacking, and wheels won’t be necessary. Astonishingly, wheeled baggage is a very recent invention — the first patent for a suitcase with wheels was filed in 1972.

2. Book

A weekend trip is too short to demand the endless selection of an e-reader, so just bring that book you’ve been meaning to read. For the sake of saving space, maybe leave the Proust at home, though. His Remembrance of Things Past holds the world record for longest novel ever.

3. Swimsuit

No matter what, bring a swimsuit. Even if you don’t think you’ll plan on taking a dip, you’re always bound to change your mind. And be thankful that swimsuit technology has improved – as recently as the 19th century, men bathed in the buff while women hit the beach in loose flannel dresses with baggy flannel pants underneath.

4. Versatile Clothing

Don’t pack too much, but don’t be caught off guard if you’re invited to a formal dinner. Think of it as going Roman — most citizens of ancient Rome wore tunics no matter what the occasion.

5. Camera

Sure, your phone has a camera, but once you take that out you’ll be tempted to check your email, texts, the weather, and your stocks. Before you know it, the weekend’s over. Instead, invest in an inexpensive camera to snap impromptu shots without the temptation. Inventors recently came up with the world’s cheapest camera, made almost entirely out of cardboard.

6. Notepad

You’re bound to make some amazing discoveries, so why not keep a notepad handy to keep track? It’ll also help with basic to-do lists, a favorite productivity and memory trick of Thomas Edison.

7. Gym Shoes

Getting active on a short trip can actually make it seem longer. Pack some sporty kicks and see where they take you — as long as it’s not an ultramarathon. These extreme tests of endurance can take as long as 10 days, which would eat up both this weekend and the next.

8. Stamps

Sure, you’ll probably be back home before your postcards arrive, but everyone loves getting one in the mail. Postage stamps seem like they may be going extinct, but they’ve had a decent run. The modern postage stamp made its debut in England in 1680 thanks to merchants William Dockwra and Robert Murray, who created a system that would deliver letters around London for just a penny.

9. Rain Gear

Not to be a downer, but there’s always a chance for inclement weather. Still, it could be worse, so give thanks to Charles Macintosh, a Scottish chemist who invented waterproof fabrics and the modern raincoat.

10. Sunglasses

But then again, it might be gorgeous all weekend, so bring some shades. People have been wearing sunglasses longer than you think — scientists discovered walrus ivory glasses with protective slits dating back to 1200, worn by Inuit people to block out the sun.

11. Playing Cards

Not only will they offer a fun diversion, cutting a deck and playing high card can help you make quick decisions — no one wants to spend their entire weekend arguing about where to go eat. A deck of cards can also serve as a history lesson, as each suited face card was originally based on a real person (the King of diamonds, for example, is Julius Caesar).

Whatever adventure you’re embarking on, make sure you’ve packed the right gear. To learn more about the new Mercedes-Benz GLA and see what some of your favorite celebrities pack for their own excursions, visit


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