This is a list of the favorite things I brought that definitely made our camp out easier and more comfortable

Camelbak: Camelbaks are the most risk free investment.  Even if you are not sure whether you will like backpacking or not a Camelbak will change your life while simply taking a few hour hike.   I love mine because in addition to keeping me hydrated and hands free it is the perfect size for me to shove my phone, keys, chap stick.

Mountain House Dehydrated Food: The food was definitely surprising.  I had resigned that the food on our trip would be less than stellar. Our Mountain House meals were a hit all around.  We really liked the chicken terriyaki  and chicken with noodles.

Starbucks Via/ Hot Cocoa: A delicious coffee or hot cocoa in the morning all ways gets the day off to a good start. We particularly enjoyed the vanilla latte and salted carmel hot cocoa.

Stainless Cup: Instead of lugging my whole mess kit a simple stainless cup with handle works great.

Compression Pillow: This pillow is small and compact but very comfortable in terms of camping.

Backpacking Towel: If you plan to dip in a stream or have access to an outdoor shower this camping towel is super absorbent.  It’s more of a chamois than a towel.

LL Bean Sleeping Bag: This is not the most compact sleeping bag on the market but I have it and seriously love it.  LL Bean of course monogrammed it for me.

Katahdin Pack: Packs are very personal like shoes.  This is the pack I use and many of my Girl Scouts use. We are all rather smitten with this bag.

Swiss Army Knife: Swiss Army knives come in many models. They are great, you just have to pick your features.

Therm-a-rest: The ground is hard. If you can afford it they make sleeping a lot better.

Jetboil: We cooked the entire time with a jetboil.  It is the coolest gadget. It extremely quickly boils water making meal prep a snap.