Every time I travel by plane with my campsite, I go through a process I’ve perfected over ten years of traveling: I sit on the floor of my living room, carefully collecting everything I need for camping. My top priority: make sure all items are taken into account (once I packed a tent without tent poles) and that I didn’t forget anything important (like my stove for hiking or hiking boots).
The next step is crucial for air travel: make sure each piece of equipment is in the right bag. In the end, I had to give up pocket knives in the security service because I forgot they were in my hand luggage and I certainly never want to repeat the time I had to take out the trash a whole bag of radish paste from Puebla, Mexico, because I didn’t realize that pasta counts as a liquid.
If that’s not yet clear, transporting camping gear can create a lot of packaging mysteries, in addition to what you expect from a regular vacation. So if you are traveling with holiday gear, especially for the first time, these are the tips you need to ensure that you get to your destination safely with all your belongings.
General restrictions on hand luggage
First, let’s get acquainted with the general rules and recommendations for hand luggage. Of course, the size of your hand luggage matters, but the sizes and restrictions in this department depend on the individual airlines, so check the airline’s website or app to find out what size bag you can fly with.
The most important rule when it comes to ensuring safety with all the items you have packed, including your precious mole paste, is the 3-1-1 TSA rule: all the liquid you put in your hand luggage should be 3 , 4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less and inside one clear package of 1 quart per zipper. Anything over 3.4 ounces should go in your checked baggage.
According to AskTSA on Twitterwhich includes any items that you may “pump, compress, distribute, smear, spray or spill”. Think toothpaste, peanut oil, sunscreen, liquid electrolytes and spray. If in doubt, put it in a registered bag or leave it at home.
What you can travel in your hand luggage
You can put a lot of camping and camping equipment in your hand luggage as long as it’s convenient: tents (although sticks and stakes may be limited at the discretion of your airline or security guard), hiking stoves (make sure there is no fuel can). and even your utensils for cooking and eating (but any metal knives should have rounded blades, like an oil knife). Scissors are also, like the pair that may be in your first aid kit, fine as long as the blades are shorter than 4 inches from the turning point. If they are longer, they need to be checked.
[Related: How to pack exactly what you need to travel]
Electronic and arc lighters can fly with you when they are battery operated, but they must be in a protective case, have a locking mechanism or have their batteries removed so that they cannot accidentally ignite. Similarly, you can take one book of safe matches in your hand luggage, but more are prohibited, as are matches for strikes anywhere.
As for batteries, they themselves are not a security threat, however The Federal Aviation Administration considers some of them hazardous materialssays Lori Dunkers, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), so be careful. Batteries for everyday use, such as AA and AAA, even Cs and Ds, can be put in any bag, as are lithium-ion batteries if their power is less than 100 watts, including phone, laptop, camera and GPS devices. . If your lithium-ion batteries are more powerful (101 to 160 watts), you can put no more than two in your hand luggage. And while batteries that are already in your devices can be put in checked baggage, extra lithium-ion batteries can’t.
What is included in your checked baggage
“Good general advice when it comes to any items like clubs, knives, shovels, sharp objects, is that these things should be in checked baggage,” advises Brad Birkinbain, a TSA staffer in Boise, Idaho. This includes trekking poles, folding shovels, ice axes and ice axes.
Firearms can be delivered in checked baggage, as is ammunition, but the TSA says the weapon must be unloaded, packed in a sealed case with solid sides and declared by the airline at check-in. It’s a good idea to check with your airline to make sure they allow firearms in registered bags.
You can also pack a bug spray if it has no hazard warning and is intended for personal use (unlike products like insecticide mists that you can use to protect against bugs all over your campsite – they are prohibited). Are you afraid that the spray will spill or leak? Choose insect wipes or bracelets instead.
Traction devices such as cats, snowshoes and spikes that attach to the bottom of the boots are a little trickier. The TSA website says some may be allowed in hand luggage, but also notes that officers may ban any items they believe may pose a security threat. So it’s best to check them out.
Finally, reusable lighters can be in your checked baggage while they are empty. Full or partially filled lighters should not be used, so buy disposable or refill lighters as soon as you arrive at your destination.
What to leave at home
As we just hinted and you may have expected, there are a few items that are not allowed anywhere on the plane. You will need to pick up these materials when you arrive at your destination. At the top of the list is any type of furnace fuel, including solid fuel tablets. This may go without saying, but if there is a fire on the plane, your packaged fuel can help it burn longer. The Federal Aviation Administration is serious about this: it qualifies fuel as an incendiary device. You can bring an empty reusable bottle of liquid fuel.
Matches and torches should also remain. So give up the idea of making a camp creme brulee.
Spray with bears is also banned, as the FAA classifies it as a disabling chemical. Eliot Friborg, another Boise-based TSA officer, explains that a bear or pepper spray can accidentally fall out, enter the air circulation system and spread throughout the aircraft. “It’s certainly not going to be pleasant or good for anyone,” he says.
[Related: A 500-pound black bear keeps breaking into California homes]
So if you are camping in an area that is home to black bears or the bears gnawed, pick up the jar when you arrive. Before returning to the airport to fly home, offer any unused bear cans (or stove fuel) to vacationers that look as if they are just arriving at a park or campsite. You will probably make their day.
Check before the flight TSA Prohibited Lists, and if in doubt, refer to your AskTSA Twitter account for an easy explanation. You can also download the MyTSA app, which contains answers to frequently asked questions and a database of questionable items with the ability to search.
Friborg then offers to arrive at the airport early enough so that if anything in your bag is still marked when you were guarded, you had time to check the bag, return the gear to the car and give it to the person who released you. or prepare to be sent home. As a last resort, you can leave prohibited items at the TSA checkpoint for disposal.
When inspecting the backpack, place it in a duffel bag or larger bag if possible, or wrap it in a protective material so that fragile fabrics, such as elastic pockets, do not get caught in the equipment. At the very least, tighten and retain all the cords, straps, and loose material you can, and fasten all the buckles and clips.
Then embark on the next adventure, knowing that you are well packed and have everything you need to spend a few nights under the stars.