Camping is a great summer activity for anyone looking to escape the stresses of day-to-day life. But whether you plan to head out solo and explore the natural world, or just settle lakeside with your family for a weekend vacation, there are certain pieces of gear that you will not want to do without. Unless you are glamping (more of a glamorous camping!), then you likely won’t need more than you would at a hotel.
Here are ten essential pieces of camping equipment for your upcoming outdoor explorations.
What Camping Gear Do you Need?
Many campers get the idea in their head that they’ll just stretch-out beneath the stars, but rain and bugs are only a couple of the reasons why it’s best to bring along a tent, or at the very least, a canopy to pitch overhead. Only get as big as you need. Modern tents are made with great waterproof material and are easier to pitch and pack. Plus they are so much more lightweight nowawdays then they used to be.
2. Sleeping bag
Sleeping bags are the easiest to pack and most lightweight form of bedding for camping trips. Be sure to purchase a bag that is appropriate for the temperature you plan to be sleeping in. I like the ones that come with a ‘hood’ for your head as well…keeps you warm and clean. Also, traveling with your sweetie? It’s fun to zip your two bags togehter to make one double-sized bag. Body heat for the win!
3. Pillow and Sleeping Pad
Yes, you can get away without these, but if you truly want a good night’s sleep then don’t skimp. A sleeping pad will save you a stiff back on long hikes, and if you don’t want to carry a pillow, at the least bring a pillowcase you can pack with soft clothes to rest your head on. There are many smaller-sized travel pillows nowadays.
4. Tarp or Tent Footprint
The bottom of a tent is waterproof, but this doesn’t mean that dampness won’t gather along its floor. To prevent yourself from waking up with a wet sleeping bag, throw-down a tarp or footprint beneath your tent.
Some people are fine with eating dry foods throughout their camping trip, but if you like a warm meal then bring along a portable stove. Look for something lightweight if you plan to be hiking.
6. Pots, Pans, Plates, Cutlery, Mugs
Whether you just need to boil some drinking water on an open fire, or want to fry-up some breakfast in the morning, you’re going to want gear to cook with during your camping trip, along with plates and mugs to eat and drink from.
If you’re going on a group camping trip than there is no doubt you’re going to want a cooler or an ice chest to keep your drinks and perishable goods cold. However, if you’re on a hiking camp trip, it will be more helpful to have an insulated canteen to keep your water cool.
8. Flashlight and Lantern
Occasionally people think they can get away with one or the other, but each serve their own purpose. Lanterns are great for lighting a wide radius, and can substitute for a campfire if needed, while flashlights provide a concentrated spotlight to see over longer distances. I love the headlamps so you can keep your hands free while performing tasks…or finding the bathroom in the dark.
Fortunately there are both super-lightweight chairs available for hikers, as well as more comfortable and padded ones for drive-in campers. Either way, you won’t want to be sitting on the ground if your trip is longer than a weekend.
10. Rainproof Shell/Rain Jacket
Even if the weather is guaranteed sunshine bring a rain shell along with you, as there is nothing worse than not being able to leave your tent because of the weather.
These are just ten essentials for a fun camping get-away, but before you head off on your trip make your own check-list of what you might need, so your trip ends up as fun as it can be.
Rebecca Hurt is an adventure seeking biology graduate, currently travelling around the globe. She likes photography and wildlife.