Megan Bryant is a passionate writer and traveler who has combined her two loves to help others fulfill their traveling dreams. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually curled up with her 3 Dachshunds and a good book or planning her next adventure—wherever that may be.
Getting together all the things you need for your camping trip isn’t a task you should take lightly, as there are some items that can really make or break the experience. And if you’ve ever been camping, you’ll know that even the little things can make a big difference.
When you’re getting your camping gear together, remember to pack these 15 must-have camping items.
Some people like to camp under the stars. But if you prefer privacy and protection from the weather and potentially dangerous animals, then you’ll want to purchase a weatherproof tent.
There are so many tent options on the market, but not all are waterproof—even if they say they are. Ideally, you want a tent with a HH rating of 3,000mm to ensure you and your belongings remain dry even in the event of a downpour.
If you have room in your car/truck for an inflatable mattress, then do yourself a favor and take one—as well as the pump. But if you don’t have lots of room, or if you’re planning to camp while on a hike, you’ll want to take along a sleeping pad.
Despite how thin and flimsy sleeping pads look, they actually provide a good level of cushioning, giving you a much more comfortable place to rest your head. And who doesn’t want a good night’s sleep after walking all day?
When it comes to sleeping pads, there are a few different types to choose from: air pads, self-inflating pads, and closed-cell foam camping mats. All sleeping pads have their pros and cons, so find one that best suits you and your needs.
Even in the summer, sleeping outdoors can get cold, which is why you’ll want to take a wool blanket. Wool is a natural insulator and will trap all of your heat inside the fibers, keeping it close to your body.
Along with being an excellent insulator, wool blankets are breathable, odor-resistant, fire-resistant, and durable, so your blanket really will be able to withstand anything you throw at it.
As well as a wool blanket, you’ll want to take a sleeping bag, but choosing one isn’t just finding one you like the look of. Sleeping bags come in three lengths and varying thicknesses to suit different temperatures and climates.
If you’ll be camping somewhere cold, you’ll want a thicker sleeping bag. Whereas if you’re camping during summer, you’ll want a thinner sleeping bag. You’ll also want to look at the shape and features of the sleeping bag to ensure it will be a good fit.
Water Filters and Water Purifiers
If you’re planning to camp for an extended period of time or if you’re hiking, then you’ll want to take a water filter and purifier system. Water filters/purifiers protect you from harmful pathogens and pollution that you’d find even in the cleanest-looking water.
With a water filter, you can quite literally take water from anywhere—I’ve seen one TikTik couple take water out of an algae-filled cows trough—and filter it until it is safe to drink. Compact water filter systems mean you don’t have to worry about carrying or bringing excessive amounts of water, so they’re definitely a must-have on any camping trip.
Camping chairs are essential during camping trips, as who wants to sit on the cold, uncomfortable, and possibly damp ground? You can find camping chairs of all shapes, sizes, and price points, but even the most budget-friendly options can make a huge difference to your camping trip.
Coolers are a godsend if you want to keep food and drinks cold while out on a camping trip. By filling the cooler with ice or ice packs, your food and drinks will remain cold for hours, if not days—depending on which cooler you get.
Coolers come in various sizes and materials, but hard-shell coolers have better ice retention meaning they’ll keep your goods cooler for longer. There is nothing better than a cold refreshment after a long day.
Microfiber towels are extremely absorbent and compact. And you can use them as beach towels, shower towels, or even to mop up condensation that has built up on the tent.
And if its ability to dry everyone off in seconds wasn’t enough, microfiber towels also dry incredibly fast, meaning you only need to leave them in the sun for 20 to 30 minutes.
Camping is fun until it starts raining. And if you don’t want your belongings—especially your expensive belongings and electricals—getting wet, then take along a dry bag.
Dry bags are waterproof bags that will keep your clothes, money, or phone completely dry. Some dry bags you can even fully submerge under water and the contents won’t be affected at all.
It’s almost criminal to go camping and not roast marshmallows around a fire. Metal roasting sticks are far superior to sticks you find on the campground floor. I mean, not only are metal roasting sticks clean, but they also have two prongs to ensure your food item stays securely in place.
Whether you roast marshmallows or sausages on your campfire, roasting sticks are a must-have in your camping inventory.
Unless you’re camped directly next to a clean running river or a shower facility, you’ll have nowhere to bathe or clean your hands—oh, the joys of camping.
Although they won’t get you squeaky clean, wet wipes are extremely handy to wipe down sticky hands, mud, or sweat. Take a pack—or two—and refresh yourself whenever needed.
Once the sun goes down, darkness sets in, and if you want to see where you’re going, then you’ll need a camping light. If you’re camping for a long period of time with electricity nearby, you may want to string fairy lights to illuminate your site. But if you’re camping in the wilderness or somewhere without electrical points, then a camping lantern would work just as well.
Portable stoves are extremely compact items that allow you to heat food or water while out on an adventure. Easy to light with a lighter or a match, camping stoves can withstand wind and wet conditions, allowing you to cook outdoors even when fire bans are in place.
You can use a multipurpose pen knife for just about anything. Whether you want to cut some string, open a bottle, or spread cheese over your crackers, a penknife can help you do so.
Penknives combine several tools in one, making them compact, convenient, and incredibly useful. They may even save your life if your camping adventure doesn’t go to plan.
You should always have a phone on hand in case you need to call for an emergency or if you get lost and need to use a GPS. If you are camping in the wilderness, then you won’t have an electrical point on hand to charge your phone as you normally would. And that’s where a power bank comes in.
For camping purposes, the best power bank would be a solar-powered power bank that you can recharge with the sun.
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