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10 Best Camping Essentials: The Ultimate Packing List

October 13, 2021

10 Best Camping Essentials: The Ultimate Packing List

What are the 10 best camping essentials that you cannot do without? Here they are, in no particular order.

With the right equipment & supplies, camping out in the wilderness can become as relaxing as a night spent in your home. Whether you're a seasoned camper or a first-time backpacker, there are a few things that should always come with you on your trip into the wilderness. But packing for a summer camping trip isn’t so simple. Most campers struggle a lot remembering what to pack when that long-awaited camping trip finally pops up. And camping outdoors isn’t a trip you want to be missing something on!

Related: How to extend the life of your outdoor gear?

Your dreamy escape can turn into a nightmare all too quickly if you forget to bring some essential camping gear. So, to help you, we’ve curated a list of the 10 best camping essentials. From water purification supplies to headlamps, here are 10 things that should be on your packing list for every trip into the great outdoors.

Here are 10 best camping essentials to make your outdoor adventure an enjoyable one!

1) Tent

camping essentials 101

Without a doubt, one of the first things that every camper should pack is a tent. Tents are essential for all overnight camping trips (except for car camping). It will protect you from the weather outside and make sure that you have a good night sleep. That's why we have kept tent at number 1 in our list of best camping essentials.

Whenever buying a tent, prioritize space more than comfort. Because crowded tents are not going to make camping comfortable for anyone. It is better to get a tent that can hold 6 people at once if you’re planning a family camping trip. And don’t forget to bring along tent poles, stakes, ropes, and a tarp for a proper setup.

We recommend buying the REI Grand Hut 4 tent. Costing only $299, the REI Grand Hut 4 is easy to set up and has room to stand inside. It is also well-equipped to handle stormy weather.

Related: 10 Best Camping Tents Of 2021

2) Sleeping Gears

camping essentials for sleeping

Sleeping on a bed of moss and dried up leaves may sound amazing. But the reality is you won’t be able to sleep soundly unless you bring in some proper sleeping gears with you on your camping trip. Temperatures will also drop significantly overnight. And you will need something to keep your body warm and insulated throughout the night. That is why campers should always bring sleeping pads/bags. It is best to buy sleeping gears that are weather appropriate and match-up with your body size. Bringing pillows and blankets will be an added bonus.

As far as sleeping pads are concerned, we highly recommend getting our UL140 Thick Sleeping Mat. At 4.9 inches thick, our sleeping mat is ideal for the can’t-get-comfortable traveler. Plus, it comes with a built-in inflator that you can press with your feet to inflate the sleeping mat.

Related: How to choose the best sleeping pad?

3) First Aid Kit

10 best camping essentials

Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash

It is compulsory to have a well-stocked first aid kit included in your camping essentials checklist. Because no matter how much you plan and prepare, things can take a turn for the worst while camping outdoors. Bringing a first aid medical kit will help you take care of minor injuries and not-so-serious medical emergencies. While life-threatening injuries are unlikely to happen, you should be ready to treat small cuts and blisters when outdoors. Even a small wound, if left untreated, can become infected. That’s why it is always a good idea to keep medical items like bandages and antiseptic on hand. We recommend buying the Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .7. It costs only $28.95.

Related: Top 5 Best Camping First Aid Kits

4) Pocket Knife

camping essentials pocket knife

Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash

A pocket knife is another item which you should bring on every camping trip. No matter where you plan to go or how long the trip is going to be, the usefulness of a multipurpose pocket knife should never be ignored. Bringing camping essentials like a pocket knife or a Swiss Army Knife has no downside to it. It doesn’t take up much space and will only help you make your camping experience better. From tightening a screw to trimming a rope, there’s plenty of ways you can use a pocket knife to your advantage while camping outdoors. Just know that you are bound to feel frustrated every now and then if you choose to leave your pocket knife at home.

Related: Best Pocket Knife Of 2021

5) Navigation Tools: Maps & Compass

camping essentials navigation tools

Photo by Jean-Frederic Fortier on Unsplash

Depending on GPS is completely fine when you are in the city or any place that has an internet connection. But when you are out in the wild, it’s hard to get a signal and use GPS to check your location. GPS are less reliable in remote areas. So, you should consider bringing old school navigation tools like maps and compass. Most of the time, you can buy maps from stores outside the campsite. And make sure to learn how to use maps and compass before the trip. Because bringing those tools is pointless if you don’t know how to use them.

Related: Best Compasses For Outdoor Adventures

6) Headlamps/Lanterns

best camping essentials

Photo by Isaac Davis on Unsplash

Headlamps and lanterns are must-have equipment on any camping gear list. If you don’t have a light source with you, it can be very difficult to search for items and move around the camp once it gets dark. Campers may need to go to the toilet at night or just go for a short stroll around the camp. And it’s not going to be easy doing these things unless you have a headlamp or a flashlight to light your way on a dark trail. We recommend Goal Zero’s Crush Light as it can illuminate your campground for up to 35 hours. Plus, it is powered by solar cells.

Related: Best Headlamp For Camping/Backpacking

7) Fire Starter

camping essentials fire starter

Photo by Marko Horvat on Unsplash

No camping trip is complete without a campfire. We tend to relax, unwind and gather to eat around the soft glow of a fire. So, you’ll need to bring tools that can start a fire. You can bring matches and lighters for that. But a disposable butane lighter is far more reliable than a simple matchstick. Whenever you’re buying a fire starter of any sort, make sure to choose one that ignites the fastest and maintains the heat for some time. And always buy in bulks as you will need them on your next camping trips also. Remember to keep your fire starter kit in a waterproof container.

Related: 10 Best FireStarters - Field Tested & Reviewed

8) Water Containers and Filtration

best camping essentials

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Most campsites have access to water but you will need containers to collect and bring the water to your campsite for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. But not all campsites have access to clean drinking water. And you should never drink untreated water because there’s a risk of contamination from harmful bacteria and viruses. That is why you need to bring some sort of water filtration device which can remove all harmful contaminants from the water. We recommend buying the Platypus Gravity Works 4 Liter Water Filter System. It can filter large quantities of water at once. You should also bring the Aquamira Water Purifications Drops just in case your water filter breaks down.

Related: 10 Best Backpacking Water Filters & Purifiers

9) Weather-appropriate Clothing

camping essentials clothing gear

Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

What you choose to wear can make or break your camping experience. The weather and outside temperature will change multiple times during your camping trip. So, you need to be dressed up adequately to cope with these changes. Always choose something durable, breathable, and light. And don’t try to bring your entire wardrobe. We suggest packing in some t-shirts, shorts, jeans/pants, socks, underwear, pajamas, bathing suit, jacket or sweater, a rain jacket, closed-toed shoes, sandals, and flip-flops.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Backpacking Clothes - What To Pack?

10) Insect Repellents

best camping essentials

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Ticks, mosquitoes, wasps, bees and other bugs thrive in the wild. And protecting yourself from bug bites is necessary to ensure your camping trip goes well. That’s why you should never forget to bring some type of insect repellent, especially during summer. You can never go wrong with insect repellents. Even if you’re camping for just one night, an insect repellent helps ensure that mosquitoes and other bugs don’t bother you. But make sure to apply bug spray only to exposed parts of your body and wash it afterward. When buying insect repellents, always go for those with high concentration of DEET (diethyltoluamide).

Related: 11 Best Bug Repellents For Camping In 2021

Final Thoughts

All in all, these are our 10 camping essentials that you’ll need for a safe and comfortable trip. But remember, every campsite and every camp trip is unique. So, you can always add in some extra items to your list of camping essentials. Lastly, don’t forget to test out and become familiar with all your equipment before heading off on your camping trip.

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