Essential camping gear: What you need before you hit the campsite

Want to discover somewhere new and explore nature? Not sure what are the most important equipment is that you need as a beginner camper? We’ve rounded up a list of the most essential camping gear you should have on your shopping list, with options for all price ranges. And if you want more camping tips, check out our brilliant camping tips and hacks every camper should know.

Essential camping equipment: the tent

A good tent is certainly the most crucial item you will need on your camping trip. Your tent will be your shelter after a long day spent in nature and for the duration of your trip.

One tent we like is the Mountainsmith Celestial 4-person tent. And easy-to-set-up, freestanding tent, it requires minimal setup time and is great in all kinds of weather. It has no stakes, instead using poles along the top to support its structure. It has bathtub flooring (waterproofing) that will keep you dry during the rain and other weather. This tent has two doors for easy and separate entry.

If you’re looking for a more traditional camping experience, and setting up your tent the old-fashioned way is your preference, we think you’ll like the Coleman Flatwoods II 4-person tent. The setup time is around 10 minutes because it requires stakes, but it’s a great tent in all kinds of weather and on difficult terrain. In addition, it includes a rainfly cover that goes across the top to keep the tent extra dry.

Your makeshift bed: the sleeping bag

After a day of exploring and feeling like you’ve conquered the world, you’ll probably be ready to hit the hay. Or, more accurately, hit the sack.

Camping sleeping bags should offer you plenty of room to move around in while keeping you warm. We like the fun Coleman Raymer 40-degree sleeping bag. Extremely affordable, this sleeping bag is ideal for cold temperatures and is easy to pack with its roll-control system that keeps your sleeping bag straight when you’re packing it up. It’s best feature? Its unique, domed shape keeps you and your pillow off the cold ground and warm inside its polyester material. And it comes in a fun, lime green color that will make sure you never loose it.

Essential camping gear: the water bottle

Having a good water bottle is very important when camping. There are several kinds, but our favorite is the lightweight REI Co-Op Nalgene Wide-Mouth Water Bottle. Its wide-mouth design makes it excellent for drinking, and the convenient loop-top design makes it perfect to hang on your backpack while going on a hike. Works great for both cold and warm beverages, and it’s BPA-free. It’s also dishwasher safe for cleaning when you get home. There are tons of color options, which means you get one for everyone in your family without confusing which is whose.

Your camping north star: the headlamp

Here’s one you might not have thought of. If convenience and practicality is your style, we suggest you consider this well-designed Petzl Tikka Headlamp as essential camping gear. You probably were going to pack a flashlight, and you definitely should do that, but a hands-free supplement is so convenient, you’ll wonder why you never thought of it before. Not only does the Petzl Tikka’s red lighting option extend your night vision, but its external phosphorescent reflector makes it easy to find. It includes three different light settings, runs on 3 AAA batteries (which are included), and it’s waterproof. And on the practical side, the headband is detachable and washable.

Essential camping gear: the cookware

1. Not all campsites come with grills, so we suggest a portable cooker such as the Coleman Classic 2-burner Propane Stove. Designed for the outdoors, this stove has side panels that protect it from the wind and turn knobs to control the burner. Works wells with 10- and 12-inch pans. At a mere 11 pounds, its easy to transport and perfect for the camping.

2. Now that you know what to cook on, what about what to cook with? What about this affordable Overmont 12-piece camping cookware set? It’s perfect for beginners and includes a 1-liter pot, a pan, a kettle, three plastic bowls, a spoon, a spatula, a cutlery set, a cleaning towel, and a net bag for storage.

Safety first: the first aid kit

You never know what exactly you might encounter during camping. For that reason, we suggest First Aid Only’s 299 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit. This compact safety kit comes with first aid supplies best suited for treating cuts and scrapes, burns and swelling, and pain. We do recommend using the medication from this kit before one year of use, as most medicines including these do have an expiration date.

More of our favorite camping tools and equipment

This multi-purpose TheTentLab The Deuce #2 UL Backcountry Trowel will certainly come in handy for your camping trip. Not only is it great for digging holes when you can’t find a bathroom nearby, but it also functions as a stake, bear-canister screw tool and, conveniently enough, a bottle opener. It’s also made from lightweight aluminum and is recyclable.

One of the worst parts about camping are, of course, the bugs. With the Thermacell MR300 Portable Mosquito Repeller — poof! — mosquito problems disappear. This device forces out a 15 square-foot DEET-free repellent sure to chase off any mosquitos. Best of all, its compact size and EPA testing makes this a fool-proof item best suited for your camping needs.

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