Camping is one of the best ways I know to to enjoy the great outdoors. There is something about nature that drives to experience it but on our own terms. RV camping, backpacking and car camping share many things in common but the things you take along can be vastly different. Some chose to go the minimalist route while others look for all the comforts of home. The great news is that there is a wide variety of camping gear to suite the needs of any camper and at any level.
What is essential camping gear for ones person camping essential is not so essential for another. A water purification system is generally not necessary if you’re staying in a campground that offers potable water and hot showers. It’s impractical to carry an inflatable air mattress on a week long backpacking trip.
Here is my collection of the best essential camping gear for every camping experience. I’ve chosen only the highest rated products and created comparison tables so you can easily look at all the features to help you choose whats right for you. I’ll share what’s good and what’s not so good based or user experience and there input.
This is not just one man’s opinion and review. You can read what others say. This site is not intended to push one product over another. I think the reviews speak for themselves.
What you should consider is that not everyone who purchases a product leaves a review.
In general people leave reviews because they are passionate about a product or feel compelled to warn others of the products downside.
People that leave product reviews give you a better over all perspective than a single team test.
I’ve made the process easy for you by selecting only the highest rated products with a history of consistency. I’ll also introduce you some new and innovative products that I feel are worth a look and since they are new they may not have all that many consumer reviews but I’ll let you be the judge.
They come in all shape, sizes and weights. Some folks are looking for a small tent , lightweight and able to withstand high winds in the wilderness while others are looking for something that is easy to set with lots of space that’s more appropriate for casual car camping. Like I said everyone’s camping experience is a little different.
Lighting and lanterns
Check out the technology here. We have come long way from the oversized heavy flashlights that needed four D cell batteries and produced dim light. Lightweight and the number of lumens are the buzzwords. Pointing a flashlight with 1,600 lumens at an object is like focusing a 100 watt light bulb on the subject. That may be overkill but what power. Read about lumens and lighting here.
Nothing like a hot meal or a warm beverage. The smell of hot coffee in the morning. White gas, propane, butane, and even efficient high tech stoves that burn organic fuel that you collect in the woods. You can find them here
Summer camping or winter camping a bed roll is pretty much essential. A good nights sleep can make all the difference in you camping experience. The variety of materials and fabrics available make for some great choices. Read about them here.
An absolute necessity for some of us. You’re off the ground, safe from the smallest trickle of water that many enter your tent and you can’t even feel that two inch rock that you managed to miss when you were setting up your tent.
I personally love cots. I can sit up on the edge of my cot and put on my shoes. I don’t have crawl off the floor and stand up. Not as “fluffy” as an air mattress but more comfortable than you might think. With a little creativity like adding a bit of memory foam or egg crate roll you’d be surprised at how nice they are.
I do my share of sitting when I camp. I spend hours in front of the fire talking and eating with friends and family. Sometimes it’s hard to get up. As kids we used to fight over the big recliner. Not any more. I have my own. The canvas chairs with the cup holders are a big improvement over the aluminum frame nylon web weave chairs in my opinion and the fact that that they make and extra large shows you manufacturers are meeting the needs of consumers. I even found a chair without arms that makes it easier to to play the guitar without the arms getting in the way.
I used to just pack up the things I had laying around the kitchen which works fine but I found that it’s much easier to have a container ready to go. No doubt you can probable put one together with what you have around the house at the moment but some kitchen accessories are just custom made for camping. Check them out here.
Tarps and Canopy’s
Rain or shade we all need a little protection from the elements. A perfectly good camping trip can be salvaged from the rain with a little protection and sitting in the hot sun isn’t for everybody. A good canopy is essential as far as I’m concerned. There is no escaping the elements. I’ve sat in my car in the worst of storms and sometimes hanging in your tent just doesn’t cut it. Anybody that’s experienced a little “weather” will probably agree that a good canopy and tarp can add to your outdoor experience.
Saws and Axes
If I can I’ll collect firewood from fallen trees near my campsite if is allowed. I usually buy firewood either at the camp store or in the local community. There are a lot of rural communities that depend on visitors to their area to help support their economy and it feels good to help others when I can. It’s actually illegal in some areas to bring in collected firewood to other parts of the country because of the danger of new infestations of non native bugs that can reek havoc to the forrest. Still its good to have a a way of splitting wood and cutting it into smaller pieces. A campfire is part of our nightly ritual. Check out the best rated wood cutting gear here.
This is something I never thought I would use but there comes a time when you wish you had one. Don’t be fooled by that water that appears to be coming out of a rock. There may be a cow pasture that isnt on the map and it just aint worth the risk. Sure you thought you brought along enough water for that short hike but it turned out to be a little more than you expected and frankly hydration can be a matter of life or death. I’m not trying to scare you but consider packing one of these on your next hike. The technology is amazing. We’ve come a long way from those iodine tablets.
I for one can have a pleasant camping experience even in the rain. Maybe not as much fun but with all the gear I have I manage to be comfortable and rarely cut a trip short due to the weather. Rain gear is an apsolute necessity. Even if the forcast is for clear skies the experts have been known to make a few bad calls. Whatever works for you, a poncho, rain jacket or full rain suit they take up little room and I would never go camping without some sort of rain protection. A modified trash bag in a pinch but if you’re serious about camping you know the importance of good rain protection.
I created this category because there’s a lot of cool camping gear that either doesn’t fit into a category or there really is nothing to compare it to or there are not many reviews out there. Still I think its a great product that is worth a look and I may even buy it.