Camping Gear Essentials Guide: Beyond the Basics

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Camping is a great way to escape the demands of everyday life. However, with that transition away from technology, roadways, job demands and all that urban life has to offer to the peacefulness and isolation of the woods comes inaccessibility. While this is good for your sanity, it demands some forward thinking on your part to ensure a positive experience. On that note, the following are five of the most important camping gear essentials you need to have before leaving behind the general population for your camping destination. These go beyond the typical gear you think of, like tents, cooking gear or sleeping bags.

15. Portable Power Station

In today’s digital age, a portable power station is a game changer for camping vacations. It allows you to charge important items such as cellphones, cameras, and even small appliances without the use of a standard power supply. Look for a lightweight, high-capacity model that can be charged using solar panels, a car, or a wall outlet. This addition provides electricity for safety, navigation, and entertainment, boosting your outdoor experience while staying connected to the rest of the world.

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14. Tarps

Tarps are one essential camping gear item that is easy to overlook. However, you will appreciate having several on hand when camping. You can use them to protect the bottom of your tent before you set it up; string them between trees to create shade over a sitting or eating area, or use them to patch up a leaky tent in the event a downpour reveals some pesky holes. Thankfully, they fold up into a pretty small package, so you don’t have to worry about them being a hassle to haul.

This camping tarp by Geertop comes in 204″L x 120″W size and is available in two colors. The drawstring bag that comes with the tarp makes it super easy to bring along, and its high-density fabric construction makes it waterproof.

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13 Swiss Army Knife

You just never know what kind of task you will be faced with in the woods. Therefore, it’s important to have a good multifunctional knife/tool on hand. Thankfully, this takes up virtually no room at all, but boy can it ever be a lifesaver in certain situations!

One good option for an army knife is this model by Rose Kuli that measures a mere seven inches. It comes with its own canvas carrying bag, has a nonstick coating, a wooden handle and a safety lock. It comes complete with a bottle opening tool, bung puller, slotted point screwdriver, knife, saw, double-sided poking knife, cross screwdriver, set of pliers, emergency hammer and even a small hatchet. Use one of these camping gear essentials to cut branches to make a campfire, cut rope, break stone and much more.

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12. Rope

There are so many uses for rope at a campsite that the importance of bringing it along cannot be overstated. You can use it to create a makeshift clothesline to dry wet clothes, tie up your coolers at night, create a shelter when you combine it with the tarp listed above, tie down your tent and so much more. Simply don’t go camping without at least one rope. The more the better, though.

This four pack set of 50 feet x 3/16 inch rope is one good option for camping. The diamond braided polypropylene rope has a working load of 80lbs and also glows in the dark.

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11. Lights

Being away from the lights associated with civilization can result in enveloping darkness once the sun sets. For that reason, it’s important to have a light source as part of your essential camping gear. This four pack of camping lanterns by Etekcity is the perfect solution. This low consumption lantern provides up to 12 regular hours of continuous light and comes with a 10-year warranty. The portable outdoor lantern also comes with 12 AA batteries, providing 306 degrees of luminous light, which is perfectly suited to provide illumination to your campsite.

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10. First Aid Kit

The most crucial camping gear addition you need to have along on any camping trip is a first aid kit. This kit is perfect for camping because it is an ultra lightweight kit small enough to fit in a glove box and comes in a durable nylon case. This makes it easy to bring along with you when you get the hiking trails and ensures it will withstand many trips into the woods.

Although it’s small, this particular kit still contains 400 different medical supplies that could come in handy when camping, some of which include a printed guide showing how to perform CPR, cotton swabs, fingertip plasters, normal plasters, butterfly stickers, which are used to close deep cuts, disinfectant wipes, and several types of bandages. Add paper maps of your location, a box of matches and a small tub of peanut butter to this kit and you have the perfect survival kit to take along with you on your next camping trip.

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9. Tent

A tent seems to be a no brainer when it comes to camping gear. You need some type of shelter from moisture or harsh weather. Wether it’s water, snow, sun or even wind, a tent can protect you from all types of weather. There are many different tents that you can choose from. If you choose a two person tent or a larger size tent for your whole family, don’t forget a tarp to lay under it.

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8. Warm Sleeping Bag

Inside the tent, you will need something to sleep in and keep you warm, a sleeping bag. Most places that you will be camping at the night time temperature will drop significantly. The mountains can even get below freezing! Sleeping without a sleeping bag can lead to a horrible’s night sleep. Remember, if you go camping with kids, remember to get them a kid’s sleeping bag.

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7. Canteen and Water Filter

It is always important to have camping supplies that can keep you hydrated. Water is essential to bring with you camping. The last thing any camper wants is to be stuck in the outdoors without any fresh water. You can bring gallons of water and refill your Camelbak or Hydroflask. Also, a filter or water purification system with you that you can use if you need a refill from a local stream or other water source.

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6. Fire Starter

The best part of camping is sitting by a warm, crackling fire at night. To get that fire going easily, you will need some fire camping supplies. You can start a fire with flint and steel, matches, lighter or magnesium fire starter. If you do bring matches, make sure that they are waterproof. A good suggestion is to always pack two different sources to start a fire in case one doesn’t work. Take along a little kindling as well, like dry bark or strips of newspaper or even lint from your dryer, in a waterproof container. This is one of those camping gear essentials that you will be thrilled you have when you need it.

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5. Portable Solar Charger

In today’s connected world, keeping your devices charged while embracing the wilderness is a challenge. A portable solar charger is an eco-friendly solution, allowing you to power up your phone, GPS, or camera using the sun’s energy. Compact and lightweight, these chargers are designed to attach to your backpack, soaking up sunlight during your hike so you can stay connected and safe, even in the most remote locations.

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4. Navigation Tool

If you are planning on hiking during your camping trip, you don’t want to get stuck somewhere lost without a map, compass or GPS. The sun is constantly changing and if you go into an area with large trees or brush, you may become disoriented. It has been known that some campers have gotten lost in the woods for days before being rescued or finding their camp without having the proper camping supplies.

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3. Headlamp or Flashlight

Camping at night is very dark, even with a camp fire. If you need to walk to a bathroom or find an item in your tent during the night, you will need some type of light in your camping gear. A portable, battery-powered light is a necessity. There are many options and I recommend more than one. A flash light, lantern or headlamps are most efficient.

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2. Waterproof Jacket

While camping, it will most likely get cold when the sun goes down. It is a good idea to have a waterproof jacket.  You never know if it may rain or moisture will roll in at night or in the morning. If you got wet and your clothes stayed damp, it would be miserable. Wet, gear or clothes is heavy and uncomfortable. If it won’t cover your backpack as well, consider picking up an additional rain bag to protect your gear.

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1. Toilet Paper

Obviously, this is very important. Some hardcore campers may go without it, but some find it to be a necessity. Leaves and sticks are horrible ideas to me to use. Some campgrounds do have restrooms, but always seem to run out of toilet paper. If you are backpacking and going deep into the woods, you will need biodegradable toilet paper or else you will have to bring some type of bag to keep the used paper in until you can dispose of it. Go ahead and add that biodegradable TP into your camping gear essentials.

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Obviously, these are the main necessities. There are many other items that you should bring while camping.

 If this type of camping doesn’t sound appealing, you may want to read our article on Glamping!


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