Essential Pieces of Camping Gear

Whether you’re going backpacking or glamping, you’ll need the right gear for your camping trip. We’ve rounded up 10 standout products that combine affordability and utility.

Camping Gear

This sleeping bag’s mummy shape offers a snug fit but expands in the foot box for warmth, plus it packs into its own stuff sack. It’s also great for car camping since it’s so lightweight. Visit Website to learn more.

Tents are a key piece of camping gear for shelter and protection from the elements. Depending on the season and weather conditions, a tent can provide a comfortable place to sleep, cook, or relax.

A tent consists of an inner and outer fabric with poles to support it. The outer fabric is usually waterproof and may also be wind-resistant. Most tents have vents to help manage internal condensation. The inner tent may have a sewn-in ground sheet or a separate ground sheet (tarp) is often used.

Some tents have a vestibule, which is a floorless area near the entrance to the tent, where gear can be stored to free up space in the sleeping area. Most tents require stakes (pegs) to fasten the bottom edge of the inner and outer fabrics to the ground. These pegs are made of wood, plastic, metal or composite material.

Sleeping Bag

The sleeping bag is the most important piece of gear for a camping trip. There are many features to consider when choosing a sleeping bag, including size, shape and temperature rating.

Mummy-shaped bags boost warmth and cut weight by providing a snug fit around your head and body. Rectangular bags offer more room to move but may not retain as much heat. Semi-rectangular bags are a compromise, offering more space than a mummy but still keeping you warm. Some bags are designed to be zipped together for a double sleeping bag or can be connected to a hooded tent for extra warmth.

Temperature ratings based on the average sleeper are useful for comparing bags but other factors, like the type of sleeping pad you use and your own metabolism, will affect how warm or cold you feel while camping. For maximum comfort, choose a bag with a lower limit rating slightly warmer than your expected sleeping temperature.

Sleeping Pad

A sleeping pad keeps you off the ground and adds warmth to your sleep by creating a barrier between your back and the cold ground. It isn’t essential for camping, but it makes the experience much more comfortable.

Sleeping pads come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some are obscenely bulky, while others pack down to smaller than a rain jacket and weigh less than a water bottle.

Traditionally, sleeping pads are inflated with twist and pull valves that stick out from the side of the mat. These are easy to use, but they have some drawbacks. For one, they’re pokey and can get kicked, stepped on, or accidentally opened in the middle of the night. Newer, flat valves have addressed this issue and are a welcome addition to the market.

Cooking Utensils

Whether you’re van living, festival frolicking or car camping with the kids in tow, a lightweight cookware set is an essential piece of camping gear. Look for one with a 1.4-liter pot, a bowl and a mug that flattens to pack in tight spaces. Choose utensils with smart design features, like a slotted spoon that has spouts on both sides for easy pouring or salad tongs that have long arms to toss and serve greens.

You’ll also want to bring a cutting board, a cheese grater, condiment containers and a set of silverware or sporks. Don’t forget to add a first-aid kit with supplies and sunscreen to your camping bag. Finally, add sturdy and comfortable Camp Chairs or Hammocks to relax in between meals. A cozy fleece blanket is an added bonus for relaxing by the fire or to sleep in.


A stove is an essential piece of camping gear for those who want to cook meals at their campsite. A classic two-burner camp stove will work great, allowing you to cook full-blown meals without taking up too much space in your car or backpack.

If you want to save even more space, consider getting a compact two-burner propane stove. These stoves are more lightweight than traditional models and can fit into tight spaces like backpacks. They also feature wind-blocking panels so that you don’t have to worry about your fire being blown out by a breeze. Make sure you also pack a cooler to keep your food and drinks cold. Many newer coolers are designed with thick insulation that helps ice last longer. This is especially helpful if you plan to spend several days camping.

Cooking Accessories

The best camping gear makes the most out of your time in nature. From a tent that protects you from the elements to camp cooking essentials, these items will enhance even the most experienced outdoorsmen’s camping trips.

Whether you’re van camping at a music festival or car camping with kids in tow, you’ll want a durable camping backpack that’s comfortable enough for long hikes and all-day excursions. This Marmot pack has interior and exterior pockets to help you organize your belongings and padded haul straps to make it easier on your shoulders.

A quality headlamp is a must-have for any camping trip. It provides convenient lighting so you can cook and read in your tent at night, or go for a night hike when the sun sets. This Petzl lamp is affordable and compact. It comes in a range of colors and charges quickly with three AAA or rechargeable CORE batteries.

Water Bottle

Having access to drinking water is a must when you’re outdoors. Water bottles come in all shapes and sizes, from durable plastic to collapsible stainless steel options. Some also have special features like a filtered spout or insulated for keeping drinks hot or cold for a long time.

Plastic bottles are cheap and portable, but they leach chemicals into the water that can affect your health. Choosing a glass or stainless steel bottle is a healthier option.

This large bottle has a wide mouth for easy sipping and fits in cup holders and backpack pockets. It is comfortable to hold and had a leak-proof lid during testing that held up when dropped several times. The only downside is that it doesn’t stay very cold and is heavier than some of the other models we tested. It’s still a great choice for hiking and camping.

Water Filter

Having clean water is a must in the backcountry. Whether your campsite is in a pristine river or a rocky mountain stream, a good water filter can help prevent intestinal illnesses caused by bacteria, protozoa and viruses in untreated water.

The best water filters are compact, light and durable. They use advanced materials to make them more resistant to bumps, scrapes and the occasional bear attack. They also typically cost more because they require more advanced materials and research and development costs than less-specialized outdoor equipment.

A water bottle with a wide-mouth cap makes pouring easier, while a tap insert turns it into a camp shower. Some models also feature a built-in capacity gauge and a UV sterilization system to fight Cryptosporidium. Some are also capable of boiling water. Some are also solar powered. A backup treatment method is important in case your main filter fails.

Bug Spray

Whether you’re camping, hiking, or just enjoying the outdoors, bug spray is an essential summer accessory. Without it, a picnic or walk through the woods can quickly turn into an itchy, painful experience.

When choosing a bug spray, look for a formula that defends against your target pests. Different ingredients protect against different types of bugs, from mosquitoes to ants and ticks. Some repellents last longer than others, too – check for the length of protection on the product’s label.

OFF! Deep Woods bug spray contains DEET, a trusted insect repellent that’s effective against blood-sucking insects. Other options include natural bug sprays that contain citronella, lemongrass, or peppermint oil to keep bugs away and leave a pleasant scent behind. Some contain DEET alternatives, such as Picaridin, which doesn’t harm aquatic animals or degrade synthetic fibers and clothing.