Essential Camping Gear: 10 Must-Pack Items for Your Next Trip


Camping is an all-time favorite pastime for many. Everyone who enjoys the outdoors and has an adventurous spirit loves to hit the trails and experience nature firsthand.

There are some basic supplies all campers need to pack for their trip. There is also some new, high-tech camping gear that has come along recently that not only makes camping more enjoyable, they also make it safer.

Let’s take a look at 10 items that make up your essential camping gear list.

What Kind of Trip

Traveling and seeing the world through camping can be a memorable experience.

Before you decide what to bring on a camping trip, you should plan it out. Are you going alone or with a group of friends? Will you be mainly in the wilderness or at a campground? Are you familiar with the area or is it totally new to you? Have you checked on the weather?

Those are a lot of questions, but the answers will reflect in the contents of your backpack.

If you're traveling alone you will need to pack to carry all of the essentials. When traveling in a group, some items can be used collectively and shared among others to carry.

Wilderness camping will require more safety feature items while staying at a campground means you can include more comfort items.

You also need to consider weight/room versus function. There are so many great things you may want to take them all. If you have a camper, you can probably take whatever you want. However, if you are foot camping you have to calculate how much room there is in the backpack and how much weight you can safely carry.

At the end of the day, it's your trip, so you get to decide what to pack. Keep in mind nature is unpredictable and it's a good idea to try and be as prepared as possible for whatever you may encounter.

Water Purifier

No matter how refreshing the spring, river or lake water may look, you should never drink directly from an unknown water source. These waters can be teeming with bacteria waiting to wreck your body and your trip.

There are many options today for on-the-spot water filtering. There is even a personal water filter by LifeStraw that looks like its name and allows you to drink directly from the flowing water.


You have to be able to see, so make sure you have a dependable flashlight and even a backup. Some people prefer to use headlamps. They are good for certain situations, but you should always have a hand-held flashlight that is light-weight with easy buttons for quick use.


This is also referred to as a Swiss army knife. This little gadget contains almost every type of tool you could need in a compact form. It has a knife, screwdrivers, pliers, and scissors. You can whip out this little gizmo and tackle whatever job comes up.

It's light-weight, compact and comes with options so you can pick which tools you would use the most. This is a must have for every trip.

Survival/First Aid Kit - Part of Your Essential Camping Gear

You can buy pre-packaged kits, but it's a good idea to know what's inside and make any adjustments that might fit your circumstances. Typical items include:

  • Bandages
  • Tape
  • Antiseptic pads
  • Pain Meds
  • Tweezers
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Antacid
  • Antidiarrheal medication

Be sure to include specific over the counter or prescription meds you need on a regular basis. This is a base list. Be mindful of what you may encounter and customize your kit as needed.

Make this stand out by putting in a bag with bright colors. In an emergency, it can be spotted and retrieved quicker than rummaging through several items that all may look similar.

Sleeping Bag/Tent

You want to invest in a good sleeping bag. It not only provides protection from the elements, but it's also your cushion from the hard ground.

If you're carrying it, choose one made from lightweight material that's still able to provide warmth.

There are even versions that unfold into a mini tent. There are extra folds sewn in and if you release them, they form a protective dome over your head.

In addition to a sleeping bag, most recreational campers also prefer to have a tent to sleep in. It also provides protection for their other supplies and equipment when they stop for the night.

You can purchase a small one person tent or much larger tents with separate divided rooms.


You should always carry a current map for the area you're traveling in. Even if you are familiar with the area it's always possible to get lost or need to locate access to an area nearby.

You may find a GPS is easier to use, but you should always have a traditional paper backup map in case all signals are lost and you're too.

Camp Stove

Nature enthusiasts love to cook over an open flame. Unfortunately, some areas restrict them due to the fire hazard in the area. Having a camp stove means there's always a way to have a hot meal when out on the trial.

Newer models even include a function that transfers heat into a charging station for your devices.

Accumulating camping equipment can get expensive. There are times when it's cost-effective to get used camping gear. Often people buy more than they need or don't go as often as they thought and then offer it at reduced prices.

Portable Generator

Let's say you're pitching a tent and intend to stay awhile. You will need something to power your devices while you're there. A portable inverter generator is the perfect solution.

They're light-weight, quiet and great for sensitive devices such as TVs, Smartphones, computers or your GPS.

Solar Power Charger

Charging up your devices is always a struggle when away from home. Having a high-quality solar power charging system will guarantee that all your devices are able to function at full power.

These chargers spend the day collecting the sun's rays and transfer that to charging capabilities for whatever you need. You can find some models that automatically restart if the cloud coverage disconnects the circuit so you are never left without a power source.

Off-The-Grid Contact

Sometimes you need to reach someone. It might be an emergency or you might need to notify co-travelers of a change of plans. goTenna makes a device similar to a walkie-talkie that pairs with your phone and Bluetooth to be able to send messages. This works with 'mesh networking' and does not need cell reception to work.

The other members of your party will also need a device, but this reliable communication tool can be invaluable when you need to reach someone.

Are You Ready to Go?

Camping will always be an adventure whether you are looking to get away from it all and reflect or spend time with great friends.

Knowing the essential camping gear to pack for your next trip leaves you more time to plan your escape and less time worrying about what to take.

Gather your supplies, pack them in your bags, grab your sunglasses, and go have fun in the great outdoors!

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