There are a few items, when it comes to camping, that you shouldn’t do without. However, if you’re brand new to the experience, you may not know what sort of things to bring with you on your first outing. The truth is, even people who are born and raised in big cities begin to want to claw their eyes out if they’re kept from getting away from it all. Heck, even if you grew up on a farm, ranch, or way up yonder, you might never have had a real camping experience.
If that’s you, whether you’re from an urban environment or you grew up far from cities, you need to know what camping essentials you’ll need. Never fear; we’re going to break it all down for you in a list of five essential items you’ll need to have the best experience possible.
Remember that you need something to protect yourself from the elements, especially at night. Some might argue that you don’t need a tent, but if you’re brand new, then you may not like the idea of sleeping out under the stars … in the drizzle, in the snow, or with bugs, snakes, or other critters that are able to snuggle up next to you during the long night.
However, that’s not all. If you end up camping in a designated camping area where there are lots of other people, you’ll probably rest easier with the small amount of privacy a tent affords.
You don’t have to go for something huge or expensive. If it’s just you and perhaps your significant other, we recommend checking out a simple two-person tent, such as the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 tent. When it comes to weight, space, and quality, you can’t go wrong.
It’s not likely that you’ll want to survive on a diet of cold sandwiches or sticks of beef jerky for the entire duration of your camping trip. You’ll therefore want the ability to cook a few meals. Take it from us — you don’t want to try and cook over an open campfire (other than roasting marshmallows) if you have zero experience doing so.
Instead, you can cook simple meals and boil water for coffee by choosing to buy a single-burner camping stove, like the Eureka SPRK Camp Stove. It’s perfect for the beginning camper since it’s small and portable. Additionally, it is imminently affordable!
Don’t just head out and buy the cheapest sleeping bag you can find. Having a suitable sleeping bag can provide a lot of comfort when sleeping on the ground. Additionally, you should consider having a different sleeping bag for different weather conditions.
A sleeping bag designed for super-cold weather could be stifling in the middle of summer, while a sleeping bag that’s light and that allows some breathability could make for a long and uncomfortable frozen night if you’re camping in the winter.
A third option is to choose something that’s the “Goldilocks” of sleeping bags; something just right for beginners. Check out the North Face Eco Trail Bed 20 Sleeping Bag, which is affordable, made from 100% recycled fibers, unisex, and designed to keep you warm down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t forget that your sleeping bag will need to be cleaned every once in a while. Here is a guide on how to wash a sleeping bag.
Paper or plastic cups aren’t the best option anymore. First of all, they don’t contribute to sustainability. In fact, they contribute to trash that our environment doesn’t need. Instead, bring along insulated cups that are designed specifically to keep your drinks hot or cold and that fit into most cup holders. We recommend the 16-ounce Hydro Flask Tumbler.
Up above, we talked about the need for a portable stove so that you can cook your food. However, a portable stove won’t do you much good if you don’t have anything to cook your food in!
Of course, you could always bring some small pots and pans from your home kitchen, but cookware explicitly designed for camping is beneficial in several ways. First of all, they’re designed to be more lightweight than that huge cast iron skillet you’ve got at home. (More than that, imagine lugging a big iron pan around on your backpack. Ugh.) Cookware made for camping normally conducts heat more efficiently than what you have in your kitchen. That means your portable stove won’t have to be on for as long, which in turn means you won’t have to use as much fuel. We recommend the Stanley 2-Pot Prep and Cookset, which features a stacking nesting system to save space when packing and storing.
The items listed above are must-haves for any camping trip, whether it’s your first or your 51st. Take our recommendations, grab what you need, and get ready to hit the road and have fun!
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