7 Camping Essentials Every Outdoor Enthusiast Needs

Key Points

  • Camping is fun but potentially dangerous without the proper gear.

  • The best way to be prepared for anything is to bring everything you might possibly need on your excursion.

  • A camping trip with a tent, sleeping bag, camping stove, cooler, headlamp, portable power bank, backpack, and multitool are essential pieces of equipment for any outdoor enthusiast.

The truly essential outdoor equipment is bare bones. WIFI and a generator are nice, but they don't give you shelter, clean water, or nutritious food. You need camping gear that does these three things.

Most of the necessary items are easy to carry in a backpack and are essential for every outdoor enthusiast. To enjoy the untamed treks of the wilderness, you need to come prepared.

Productive preparation produces peak performance. To be at your peak when camping, bring along these seven essential pieces of camping equipment. Be sure to throw in a camping chair for a comfortable place to sit and relax.

1. Tent

Tents for camping provide shelter and protection from wind, rain, insects, and other curveballs nature throws at you. They also give you a private place to sleep and store your items.

Experience the perfect balance between compactness and spaciousness with the Coleman Sundome Tent.

You're covered in all weather, guaranteed to stay dry and cozy because of the rain protection. The ground vent and two windows allow air flow, so you're not hot-boxing in your own fumes.

The snag-free continuous pole sleeves make the setup process easy. Once set up, it allows you adequate room to fit two queen-size inflatable mattresses. Storage pockets are available throughout to stow smaller items.

The Sundome comes in sizes to fit two, three, four, or six people.

Coleman Sundome Tent for camping Photo source: Amazon.com

2. Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags combine the best of blankets and mattresses. The best sleeping bags keep you warm even when temperatures dip below zero. They also make you feel like a human burrito — and who doesn't love burritos?

TETON Sports Tracker Ultralight Mummy Sleeping Bag keeps every part of your body feeling cozy. The extra insulation in the foot box keeps your toes toasty. The three-piece hood wraps around your face to keep your nose from looking like Rudolph's.

The biggest pain with sleeping bags is rolling them up. This one comes with a compression sack. Just stuff your sleeping bag in there, cinch 'er down, and you're good to go.

Bring along a sleeping pad or an inflatable mattress to add extra comfort.

TETON Sports Tracker Ultralight Mummy Sleeping Bag

Photo source: Amazon.com

3. Camping Stove

Every camper needs delicious, nutritious camping meals. Portable stoves provide safe, convenient ways to prepare hot food and drinks, so you're not forced to scavenge like a wild animal for your next meal.

The MSR PocketRocket 2 has a boil time of only 3.5 minutes, meaning you have hot water and grub in a flash. The flames adjust from a simmer to a scorching boil and everything in between. This lightweight portable stove is quick to set up and the isobutane-propane canister has enough fuel to keep you cooking for countless camping trips to come.

It's 2.6 oz., so it doesn't weigh you down when hiking. Even though it's light, the stainless steel and aluminum construction make this stove capable of withstanding the wear and tear of several camping trips.

Whether you're cooking up a meal on the trail or boiling a cup of joe at the campsite, the MSR PocketRocket 2 is a must-have for any outdoorsman who enjoys warm food and drinks.

MSR PocketRocket 2 camping stove

Photo source: Amazon.com

4. Cooler

Coolers keep your food and drinks cold. They also expand your camping culinary horizons by allowing you to bring perishable foods like truffles and caviar — or normal people's food like burgers.

The YETI Tundra 45 is for campers who are plopping down in a campsite and not on the move. If you're living out of your backpack, then opt for a smaller container.

This cooler is certified bear-resistant, has three inches of insulation, and has a heavy-duty lid to keep all contents safe and secure. YETI outdid itself with this cooler.

Every Tundra model comes with a dry goods basket, making it easy to keep your chow organized separately from your brewskis.

Ice lasts for hours in a YETI Tundra 45. Throw your perishables in with a bag of ice and they stay cold for several nights. This is great for avoiding unwanted visitors, like everyone's least favorite bacteria Sam N. Ella (salmonella).

With this cooler, all you need is a camping chair for sitting, a campfire for cooking, and good friends to share the enjoyable experiences.

YETI Tundra 45 cooler Photo source: Amazon.com

5. Headlamp

Headlamps offer hands-free lighting, absolutely vital because you need both hands for most camping activities. Try setting up a tent with one hand. Now try setting it up with two hands but in the dark.

Headlamps give a greater range of visibility, limited only by how far your head turns. This makes it easy to navigate through the woods, cook meals, play flashlight tag, and spot some nocturnal critters.

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp is a reliable, high-performing headlamp with 350 lumens of brightness to illuminate even the darkest of nights.

The beam is adjustable. "Spot" mode targets the brightness of one area. Turn it to "flood" to cast a low light on everything within your vicinity.

A simple tap allows you to quickly adjust the brightness. One minute the light is bright enough to flag down an airplane; the next, it provides just enough light to illuminate the five inches of space in front of you.

The battery life is 200 hours on the lowest setting. The headlamps take three AAA batteries.

A comfortable headband and an affordable price make this headlamp an excellent choice for every type of camper.

Black Diamond Spot Headlamp Photo source: Amazon.com

6. Portable Power Bank

Many don't consider a portable power bank as essential outdoor equipment. Unless you plan to "disconnect" and leave all your tech toys at home, it's important to have a power bank to ensure your technology stays charged.

It's a reliable source of power when you're off the grid with no access to traditional power sources. It's not just about cellphones, but other technology like GPS.

Portable power banks give you peace of mind in knowing your devices are charged in case you have an emergency and need to call for help.

The Anker PowerCore 10000 is one of the smallest and lightest chargers on the market. It's able to charge multiple smartphones or other USB-powered devices at once. It is also fast, capable of charging some devices to full capacity in less than an hour.

The PowerCore is popular for travelers and campers due to its portability, safety, reliability, and quick charging time.

Anker PowerCore 10000 power bank

Photo source: Amazon.com

7. Multitool

A multitool combines multiple functions into one compact device. It has pliers, a knife blade, a saw, screwdrivers, a bottle opener, scissors, and a file. Most models come with these, but a lot have other functions as well.

Whether you need to cut some kindling for the campfire, open cans, or tighten screws on a camping chair, a multitool has your back.

The Leatherman Wave Plus features:

  • Regular pliers

  • Premium replaceable hard-wire cutters

  • Electrical Crimper

  • Wire stripper

  • 420HC serrated knife

  • Spring-action scissors

  • A ruler

  • Can opener

  • Bottle opener

  • Wood and metal file

  • Small bit driver

  • Medium Screwdriver

Leatherman backs up this multitool with a 25-year money-back warranty. Most campers don't need most of the tools included in the Wave Plus. Still, it's nice to know that if certain unforeseen situations arise, you've got a tool for the occasion.

When camping, any situation is possible. Expect the unexpected.

© My Outdoor Gear Testing Lab.

Look for the Bare Necessities

Legendary outdoorsman John Muir says, "Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”

No doubt wilderness is a necessity, but so is proper camping gear. These seven essential pieces of outdoor equipment are the bare necessities. The right camping gear goes a long way to ensure good times — and keep away the terrible times — around your campfire.

Nature is the fountain of life. Good camping gear is the foundation of living, breathing, and being one with nature.

From the best hammocks for camping to the best snowboards and skis, let MyOutdoorGear guide you in creating the adventure of your dreams.

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