Ever felt that surge of excitement just thinking about a starlit night with a crackling campfire by your side? Maybe a s’more or two before curling up in a sleeping bag for the night? Ah, the great outdoors! But wait – before you venture into the wild, you'll want to be equipped with the right camping gear to make your adventure both fun and fuss-free. Whether you're a seasoned camper or a newbie, we've got you covered! Here’s a list of basic camping essentials to get your trip off to a great start.
A yellow and gray tent in the woods.
Tent + Stakes
To start off, you’re going to want a tent. This can be a small, 1-person tent meant for a solo trip, or an 8-person tent for you and all your camping buddies. There are loads of tents to choose from, but you want to make sure you pick one that fits your seasonal needs, comes with a rainfly, and is ready for adventure. Check out REI’s tent selection to get started.
This will help protect the bottom of your tent from the elements and adds a layer of insulation. We recommend getting a tarp that is the same size or just slightly larger than the size of your tent.
A blue and green sleeping bag in the grass.
Sleeping bags come in a variety of styles and temperature ranges, so be sure to know what the weather will be like when you’re camping.
Sleeping pad or air mattress
Sleeping directly on the ground for several days can potentially cause back pain, so we suggest a bit of cushion for support. If using an air mattress, don’t forget your portable air pump!
A person sitting in a camp chair next to a fire.
Camp blanket and pillow
Personally, we are looking for the most comfortable night sleep, so we always bring a camp blanket, like our Dancin' Frogs Recycled Camp Blanket, for extra warmth—plus a pillow for additional comfort.
For when you’re lounging around your campsite, whether that’s while roasting marshmallows or playing a card game, you’ll want a comfortable camp chair, like this Shrooms Packable Camp Chair.
A person standing outside under the Milky Way with a headlamp on.
Headlamp and a flashlight or lantern
These come in handy for setting up camp after dark, navigating early morning hikes, or even making shadow puppets on the tent walls!
Pocket knife or multitool
A good pocket knife or multitool is great for when you need to cut twine, paracord, packaging, or sharpen marshmallow sticks.
Paracord or twine
Trust us, having extra cord or twine can be a game changer for hanging a tarp to provide shade or shelter from weather.
A green camp stove with a small pan.
If there are fire restrictions, or you simply want an even cook on whatever food you are bringing, we recommend a camp stove. Don’t forget the fuel!
You’ll want to put together a camp kitchen with all the things you’ll need for meals while you’re camping. We suggest prepping your meals and food ahead of time to minimize what you’ll need to pack, but the staples of a good camp kitchen include:
pot and pan for cooking
plates, bowls, mugs, and serving + eating utensils
Hammock - who doesn’t want to kick their feet up and hang out for a little while? Check out our Shrooms 2-person Hammock if you need a new one!
Local nature field guide - learn about what local birds, insects, geology, or plants are around you with a quality field guide or pamphlet. Plus, it’ll give you something to do should you need entertainment.
Those are some of the essentials when heading out to camp. Remember, good campsites are found, not made. Be sure to follow all the rules and regulations of an area and leave no trace. For additional information on ways to leave the land better, check out our blog 10 Ways to Leave Nature Better Than You Found It in partnership with our friends at Teva. We hope you enjoy your trip, and if you bring our gear along, tag us on social media so we can be jealous.
Whether you're a seasoned camper or a newbie, we've got you covered! Here’s a list of basic camping essentials to get your trip off to a great start.