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Camping Equipment: 3 Must-Have Items for Your Next Trip

Camping Equipment: 3 Must-Have Items for Your Next TripPhoto from Unsplash


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Did you know that in 2022, there were an estimated 80 million campers in the United States? Of that number, 9%, or 7.2 million, were first-time campers.

One of the reasons more people are camping is that it’s more affordable than other vacations. It’s also one of the best ways to spend time in nature, which experts say can boost psychological health. Plus, camping activities, like setting up a tent and making camp, are forms of exercise.


That’s all the more reason to try camping yourself.

However, considering you’ll be outdoors, you must prepare the right camping equipment.

We’ll tell you what these camping essentials are, so read on.

1. Camping Tent

While camping lets you enjoy the great outdoors, it also exposes you to the elements. For instance, weather can change hourly, even within minutes. So it could be sunny and breezy one minute and raining hard the next.

That’s why you need a temporary shelter, particularly a tent, whenever you go camping.

Camping tents shelter you and your gear, safeguarding you from the elements. Reputable camping stores carry tents made of highly waterproof materials, such as polyester. They keep you dry and warm and can help protect you from ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure.

A high-quality tent can also provide safety if you’re camping somewhere windy. It should be durable enough to withstand wind speeds of between 15 and 30 miles per hour.

A tent also offers privacy outdoors, which you may need when camping in popular spots. For instance, it gives you a private area to change clothes without others seeing you.

A secure tent also serves as a shield between you and critters, such as insects, reptiles, and rodents. However, it’s better not to attract them in the first place, especially not bears. Although rare, bear attacks on campsites, tents, and campers can still happen.

You can lower your risks by keeping food in airtight containers and storing them in a stable, secure tent. Also, keep your campsite clean, as this can help control odors that may attract animals.

2. Sleeping Facilities

Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you must be uncomfortable while sleeping. Because if you spend a sleepless night outdoors, it can put a damper on your nature trip.

The good news is that sleeping facilities for camping are now more lightweight than ever. These include sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and camping pillows.

Sleeping Bags

A sleeping bag is like a lightweight quilt with a zipper that provides an insulated covering. Its primary function is to provide thermal insulation and warmth. This is vital when sleeping outdoors, as the temperature can drop by several degrees at night.

Sleeping bags come in three primary types: winter, summer, and three-season. Each has a temperature rating, the lowest temperature range it’s ideal for. For example, a winter sleeping bag is for 15° F and lower temperatures.

A summer season bag often has a +30° F or higher rating. This means it can keep you warm when the nighttime temp is 30° F or higher.

Three-season sleeping bags are ideal for spring, summer, or fall use. They usually have a temperature rating of +15° to +30°.

Because a sleeping bag has a zipper, you can unzip it if you feel too warm inside. The best way to test them is by visiting camping equipment stores. Most allow you to try on different bags to see which rating and style is best for you.

Sleeping Pads

Sleeping bags provide some cushioning but are often inadequate for rough campgrounds.

That’s what a sleeping pad helps with; it provides an extra layer to make the surface more comfortable. However, it has an even more useful function: insulation against the ground.

Remember: At night, the ground cools off faster than the atmosphere. So without enough insulation, you might spend the night cold and miserable.

Avoid that by investing in a sleeping pad with a good R-value. You can buy one from an online camping store, but if you can, visit a brick-and-mortar one to try them out first.

Air pads are the most comfortable, lightweight, and compact (when packed). You can also customize their firmness by adding or releasing air. They usually come with tools designed to inflate them.

Self-inflating pads are like air pads but have built-in valves for inflation. However, they’re typically more durable than air pads that are easier to rip or puncture.

Camping mats are lightweight, durable, and have no risk of punctures. They also cost less than air pads and self-inflating pads. However, they’re not as comfortable and tend to be bulky.

Camping Pillow

A camping pillow provides head support when lying down on uneven grounds. It can make sleeping outdoors more comfortable. As it’s for camping, it’s more waterproof, lightweight, and compact than a typical pillow.

3. Camp Kitchen Equipment

At the very least, your camp kitchen equipment should include a stove and fuel. Many camping stoves are automatic and don’t require a spark. But if yours does, then be sure to bring a fire starter, such as matches or lighters.

For cooking and eating, you need the following:

  • Cooking pots, pans, and pot holders
  • Cooking, eating, and drinking utensils
  • A utility knife and cutting board
  • A sponge and biodegradable soap for washing the dishes
  • Trash and recycling bags
  • Camping lanterns and backup batteries

Also, note that not all campsites have potable water, so check with your destination. If there’s none, bring your own.

If there’s a water source nearby, you can get some, but treat it first before drinking. According to the CDC, boiling is the surest way to make water safe and potable.

Keep This Camping Equipment List Handy

Unless you plan to go glamping, the camping equipment in this list should be enough for a fun nature trip. However, as they’re also necessary for your survival, you should shop for them weeks in advance. That should give you enough time to see and try them in person to ensure they’re the best fit for you.

Ready for more camping or vacation ideas? Then check out our site’s travel category for more tips and tricks!

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