Essential gear for your next camping trip

July 4, 2020

There’s never been a better time to head out of the city and spend a few nights sleeping under the stars. Whether you’re a car camper or backpacker, spending time among forests, lakes and mountains is the perfect post-lockdown getaway—and maybe the only one you’ll get this summer. Make the most of it with our camping gear packing list for the perfect camping vacation.

Essential gear for your next camping trip

[Photo Credit: New Africa]


It all starts with a good tent. It’s the first thing that will be set up on arrival at the campsite, so make sure it’s a smooth process. Look for lightweight, click-together aluminum poles that make pitching a tent quick and painless. This will be your home and shelter for the duration of your trip, so it also needs to be comfortable. Mesh panels for ventilation are key, as are waterproof seams and floor to keep you and your things dry.  Opt for space for the whole family—and then some—by sizing up to accommodate all the gear, even the dog. If you’re camping with kids, consider a tent with separate living and bedrooms for privacy. Vertical space counts, too. Dome-style tents offer maximum ceiling height so you won’t have to hunch or crouch.

Sleeping bag and mattress

It’s hard to enjoy the great outdoors, without a good night’s sleep. Choose a sleeping bag that’s packable but warm. If you’re a cuddly sleeper, try a queen-sized sleeping bag for two. Even more important than the sleeping bag, is what’s underneath. Invest in a self-inflating sleeping pad which is lightweight, easy to carry and can inflate up to four-inches high. A sleeping cot or air mattress are luxe options, if you have the space. Be sure to pick an air mattress with a battery-powered integrated pump.


Camping lanterns come in every shape, size and power to light your way in the wilderness. There’s the classic lantern, torches, string lights, single hanging bulbs and headlamps. Some sets convert into two or more different lights, all powered by bright LED bulbs. Look for rechargeable models to save a bundle on batteries.

Camp stove and cooler

Cooking over an open fire is the quintessential camping experience, but sometimes you just want to scramble some eggs or put a pot of coffee on. For this, we rely on the trusty camp stove. It doesn’t need to be fancy to get the job done, although high-end stoves offer tons of BTU’s and lightning-fast boil times. To keep food and drinks cold, there are smaller soft coolers and larger ice chests. Buy the best you can afford for longer-lasting ice and reliable food safety.


Picking the perfect camping backpack depends largely on how you’ll use it. Will it be how you transport all your gear to a walk-in campsite, or just need to hold a water bottle and snacks for a day hike? Either way, lighter is always better. If you plan to carry heavy items, spend a little more for a model with a wide, padded hip belt and cushioned shoulder straps.

Mask, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer

It shouldn’t be hard to social distance while in the woods, but what about when you have to use the campsite washroom? The sanitation standards at the campground may not be the same as yours, so carry your own supply of disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer to be safe.

Now that you’ve got the essentials figured out, here’s a list of all the nice-to-have camping gear you’ll want to pack for a camping trip that’s memorable for all the right reasons:

  • Camping chair or hammock
  • Power bank
  • First aid kit
  • Axe
  • Lighter or waterproof matches
  • Camping dishes
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Multi-tool
  • Rope
  • Duct tape
  • Tarp
  • Natural sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Bear spray
  • Biodegradable dish and body soap
  • Biodegradable toilet paper

And don’t forget the marshmallows!

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