Planning for a camping trip can be stressful, what camping gear to bring, who to bring, how to get there…all of these factors are important. When it comes to your camping gear it can make or break the trip, trust me there are few things worse than discovering mid-storm that your rain fly doesn’t work (yes this happened to me when I went cheap on a rain tarp). Therefore, we are going to share with you our camping gear that we have had success with.
Before We Start:
I have a couple of really good resources that will help you pack for your camping trip:
Camping Gear – What to bring:
Backpack (his and hers)
When looking at different backpacks for hiking there are many different brands and models to choose from. However if you want the most bang for your buck then Osprey is by far the way to go. I have had my 25L daypack for well over 7 years now and it is hardly showing wear. While the cost might be higher initially, the durability will leave you feeling pleased about your purchase for years down the road.
Now, the model we have is the Osprey Manta 25L and it is my favorite daypack I have owned by far. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like Osprey makes our older model anymore and has come out with the new Manta AG version. It has all the features of the previous model with some extra space and a more durable design. It also comes with a 2.5L water reservoir. However, if you are looking for a comparable backpack that is a little less pricey then I recommend the Osprey Escapist 25L. If you are buying this model and want a water reservoir you will need to buy it separately. This particular Osprey Reservoir comes in both 2L and 3L versions.
The other pack we have is the womens Osprey Tempest 20L. It doesn’t have a dedicated water pouch but between our 3L reservoir in the other pack and a Nalgene we usually have more than enough for a hard day of hiking. (Note: If you get a Nalgene make sure to get the narrow mouth one. It makes drinking on the go much easier and much less messy.)
Camping Gear: Tent
We bought the Marmot Catalyst 2p tent for our recent visit to Estes Park, Colorado and have very few regrets with our purchase. It is durable and compact with an excellent rain fly that will keep you dry even in the stormiest weather. If you have ever been to the Rocky Mountains you will know that rain can be frequent and unpredictable. It was exactly that on our week-long trip and all our stuff stayed dry. The tent is lightweight and compact allowing use on overnight hiking trips as well.
Once we had unpacked and gotten situated we did discover one downside to the tent. The inside of the tent is rather small. (the floor dimensions are 53 x 88 inches) We did have room for everything but, when we went to sleep at night it was a bit cramped. However, we had packed on the heavy side since we were near parking for the campground so next time I don’t think this will be as much of an issue.
If you are a person who likes a bit more space then get Marmots next step up, the Marmot Tungsten 3p tent. With floor dimensions at 66 x 90 inches, you will really appreciate the extra foot of side space.
For hiking boots we have the mens Asolo Fugitives and the womens Clorts boots. Now, the Asolo Fugitives were a gift I got some time ago and have been by far the best hiking boots I have ever owned. They are definitely in the upper price range but are worth it. They will also last you for a very long time since the treads of the boots are replaceable. In terms of bang for you buck the Clorts have also been an excellent purchase, they have stayed dry even when walking through puddles and shallow creek beds and haven’t chaffed even a little bit.
Black Diamond is in my opinion, the best brand when it comes to headlamps. Then again, I have been a loyal customer for many years and they have never given me any reason to switch. We use the Black Diamond Storm, and the Black Diamond Spot headlamps. At 350 and 300 lumens you wont need another light source to illuminate your way. They also offer SOS signals, red lights, and a 3ft/30 minute water proof guarantee.
If you are camping with your significant other then there are a couple ways you can go. If you are car camping then a comforter from your house and a single sleeping bag ( just use the sleeping bag like a blanket) is all you will need as long as the weather isn’t going below freezing. We used my Marmot Trestles 15 degree sleeping bag. Otherwise the best way to go is probably just to each have your own or get a double sleeping bag (these can get a bit bulky though).
If you are camping with a significant other then the Eno Double Deluxe is a safe way to go. However, there are several other brands that have come out in the past couple years that can also fit your needs. Eno is a name brand and thus tends to be a bit more pricey, however, I have had the same hammock for the past 6 years and it has held up admirably. (don’t go too cheap on your hammock, or at the very least the straps because waking up from a nap to straps breaking and you falling onto the ground sounds awful).
Don’t Forget to Grab a Knife
In terms of camping gear a quality knife is one of the most important items. I use the Coldsteel SRK knife, it is a highly durable knife with a great deal of utility. It is light and portable and will fulfill all your camping needs. This is a knife I have used for over 10 years and it is still going strong. While I cannot find the exact model that was purchased 10 years ago there are two versions, one with a blackened blade and a bare metal blade that look almost exactly the same.
Other Camping Gear You Will Need:
Mess Kit – Unless you want to eat with your fingers out of the cooking pot you will need one of these.
Sleeping Pad – There are many options here, if you are camping mid-hike you will want to spend the money on a compact, lightweight and comfortable pad, but these can get expensive. For our car camping trips we just used an inflatable twin sized air matress from wal-mart that we got for $10. You can find the same mattress on amazon for just over $20 and it comes with a battery pump.
Lighter – while flint and steel can be great in a survival situation, it can also be a pain to use to start a fire. Bring a lighter.
Propane Stove – While not necessary, it certainly can be convenient when you want a hot meal (especially during breakfast) but don’t want to spend the time stoking a full campfire.
Cast Iron Skillet – a necessity if you plan on having the classic bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns for breakfast.
Dutch Oven – great to use if you are cooking for a group of 6+
Socks – I HIGHLY recommend Merino wool hiking socks. They dry fast if they get wet, are breathable, reduce chances of chaffing and are either cool or warm depending on when you are hiking. Definitely one of the most important and most overlooked pieces of gear.
Pants – light breathable but sturdy pants with lots of pockets. I like these pants from Marmot. (If you haven’t been able to tell I am a big fan of Marmot)
While the best strategy for a camping is usually a road trip, that isn’t always possible. If you need to fly packing lighter will be a necessity. Minimize your flying costs and check out our guide to round trips under $200.
August 19, 2018
Very good article. Seem to hit all the needs for a good camping trip. Forget something can make your trip tough. When you’re so far from a near by store.
August 19, 2018
It’s been a long time since I’ve gone camping, but a nice compact camping pillow is also useful. Great list, though!
August 19, 2018
My husband and I are going on a Europe backpacking trip in a couple months – he just got an Osprey backpack and is really excited to use it!! Thanks for all the tips ✨
August 23, 2018
Nice! I have never done camping. Now I might..
August 23, 2018
Great article! I have a nice read..keep this up. Will be camping someday..
August 23, 2018
I just went camping for the first time in at least 20 years. Luckily, it was at a camp “resort” of sorts and the kids loved it. So we will probably have to go camping again! I will keep these ideas in mind as we will not be returning to that camp “resort”.
August 23, 2018
My family loves to go camping- though we are glampers lol. When I backpack though, I love my Osprey! I take it everywhere with me. Short backpacks, snowshoeing and all.
August 23, 2018
Thanks for this beautiful blog post about best camping gear. I have been hiking in Mardi Himal area and your blog post inspires and give me energy a lot and helps in my so many camping.
September 9, 2018
I want to go camping sooo bad! I will try it in my backyard first to make sure I understand lol great post
November 1, 2018
I’m going to be camping a bit this winter and I need to get more equipment. Of the things you listed here, I actually don’t have good hiking boots. I just have my sneakers and let’s say they don’t do the job very well. I’ll just have to find a pair that I like and go with it.
March 26, 2019
You’ve got great camping tips here. I love how you said that it’s good to bring a good tent. We want to camp more this year, so I’ll definitely buy a good one.
March 27, 2019
Thanks! After we got into camping, we bought so much gear, but now, we really don’t need to spend much to travel. It’s an investment!
July 18, 2019
I’m glad that you mentioned bringing a headlamp camping. I’d imagine that all kinds of lighting are necessary in isolated areas. If I were going camping, I’d definitely have to stop at an outdoor equipment store for supplies and gear!
July 28, 2019
Yes! You are right, just one headlamp will probably not do for a camping trip of several people. It’s nice to have several lighting sources!