Essential Camping Gear Item List

If you are going to spend a significant amount of time in the wilderness, it is important to make sure you are well equipped. This means having a list of essential camping gear for your trip.

Now, no one knows your needs better than you, but we have put together some of the most essential items of camping gear that we feel are a must-have for any camping trip.

Shelter & Sleeping


Shelter and sleeping are as important to a camping trip as food and water. There are many different types of shelters and sleeping accessories available, but we’re only going to cover the most essential here.

Instant Cabin Tent

The instant cabin tent is the most popular type of shelter used by backpackers and campers. It can be set up in less than 5 minutes and collapses down to the size of a large book.

Of course, there are other types of tent available, but this type is the one that I usually take when I’m solo camping.

All Seasons Sleeping Bag

A multi-functional sleeping bag that is perfect for summer camping, mountaineering, and winter camping.

Cold Weather Sleeping Bag

A cold weather sleeping bag will keep you warm even when the temperature drops well below zero. You should always sleep with a good warm blanket or sleeping bag liner next to your skin to stay warm. If the temperature gets very low, your body heat will be trapped between your skin and the outer layers of the warm blanket or sleeping bag. The best way to find out what type of sleeping bag you need is to check the temperature rating on the tag on your current bag. If it is rated to 50 degrees or lower, you probably just need an extra warm blanket or sleeping bag liner. However, if the rating is 60 degrees or higher, you may need a cold-weather sleeping bag instead.

Inflatable Sleeping Pad

An inflatable sleeping pad is a great item to add to your camping gear.

It’s light, compact, and can easily be carried in your backpack if needed. I recommend the self-inflating type. You can add air or blow it up yourself. When I use mine, it takes only a few minutes to blow it up.

A Self-inflating Pillow

If you have a sleeping pad, you should also get a self-inflating pillow. This is similar to the one that may come with your sleeping pad, but you can use this one instead if you don’t have a sleeping pad. 

Camp Site Gear

Camp Site Gear

Here are a few helpful things that you may want to have around your campsite.

Indoor Propane Heater

The best way to heat a tent is with an indoor propane heater. These simple yet very effective heaters work by using a small amount of propane gas to ignite a large burner.

Camping Dog Bed

If you decide to take your dog camping with you, they are going to need a bed of their own.

Getting a dedicated bed for your dog will provide them with a cushion to sleep on so you can enjoy the comfort in your own bed.

Portable Camping Dog Bowl

You will need to give your dog water every day (especially if you plan on going desert camping) and if you do not have a good portable dog bowl you could end up carrying around a big bowl that takes a lot of room in your backpack.

There are many varieties of bowls you can choose from and some of them even have a water dispenser to help keep your dog well hydrated.

Campsite Lantern

An important thing to bring with you when you go camping is a way to light your campsite at night. A great way to do this is with a lantern. You can get all sorts of different ones; some with just one light, some with two or even three.

Some of them have a very dim light, so they are great to use as an extra source of light if you are cooking by a fire or some other sort of light. Others have a brighter light and are great for reading by at night.

Whatever you decide to use it for, we recommend getting one that has a long-life battery. 

Portable Camping Chair

A camping chair can make all the difference in comfort. If you camp in a campground with no picnic table, this is a must-have for you.

Having a portable one will allow you to relax and enjoy your surroundings and friends and also have the advantage of taking it with you if you go hiking.

Camping Hammock

Camping hammocks are great ways to get a good night’s sleep while camping. They are light and compact and allow you to suspend your sleeping bag above the ground. They are easy to set up and takedown, and are very comfortable. You can buy them in different sizes and materials, so make sure you get one that is right for your camping needs. 

Double Camping Hammock

The double hammock is for you and a friend to lay in together and enjoy nature together. It is very easy to set up and take down and is very comfortable.

They are also very large and spacious, making them great for those who want to lounge around without having to worry about a lack of room. These hammocks are perfect for any occasion, whether you are spending time with a friend or going on a solo camping trip.


camp Kitchen

A well-equipped kitchen is one of the best investments you can make when you are backpacking or camping. You will save money by not buying food at the store and it will be healthier for you. 

Camping Food

Camping food should be high in protein, low in fat, and contain no cholesterol or sodium. It should also be easy to prepare and have a long shelf life. We like to eat lots of nuts and nut butters (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts) and dried fruit as well as beans, lentils, rice, and pasta.

All these foods can be stored in airtight containers and will keep for a long time. You should also bring some sort of fat-free cooking spray. Cooking with this stuff is so much easier! You’ll find it in the camping section of most large stores.

Camping Drinks

Water is important, so don’t forget to bring some!

You should be drinking 1 qt of water per 50 lbs of body weight a day or more during your trip.

You should also pack a few cans of juice or soda, they are great for a quick pick me up and will help you to rehydrate after a long day of hiking.

Camping Stove

When cooking over an open fire is not an option, a stove is essential for many campers. They allow you to prepare hot meals quickly and easily, even when you are miles from civilization. We like these lightweight, compact stoves because they are easy to light, easy to use, and have an incredible amount of fuel efficiency.

Cookware Kit

If you have your own camping stove, then you will need cookware. 

A camping cookware kit is a good place to start. You can pack your own or buy one. I personally like the self-contained kits. You won’t need to worry about finding room in your pack for pots or food.

Portable Espresso Maker

Whether you like your coffee strong or weak, a portable espresso maker is an essential piece of camping gear. It will give you that “pick me up” you need when you are getting ready to face the day ahead.

A portable coffee maker is a must-have for any camper who likes a fresh cup of Joe in the morning.

A Cooler Box

This is an insulated box that is used to keep food and other perishable items cold.

It is not as airtight as a refrigerator but will keep your food cold for a few hours.

Air-tight Containers

Perfect for storing your food while camping, you need to make sure that all your food is kept in air-tight containers.

The main function of these containers is to keep your food fresh and safe from insects. You do not want your food to go bad while you are on camping so make sure to get air-tight containers.

Clothing & Footwear

camping clothing

It is important to be properly dressed for almost any camping activity you will be involved in.

Here are a few items that you really should take with you.

Warm Rainproof Clothes

You should always have at least two pairs of warm rainproof clothes with you while you are camping. This way, if it starts to rain or snow and you get wet, you will have an extra change of clothes with you.

Warm Rainproof Jacket

A warm rainproof jacket is another essential item that you should carry with you when you are going camping. A jacket like this will keep you dry and comfortable whatever the weather conditions are outside. It will also give you a measure of protection against insects such as mosquitoes.

Waterproof Shoes

If you are going to be doing any type of camping where you will be wading in the water, you should wear waterproof shoes.

Thick Socks

You need them because they keep your feet warm and comfortable.

Look for socks that are made from wool or another material that has natural insulating properties.

Health & Hygiene

first aid camping kit

You must be able to maintain good hygiene while camping. This will help you avoid infections and diseases.

Portable Pressure Shower

One of the best (and most underrated) items you can bring with you is a portable pressure shower. Not only does it save water, but it also gives you the ability to wash off all the bugs that might be lurking in the woods.

You can clean yourself and it can be used to wash your tent or trailer. These are great for people camping in areas without public showers. 

Portable Mosquito Repellent Shield

If you are going to be camping in an area where there are a lot of mosquitoes, you should take a portable mosquito repellent shield with you. This will help you avoid being bitten by insects. It also has the added benefit of giving you a measure of protection against insect-borne diseases like malaria. These work by emitting an electric charge that keeps the bugs at bay.

Insect Repellent

A very simple item to overlook, but one that can quickly become a big annoyance when you are trying to enjoy a pleasant evening campfire or just trying to get a good night’s sleep. Especially if you are going to be in remote areas with little or no insect protection, you should consider using an Insect Repellent Insecticide Spray on your clothing and in your tent.

Mosquitoes, black flies, horseflies, ticks, gnats, ants, wasps, and numerous other insects can easily ruin a day of relaxing outdoors.

Use a product with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

The DEET, picaridin, and IR3535 will provide the longest protection. Oil of lemon eucalyptus will only protect you for about two to three hours.

Medical First Aid Kit

This should include all of the basics such as band-aids, aspirin, antihistamines, allergy medicine, cold/flu medicines, ibuprofen and naproxen, antiseptic, oral rehydration salts (ORS), wound cleaner, antibiotic ointment, and an antiseptic compress or styptic pencil. Also, if you are prone to mosquito bites or other insect bites and stings, you should add some sort of DEET-based insect repellent to your first aid kit.

Water Purifier

Many areas have water that is not safe to drink without treatment. Also, if you are camping in an area where there is no water source, you will need to purify your own water.

Whether you are camping in the backwoods of America or on an island resort in the Caribbean, it is a good idea to bring along a water purification system.

Personal Gear

camping gear

Here are a few things that you may want to take with you.

Survival Knife

A sturdy knife is essential when backpacking or camping.

You’ll need this knife for cutting branches, opening food packages, and even for protection. A good survival knife will be able to perform these tasks with ease.

Survival Hatchet Or Axe

If you are going to be in the woods on a long-term basis, it is a good idea to invest in a quality survival hatchet or axe.

These are great tools for opening up wooded areas for firewood, cutting down trees for building shelters, and making other camp craft projects. Make sure you get one with a sturdy handle and a sharpened blade.

Solar Charger

A solar panel charger attaches to your camper or backpack and lets you charge your cell phone, GPS unit, MP3 player, or another small electronic device without being plugged into an electrical outlet.

Campers Multi-tool

This sturdy multi-tool is a great addition to any camper’s toolkit. The tool includes a bottle opener, corkscrew, flathead and crosshead screwdriver, a knife, and more.

Walkie Talkies

(also known as “two-way radios”) are an extremely important piece of equipment.

You can use them to set up communications with other campers, search and rescue teams, or simply for general safety if you are separated from your group.

They are essential for all types of outdoor activities. You should always bring at least one pair of these with you whenever you go camping. Make sure you bring the ones with the longest range.

GPS Tracker

A GPS tracker is another item that you must have in your camping bag. It will help you track your location in case you get lost. You can easily find your way back to your campsite or out of the forest with a GPS tracker.

They are also very helpful in case you get lost or you are in the middle of a forest where you do not see any signs.

Waterproof Lighter

A lighter is an absolute must when you are backpacking or camping. Not only do you need a way to start a fire, but you also need a way to signal for help if necessary.

I always have a waterproof lighter in my camping bag when I go out just in case I need to start a fire or signal for help.

An Extra Set Of Batteries

Always carry a spare set of batteries with you when you are camping. You never know when your equipment will die or run out of power.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.


camping speaker

When camping, you may end up being a little bored. Here are some of the things I like to take with me.


The most valuable thing you can carry with you while camping is your sense of wonder. Carry a GoPro with you at all times and capture all the unique and wonderful sights, sounds, smells, and experiences of your trip. Later, show your friends and family your videos.

They will be amazed.

Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

A portable waterproof Bluetooth speaker is an absolute must for every backpacker or camper. It can be used for multiple purposes.

You can use it to play music or audiobooks while you are hiking, fishing, or just relaxing around the campfire. It can also be used as a speakerphone if needed.


campfire marshmallows

We all love a good campfire (who doesn’t), even if the smell lingers for a while, there is nothing better than relaxing around an open fire.

Here’s what I recommend for a nice night around the fire.


When you are starting a fire, it is important that it starts quickly and burns for a long time. That means having a good supply of fire starters on hand.

I usually need at least 3 to start a fire, and that is if I am using one of the good ones.

Marshmallow Roasting Sticks

Don’t forget about marshmallow roasting sticks. They can be easily fashioned from sticks you have already cut to size, but it is also easy to grab a bag of them ready to go. These are great for the kids and easy to make a mess with.

Final words

Camping is a fun exercise that brings you closer to nature and relaxes your mind. It also creates the opportunity to bond with friends and family members. You have to be prepared for the camping adventure with the right camping gear.