Whether you are an avid camper with years of experience or just getting your feet wet, the number of different products and gadgets available today can be completely overwhelming! Let’s take it back to basics and discuss the 6 must-have items to make your next camping trip a complete success!
**Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products/services that I love, and feel are valuable to my community. Thank you! For more information, please visit my Disclaimer page.**
I’m coming to you today from one of our favourite Ontario Provincial Parks, Six Mile Lake Provincial Park. That’s right, I’m up camping and still able to log on to get posts done – the perks of life as a blogger, right? The world of camping has changed drastically over the years, including electrical sites available at most of our favourite parks and campgrounds. It’s definitely not restricted to the ‘backwoods experience’ that it once was. As a result, the popularity of camping as a vacation getaway has seen a significant boost!
With more campers getting out there and enjoying the ‘great outdoors’, we have also seen a sharp increase in the amount of camping gear available at our favourite outdoors and sporting good stores. Tents are getting larger, fancier and easier to set up. Cooking gear has grown substantially from the traditional propane stoves and portable barbecues. Whether you’re a traditionalist, interested in maintaining the ‘rugged’ approach to your camping getaways or more interested in the new ‘glamping’ trend, there is something for everyone!
There is one major catch to such a wide selection of gear – it’s far more challenging to figure out where to start as a newer camper! What do you need and what items are a luxury that you could do without? What should you prioritize when you’re first picking up your camping gear?
Some items are a given. We’re not going to dwell too much on these items today as you have likely already figured out the very basics – you need a tent or shelter of some form, a sleeping bag or bedding, gear to cook with and the basics for personal cleanliness.
Furthermore, you should take the steps necessary to track and prepare for any potential changes in the weather during your trip. You’re going to be miserable if you show up for a camping trip in record-breaking heat and nothing but heavy clothing, or if you fail to account for a downpour leaving you and your gear soaked and cold.
Related: ’15 Tips for Camping in the Rain’
Instead, I’m going to take this time to highlight some of the items that are often overlooked, the gear that can take your camping trip to the next level. Why just go and survive your next adventure when you have the opportunity to thrive and love the experience?
Each of these items has been carefully chosen to help you make your day to day activities a little easier and more enjoyable. Some of them have a single-use while others are multi-use items, allowing you to cut back on the many little odds and ends that often find their way into your gear.
Check Out These 6 Must-Have Items Before Packing For Your Next Camping Trip:
#1 – A Multi-Tool
If your mind instantly jumped to the well-known Swiss Army knife, then you already understand what I’m talking about! Multi-tools are smaller, portable hand tools that include a variety of different types of gear you may need on the go including knives, screwdrivers, can openers, and more. Rather than packing a whole bin of tools for your trip, this one easy to pack item has you covered! While it’s true that the Swiss Army is the brand that first comes to mind for many, I am personally a huge fan of my Gerber multi-tools. They provide a wide array of options at a great price, all in the palm of your hand.
#2 – A Water Bottle with a Built-in Filter
Public parks and campgrounds, like Ontario Parks, pride themselves in providing a source of clean, reliable drinking water to all their guests, however, safe drinking water is only the first step. If you’re going to be outdoors, especially if you are planning on taking part in outdoor activities like kayaking and hiking, you need to stay hydrated. I will admit that I am a bit picky about the taste of my water, and safe drinking water doesn’t mean it’s going to taste great. To stay ahead of this, I always pack a self-filtered water bottle. These ensure that I not only have safe to drink water, even if I am ‘off the beaten path’, but that it also tastes the best it possibly can. After all, you’re more likely to drink enough water if you aren’t dreading taking a sip!
#3 – A Hammock or Comfortable Chair
Okay, so this one may be a bit of a luxury, but we are talking vacation – Right? When I am packing up I always consider how I am going to spend my days, and often that involves curling up with a cup of coffee in the morning or a good book throughout the day in my favourite camp chair or hammock.
If you’re a hammock lover like me, don’t stress yourself over whether you’ll be able to find that perfect place with the trees available. Today’s hammock stands are easily packed up and transported, allowing you to set up anywhere and everywhere. Not a huge fan of hammocks? My husband and I both love to kick back in our Zero Gravity Lounge Chairs! They take up a little more room when packing the vehicle than the standard folding camp chairs, but they are far more comfortable when you’re looking to put your feet up and relax.
#4 – A Headlamp
There are many great flashlights and lanterns on the market, and we always have a selection of different sizes on hand, but nothing beats the ease of use that comes with a headlamp. Why fumble with a flashlight when you’re cooking or trying to use the bathroom when a headlamp will provide you with all the light that you need while completely freeing up your hands? Keep in mind when shopping that you want to find an option that will be comfortable to wear over time. It may cost you a little more, but you’ll thank yourself down the road!
#5 – Bandannas
This is easily the cheapest item on the list and the most often overlooked. In fact, I never kept a bandanna around until we climbed Mount Kilimanjaro back in 2013. When we were preparing for the climb our guide, a well-known expert in the field, sent over a suggested packing list and a bandanna was included. What I didn’t realize at the time was that this simple piece of fabric had a wide variety of uses! Soak a bandanna in cool water and wear it around your neck to cool off, use it as a sweat rag, hand towel, potholder, or a triangular bandage during a first aid emergency. They are cheap and tiny to pack – I have never missed including one in my gear since!
#6 – A Solar Charger
Last, but certainly not the least, a solar charger is a game-changer – Especially for those of us who are guilty of relying on our electronics. I’ll admit, while I often unplug in the sense of cutting back on my social media usage or turning off my email notifications, my phone is still my source of reliable weather, my ereader, my podcast connection, etc. For this reason, I end up having to charge it multiple times throughout the trip. Furthermore, I hate wasting batteries unnecessarily when there are so many rechargeable flashlights, headlamps, etc available.
My go-to solution? Why not harness the power of the sun while you are spending all day outside anyway? Solar chargers come in a wide variety of sizes and price points, so the key is to discover what is best for you. While my husband and I will use a smaller portable charger, my mother and her boyfriend use a larger solar panel to power their whole camper. Make a list of devices that would require the charger and assess your needs, then shop accordingly.
What is your ‘must-have’ camping item(s)? Do you have any specific products you recommend fellow campers look into?
20 thoughts on “6 Must-Have Items For Your Next Camping Trip”
Good list! I never realized there were so many uses for a bandana. Also, you climbed Mount Kilimanjaro?! Amazing!!!
That’s how my husband and I spent our first anniversary! It was an AMAZING experience!
I’m not one for camping but this is such a great list!
I’ve never been camping. But we are going glamping with friends in September. This is helpful!
It’s so much fun!
I’ve never camped before but these definitely sound like must have items! Great post!
Bringing bandanas never occurred to me, that’s a really good tip. And I definitely agree with bringing headlamps. I always lose track of my flashlights so headlamps are my friend haha
I do that too – set my flashlight down somewhere ‘so I’ll know where it is when it gets dark’ only to have NO clue where it is when the time comes!
I’ve never camped but I’ll keep this in mind! Hammocks are really popular on my college campus
I LOVE my hammock – it’s my go to reading/studying spot at home!
I’ve never even thought about a bandana before – great idea!
As I said it never crossed my mind until it was on that kit list and I learned why! All credit to the travel company we booked through!
I am so not a camping person, give me a hotel and room service haha! but these are all great tips! I will make sure to share this post with friends when they go camping
Everyone has their own ‘relaxation’ mode! Thanks!
I haven’t been camping in years, but this is a great list!
That’s awesome that you can still get online while camping! The water bottle with a built-in filter is a great tip, so handy to take with you!
I actually just used my phone and tethered using it so that I was using my phone data!