Unless you're wandering into the wilderness with a bow and arrow, a pack of matches, and a rope, you're going to need a few things.
Camping has come a long way from the days of canvas tents, PVC folding chairs, and beans over the fire. Whether you're going backpacking in the Adirondacks or car-camping in Yellowstone, here is the list of camping essentials we swear by. From shelter and warmth, to food, toiletries, games, bear spray (yes, bear spray), and stuff for your pup, we guarantee even the most experienced outdoorsman or woman will find something on this list that enhances their adventure-seeking.
This 14-foot-by-10-foot tent is baller AF. You can sleep eight people (apparently) and there's even a room divider. We'd probably stick to a family of five or even go all out on a couple's week in the wilderness (with an air mattress). Due to size and weight, this tent is only suitable for campsites you can drive directly up to. But you can stand in it. #danceparty
More: 7 Large Camping Tents That'll Fit Your Whole Family
TechPluz.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites, as well as to other websites that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.
If you're looking for a more traditional dome tent for light-use, this 8-foot-by-8-foot tent with a full-coverage fly sleeps four people. But the best part is the European-style vestibule that can store all your gear and clothes, allowing you to maximize sleeping space.
This roomy tent is perfect for spring, summer, and fall ... and three people (or two people and two dogs)! There are two doors for easy in-and-out, taped seams to keep the elements out if the forecast calls for rain, and a mesh canopy for stargazing. Weighing in at only 6 pounds, it's great for backpacking, and it'll hold up strong in high winds.
More: Down Sleeping Bags to Keep You Warm in Even the Coldest Temps
Here's another amazing invention we didn't know existed until we needed it — desperately. Tenacious makes super strong, waterproof adhesive repair tape for tents, tarps, backpacks, ski gear, and so much more. Carry it with your tent at all times, especially when backpacking.
Upgrade from your sixth-grade slumber party sleeping bag to this 20-degree rectangular bag from Nemo. The synthetic filling is rated to keep you warm in temperatures as low as 20 degrees, and there is an integrated blanket that's soft, washable, and mimics your bed setup at home! This should be one of your camping essentials because it makes it so much easier to sleep outdoors.
Underneath, a fitted sleeve keeps your bag connected to your sleeping pad (best when paired with Nemo's thick and luxurious Nomad inflatable pad), so restless sleepers won't roll off and end up on the ground at night!
If car-camping is your go-to, but you want a sleeping bag that can handle the occasional backpacking trip, too, this Kelty is your pick. The warmth-to-weight ratio is ideal, and a larger toe box gives you freedom to move around in the heat of the night. No more rolling your sleeping pad, either, as the attached loops will keep things in place.
If you're heading out on a backpacking or kayaking trip, you can be sure to expect moisture. Treated with DownTek, the feathers in this down bag absorb 33% less moisture and dry 66% faster than standard down. Thanks to 850-fill power down, it has a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than most bags. Translation: It's warmer, lighter in weight, and able to compress smaller. You'll be toasty warm at every altitude and in every climate in this sleeping bag.
When you're backpacking, it's all about weight and size — but you don't have to sacrifice comfort. Sleeping on the ground is awful no matter how you look at it. But this sweet sleeping pad adds some space between you and the rocks, is super small when stuffed in its sack, and weighs in at just over a pound (for the regular-sized option).
The smallest and lightest cot on the market (under 3 pounds!), you'll be shocked at how comfortable this backpacker-friendly option is. It sits just a few inches off the ground, so it will fit in most backpacking tents, and it provides you with a soft, flat sleeping surface when the ground is uneven and littered with rocks or pine needles.
The key to a good air mattress while camping is recognizing before you get to the campsite that you probably won't have electricity. This twin airbed comes with a handheld pump — just don't forget six C batteries. It's offered in full- and queen-sized options, too.
Down pillows aren't exclusively for the bedroom — now you can rest your head on this cloud anywhere you go. It even packs down small enough to be ideal for backpackers. Our favorite feature is the elastic cord around the bottom — stuff a spare jacket inside and you'll instantly add loft!
More: Snuggle Up in Your Tent With 11 Camping Pillows
If you've seen The Revenant, you know that even the most experienced outdoorsmen can accidentally stumble between a mama bear and her cubs. This spray has a glow-in-the-dark safety wedge preventing midnight accidents, and it can spray up to 30 feet. We've heard that bears in Alaska simply recognize the spray bottles and will keep moving along if you wave it at them. How neat is that?!
There's nothing worse than a wet lighter or set of matches that won't spark fire. In addition, duct tape is that essential you can't go without, but carrying a full roll is cumbersome. UCO found a way to fix both problems. It wrapped 3 feet of strong utility tape around a stormproof, triple-jet butane liter, then attached a carabiner to create a go-anywhere survival tool you'll be proud to carry.
You might not be going climbing, but there are about 700 other reasons to always have a carabiner on you: to hang your water bottle off your backpack, use as a weight, tie your hammock to a tree, hang a flashlight, clip your camera to your belt, hang your food sack from a tree, etc. The list goes on and on. Whatever you don't want resting on the ground, hang with this set of five carabiners.
For weekend backpacking trips and carrying your camping supplies, a 35- to 50-liter bag is plenty. Anything over 50 liters of gear is overpacking — especially because most packs have straps to carry additional items, like your sleeping pad or tent, on the outside.
Osprey is pretty much the gold standard in packs. The new Atmos AG 50 is relatively lightweight (under 4.5 pounds), and it's packed with features like compression straps, easy-access pockets, anti-gravity suspension systems that disperse weight evenly across your body (not your shoulders and back), foam-padded straps, and so much more.
Women's bodies are shaped differently than men's, so make sure you find a pack that's specifically designed for females. This pack won Backpacker magazine's Editor's Choice Gold Award in 2015, thanks to five consecutive years of best-in-class performance. Award-winning features include the company's A3 suspension system that's extremely customizable, breathable, and female-contoured. It'll have you moving stealthier than a mountain lioness on the prowl.
You'd be surprised how much room a hand towel can take up in a fully packed backpack. Go light with a PackTowl, made of natural fibers that can soak up to 10 times its weight in water. Then, just wring it dry! Bonus: These beauties are machine-washable and get more absorbent with each use.
If we could have one bowl for the rest of our lives, this would be it. Let's tick off some features, shall we? It collapses. You can easily pour things out of it because it's made of flexible silicone. It weighs less than 3 ounces. It can handle hot foods. You can use the bottom as a chopping surface. It's BPA-free. When you get home, you can toss it in the dishwasher. Seriously, it's the best bowl ever.
No more wasteful paper plates and plastic utensils for your next camping trip! The one-person set includes a plate, cup, bowl, knife, fork, spoon, and mesh bag. It comes in five colors and is super lightweight, too.
If you must do disposable, there's no better option than this pick. These plates from Earth's Natural are 100% biodegradable and compostable. On top of that, they're made of discarded wheat stalk and sugarcane fibers, not paper or plastic.
The last thing you want is a mosquito, bee, or some ash flying into your cup before you take a sip. Keep critters and airborne things out of your beverage (hot or cold) with this sealable, lidded mug from GSI. It's insulated and BPA-free, plus it has a collapsible handle.
A frosty beer after a long day of hiking in the sun always hits the spot. But on super hot days, your beer can get too warm if you don't down it within five minutes. Nothing can keep your can as cold as this YETI Colster, with its double-walled insulation, stainless steel design, and 5-year warranty.
Sure, there are fancier water bottles out there, but the Nalgene is still king in our eyes. You can attach it to your backpack, drop it off a (small) cliff, and even hook your water filter right up to the wide mouth. Plus, it's cheap and comes in a wide array of colors.
If you're going car-camping in a dispersed area, there's not going to be a table just waiting for you in the woods (but there will be loads of privacy and other off-the-grid benefits)! This table has a foldable accordion-style top and a base that assembles in just minutes, offering a great surface to do your meal prep.
Backpacking is all about saving weight, so packing a bundle of plastic silverware is just not practical. Keep your cooking-and-eating sack light with this reusable titanium spork, weighing in at under half an ounce.
This set is the ultimate space saver in camping utensils. It's a fork, spoon, knife, light, corkscrew, bottle opener, and more! It's like your kitchen drawer all rolled up into a pocket knife.
Spaghetti by the fire? Sure! Scrambled eggs for breakfast? Why not? Boil water, simmer sauce, grill sausages, and so much more with this stove. It cranks out 12,000 BTUs of power under the stars. Just be sure to pick up a mini propane tank.
More: 11 Portable Camping Stoves to Cook an Outdoor Feast With
No matter what you're doing in the wilderness, a propane tank is necessary to cook some kind of food or drink. Trusty Coleman propane has never let us down, and these tanks burn long enough to cook meals for an entire weekend!
This is the ultimate campfire cooking tool! Place burgers, steaks, or veggies directly in this basket — or wrap them in foil to keep the juice and spices in place. Baskets not only keep your food from falling onto the fire, but you can rotate the basket for even cooking.
Sure, there are more affordable axes on the market, but they aren't precisely handcrafted like this one. When you're aspiring to be Paul Bunyan, you'll appreciate the 2-pound axe head — hand-forged from Swedish steel — as it chops wood effortlessly and holds a sharp edge. The curved hickory handle gives you incredible leverage, too, so there's no tree too large to chop!