10 Must-Have Items for Camping
By Sarah Brinton
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When the weather warms and nighttime comes late, camping calls. Camping trips can provide a much-needed change of pace and change of scenery for families always wired in or on the go. But if you’re what you might call “indoorsy,” the thought of packing up food, clothing, warmth, and shelter so you can leave your home—with its ready access to food, clothing, warmth, and shelter—might sound daunting, no matter how idyllic it might sound to sleep under the Milky Way.

Do not be daunted. With a few pieces of the right equipment, camping under the stars can be easy to arrange. And you and your family can be one step closer to living a life of comfort outside your comfort zone. Here are ten camping essentials that will help you finally make friends with the great outdoors.

  1. Water

    Any outdoor experience will require you to be well hydrated, so easy access to water is key. Most maintained campgrounds provide clean water access for campers, but you’ll need containers to trek the water from wherever it is to where it needs to be. Water carriers vary from handheld water bottles, to backpack containers, to multi-gallon containers that can serve your whole family.

    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: Alexapure Survival Spring Personal Water Filter
  2. Food

    Camping families are hungry families, so high-quality, tasty food should be your priority. But outdoor living begs for simplicity. Look to easily prepared foods like the Emergency Essentials MREs and Mountain House meals for delicious breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and desserts.

    Here are some ideas:

    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: Mountain House Pouches
  3. Stove

    Cooking over a campfire can be exciting and tasty, but bringing a portable stove, like the Solo Stove Lite, will allow you to prepare a wider variety of foods with more predictability and less work (win, win, win), giving you more time to explore and enjoy (win, win!). (Quintuple win!)

    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: Solo Stove Lite
  4. Utensils

    So easy to forget, but so helpful to have. Take it from the sadly expert: sticks are not nearly as effective.

  5. Light and fire

    A little light at night can transform a campsite from spooky to cozy. You can choose from a variety of portable light options, including gear like the Ready Hour 100-Hour Candle(great for night reading in your tent or Replacing your toothpaste) or the Goal Zero® Lighthouse Mini Lantern, or community lights, like the Goal Zero® Light-A-Life 350 LED Light. If you’re going to light a fire, to roast marshmallows or to warm you up on a chilly night, then bring Ready Hour Fire Starter & Fuel, which is reliable, easy to light, and require little or no kindling.

  6. Sleeping bag

    Perhaps the most critical piece of equipment for a restful overnight excursion is a comfortable and warm sleeping bag. Bags like oversized down sleeping bag are designed for reliable coziness.

  7. Tarp

    According to expert campers, a tarp is many times useful due to its versatility and water resistance. You can use it under your tent as ground cover. (Tip: A tarp used for this purpose should be a few inches shorter than the width and breadth of your tent, so any water dripping off your tent will absorb into the ground and not drop onto your tarp and slide toward your tent.) You can position it above your cooking, eating, or lounging area, to keep off rain or to limit sun exposure. And, if you’re really adventurous, you can erect it over your sleeping bag and gear and camp without a tent at all!
    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: Deluxe Thermal Blanket

  8. Tent

    If you’re inclined toward a more comfortable arrangement, a quality tent can provide you with protection from the elements (and mosquitoes!) and much-needed privacy. Mid-size tents, such as the Barebones Lodge Tent, provide ample space for the gear and sleeping bags of 12 adults, while not being too hard to erect or heavy to carry.

    10 Must-Have Items for Camping: Slubmerjack Trail Tent 3
  9. Toilet paper

    When in need, campers can use certain leaves, pieces of clothing, or rocks (sandstone is not recommended), but you may Replace your bathroom experiences to be much less memorable if you remember to pack some good old-fashioned toilet paper. One roll can do wonders.

  10. Assorted plastic bags

    Making friends with the outdoors means leaving it better than you found it, so remember to bring a few garbage bags, kitchen trash bags, and gallon-size zip-top bags, to store your empty cans, discarded wrappers, leftover food, and wet clothing. The right-sized plastic bag can help prevent a soggy, smelly end to an otherwise successful camping adventure.

With these ten must-have items, your camping trip can be easy to arrange, happy to experience, and satisfying to remember. Go camping! The beautiful world is waiting.

What else do you consider a must-have item for camping?



Bree Ward

Bree Ward

I agree with you when you said that the right camping equipment can provide an exceptional experience when camping. My family is planning to have a camping trip to a rainforest, and we want to make sure that we will bring all the camping equipment necessary. Thanks for giving me the list of camping equipment that is necessary during our trip.

Elnore Macey

Elnore Macey

Camping chairs?!

There is only so much sitting on the ground you can do before your backside is sore.

I feel like it is an essential items. You get ones which are small and easy to store. Some that even fold out as small as an umbrella.



-trowel for cat holes if you are in wilderness area

-rain ponchos

-tent repair kit

-small sledge for getting tent stakes in hard ground (if car camping)

Sean A.

Sean A.

A male and female comfort kit i.e. razors,aspirin,feminine items,toothpaste,etc….sewing kit




Men # 1 on the list – If you are camping with the fairer sex ie:


A VERY comportable ground cover for a restful nights sleep.

I know this why???

Enjoy the outside


Chilli P



Games for when it rains.



Hi James,
You will need to get a separate solar panel to charge the lantern. The Nomad 7 is recommended. You can check it out here: http://beprepared.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=nomad+7&sc=BLOG&oc=BP0001B1244

Val Reynolds

Val Reynolds

Weapons :Experience/Training of FIREARMS ! My parents

Took them along 50 -60 years ago ( And on

Scouting ) , in Mich . !



how does the goal zero 250 lantern get its solar charge?

Geoffrey Reesor

Geoffrey Reesor

I would make one addendum to the water section. The LifeSaver bottle or jerrycan. They have built in filters that are designed to last through quite a lot of water (which is indicated by the exorbitant purchase price). There’s a TED talk about them by the inventor and I would recommend either them or something similar for camping or emergency kits.

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