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The Complete Camping Gear List for Beginners and Advanced

Camping is a favored activity among many nature lovers. Sleeping under the open sky or in a tent has a unique feel to it. As humans, most of us enjoy being in touch with nature. Listening to the chirping birds, the water stream running, and little crickets having a concert in the grass is just compelling.

Besides that, camping is a great way to spend some time bonding with your friends and family or a significant other. However, camping includes a lot of preparation to ensure safety and comfort.

As a beginner, you might be wondering about the things you would need to carry on your camping trip. Even experienced campers often forget some essentials. In this article, we would run down all that you would need for an enjoyable camping experience.

Beginner Basics

If it is your first time camping or organizing a camping trip, there are quite a few things you should factor in. Bringing the proper gear, food, and other essentials must be your top priority. If you are confused about what to bring, here’s the list of bare necessities. Here is a list of camping essentials for beginners.

A Tent

A tent is a no-brainer while camping, but not everybody feels like they need it. Having a tent is an excellent idea for numerous reasons.

Your tent is the temporary shelter that will protect you from bugs, snakes, rain, and the like. However, there are different types of tents, and you should choose the one that suits your needs. These are some of the options:

A Backpacking Tent

This tent is easy to fold, does not have many poles, and is usually smaller and lighter than other tents. These are meant only for one or two people and do not have a lot of vertical space. If you are looking for a tent to sleep in, this is the right option for you.

Dome Tent

This option is the most commonly used nowadays. It has two poles that cross in the middle, and they anchor the corners. What is great about this type is that it is easy to set up.

They come in different sizes so you can shelter one, five, or even more people inside. It has a lot of headroom and it is easy to handle. The only issue with this tent is that it is light, so it is not suitable for windy weather conditions.

A-Frame Tent

The name derives from the fact that the tent looks like the capital letter A. This tent is super easy to set up, but it is a bit heavy to carry around. There is not a lot of headroom, and it usually does not accommodate a lot of people inside. It is ideal for one or two campers.

Sleeping Bag

When going on a camping trip, you cannot bring your comfortable sheets, but having a high-quality sleeping bag will surely be a great substitution. Sleep is vital if you want your camping experience to be enjoyable.

Sleeping bags are made of different materials and come in various shapes. Here are some of the most common types:

Rectangular

This rectangular bag has a zipper on one or both sides. It is an ideal bag if you want to move around inside or if you have claustrophobia.

These bags are not the most suitable for super cold nights as there is more space inside, which makes it hard to warm up by your body heat alone. But, if the night is going to be warm or at least not cold, this bag is an excellent choice.

Semi-rectangular

This bag is a bit more tapered up top, while the rest of the bag is like a rectangular one. These bags give you more warmth around your head and shoulders while they still allow you to move around or sleep on the side.

Mummy-style Sleeping Bag

This bag is one of the most popular ones out there. It is very tight and keeps your entire body warm. However, it does not have a lot of room for you to turn around. They are not as heavy as other bags since they are made out of fewer materials.

Double Sleeping Bags

These bags are designed for two people and are ideal if you are going on a camping trip with your family member or a partner. They usually come in a rectangular shape with a zipper in the middle, meaning you can still have your own space while sharing it with another person.

Sleeping Pad

Even if you have a comfortable sleeping bag, you will still feel the hard ground under you. Therefore, you should make sure to get a good sleeping mattress for extra comfort!

They do not only provide convenience but also protect you from the cold ground. Here are some types of sleeping pads that you might find helpful:

Closed-cell Foam Pads

This is a worthy pad for backpacking and car camping thanks to its lightweight nature. The material is incredibly durable and can last you for years. These pads are compact and you can easily carry them around tied to your backpack. On the other hand, they are not too comfortable, but they serve their purpose to a manageable extent.

Inflatable Pads

These pads are lightweight and compact, which makes them super easy to carry around on hikes. However, you have to inflate them every time you want to use them and they are not as durable because the material breaks easily.

Self-inflating Pads

These pads do not need to be inflated. They are light, comfortable, and easy to use. All you have to do is open the valve and the pad will expand itself. You can finish the inflating by adding a few extra puffs. Their only issue is the bulkiness.

Pillows

If you want to avoid neck pain during camping, you should consider getting a pillow for your camping trip. Sleeping on the ground will not be comfortable at all. However, you can make it a little less uncomfortable with pillows. Here are some of the options:

Compressible Pillow

These are filled with leftover foam and are pretty compact. The foam expands on its own, but it takes some time, so make sure to open the pillow as soon as you reach your camping spot.

Inflatable Pillow

Quite similar to inflatable mattresses, these pillows require some work. However, they are lightweight and super easy to pack.

Self-inflating Pillow

These are more convenient compared to other pillow types. All you have to do is open the valve and the pillow will take in the air. Once it is done, close the valve and you are good to go to sleep!

Cooking Utensils

If you plan on camping for a few days and do not want to deal with a campfire, you should consider bringing other utensils to cook food.

For example, a stove could come in handy. If you are camping somewhere with no water filtration and want to boil water or simply cook food, a stove is a great asset. Here are a few types that you can consider:

Backpacking Stoves

These stoves go on top of the gas canister and you must light them with a lighter or matches. You can quickly heat a pot or a pan on top of them. They are small, compact, and easy to use.

Single Burner Stoves

These are even more convenient to use than backpacking stoves, as they are more stable and there is no balancing required. You can put a pot on top without worrying that it might fall over.

Double Burner Stove

These are the best, as you can put more than one pot or a pan on them. You can simmer and cook simultaneously, making it perfect for camping trips with more people. They usually have an ignition button but sometimes you might need a lighter.

Knife

Having a knife on camping trips is never a bad idea. You might want to slice some apples or potatoes, use the knife when cooking, or cut a rope to set up a tent. They are truly multi-purpose.

You can choose a nice folding knife that is compact and safer to carry around. You can also consider bringing a pair of scissors. Blisters are a common occurrence when camping, with scissors being a helpful tool when you decide to treat them.

Headlamp or a Lantern

If you want to get to your car or take a little walk during the night, having something to light up your way is highly recommended. If you want something where your hands would be free, choose a headlamp.

When choosing a headlamp, you should look for something robust and durable. Cheaper lamps will serve their purpose, but you might not be able to use them for more than one or two trips.

On the other hand, you might want to opt for a lantern if you want to have subtle lighting during dinner. Of course, you need a battery-powered one so recharge it before the trip. Choose something that is not too clunky to make the atmosphere a bit more enjoyable.

Foldable Chairs

Once you have finished setting up your sleeping gear and kitchen utensils, you would want to make the outside space comfortable as well. Bringing foldable chairs and even a desk can be pretty practical.

There are different sizes of these chairs. You should choose one that will be the easiest to carry around. Some chairs even come with cup holders and leg stretchers for extra comfort.

First Aid Kit

This one is an absolute necessity as injuries are quite common during camping. You might cut yourself, get burns and blisters, be bitten by a bug, etc. Whatever happens, be prepared with a basic first aid kit.

Bring band-aids, gauzes, rubbing alcohol to prevent infections, maybe even a couple of pills for headaches and minor issues. If you or anybody in the group has any allergies, do not forget to bring medication to treat that.

Camps are usually set up in remote places with no hospitals and emergency rooms in the vicinity. Having a first aid kit can prove to be life-saving.

Bug Spray and Sunscreen

Being out in the sun might take a toll on your skin. Campsites are also popular locations for bugs and mosquitoes. Make sure you carry sunscreen and bug spray to overcome these issues. These may seem trivial but can end up ruining the mood during your camping trip.

Advanced Campers

More experienced campers would usually know what to bring on a camping trip. However, there are a few things that they might miss:

Multi-room Tent

If you are going on a camping trip with your friends or family, you still want to have some privacy. Instead of everybody bringing a separate tent and looking for enough space for everyone, you can simply get a multi-room tent. There would be enough space for everyone and the extra gear.

The sole reason why these tents are more suitable for advanced campers is that they are a bit more challenging to set up, and they are pretty heavy. Pitching them takes more time and practice, and beginners would not want this to ruin their first experience.

Tent Repair Kit

Tents can tear or break, which is why you might need a sewing kit, some extra fabric, tape, etc. Save the day by being ready if anything goes wrong and you can still salvage the trip.

Conclusion

Camping is a fun, adventurous, and relaxing activity all at once. Make sure to bring the proper equipment to make it extra enjoyable and stay safe. At the same time, make sure you do not carry unnecessary stuff, which would become a burden to carry around. You would also need to factor in the weather conditions of the campsite. The camping gear might be heavy during winters, whereas the rainy season might get frustrating for many. Thus, choosing suitable weather is important to reap all the benefits of camping.