If you've never been camping before, you'll soon discover that some camping gear is mandatory for basic survival when you’re out in the wilderness. Having a tent and a comfortable sleeping bag is essential when trekking out to sleep beneath the stars in the great outdoors. Granted, some of the more spartan among us like to go out occasionally and “rough it.” These people venture out with little more than a knife and a compass to test their mettle against the forces of nature.

Basic Camping Gear Data Table

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  • Camping is better when it includes a good night's sleep.
  • A removable sheet extends your comfort range while NEMO's Blanket Fold.
  • This classic rectangular bag is gently tapered to deliver more even warmth.
  • Material: ripstop nylon with DWR coating, [lining] nylon taffeta
  • Insulation: 850-fill DownTek
  • Shape: semi-rectangular
  • Lightest outdoor cot on the market
  • Compact design fits easily in the included carry-bag
  • Stands up to heavy use
  • Twin-sized inflatable mattress 
  • Soft flocked top provides a luxurious sleeping surface
  • Hand-Held Battery Pump 
  • Anti-Gravity suspension 
  • Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment
  • Adjustable harness and Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt to dial in perfect fit

Camping Gear Goodies and Accessories Data Table

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  • Refillable waterproof and windproof butane lighter
  • Field-tested emergency survival accessory
  • Two Styles (sold separately)
  • 10X rapid-cycle absorbency: soaks up 10X its weight in water
  • Softens with use
  • Durable
  • Stable rigid base with flexible silicone side walls
  • Collapses flat for compact packing
  • BPA - free
  • Smaller heavy-duty throwing hawk with large cutting edge, compact handle, and stainless steel pommel
  • 2.75" 3Cr13MoV steel blade
  • Includes ballistic nylon carry/storage sheath
  • HealthandOutdoors
  • HERO6 Black automatically sends your footage to your phone where the app turns it into a QuikStory
  • With 4K60 and 1080p240 video
  • Captures super smooth footage
  • Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Sun Protection
  • Paraben-Free, Fragrance-Free and Chemical-Free
  • Dermatologist recommended
  • A smooth instant coffee
  • Balanced & Nutty
  • Enjoy this with: The hotel's continental breakfast and a complimentary newspaper.
  • Smooth, creamy texture makes them perfect for baking
  • Extra-large marshmallows
  • 90 calories per serving (26 servings per bag)

Most of us, however, require at least a few of the comforts of home to make the adventure more of a pleasure than a military survival course. Here are some of the best-rated basics to ensure that your pleasurable experience in the woods won’t leave you overly battered, bruised, and exhausted.

Best Basic Camping Gear

Depending on the climate, owning the right tent and sleeping bag can turn into a matter of life or death. Choosing the right camping spot is also nearly as crucial as picking the right tent. In cold weather, staying dry is of vital importance. So always select high, dry ground and a waterproof tarp, whether you sleep in a tent or under the stars in your sleeping bag. You may also want to position your campsite to take advantage of the first warming rays of the rising sun.

Here, in no particular order, are the best tents, sleeping bags, and other basic gear. They'll be sure to keep you toasty warm and well insulated against the elements.


Time to get serious about your sleeping bag? Give up that old, plaid family camping sleeping bag and step up to the top of the line with the Nemo Jazz Luxury. This bag will keep you toasty warm down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit and comes standard with a soft integrated blanket that can be machine washed.

Nemo Jazz Luxury 20-Degree Sleeping Bag
  • SWEET DREAMS - Camping is better when it includes a good night's sleep; The 3 season Jazz Luxury is insulated with...
  • SNUGGLE UP - A removable sheet extends your comfort range while NEMO's Blanket Fold adds an extra level of cuddly...
  • A BETTER ANGLE - This classic rectangular bag is gently tapered to deliver more even warmth by minimizing airspace...

This comfortable bag will rival the comfort of your bed at home. A fitted sleeve on the underside ensures that you don’t separate from your sleeping pad in the middle of the night.


If you are backpacking, kayaking, or deep-woods camping, you know that at some point you will face rain, fog, or heavy morning dew. The Big Agnes Blackburn comes with DownTek. The waterproof down insulation in this bag absorbs less moisture and dries much faster than ordinary down fill.

This bag is lighter, warmer, and will compress smaller than most other bags. Designed for all altitudes, climates, and conditions, you can count on Big Agnes Blackburn to keep you warm at night. When out in the cold weather, a 0-degree sleeping bag is the best camping gear you can by.


Sleeping on the ground is uncomfortable and chilling, no matter how smooth or clean it may be. But the odds are that if you are backpacking or climbing, you won’t find a patch of nice, soft, dry grass to lie down on for the night. The sturdy Therm-a-Rest UltraLite Cot offers you a flat, smooth base for your sleeping bag.

Therm-a-Rest Ultralite Cot, Regular - 24 x 72 Inches
  • Lightest outdoor cot on the market
  • Compact design fits easily in the included carry-bag
  • Stands up to heavy use

It also ensures that you don’t have to concern yourself with uneven terrain, rocks, sticks, or other ground debris. Ideal for backpacking, when your most significant concerns are weight and size, this cot meets those demands but not at the expense of comfort.

This ground-clearing cot is the lightest available, weighing in at under 3 pounds and is low enough to fit in most backpacking tents. With a 325-pound capacity, it collapses and folds into the carry bag and tucks into the rest of your camping gear with ease.


One of the most daunting prospects when setting up your campsite involves blowing up one or more air mattresses. Intex has relieved you of that task with this airbed that includes a battery-powered air pump. It will provide a much-need break after setting up the rest of the campsite.

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Intex Prestige Downy Airbed Kit with Hand Held Battery Pump, Twin
  • Twin-sized inflatable mattress perfect for the rugged outdoors, but also handy around the house
  • Soft flocked top provides a luxurious sleeping surface. Age Grading: Adult
  • Hand-Held Battery Pump – Operates on 6 “C” Cell Batteries (not included)

As many campers have discovered through bitter experience, a cheap swimming pool air mattress can be overwhelmed by the rough terrain of the woods. They were, after all, designed for use in relatively forgiving water. They can quickly develop holes, blown seams, and mysterious leaks when facing the full pressure of a 300-pound sleeping camper.

The Intex was built for the woods and is sturdy enough to take it. The bottom is made reinforced, but the top is soft flocking. Despite being over 8 inches thick, it folds easily for storage and comes in both full and queen. An air mattress is a vital part cold weather camping gear, as it provides a crucial insulating layer of air between your bag and the ground.


Osprey is one of the most respected names in backpacks. The Osprey Atmos AG 50 is reasonably light, coming in at under 4.5 pounds. It boasts foam padded straps and a suspension system that distributes your supply weight evenly across your body, relieving the pressure on your shoulders and back when carrying all your camping gear.

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Osprey Packs Atmos Ag 50 Backpacking Pack, Abyss Grey, Medium
  • Anti-Gravity suspension - feels like you are carrying less weight than is in your pack
  • Stow-on-the-Go trekking pole attachment allows you to stow your poles in steep terrain or whenever you need your hands...
  • Adjustable harness and Fit-on-the-Fly hipbelt to dial in perfect fit

It also has compression straps and pockets you can reach for snacks and small necessities. You'll also like the internal sleeve that holds a 3-liter reservoir of your favorite hydration fluid. Lastly, it has a Stow-And-Go trekking pole attachment that allows you to secure your trekking poles when you need to climb or crawl, or you need your hands free as you go.


Best Camping Gear Goodies and Accessories

Now you have a tent, and everyone on your adventure has a ground pad and a sleeping bag. Time to accessorize your camping experience with a few accessories in your camping gear. Let’s face it, after a full day or two of swimming, rock climbing, and nature hikes, you may need a bit of a vacation from your vacation.

At the very least, it's time to relax and recover. Here are a few luxury items that will increase your camping convenience, lower your frustration, and maybe make you feel you are still at least a bit civilized.


Nothing can dampen the spirits of campers quicker than a sudden downpour. You scramble to get supplies and equipment into the tent and face the possibility of a wet lighter or a useless box of matches. Starting that fire again not only provides warmth for your soggy, tired, and demoralized group. Emotionally, it lifts their spirits and puts you back at the top of the food chain!

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UCO Stormproof Torch Windproof Lighter with Emegency Utility Tape
  • Refillable waterproof and windproof butane lighter (butane not included due to hazardous goods shipping regulation);...
  • Field-tested emergency survival accessory features triple jet, windproof, water-proof, adjustable flame
  • Two Styles (sold separately): With utility that tape tears off easily and adheres to just about anything; or with an...

Also, everyone knows that duct tape is an indispensable part of camping gear for many situations. But, lugging around an entire roll can slow you down. Well, UCO has solved both of those problems with one product. They have combined a stormproof, three-jet butane camp lighter with 3 feet of “the handyman’s secret weapon”: duct tape. They then connected it to a clip-on carabiner to make it easy to carry and keep track of.


No one wants to take a “good towel” out to the woods to face the unknown. Conversely, no one wants to try to dry off after a bracing camp shower or dip in the lake with old rags. The solution is a PackTowl Original Towel.

PackTowl Original Quick Dry and Super Absorbent Towel, X-Large- 25 x...
  • 10X rapid-cycle absorbency: soaks up 10X its weight in water; wrings out almost completely Dry - over and over. The...
  • Softens with use: becomes softer and more absorbent with each washing
  • Durable: made from a natural and sustainable fiber-based fabric blend

Besides taking up much less room in your camping gear than that fluffy, fabric-softened bath towel, the PackTowel can absorb up to 10 times its weight, and you can wring it almost completely dry. Made to be used in the woods and machine-washable once you get home.


These days most campers have tracked down and prepared their camping meals long before taking the SUV out to the wilderness. Even so, you will still need something to eat your rehydrated chili out of once you get there. Enter the Sea To Summit X-Bowl, the only camping food bowl you will ever need.

Sea to Summit X Bowl, Pacific Blue
  • BEST USE: Space saving & sturdy silicone bowl for Backpacking, Camping, Overland or as a travel pet bowl
  • PACKABLE: Side walls collapse easily to less than 1" thick for minimal pack size
  • VERSATILE: Nylon base may be used as a cutting board when flipped upside down. Nests neatly with the X-Pots

Besides being collapsible for fast storage, it also cleans and pours easily due to its flexible silicone construction. Weighing less than 3 ounces, it accepts hot or cold foods. And the bottom is strong enough to use as a cutting surface. Unbreakable and dishwasher safe for easy post-camping cleanup, what else do you need?


When you're backpacking and ready to settle down for the night, you may not always be able to find enough convenient small firewood in the immediate area. That’s not a problem if you remember to pack your SOG Voodoo Hawk Mini Hatchet in your camping gear. The 2.75-inch stainless steel blade on this 12.5-inch-long hatchet will make short work of sizeable deadfall.

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SOG Tomahawk Tactical Hatchet - Voodoo Hawk Mini Tactical Axe,...
  • 12.5 INCH STAINLESS STEEL AXE HEAD: The Voodoo Hawk mini tactical axe is a chopping axe, camping axe, backpacking axe...
  • 23.1 OUNCE LIGHTWEIGHT HAND AXE: Light yet very heavy-duty, Voodoo Hawk throwing axes are both superb survival tools and...
  • OUTDOOR SURVIVAL HATCHET WITH SHEATH: This emergency axe, throwing hatchet and hiking hatchet includes a ballistic nylon...

You'll have your fire roaring in short order. It has a sure grip rubber handle and a metal pommel at the end to keep it in your hand as you stack the kindling and cooking wood. You never know when you'll need a hatchet as you venture into the unknown. This is one of the best for both.


Ah, the great outdoors. Beautiful scenery, tranquility, the soothing sounds of nature, and huge, bloodthirsty mosquitos! Even the most grizzled backwoodsman can crack under the relentless attacks of these tiny vampires. When you get tired of slapping yourself all night or jumping around flailing your arms, it’s time to fight back with the Repel Mosquito Repellent Wipes.

Repel 94100 Sportsmen 30-Percent Deet Mosquito Repellent Wipes, 2...
  • Includes: (2) 20 Count Repel Wipes - (2) EXCLUSIVE! HealthandOutdoors Moist Towelette
  • Long-lasting protection from mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, biting flies, chiggers, no-see-ums and fleas Wipe-on protection...
  • Convenient resealable pouch makes on-the-go application easy Designed specifically for outdoor enthusiasts

Citronella is excellent for backyards and patios, but out here they have home field advantage. To confound that squadron of mosquitos, even the odds is DEET. You can protect yourself for as many as 10 hours with easy-to-use Repel wipes. More convenient than a can and won’t leak as pump sprays can. They take up little space to pack in your camping gear and can be easily carried away from the campsite if needed.


Seriously! You are trekking through the deep woods, rock-climbing, and canoeing. You're into the great unknowns of nature, and you’re are going to try to capture these once-in-a-lifetime events by stopping and getting out your cell phone? Not that you should leave your phone at home, but the rough and tumble GoPro HERO6 will handle preserving your adventure for posterity.

GoPro HERO6 Black — Waterproof Digital Action Camera for Travel with...
  • HERO6 Black automatically sends your footage to your phone where the app turns it into a QuikStory an awesome edited...
  • With 4K60 and 1080p240 video,HERO6 Black delivers 2x the performance compared to HERO5 BlackWith an all new GP1 chip...
  • With our most advanced video stabilization yet, HERO6 Black captures super smooth footage, whether it’s handheld or...

You take on the treacherous terrain, jagged rocks, steep climbs, and roaring rapids. So, let the GoPro record it all for you. The 1080p video, SuperView feature, and vibrant colors will capture the scope and grandeur of the great outdoors exactly as you see it. With a touch display, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, it will be easy to show the rest of the world exactly where you have been the last two weeks.

Not to mention how breathtaking it was. As long as you do have your phone, you can send your newly created footage directly to it. Then, QuickStories will make a short video of the highlights. Use the GoPro and keep your mind, and your eyes, on the trail ahead.


Many people are highly sensitive to sunlight. For them, a day at the beach is no “day at the beach.” Many people taking photosensitive medication can be particularly sensitive to UV radiation. For them, overexposure may not only be uncomfortable, but downright dangerous.

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen - Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30+ Broad...
  • Formulated with dermatologists to protect sensitive skin from the sun
  • No skin-irritating fragrances or parabens
  • Water resistant for 40 minutes

Going to the beach without protection means gambling on coming home burnt and blistered after just a few hours. If you want to venture out into sun-drenched open spaces for a few days, protect your delicate carcass with something a bit stronger than ordinary sunscreen. Blue Lizard comes to the rescue with a dermatologist-recommended sunblock.

Specially formulated for sensitive skin, it's also fragrance-free. It costs a bit more than everyday suntan lotion, but this SPF 30 shield is safe for babies, older people, and those with fair skin.


Try luring a reluctant partner to the campsite with this whiff of heave. The ultimate civilized move in an otherwise rustic and unforgiving environment: Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee will make your morning in the woods. And it won't take up much space in your camping gear.

Starbucks VIA Colombia Coffee, Medium Instant, 1.4 Ounce
  • A smooth instant coffee with a signature nutty flavor.
  • Tasting notes: Balanced & Nutty
  • Enjoy this with: The hotel’s continental breakfast and a complimentary newspaper.

The rest of the campground is struggling to assemble and activate their Rube Goldberg-type camp coffee pots. But, all you need is a little boiling water to transport yourself back to the civilized world, if only for a moment or two.


Many time-honored traditions have gone by the wayside. Drinking from a canteen, rubbing sticks together to start your fire, making your own jerky. Thankfully, there is one that holds fast and seems to be timeless. Anywhere you have more than one person looking into a campfire, you'll need marshmallows. Not just marshmallows, but the biggest, fluffiest marshmallows you can find! You will also need lots of them tucked into your camping gear.

Jet Puffed Jumbo Marshmallows (24 oz Bag)
  • Smooth, creamy texture makes them perfect for baking; try them dipped in chocolate!
  • Extra-large marshmallows are perfect for roasting or snacking
  • 90 calories per serving (26 servings per bag)

After all, everyone knows that several will either burst into flames before your eyes or fall off your stick to a fiery demise. That's not counting the ones that will be swiped and munched before they ever get close to a stick or the fire. Just remember to save a few for S’mores later.


Get Ready to Pack up Your Camping Gear

Do you really need to go camping in this day and age? Yes! Emphatically, yes! Of course, you do. If you are journeying off by yourself, you will build self-confidence and reinforce your sense of adventure. You have conquered the forest. Now, you feel refreshed and ready to take on the concrete jungle. If you camp with your friends, you foster camaraderie, companionship, and a sense of belonging.

Finally, nothing is better than camping together as a family. It's certainly better than sitting at a table in a restaurant staring at your smartphones. It builds closer family bonds and provides shared memories that will last long after the last embers of the fire have died.

Some companies offer camping trips as “team-building exercises,” because of the teamwork it takes to manage a camping expedition effectively.

So, go out there and get some fun exercise. Fill your lungs with fresh air and don’t worry about anything beyond the range of your own eyesight for a few days. All that pressure and stress will be right where you left it when you get back to work on Monday.

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