10 Camping Equipment Essentials 2020 – Hiking Camping Guide

10 Camping Equipment Essentials

When you’re staying in the great outdoors, the right camping equipment is everything. Gear is not only a great conversation piece around a raging campfire, but it can also keep you safe and comfortable when the unexpected transpires. Experienced campers know that quality equipment can often be the difference between a fun outdoor adventure and a regrettable one. 

In this article, we’ll discuss ten pieces of essential camping equipment that you’ll want on any trip. This gear ranges from safety equipment, to convenience, to bare essentials. We’ve broken down some features for each item on the list and given pros and cons for each. We’ve also listed the price range you should expect for each item and what is an appropriate weight.

With an entire industry built around camping equipment, it’s hard to know what is worth throwing in your pack. In the end, picked one overall essential you should have in year kit above all else when heading into the outdoors.

​Product FAQ

​Why Should You Carry the Same Equipment As Everyone Else?

​Will Essential Camping Equipment Really Keep You Safe and Comfortable?

​You Have Your Camping Essentials, Now What?

​Where Can You Buy Essential Camping Equipment?

​How Do I Know What’s Essential and What Is Not?

​How We Reviewed

people around the camping fire

Image via Pixabay

​For this article we selected essential camping ranging from obvious bare essentials through easily forgotten items that can make life much more comfortable. These items represent a range of prices and functions and some are more essential than others. We picked items that should be in any camping kit and broke down what features to look for when selecting one from many comparable models.

For our top overall item on the list we chose a product that is the absolute most important thing to have. If your camping pack disappeared and there was only one key piece of equipment left behind, this would be the item you would want.

​Overall Price Range of This Product

​Camping equipment varies widely in price but the items on this list range between $2 and $50.

What We Reviewed

  • ​First Aid Kit
  • ​Waterproof Tarp
  • ​Pack of Matches
  • ​Camper’s Toilet Paper
  • ​Rope
  • ​Camping Cooler and Picnic Table
  • ​A Jar of Peanut Butter
  • ​Collapsible Beverage Dispenser
  • ​Portable Spice Rack
  • ​Camper Multi-Tool

First Aid Kit

​Features

​A first aid kit is an absolute must for any camping adventure. This need not be a massive thing unless you’re on a trip with many people. The most important things to have in a first aid kit are a mix of wound dressings including Band-Aids, gauze pads, medical tape, and blister bandages. Antibiotic cream and alcohol prep pads are also a must for cleaning and sterilizing cuts.

You’ll also want a first aid kit with a few simple medications like ibuprofen, cold medicine, anti-diarrheal, and anti-histamin. Make sure none of your medications have expired and all of you bandages are clean, dry, and unopened. Most kits also provide a field guide for simple first aid procedures.

PROS

  • ​Cleaning and dressing cuts          
  • ​Medications for common ailments
  • ​Instructions for simple first aid procedures

​CONS

  • ​Can easily be over-packed with unneeded items
  • ​Medications can often expire
  • ​Bandages should be replaced to ensure they are sterile

​Weight

​First Aid Kits will vary in weight, but they shouldn’t weight more than a pound for a trip of two to four people.

​Waterproof Tarp

​Features

Waterproof tarps can serve as emergency shelters and also a ground covers while camping. A tarp is an excellent spot to unload food and gear while setting up a campsite without placing items directly on the ground.

First Aid Only 299 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit, Soft Case
  • Contains 299 essential first aid supplies for treating minor aches and injuries
  • Clear plastic liner in nylon case for organization and easy access to first aid supplies...
  • Soft sided, zippered case ideal for home, travel and on the go use

PROS

  • ​Can serve as a shelter    
  • ​Excellent ground cloth option
  • ​Super versatile piece of gear

​CONS

  • ​All but the most expensive tarps are quite heavy

​Weight

​First Aid Kits will vary in weight, but they shouldn’t weight more than a pound for a trip of two to four people.

​Camper’s Toilet Paper

Freedom Living RV Toilet Paper - 2 Ply 8 Pack- Premium 500 Extra Soft...
  • MORE FUN LEISURE TIME: Enjoy spending more quality time in the great outdoors or with your...
  • DISSOLVES AS SOON AS ITS DONE ITS JOB: Septic Tank and Chemical Toilet Safe Toilet Tissue...
  • 100% BIODEGRADABLE - Perfect for RVs, tiny houses, off-grid living, boats, yachts, marine,...

​Features

​Toilet paper is an easy item to forget when heading out camping, but it’s a must. Unlike regular toilet paper, camping TP is often more highly biodegradable and comes in smaller quantities so it’s easy to carry in a backpack.

PROS

  • ​Camping-friendly packaging      
  • ​Can be stored with camping gear long-term
  • ​Aligns with Leave No Trace principles

​CONS

  • ​More expensive than regular toilet paper.

​Weight

​Single units of camping toilet paper will only weigh a few ounces.

​Rope

​Features

​Rope has a few key features essential to campers. The most important is to hang food bags and barrels overnight where they are out of reach for animals. Rope also has many utility features like hanging wet clothes and tying up tarps for additional shelter.

RAM-PRO 80 ft. Diamond Braid Polypropylene All Purpose Flagline Rope,...
  • Ram-Pro quarter inch all-purpose Durable light weight Diamond Braid Polypropylene Flagline...
  • Ram-Pro Polypropylene Rope is especially treated to resist sun damaging effects of UV...
  • Braid, also known as braid on braid or Yacht Braid rope, is constructed from a...

PROS

  • ​Necessary for food hangs        
  • ​Good for laundry lines
  • ​Can work with waterproof tarps for an extra shelter

​CONS

  • ​Food hangs aren’t recommended in all areas
  • ​Larger gauge ropes can take up a lot of space

​Weight

​A 50-foot length of five weight para-cord will weigh just a few ounces.

Camping Cooler and Picnic Table

​Features

​A cooler and picnic table aren’t essential for camping, but they’re very nice to have. These items won’t be viable when backpack camping, but they can add lots of comfort and cool, refreshing drinks when lounging around a camp ground.

Igloo Polar Cooler (120-Quart, White)
  • Ultratherm insulated body and lid keep ice for 5 days at 90 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Reinforced swing-up handles with tie-down loop feature
  • Dual snap-fit latches secure lid closure

PROS

  • ​Seats with back are often a premium when camping  
  • ​So are ice-cold drinks
  • ​Can make any campsite more comfortable for a longer stay

​CONS

  • ​Too heavy to use while backpack camping

​Weight

​A cooler and picnic table set will weigh around 20 pounds.

A Jar of Peanut Butter

​Features

​Peanut butter is one of the most classic camping foods of all time and for good reason. Peanut butter is a high-fat food, so it can keep the body energized during lots of strenuous activity. Jars of PB also usually plastic, so they travel well without breaking.

Jif Creamy Peanut Butter, 7g (7% DV) of Protein per Serving, Smooth,...
  • AMERICA’S FAVORITE* – From a brand that has been trusted for generations, Jif creamy...
  • SPREAD THE LOVE – It’s easy to do with our smooth peanut butter! It is smooth textured...
  • PROTEIN – A perfect option for lunch or snack time, Jif creamy peanut butter sandwich...

PROS

  • ​Energy-rich            
  • ​Most jars are very portable
  • ​A classic for most backpackers

​CONS

  • ​Some brands can be high in sugar
  • ​Can not be served to those with allergies

​Weight

​This will depend on weight, but most jars of peanut butter will weigh around one pound.

​Water Treatment Tablets

​Features

​Whether you’re camping in the deep backcountry or your local town park, you’ll want to ensure that you have clean drinking water. With a tiny jar of water treatment tablets you’ll never need to question if the water from a sink tap or mountain stream is safe to drink.

Potable Aqua Germicidal Water Purification Tablets - 50 count Bottle
  • One bottle of 50 Potable Aqua Germicidal Water Purification Tablets
  • Makes questionable water bacteriologically suitable to drink within 35 minutes
  • Emergency water purification tablets effective against Giardia lamblia when used as...

PROS

  • ​Excellent for back up and peace of mind  
  • ​Easy to use
  • ​Very lightweight

​CONS

  • ​Must be kept dry
  • ​Glass jar should be transported carefully

​Weight

​A jar of water treatment tablets weights around 3 ounces.

​Portable Spice Rack

​Features

​Veteran campers often appreciate the importance of a spike kit when camping. Freeze dried meals can be delicious and nutritious but a little extra flavor can go a long way, especially during extended camping adventures.

WGIA Portable Spice Jars Set of 7 Sauce Condiment Storage Container...
  • PREMIUM QUALITY - Made of BPA free plastic. clear design let you easily identify contents,...
  • EASY ORGANIZATION - The 3 Sharp oil Bottles for liquid seasoning such as oil, vinegar, soy...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & PORTABLE - Comes with 2 carry storage bags, easy to carry.Super lightweight,...

PROS

  • ​Can improve already prepared camping meals
  • ​Not much extra weight
  • ​Camp cooking can be a fun activity on any trip

​CONS

  • ​Must be packed with care to avoid blow outs and leaks

​Weight

​A good quality portable spice rack will only weigh around 3 ounces.

​Camper Multi-Tool

​Features

​A multi-tool can be a lifesaver during a camping trip. As the old saying goes, “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” With a good solid multi-tool you’ll at least have the chance to fix it.

Rose Kuli 7'' Portable Multipurpose Multitool Multifunctional Pocket...
  • Multitool with axe - Come with a nylon pouch. Integration design, multiple tool in one to...
  • Multi function tool - Made in durable 2CR13 stainless steel with nonstick coating, smooth...
  • All in one Multitool - Axe, Hammer, Pliers, Phillips head screwdriver, Saw, Rasper,...

PROS

  • ​Most are very lightweight          
  • ​Safe and easy to use
  • ​Can help mix a multitude of issues

​CONS

  • ​Cheap multi-tools are prone to rusting

​Weight

​Most quality multi-tools weight less than a pound.

​The Verdict

​If we had to choose one item from this entire list of camping equipment to bring into the outdoors with us it would a fresh, dry book of matches. This could be a contentious choice, but we feel that the ability to build a fire trumps all else in an emergency. With a little creativity a camper can build a shelter out of scavenged resources and potentially get by without a first aid kit.


With a book of matches, however, you can build a fire that will provide warmth, a visual sign of your whereabouts, light, comfort, and even the heat needed to cook scavenged food and boil water. Though many of the items on this list are essential camping equipment, a book of matches and subsequent fire can help sustain life in an emergency like few other items can.

Featured Image via Pixabay

Daniel Ryan
 

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