Camping is a great activity to bring family or friends together, to give a couple some special memories, or just to let you get away from the crowds for a little while. If you’re new to camping, the first thing you’ll probably realize is that you need camping supplies.
If you Google “camping supplies,” you’re likely to feel overwhelmed by all the stuff the Internet recommends you buy before you can enjoy the wilderness. However, there are tons of different approaches to camping. You can pack light with just the basics, or you can go all out on luxury supplies.
Camping Supplies FAQ
If you’re brand new to camping, then the first thing you need to know is that there is more than one type of camping. When most people think about camping, they usually visualize backcountry camping: grueling hikes through the wilderness and lots of trail mix. Backcountry camping can be a blast for people who like to fully immerse themselves in nature for days on end. If you’re not ready to take that leap, then it’s okay; car camping might be for you.
1. What’s Car Camping?
Car camping is a great way to try out camping and build up confidence before taking an overnight backcountry hike. It’s also a fun opportunity to teach your kids about nature without the stress of living out of a backpack for days.
Most national parks in the United States offer car camping. Many state parks offer it as well. Some car camping areas are accessible to people with wheelchairs or other needs. When you rent a site in a car camp, you’re provided with a camping area that usually includes a picnic table, a fire pit, room for a few tents, and a small driveway for your car. Anyone with a vehicle can do it!
2. Why Should I Choose Car Camping?
When you reserve your campsite, ask or look online to see what kind of facilities the camp provides. Many camps have hot showers, sinks, and toilets. These amenities make car camping a great choice if you have kids: you still have some comforts of home while enjoying the fun of sleeping in a tent and cooking s’mores over a campfire.Because you’ll have your car near you when you car camp, you won’t need as many camping supplies as someone who’s backcountry camping. You can focus on relaxing and having fun.Car camping lets you carry food with you and store it in your car. Bring a cooler full of soda and beer, some hamburgers or hotdogs, and s’mores supplies, and you’re ready to go! (Just remember to pack your food back in your car before you go to sleep: most campgrounds have some critters that like to raid campers’ stashes at night!)
3. What Camping Supplies Do I Need for Car Camping?
When you go car camping, you’ll need the following essential camping supplies:TentWaterproof tarpSleeping bagHeadlamp or flashlight
When you have these camping supplies on hand, then you’re ready for a basic camping trip. However, there are other items that can make your experience a little more enjoyable. Cooking over a campfire is a must-have experience for many campers. Bring supplies for cooking outdoors. Consider buying a lightweight travel pillow or sleeping pad for a deeper sleep. The camping supplies available today might surprise you; many of them are sturdy, light, and inexpensive.
How We Reviewed
We reviewed camping supplies based on the following parameters: features, pros & cons, and price. Since many campers end up trying backcountry camping at some point, we’ve also included the products’ weight. If you’re going to haul all of your gear around the forest overnight, then you probably want to know how much weight you’ll have on your back!
Overall Price Range of Camping Supplies
When you’re just starting out with camping, the cost of basics, such as tents and sleeping bags, can be a little overwhelming. Camping supplies vary in cost. For example, tents can range in price from $9 up to $200! It’s hard to figure out the price range you should shoot for.
We’ve tried to make that a little easier in this article by reviewing popular camping supplies so you can compare prices and pros & cons before you pay.
What We Reviewed
- Waterproof Tarp
- Sleeping Bags
- Camper’s Toilet Paper
- Sleeping Pads
- Camping Pillow
- Paper Plates
- Plastic Storage Bags
- Cast Iron Pie Iron
- 9.7 Pounds
- 3 person
- 100% nylon, fly has taped seams
The tent is your first must-have item. This waterproof tent is designed for 2-3 people. It has an outside vestibule to keep your boots and backpack dry without having them crowd the sleeping space in your tent.
- Quality waterproofing
- The vestibule is a useful feature
- Good for all weather
- Thin floor; will need a tarp
- Not really big enough for 3 people
- Not good for anyone over 6 feet tall
- Can get hot in summer
- Tightly Woven Fabric: The B-Air Grizzly Tarps Are Constructed With Tightly Woven...
- Waterproof: B-Air Grizzly Tarps Can Be Used To Shelter Boats, Cars, Campers Or...
- Lightweight But Durable: All Grizzly Tarps Are Enforced With Border Piping To Insure...
You’ll need to put a tarp under your tent to protect your tent floor from getting torn by rocks or covered in mud! This tarp is made of sturdy water repellant canvas. While plastic tarps are noisy, this canvas tarp is quiet and does a good job of evening out the ground so you can sleep comfortably.
- Quality waterproofing
- No plastic odor
- Some reviewers noted loose grommets
- Some reviewers claimed the tarp was not as big as advertised
One of the challenges of picking a sleeping bag is to find one that keeps you warm, but not too warm. This lightweight sleeping bag unzips at the end in case your feet get hot while you sleep. It also includes a hood to keep your head warm if needed. It comes with a carrying bag. It’s waterproof and designed for weather up to 77 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as 32 degrees.
- Barrel shape give a cozy feel
- Bottom zipper is a great feature
- High quality for the price
- Not for extreme heat or cold
- Not for people over 6 feet tall
- Some reviewers noted seams coming undone
- LIGHT UP YOUR ADVENTURE: With its easy-to-use design, the TIKKA is perfect for camping,...
- BRILLIANT BEAMS: Features a wide, uniform beam with white and red lighting for nocturnal...
- CHOOSE YOUR LIGHT: Features a single on/off button, which easily selects the lighting mode...
Simple and compact, the TIKKA headlamp offers 200 lumen brightness and a wide beam. With its long burn time, it is practical for outdoor activities like camping or trekking, or for traveling, and also for daily activities and projects around the house. The phosphorescent reflector helps you find it in the dark, and the red lighting prevents members of a group from blinding each other. TIKKA is a HYBRID headlamp that is also compatible with the CORE rechargeable battery.
- Curve shape fits the forehead
- The company has good customer service
- Not as bright as expected
- Camping toilet paper offers hygiene and comfort on outdoor adventures
- Package contains 3 rolls of soft, premium 2-ply toilet paper
- Biodegradable toilet paper is safe for septic systems
You know what this one is for. Used in the woods and then covered with leaves, this biodegradable toilet paper is designed for camping and hiking. It comes in a package with three rolls. A carrying case is provided. The case holds one roll.
- Compact carrying case
- The case keeps TP dry
- Not much paper in each roll
- Thin paper
- Only one carrying case
- COMFORTABLE - When you lay down on the Last Lake sleeping pad, you won’t feel any of the...
- PACKS UP SMALL - While the camping sleeping pad is thick and cushy enough to keep you...
- DURABLE & WILL NOT LEAK AIR - Once the camping sleeping pad is fully inflated, it will not...
A sleeping pad can make a big difference in your sleep quality while camping. It’s a great addition to your camping supplies. This self-inflating air pad inflates in about five minutes. When deflated, it’s lightweight and easily carried in its compression bag.
- Positive reviews from campers over 250 pounds
- Easy inflation
- Easy to clean
- Not for people over 6 feet tall
- Not good for slide sleepers
- Air doesn’t always distribute evenly
- SLEEP IN COMFORT - Our camp pillows are unbelievably comfortable & made with a soothing...
- ULTRALIGHT and COMPACT- Incredibly light, it only weighs 4ozs! For convenience it's also...
- EASY TO USE - Inflates in seconds with only a few breaths, and deflates just as fast....
Many campers have memories of sleeping on rolled up jackets or jeans. This camping pillow is another great choice for your camping supplies list. This pillow has a down-filled section and an inflated section. Increasing or decreasing the air in the inflated section can adjust the softness and firmness of the pillow. It’s shaped to cradle the neck. Deflated, it fits into a small compression bag.
- Packs up tight
- Surprisingly soft
- Good for side sleepers
- Difficult to clean
- A little noisy
- Dixie Everyday disposable paper plates are strong, attractive, and designed to make...
- The 10 inch plate is the perfect size for dinner, from everyday meals to parties and...
- 2x stronger than the leading comparable store brand paper plate
These plates were designed expressly for Amazon. They come in 5 packs of 44 plates. They are slightly bowl-shaped to keep food from rolling out. They’ll easily hold two hamburgers or several hot dogs.
- Large, dinner plate size
- Bowled shape
- Easy to throw a pack in the car with your food
- Not really biodegradable
- Not soak-proof
- Some reviewers found them too thin
- HEAVY DUTY DURABLE CONSTRUCTION - AK Plastics Bags are Made from Heavy 4 Gauge Clear Vinyl...
- VERSATILE STORAGE AND ORGANIZATION SOLUTIONS- AK Plastics bags come in varying sizes and...
- GREAT PRODUCT DESIGN & VISIBILITY – The transparent product design allows for easy...
One thing you’ll notice about camping is that your camping supplies often are bulky and hard to store when you get home. Having a strategy for storing your supplies is essential. These clear vinyl bags have zippers for keeping your supplies clean and ready to go when your next camping trip comes around.
- Clear vinyl shows what’s inside
- They stack up nicely
- Plastic odor
- Some reviewers noted weak zippers
- The Original Pie Iron Since 1964
- Heavy Duty Square Cast Iron Design
- 28 inch Overall Length
Cooking over a campfire is a must-have experience for car campers! This iron has a 28-inch arm for holding food over the campfire. The size is perfect for sweet or savory campfire pies. It’s real cast iron and will have to be “seasoned” with oil before use. (Google how to do this… and recipes for the pies!)
- Classic, old-fashioned pie iron
- Perfect size for grilled cheese/other sandwiches
- Genuine cast iron is super sturdy
- Must be “seasoned” at home before use
- Handles fell off of some reviewers’ irons
The camping supplies on our list are arranged from essentials to fun extras. A tent, tarp, sleeping bag, and headlamp are the basic must-haves. The products we reviewed in these four categories each had special features that brought them up a notch from other products. The High Peak 4 Season Backpacking Tent had the added vestibule that offered a sheltered porch-like area that some reviewers found as useful as a second room in the tent. The Cartman Olive Drab 10 oz Canvas Tarpaulin took the regular blue, plastic tarp to the next level with its quality canvas construction. The Venture 4th Backpacking Sleeping Bag featured the foot-zipper, a great touch for the warm-footed people of the world. And the SmarterLife headlamp provided a red light that’s easier on animals and people in the night.
There are many camping supplies on the market today. The selection can be overwhelming. The selection can be overwhelming. If you’re just starting out, pick quality camping supplies that fit your budget. You can always purchase an upgraded version in the future if camping turns out to be your style.Camping is an activity that everyone can enjoy. If you’re brand new to camping, start with the basics and try out car camping. You might be ready to step up to some overnight backcountry camping before you know it! Of course, there’s nothing wrong with just enjoying your nights pulled up around the campfire with family and friends, cooking up s’mores and telling ghost stories!
Last update on 2021-04-12 at 00:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API