It's inevitable. You arrive at your campsite, set up camp, and only after you've settled in do you realize that camping would be more comfortable/ easier/ less frustrating if you had brought along a specific piece of camping gear.
It happens to all of us! I've been camping for a long time in every way imaginable and have discovered these 7 pieces of camping gear are essential to avoid frustration and have an amazing camping trip.
Essential Camping Gear
The following list of camping gear is not meant to be a camping checklist. Depending on the type of camping you are doing- tent, cabin, RV, car, or glamping- you will need very specific items to make your camping vacation enjoyable. This list is what I have found to be essential no matter the type of camping I am doing. These 7 items are my camping gear essentials.
Camping Gear Essential #1: Walkie Talkies
Yes, it's quite likely that your mobile phone will work in many places. But there are equally as many spots that you won't have service. A good set of walkie talkies (two way radios) will keep you connected to friends and family without the worry of dead zones. These are an especially good idea if you are traveling with children as they are an easy (and inexpensive) way to keep tabs on them as they roam the campground.
Camping Gear Essential #2: A Powerful Lantern
You won't realize how truly dark it can get until you are camping in an area with no ambient light. You'll soon find that even a good flashlight doesn't provide enough light to see any distance. A powerful lantern will illuminate the darkest surroundings. We love the Lander Cairn for its exceptional brightness (up to 300 lumens!) and the fact that it is waterproof. It recharges easily via USB and can be used as a charger to keep your phones, 2-way radios, and other USB devices charged.
Camping Gear Essential #3: Pot to Boil Water
While this seems like an odd essential, take a minute to think about it. If you enjoy a hot beverage in the morning you will want something to heat the water. Would you prefer not to wipe down at the end of the day with cold water? Do you like those MREs warm? Even if it only heats a single cup at a time you need to bring a pot to boil water.
Camping Gear Essential #4: Clothes Line
Even if it's just a rope to string between trees, you should always have something you can rig to hang items to dry. We have been traveling with the Flexo-Line compact clothes line for about 10 years. It has hooked easily from trees, our RV, and even across cabins. The braided design eliminates the need for clothes pins and the 8 foot stretch length is enough for towels, clothes, swimsuits, and more.
Camping Gear Essential #5: First Aid Kit
Whether you put yours together or purchase a complete first aid kit, you should never travel without one. Be sure that you check your kit before every trip and add any location specific necessities like a snake bite kit or bear spray.
Camping Gear Essential #6: Fire Starter
You should always have a way to start a fire. Matches, lighter, flint. We often travel with all 3, and highly recommend everyone wear a survival paracord bracelet when exploring away from the campsite.
Camping Gear Essential #7: Tarps
As I mentioned in the Camping in the Rain article, a tarp is your best friend in wet weather. But beyond that, a tarp can add additional covered space, make a clean place to leave shoes outside the abode, cover outdoor items at night, and offer clean outdoor seating.