Camping Gears For Beginners

Camping Gears For Beginners

Pack Like a Pro: Your Ultimate Camping Gear Checklist

Camping is a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors. However, if you don't have the right gear, your camping trip can quickly turn into a disaster. Here are some essential camping gear that you should consider bringing with you on your next trip. Let’s go!

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This list has been tried and tested by our family on all of our camping trips. Not only is it a reminder for you, but it's also a valuable reference for our family to use before each trip. Below is the ultimate camping checklist to ensure you have everything you need for your trip and nothing is left behind. Here's how it breaks down:

  • 15 Must-Have Camping Gear Items
  • 15 Considerations for Food Preparation
  • 5 Fun Entertainment Ideas
  • 15 Essential Personal Camping Items

15 Must-Have Camping Gear Items:

Camping Gears For Beginners

1. Tent

Choosing the Right Tent for Your Camping Needs

When it comes to selecting a tent, it's essential to keep in mind your requirements and the type of camping you'll be doing. When you can park the car near the campsite, weight and size are not critical factors, as you can load and unload your tent from your vehicle. However, for backcountry camping, a lightweight tent is a must-have.

In my case, I camped near our site's parking spot, which allowed me to choose a spacious  Core Tent 6 Dome without worrying about weight restrictions. The tent provided ample room for my family and our gear, and we even managed to fit in two camping chairs inside. This is an ideal option for families and groups of friends. Also, don't forget to bring tent stakes!

Beginners Tip: It's advisable to practice setting up your tent at home before your camping trip. Also, try to use a tent footprint or ground cover or tarp that matches your tent size to keep it clean and dry, and protect your gear from moisture.

2. Sleeping bag and a small pillow

Our trusty sleeping bag isn't available online anymore, but we scored it at Big5 years ago. Our little adventurer now has his very own snooze sac, and he's smitten. It even has a cool glow-in-the-dark feature that keeps him entertained. Since he turned two, he's been snuggling up in it with a grin from ear to ear. We keep it unzipped when he’s sleeping, and it's the perfect sleeping companion for our tiny explorer. Remember to pack a small pillow along with your sleeping bag.

Beginners Tip: Opt for a mummy-style sleeping bag that is designed for three seasons. This choice provides greater flexibility for unexpected weather changes. It's a valuable investment since it can be used for multiple camping seasons.

Ultimate Camping Gear Checklist
This is our favorite Double Sleeping Pad for Camping. It's 6 inches, extra thick for extra comfort.

3. Sleeping mat and/or Sleeping pad

When you're camping or hiking, having the right sleeping gear is crucial. We recommend using a sleeping mat as the first-floor cover and a sleeping pad to lie on. Although the mat can be skipped, it's incredibly helpful if the ground is rocky.

Ultimate Camping Gear Checklist
Single Camping Sleeping Pad: Ultralight with Pillow and Built-in Foot Pump. What is nice about this one is that it has side snaps which allow you to connect to another sleeping mat.

Our sleeping pads both have a built-in pillow, which is great for packing light. It's also lightweight and compact, complete with a built-in foot pump. Just don't expect the single pad to be a knee-saver, it's not that thick compared to the double camping pad. But hey, we snoozed like babies all night long!

Beginners Tip Always test your sleeping pad at home for any holes before your camping trip.

4. Camping Chairs

These portable chairs are lightweight and comfortable. They make for the perfect companions while roasting marshmallows by the campfire, chilling by the beach, or stargazing at night.

5. Foldable table

Before heading out, it's a good idea to check if the campsite has picnic tables either by calling or checking online. It'll save you from bringing along extra gear. If they don't have any, bring along a foldable table, perfect for meal prep and snack time by the fire as you lounge in your camping chairs.

Most Forgotten Camping Items:

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the great outdoors and forget a few other essential items. Before bringing any devices (especially battery-powered ones) with you, test them out at home.

Camping Gears For Beginners
Our Dorcy Mini Lantern has been with us for years, and still works perfectly fine!

6. Lantern and Extra Batteries

Every gadget that runs on batteries needs some backup juice. Always bring extra batteries.

Caming flashlight hiking flashlight with zoom lens
GearLight LED FlashlightsCompact, bright, and light (on the wallet).  What more to like? 

7. Flashlights and Extra Batteries

Pack a handy flashlight that is compact, bright, long-lasting, and budget-friendly.

camping near ventura

8. Headlamps and Extra Batteries

Keep your hands free and your path illuminated with a headlamp. Don't forget the extra batteries! I got mine from Decathlon
 US  I CANADA - an affordable option.

Beginners Tip: While a flashlight is useful, using a headlamp can provide you with hands-free lighting while you engage in camp tasks.

Camping Gears For Beginners
First Aid KitRemember, it's better to be safe than sorry!

9. First Aid Kit

Prioritizing safety is a must when you're out in the wilderness. That's why we always bring a trusty First Aid Kit, Flashlight, Headlamp, Swiss Knife, Lighter/Matches and a Whistle for every camping or hiking trip. 

10. Insect Repellent

Insects can be quite a nuisance. Consider using a reliable insect repellent to keep them at bay.

Reliable Hiking Gears for Beginners
Reef Repair SunscreenProtect Yourself and the Environment While Hitting the Trails

11. Sunscreen

Sizzling heat is no joke! Cover yourself with sunscreen before you hit the trails. And, just as important, opt for eco-friendly sunscreen to protect yourself and the environment. 
l also make sure to bring along my trusty  Sunbum Lip Balm. Not only does it have SPF 15 to shield my lips from the sun, but it's also tinted, providing a natural glow.

camping gears for beginners
Polarized Hiking Sunglasses US  I CANADA

12. Sunglasses

Sunglasses are not just for sunny beach days but can also be useful for camping trips. They protect your eyes from UV rays, reduce glare, provide eye comfort, and even protect you from insects. Plus, let's face it, they're the secret weapon for Instagram-worthy pictures! Also, check out Kids 
Hiking Sunglasses US I CANADA

Camping Gears For Beginners

13. Reusable Water Bottle

Our go-to choice is the
 Nalgene Reusable Water Bottle. It's lightweight, leak-proof, easy to clean, and able to hold anything from hot cocoa to ice-cold lemonade. Plus, it's eco-friendly, made from 50% recycled plastic and free from BPA, BPS, and phthalates. 

Beneficial Upgrades: 

For Food Storage:

Top 10 Decathlon Products We Love
Cooler Lunch Bag: US I CA

14. Lunch Bag

We loved this cooler bag as it's lightweight and perfect for short hiking and camping trips, even going to the beach as it keeps our drinks and food cool for up to 4 hours. Also, it provides an ideal storage space for our small snacks as we prepare for dinner – perfect for us and the little one. It's also easy to store this bag as it folds and takes up less space in our cabinet. Here are our favorite Snacks during our hikes, perfect for beginners looking for a tasty treat.

15. Cooler

If you're planning a camping or hiking trip, be sure to include a cooler in your food storage as this will keep your food fresh and safe. During our hikes, we also leave the cooler in our car to avoid attracting any animals near the trailhead.

Food Preparation15 Suggestions 

When you're out in the wild, whipping up a delicious meal is a must. But, don't forget to pack these must-haves for your camping kitchen. Here's a comprehensive list of all the cooking gear you'll need:
  1. Stove and fuel, or firewood and charcoal if using a fire pit.
  2. Matches, lighter, or fire starter to ignite the stove or firewood.
  3. Cook pots and frying pan, along with a pot holder to handle hot cookware.
  4. Cooking utensils like tongs, spatula, and ladle to stir and serve food.
  5. Cutting board to chop vegetables, meat, and fruits.
  6. Knife to cut and slice food items.
  7. Bottle opener, corkscrew, and can opener depending on the type of food you bring.
  8. Eating utensils like forks, spoons, and knives.
  9. Plates and bowls to serve food.
  10. Mugs and cups for hot and cold beverages.
  11. Reusable food containers to store leftovers.
  12. Dish soap to clean utensils and cookware.
  13. Pot sponge or scrub to remove food stains and grease.
  14. Kitchen towel to dry utensils and cookware.
  15. Small shovel to put out the fire and ensure safety.
Optional: Two Small washtubs (one for dirty, one for clean)

Beginners Tip: Start with a classic two-burner propane camp stove. It's easy to use, and make sure you bring along a couple of fuel canisters and extra lighters.

Easy Camping Meal Suggestions

When it comes to food, we prefer simplicity over complexity. We're not picky and live by the motto “the easier the better” so there’s more time for snuggling and playing games. Here are a few camping meal suggestions:

  • Boxed or canned food for easy preparation
  • Burgers and hotdogs are popular meal choices: Buns, Meat, Lettuce, Tomato, Cheese, Ketchup and Mustard
  • Eggs (just boiled in water)
  • Instant Noodles, add in broccoli for a healthier option (sliced at home)
  • Fresh fruits like blackberries, tangerines, grapes, and most types of berries as side dishes
  • Nuts, granola bars, protein shakes, dried fruits, chips and biscuits for snacks
  • S'mores for dessert: marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate
  • Instant coffee, tea bags, and chocolate powder are easy beverage options that just require water.
  • For fruits and vegetables: try to slice everything at home and store it in reusable ziplock bags and containers – an efficient way to minimize prep time and trash.

After eating and before returning to the tent...

It's best to clean all kitchen items if there is access to water unless you intend to take dirty dishes with you. Sometimes I do as I want to sterilize most of our eating utensils especially now that we have a baby.

For camping convenience, store clean kitchen gear in a large clear plastic bin with a lid. It can be easily loaded into your car and stored away for your next adventure.

To avoid attracting wildlife, refrain from leaving food or garbage unattended overnight when camping. Store it in a cooler or in a large bin and lock it in your vehicle. Also, take extra precautions in bear country where regulations may require the use of food lockers.

5 Fun Entertainment Ideas

fun card games for adults
Fun card games to play while camping: The Hygge Game

1. Card Game

If you're looking for some fun outdoor entertainment, here are five must-have campsite essentials:
The Hygge Game: a funky deck of cards that will have you and your crew in stitches. Perfect for a night under the stars.

2. Hammock

There's nothing quite like being nestled in a hammock and watching the world around you. It's a tranquil experience, watching the sky blend with the trees as you sway back and forth. Being cradled in a hammock is a warm embrace that lulls you to sleep - it's reminiscent of the peaceful comfort of being a baby once again. For a durable yet lightweight option, we suggest checking out the Decathlon Hammock US I CA

Capture your outdoor escapades by jotting them down in a trusty notebook with a pen or pencil. If you're feeling extra thankful, try a gratitude journal. And for those moments of writer's block, prompts can be a lifesaver to guide your thoughts.

4. Music Player with headphones

Bring a music player with headphones for moments when you need a moment to be with you. Don't get us wrong, the sounds of chirping birds and rustling leaves are fantastic, but adding a little rhythm to your adventure can take it up a notch.

5. Games and Toys

And don't forget the kiddos and pets! Pack some games and toys to keep them entertained throughout the trip.

15 Essential Personal Camping Items: 

As always when outdoors, cotton should be avoided even when camping, not just when hiking. Wearing cotton can make you feel cold and uncomfortable.

Here are a few personal items you should bring:
  1. Down jacket/Warm Coat
  2. Shirt
  3. Long pants
  4. Underwear
  5. Gloves
  6. Beanie
  7. Warm socks
  8. Rain jacket/ Reusable Poncho
  9. Reliable shoes (our hiking boots do the job)
  10. Pair of slip-ons or slippers
  11. For Toiletries: Bath soap, Toilet paper
  12. Floss, Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  13. Small towel
  14. For Moisturizing: Lip balm, Small Hand Lotion, Hand sanitizer
  15. Personal Medications
Make sure to pack everything you need to stay warm and dry, as well as comfortable during your trip. It's always better to be prepared, so don't forget any of these items! Also, check out: Tips on What to Wear When Hiking

Driving to the Campsite

Before hitting the road for your camping trip, make sure you have these important items with you: your driver's ID, credit card, cash, campsite reservation confirmation (if applicable), and phone for navigation. Also, no road trip is complete without the ultimate phone holder! Avoid any disruptions to your GPS and keep your phone securely in place even on bumpy roads. This easy-to-install accessory accommodates most smartphones and is a must-have for any driver. Its durability has proved itself time and time again, making it an essential item to have on any road trip.

These are just a few of the camping gear that we recommend. There are many more options available, so be sure to check out our Amazon Storefront for more recommendations. With the right gear, you'll be able to enjoy your camping trip to the fullest.

Have fun and be safe ^__^

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