Who doesn’t love a good camping trip? I was actually in my late 20s when I took my first camping trip. I was hooked! Since then, I’ve always made sure to have quality gear. Below are some of my favorite gadgets that you may want to snag before summer begins. Almost all of these items can be purchased on Amazon, but I did try to list the actual company’s website to purchase direct and support the little guys!
1. Tent: I’m not going to lie. For many, many years I set up tents and wrestled both putting them up and taking them down, often in the dark or wee hours of the morning. This 8th wonder of the world from Coleman saves you time and tears. It pops up in 10 seconds and takes down in about a minute. Yes, you read that correctly. Last summer I used it for camping in Wyoming and Glacier National Park without a hitch! You’ll be glad you bought this tent for your summer trips.
2. Gear Line: Whether for in your tent or outside by your picnic table, Nite Ize’s GearLine helps me organize and hang anything I want. It’s also an awesome backup clothesline!
3. Waterproof the Phone: Camping usually equals water will be involved in someway. Protect your phone on your day canoe/kayak trips, the lake, or just from spills in those nasty campground bathrooms with this Travelon Waterproof Pouch. It also floats!
4. Bathroom Necessities: Speaking of nasty bathrooms, they’re often out of hand soap, TP, and other items. Or even worse, the TP is ONE-PLY! Gross. These hand soap sheets from Travelon are perfect for your purse or bathroom caddy. As of for TP, I recommend just taking your own in a Ziploc or bringing along these flushable wipes or these woman-friendly wipes.
5. Shower: While still on the bathroom topic, you really need a camping towel. If you’re like me, you want it to dry fast, cover your whole body, and last forever. My camping towel from REI has lasted for over 10 years now and is still good as new! They have a plethora of options on their website including this deluxe towel. And always pack some shower flip-flops! Dollar Tree always has the best deal on these. If you want something a little thicker, go with the flip-flops from Old Navy.
6. Kitchen: You probably think I pack everything but the kitchen sink. Not quite true. I do bring a camping sink along on many of my travels. You’d be surprised how many campgrounds lack a place for you to do dishes or soak your pots and pans. It took YEARS for any camping companies to put out a quality sink, too. Finally, REI came through with this one. The nice thing about this “sink” is that you don’t have to use it as such. You can use it to tote your kitchen from car to site, for example.
7. Multi-Tools: Speaking of the multi-tool, there are a million options out there. My recent favorite is this pocket-purse-wallet sized tool. My dad prefers the Cadillac of all tools, which is this Leatherman Wave.
8. Fire: When it comes to starting fires, there are a lot of options, but not all of them are good ones. First, I recommend making your own fire starters. They’re easy to make! Take a toilet paper tube, fill with the lint from your dryer or paper shreds, then dip each end in wax. Make sure to store them in a cool place. They do melt!
Second, if you’re not packing matches or a blow torch like my dad does, a flint fire starter is always an awesome thing to have on hand. It’s also fun to teach the kids how to start a fire by hand or use in a fire starting competition with friends.
9. Pillow: There are a lot of horrible camping pillows out there that will have your neck aching for days. This is by far my favorite, and has been for years. Therm-a-rest’s compressible pillow is comfortable, compact, and I’ve even washed it!
10. Fun & Games: If you’re not going to tell ghost stories, you should at least have some fun with some games! I like to pack waterproof playing cards and National Park Yahtzee! I’m also a big Cornhole fan.
11. Peace & Quiet: For some peace and quiet, the Eno DoubleNest is the way to go. I own the two person hammock, even though I’m single. Double hammock = wishful thinking. Eno also has blankets and tarps that are high quality. I’m also sensitive to light and like an eye mask to help me get more shut eye.
12. Lifestraw: I know you’re “just” camping, but what about that occasional day trip or hike? You’ll want the Lifestraw. I ran out of water last summer on a very long hike in Glacier National Park. Boy was I thankful for this thing! There are a lot of different options you can find online that are similar to the Lifestraw, but this is the one I specifically own.
Remember, this list was not for EVERYTHING you need to take, just a few of my favorite things! Do you have some favorites? I’d love to hear about them!