Less is maybe more, but when it comes to camping, the opposite is more the case – at least in terms of your comfort on the campsite. Since it’s supposedly a simpler, more natural style of travel, camping involves a lot of stuff. To find out what things are important and what is just a bulky perk, we asked a handful of Eater staff, who are camping enthusiasts at the same time, to share the essential pieces of equipment that have made their camping life a breeze, from the Instant Tent to solar-powered fairy lights to a sleeping mat that feels like a hotel bed.
A fast tent: Coleman Cabin Tent with instant setup
Don’t get me wrong – I’m (or was) an extreme camper, so much so that I’ve never slept in tents. Just a tarpaulin, a sleeping bag and the stars. But as a full adult with kids and various fears, I now need shelter for our camping trips, and the best thing I’ve found is this Coleman-style pop-up tent that doesn’t require engineering or architecture degrees or really a lot of fumbling at all. It’s also big so I can fully stand up in it (great with getting dressed) and it pops out in minutes. Bonus: It’s so easy to set up that it’s often used as a quick play fortress for the kids at home. – Lesley Suter
A versatile sleeping bag: North Face Cat’s Meow 22 sleeping bag
If you are looking for easy to moderate camping and you need a good, warm and light sleeping bag, the Cat’s Meow from North Face is a great option. The fabric is not thick, like an old-fashioned sleeping bag (there should be a mat underneath), but it is cozy and closes completely over your head if you like the one carried in the bear. fit, Midsummer Feeling. – Brenna Houck
A sleeping mat: Exped MegaMat Duo 10 sleeping pad
I recently loved my car camping mat, the Exped MegaMat Duo 10. It’s the new sleeping Cadillac for your old, worn-out back; the dusty winner sleeping after camp dinner; the ones I hold the softest. (Note: Duo is designed for two people and fits perfectly between the tire recesses of my Subaru Forester for camping in the car; Single versions are also available.) – Farley Elliott
A floor mat: Adventure Mat foldable rubber mat
Camping in the desert or on the beach is fantastic, but also gravelly. Walk in: the adventure mat. I’m not sure how many true adventures a mat takes, but it has an ingenious fold design that keeps the top clean, provides a safe place to put on shoes, and makes it easy for the sand to get into the tent. – Meghan McCarron
A portable gas stove: BRS ultra-light stove
It’s the smallest thing, and costs under $ 16 on Amazon, but it’s sturdy enough for solo hikes, literally fits anywhere, and hasn’t given up the ghost yet (and when it does, I’m glad one for the other to score $ 16). – FE
A larger but still portable gas stove: Coleman 2-burner propane stove
If you need more than one pan at a time, or need a little more stability for the heavy cast iron, it’s time to use the (slightly) larger guns. The gold standard camping stove is a two-burner Coleman stove, and I’m not going to disagree. But take it from me and test your connections before venturing out into the wild to avoid any surprises (and therefore no heat) miles from home. – LS
A cooler (or cooler): Igloo Flip and Tow 90 Quart Cooler
If you don’t have the guts to spend more than $ 400 on this cooler that is more of a mini fridge, then this very large, very sturdy, and very wheeled cooler from Igloo will have everything you need and it Keep cold for several days – a millionth the price of other fancy military-style options – all at the same time as a bench or even a prep table. We can not Not some recommend smaller (read: cheaper) Yeti coolers for things like drinking ice cream or some perishable foods that need to stay ice cold. – LS
A multitool: Classic Swiss Army Knife
I remember when I got my first Swiss Army Army Knife for the Boy Scout Camp in the mid-1990s. It was shiny and red and came with fun little tools beyond the sharp cutting instrument. Unfortunately I lost this one, but when I could afford it I went back and bought another one. Call it nostalgia, but it’s handy in a pinch when you need a corkscrew and always useful for carving marshmallow sticks. – bra
A collapsible storage pool: Tiawudi 2-pack collapsible sink
Sorry, but camping involves washing up and having the right equipment makes a big difference here. These collapsible plastic sinks are big enough to fit an entire plate or pan for scrubbing and can be folded up for packing – and because you don’t want your plate station to block the view. – LS
A foldable crockery basket: Dish dryer made of bamboo
Washing up is the worst here too, but a small bamboo dish rack folds flat and lets those cute enamel plates air dry and makes your kitchen furnishings look more, well, kitchen-like. – LS
A preparation table: Wuromise folding picnic table for outdoors
The surface is your friend when cooking camp. They need a place to chop, wash dishes, set up the stove, and in general, for cooking. If there is a large enough picnic table in your location, that’s great, but an additional, lightweight, folding table gives you a lot more to work with and leaves the main table free for important card games. I like this one which has under counter storage for all of your cooking utensils. – LS
A really big spoon: 12 inch enamel spoon
If you’ve already decided on a maximalist camp kitchen, don’t forget the utensils for serving (and stirring), especially a large spoon – bonus points if it’s pretty. Mine is a white and blue speckled enamel spoon, similar to the one I bought at the gift shop in Citol Reef National Park. – MM
A lantern: Luci Original inflatable solar light
Someone gave me two of these little LED lanterns a few years ago, and they’ve come in handy more times than I can count. The design is nifty in that they are lightweight and can be flattened to the depth of a few sheets per. Not to mention that in an enclosed space like a tent, they give off a lot of light and recharge with the power of the sun. – bra
Somewhat atmospheric lighting: Mpowered Luci solar fairy lights
When you set up your camp for a few days, it really makes a difference to give it a homely touch, especially when it comes to light. Rechargeable fairy lights are often sold for tents, but they also hit way over their weight when it comes to creating a good mood around the fire pit. – MM
A headlamp: Black Diamond Spot 350 headlamp
One of the main reasons I go camping is the inky, star-studded nights, but I’m a gentle, modern person who only knows how to stumble through that inky darkness. A headlamp is an essential safety tool for a long hike, but most of the time you’ll use it for trips to the bathroom or reading a book by the fire, and you’ll be very grateful to have them for both. – MM
And finally, easy access to nature: America the Beautiful Pass
It costs $ 80 a year and gets you to any national park, woodland, BLM land, etc. It’s a net benefit to the park services as a whole as it provides them with known revenue, encourages you to get outside, and it helps You’ll skip the lines and save money in busy parks like Yosemite. – FE
Some other clutch items:
Glasses: Ideal for soaking oats and beans, but also for storing leftovers and can serve as a cup, candle holder, salt fountain and all-purpose vessel.
Zippered pockets: It’s ironic how useful these are when camping, how terrible they are for planet earth. Silicones are more environmentally friendly, but they also require more cleaning. You decide.
Plastic cutting boards: Wood is more, uh, woody, but plastic is light and easy to care for. The thin roll ups are even better.
Tea towel: You should dry off the cast iron to keep it from rusting and have something to wipe your hands with if they’re covered in ash and barbecue juices.
Thwart: Really the camping superstar.
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