Camping and Outdoors

Top 10 Camping Essentials You Must Always Pack

I am pleased to announce that today we have a guest post from Lucy Gomez at on the top 10 essential items you should bring with you whenever you go camping. If you’re into camping and outdoorsy activities, Lucy’s blog has a wealth of information on the subject, so definitely check it out!


If you aren’t a seasoned outdoorsman, packing for a camping excursion may turn out to be trickier than you thought. You may start with the camping basics (sleeping bag, tent, etc.) and before you know it, you will find your car loaded with way more stuff than you will ever need. To avoid this, create a list of must-bring camping gear that includes the essentials so you will never find yourself stuck with things you don’t need and in dire need of that one thing you forgot to bring along.

Here is a top 10 list of stuff to bring camping:

1. A first aid kit

Level 0 first-aid kit (rev2)

Via Flickr.

Cuts, burns, cuts or scratches- any of these things are bound to happen on any active camping trip, making a well stocked first aid kit one of the most essential camping essential you could bring. Do not set of on any expedition without it, and be sure that is has all you need to handle the minor medical emergencies that might crop up.

2. An airbed


Via Flickr.

Comfort is important for anyone while out camping and while lightweight options such as sleeping bags are appropriate for backpackers, family campers may want to indulge in a little more luxury by bringing along airbeds and camp beds. An airbed is an inflatable mattress which due to its buoyancy, can also double up as a flotation device. One of the benefits of bringing an airbed along is that you can set it to be as firm or as soft as you like, simply add more air for a firm finish or reduce it for a plush and soft surface. They are odour free and have enough support to keep you comfortable even if you have back problems.

3. A camping tent

New Tent

Via Flickr.

This is the most important item for any camping expedition. A camping tent is a shelter made of sheets of fabric or other material draped over or attached to a frame of poles attached to a supporting rope. Tents may be attached to the ground or free standing. Sleeping capacity is the most important feature to look out for when choosing one. Evaluate the size of your group or any additional space requirements.

4. Warm clothing

Speaking of staying warm and comfortable, ensure that you bring an adequate supply of warm clothing. Hypothermia is the chief source of death for people lost in the wild but warm clothing will easily keep you warm, dry and healthy. It is advisable to layer the clothing to make it easier to remove individual pieces as the temperature fluctuates. 

5. A map and a compass


Via Flickr.

Being lost without a map can be terrifying so why not bring one, maps fold up and will fit inside pockets n backpacks easily. I believe that you should also always have a compass when out camping, especially if it is in an area with poor cell phone reception. It needs not be the fanciest or most expensive piece, simply something you can use to re-orient yourself. Of course you should also learn how to use one to find direction.

6. A flashlight


Via Flickr.

The one thing worse than getting lost in the woods is getting lost in the dark. Ensure that you pack a flashlight or wear a headlamp when out hiking for extended periods. It should be light and have a long battery life.

7. A hydration system

While water is available in most parks that offer back-country camping, it is essential to bring along your on supply of drinking water. Have a hydration pack that will fit in your backpack easily and include a re-usable water bottle.

8. A lighter


Via Flickr.

Eating and staying warm will be almost impossible without a fire source. Lighters are small and highly effective at starting fires. They also work regardless of the weather conditions. Always have one in your pack if you plan an extended camping trip.

9. A mess kit


Via Flickr

It is easy to get carried away when considering food and cooking supplies for your trip but keep in mind that it is always preferable to stay light on any camping trip. Instead of lugging along heavy pans, coolers and cookers, simply bring a single mess kit along. Available at most outdoors shops mess kits are portable, lightweight and unbelievably useful. They are also very easy to put together. They are also versatile as the pots and pans used to cook and boil water may be used as dishes to eat from.

10. A garbage bag

It is important to protect the environment and carry away everything you bring along. Apart from being great for disposing of waste, garbage bags can be very versatile. Almost weightless, they can be used to pack extra pieces of clothing or be ripped and used as a faux tent in case the rains catch you while deep in the woods.


Lucy Gomez is camp editor at  She grew up in a suburb of Oklahoma and She has been camping her entire life. is a place where campers can share everything we’ve learned along the (sometimes prickly) way in the wilderness.



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