Camping equipment and hiking trail gear is an important investment. The thing is - if you plan on using these materials somewhat consistently, quality is important.
Buying junk because it's dirt cheap will only make for an uncomfortable experience. It may not work well at the campsite. It may break almost immediately.
Our recommendation is that you not seek out the absolutely cheapest camping equipment. A lot of decent equipment you'll use on your camping adventures is not even that costly. Spend a little extra - and it will last you a long time. It will make campground or trail life better for you.
There's a lot of equipment out there! Some of it's a little "overkill" shall we say. But it may work for you - to each his own...
Here are the essentials, and noted helpful tips...
See our Backpacking Checklist Here>
And check up on locations for backpacking: More Here>
Your intentions are to get to a campsite, pitch your tent and have a good time! That's the type of camping we've done most of the time. And now we've even moved on to the RV at the campsite!
But tenting is a great way to camp. We love the camping life-style, having experienced it over the years. It just suits us! It must suit you also...
Let's see the camping equipment needs when you're situated in a campsite.
Tent - To find the right size tent, consider how many people normally come along with you. You, your spouse & kids. You & a friend. Just yourself. For true comfort & the actual room you'll need inside - get a tent with room for 1 more person than it's rated for. So if you're tenting with 3 people - get a 4-person tent.
Also think of the type of "beds" you'll be using. Mats will take up less room than cots. But cots are typically much more comfortable. If you'll be using cots, then consider up the rating as if for 1 more person.
Watch this video. It goes over various tent options. You get a good view of the way cots fit inside different types of tents.
Click the link below to watch:
Sleeping Bags - The advice on sleeping bags for backpacking would apply here. Watch the video for sizing also! Go to it>
Sleeping Pad/Cot - With car camping, it's quite easy & much more comfortable to have cots to sleep on. There's many to choose from - but pick one that's sturdy enough. If you choose to go with a pad, though, there's advice for that under the backpacking heading above.
When we switched from flunky air mattresses & uncomfortable pads to Camping Cots - we never regretted it, & never went back!
Lighting - Flashlights & standard size lanterns are the car camping equipment choices. There's no worry about extreme light-weight packing, so have extra batteries for your flashlight. Pick a nice light that is sturdy & has good coverage.
You can go with a battery powered lantern. But a good ole propane lantern will get you a lot more lighting, and last quite a while.
Medical - A First Aid Kit, insect repellent, and sun-screen, as advised above for backpackers is also a necessary item. See the above info.
Cooking - A regular 2-burner camping stove, propane powered, is a good choice for your kitchen camping equipment. They work well, are easy to use, and reliable.
A reusable set of plastic picnic-ware is fine to keep for car-camping. But paper plates & bowls are a choice. They can be burned during the nightly camp-fire (if allowed!).
A set of camping cookware should be set aside. You don't want to use your good kitchen-ware as intermittent cooking camping equipment!
A portable charcoal grill may be a nice add-along as well.