Is Camping Gear Essential?

We all know that camping gear is a necessity when it comes to outdoor activities. But, do you really need to invest in the most expensive and top-of-the-line products? Absolutely not! Though some things will make your life easier.

Is camping gear essential? 

Yes. Good preparation is important before heading into the backcountry. You’ll need food, cooking supplies, a water supply, a tent, sleeping pads, hygiene products, and more.

Anything can happen when you’re out in the wild. Bear encounters, insect stings, bad weather, getting lost in the woods are some of them. Having the right camping gear is essential. 

To help you pack, we’ve compiled a list of camping must-haves to ensure you have everything you need for a cozy and safe outing.

What are the 10 essentials for camping?

essentials for camping
© Fresh Off the Grid / Pinterest

Below are the necessary things for camping as advised by the National Park Service. This list does not include the nice-to-have but optional items.

  1. FOOD – ideally, in packs that can be easily slipped in your backpack. Be mindful of “food odors,” especially when you’re camping near a bear territory
    • Dry, non-perishables (e.g., rice, noodles)
  2. WATER – it’s a basic need for survival. Be sure to know the water scenario at your campground. Is there potable water available? Do you need to bring water purifying tablets?
    • Water bottle
    • Water tablets
  3. SHELTER – we need a safe, comfy & warm place to sleep outdoors.
    • Tent or tarp
  4. BEDDING – to sleep warmly and comfortably on hard ground
    • Sleeping pad or camping mattress
    • Sleeping bag/blanket
  5. COOKING/DINING SUPPLIES
    • Stove & fuel
    • Fire matches
    • Camping mess kits – includes eating utensils, plates, & cups
    • Knife
    • Cutting board
  6. HYGIENE SUPPLIES – we need to observe sanitation at the campgrounds
    • Bath soap
    • Shampoo
    • Toothpaste
    • Toothbrush
    • Towels/Tissues
    • Dishwashing soap
    • Scouring pad
  7. CAMPING LANTERN – for proper lighting
  8. CLOTHES – bring lightweight and, if possible, made from wicking fabric
    • Sleepwear
    • Lightweight jacket
    • Socks
    • Underwear 
    • Shirts/pants/shorts
  9. SURVIVAL PACK – for emergency preparedness
    • GPS or any navigation tool
    • Sunscreen
    • Insect repellant
    • Extra food/water/clothes
    • Multitool
  10. FIRST-AID KIT
    • Gauze & adhesive
    • Bandages
    • Basic medications for pain & fever
    • Antiseptic & antibiotic treatment for injuries
    • Glove

Optional Camping Checklist

camping hammock
© Tomorrowland

Below are some nice-to-have items but aren’t necessary for camping.

  • Hammock
  • Clothesline
  • Tarp 
  • Large water jugs
  • Cooler
  • Grill/rack
  • Charcoal
  • Board games
  • Reading materials
  • Portable shower
  • Solar power
  • Camera 

Remember, if you’re a newbie at camping, you don’t need to buy gear. You can rent from a camping gear rental or borrow from a friend.

What should you not bring when camping?

You’re going camping. You are supposed to take a breather from everything. Leave excess or unnecessary baggage behind! The lighter, the better. 

  • Valuables. Expensive items like jewelry, designer clothing are better kept at home.
  • White shirts. Leave white clothing in your closet if you don’t want them stained.
  • Extra electronic devices or audio systems. Cellphones are a necessity. But a chest-pounding speaker at the campsite? 
  • Perfume and strong odors. Remember, you’re in wildlife territory. Avoid attracting animals with intense smelling instincts! Keep yourself and other campers safe while protecting wild animals too.
  • Denim clothing. Stick to lightweight, fast-drying fabrics for your convenience.
  • Single-use plastics. Be sustainable. Respect the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.

Where to buy or rent camping gear?

You can go visit a local outfitter near you or simply head online and search for outdoor gear rental services. They offer not only brand new camping equipment and supplies, but they also sell second-hand gear. 

It’s a convenient way to get your gear as they can ship your order to your home address or straight to your camping destination or at least close to your destination, where you can easily pick it up. So all it takes is just you and your willingness to make your dream adventure a reality.

What is the importance of camping?

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© Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

We have different reasons for camping. Others say they want to escape from the daily grind. Some simply want peace. Kids want adventure and excitement. Families want to rebuild their bond. 

But there’s more to camping than just a backcountry getaway. 

Boost health

Camping revitalizes our mind and body. It tests our endurance, adaptability, and patience. It involves lots of physical activities like trekking and hiking. Even getting your tent set up will help burn those extra calories. 

Experts have likewise linked camping and other outdoor activities to reduced anxiety and depression. Having sleep problems? Get ready to pack and camp. Sleeping in nature helps improve and restore your natural sleep rhythm. So if you’re struggling with too many sleepless nights, tenting can be your best remedy.

Heritage

Camping is a beautiful part of our tradition. Our ancestors taught us how to camp hundreds of years ago. People bond with family, have fun with friends, share moments with their lover through camping. No matter how modern our world has become, let’s share this beautiful tradition with our youth.

Appreciate nature

Spending time with nature is a way of appreciating the gifts of creation. We see birds, trees, plants, and other creatures we’ve never seen before. We sleep underneath the sky and the stars at night. We breathe fresh air and listen to the sound of nature. 

This experience can encourage us to preserve our forests, our wildlife, and other natural resources. Otherwise, future generations can no longer enjoy what we’ve seen and experienced.

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© Photo by Vanessa Garcia from Pexels

Disconnect from technology

Camping is a time when we can grab a notebook and a pen to write poetry, as opposed to swiping or scrolling on our smartphones. It’s a time when we can truly listen to our souls and appreciate the wonderful world around us. 

Have you taken a break from the computer lately? When was the last time you read a paperback?

Go back to basics

Camping can bring out the caveman in you. Staying in the wilderness even for a few days can test your natural survival instincts and skills. So complainers are not welcome!

Deepen our relationships

When you’re offline, you get to spend with your loved ones in the flesh, face to face. You can talk with them in the eye, without distractions. You can focus on real conversations, creating new memories, instead of watching their “stories” on social media. 

Learn survival skills 

When camping, you have no one else to rely on but yourself or your companion (if you have one). If you’ve never fished, climbed a tree, or started a campfire, you can learn those. 

But beyond that, you also build your self-confidence, develop self-reliance, boost your self-esteem. You can bring these good things with you back home, ultimately improving all aspects of your life.

Final Word

One of the benefits of camping is experiencing the “simple joys of life.” Even with few supplies or little equipment, it is important to realize that life outdoors can be rough. 

Some like it the minimalist way, but others are a bit “extra” and may need more comfort while camping. It doesn’t matter what type of camper you are. The important thing is you will have the best camping of your life.

The list items above are the basics that campers typically need to fully enjoy their time in the backcountry. 

Also, don’t be overwhelmed with camping preparation. If it’s your first time, no need to buy all of those checklist items. Again, you can either borrow or rent camping gear. 

So, do you think camping gear is essential now? 

It would be a fun experience if you showed up without gear. I hope this post has opened your eyes to the type of equipment required.

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