Top 16 Camping Essentials (Beginner’s Checklist)

First Timer's

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Camping has long been known to bring positive benefits, such as improved sleep quality, and less anxiety. This is all mostly backed by science. But now more than ever, when people are wanting to get away from crowds and steer clear of main stream hotels, camping has become a much more attractive travel option. So you don’t own a motorhome, and you are looking to truly jump in headfirst—these are the first things you should consider investing in.

Sleeping Bag

Investing in a solid sleeping bag will be one of the first things that aspiring campers need to do. When in the wilderness, weather is unpredictable, so this will protect from the elements while adding comforting compression because of the “mummy” style. When choosing a sleeping bag be sure that the temperature range is adequate for the area you will be commonly traveling through.

Sleeping Pad

Sleeping pads make the difference between a great or miserable night’s sleep. Since this one inflates, it won’t take up a lot of space in your backpack, but will provide over 2 inches of cushion from the ground. Also providing insulation, because of that separation from the ground, it’s perfect for camping in cold weather.


Camping really can be a comfortable experience! Also being inflatable, this pillow packs up easily into a very small bag. Providing either head, back or seating cushioning, this option is quite versatile. If you have any particular aches or pains that are troubling, this handy travel pillow is the solution. Secondarily it can be taken on airplanes.


Tents will be your home for the duration of the trip. Of course, you want to get a great one, just like you would want to invest in a good hotel room. Using Weather Tech technology, this Coleman option will stay nice and dry thanks to special fabrics and tubing. But the best part, is that it takes about 60 seconds to set up, so long are the days of hassle and trying to weave poles through tiny holes. Ninety percent of the sunlight will be blocked, so sleeping in isn’t a problem.


Sure, a tarp isn’t the most fun thing to pick out for a camping trip. But it’s practical, and has many purposes. For one, it can serve as a base layer underneath your tent, further weatherproofing it and giving space to take off shoes before entering. But this particular one is also a survival blanket, and could be a temporary shelter.

550 Cord

Paracord isn’t just for jumping out of planes. With a 550 pound weight capacity, hence the name, this stuff can be used for so much. Anchor things down, like your tent for example. You’d be surprised how many things you would need to tie down or use this rope for when on your adventure. It’s just something handy to have around, like a knife or any other utility item.


Flashlights are great, headlamps are better. Think about it, you’re trying to clean a fish and the sun has already gone down, or you’re trying to set up the campfire. It’s nice to be hands-free while still having control of the lighting source. These headlamps are perfect for camping, and are comfortable to wear. Make sure to bring extra batteries or a charging source—whatever is required for the particular headlamp.

Satellite Phone

One of the most difficult things about going into the wilderness, is not having cell service. Not because you can’t access Facebook, but because emergency services are sometimes needed. Whether getting into a dangerous situation on the trails, or if a medical emergency comes up, we need to have a way to contact someone. Satellite phones work off satellite, of course, not cell service. It’s pricey, but could save a life.

First Aid Kit

First aid kits can supply temporary medical treatment while waiting to get to a facility. Or it could be helpful for something as simple as a minor cut. From being able to stop bleeding, preventing infection, to properly protecting the wound, all campers should keep a first aid kit with them at all times. If you have your dog with you, there are special kits for four-legged friends.

Water Solutions

When water sources are available, know that you cannot typically drink straight from it. This means that some type of purification tool will need to be brought along. Tablets tend to work best, as you can drop them into your water bottle. Keep in mind, it can take a little while for the water to be ready to drink. If you’re going into an area with a little water sources like Badlands National Park, you will want to totally rethink the situation, and bring filled bottles. Opt for ones that fold down to save space after empty.


While first checking with the area you’ll be visiting, you will need to be prepared to cook any food. That is unless you’ve brought something like a military ready meal. Some parks and forests completely ban use of open fires, but they might let campers use small stoves.

Toilet Solutions

Going to the bathroom is something to plan ahead on when camping. Sometimes, the area you are visiting will have facilities, which is invaluable. Sometimes, only nature is at your disposal. You will want to bring a sustainable toilet paper option, like these compressed towels. Another important thing is a shovel made for burying excrement, because you definitely don’t want to leave that for someone to step in. Ew.

Waterless Toothpaste

Spitting toothpaste into a river or surrounding wildlife area is definitely frowned upon. Go for waterless toothpaste tablets, that simply can be brushed into your teeth with a toothbrush, and swallowed. Be sure that the ones you purchased are okay to ingest.

Back Pack

A good backpack can fit all of your stuff, while having enough support within the shoulder straps to not cause major strain on the back. Plenty of pockets add ease to the packing experience, and organization. So take a look in person to decide what fits you the best. This Ozark Trail pack is available at Walmart.


Keeping feet dry and warm is important along any outdoor adventure. For women, these rustic boots are perfect. Well insulated, and water resistant, your feet will remain in optimal shape, whether in the rain or snow. Advanced traction on the soul, helps grip much better to all sorts of terrain. Boots do all the things a basic pair of tennis shoes or sneakers cannot.


Slippers sound extravagant rather than a necessity. But when mud is all over those boots, and you don’t want to go barefoot around the tent, having the slippers will no longer seem like a mere luxury. The quilted exterior is inspired by a sleeping bag, so they are very toasty warm. Not to mention, very comfortable and the perfect relief from wearing boots all day.

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