You can’t go camping without the essentials — that’s just rule number one. And while every camper’s list of essentials may look a little different, there are some items no serious camper should leave home without.

The next time you plan a camping trip, prioritize equipment, tools, and items that make your time in the outdoors safe, enjoyable, and relaxing. Here are six fundamental tools and pieces of equipment you should never leave home without when heading out for a camping trip.

1. Headlamp 

A headlamp is indispensable for any camper. Even if you are planning on hiking only during the day, there will be several instances you will wish you had a headlamp. Whether you are moving around the campground at night, storing away food items, or simply wanting to read in your tent, headlamps will help you move around freely.  

The best headlamp for camping has a long runtime to provide a dependable light source for however long you need it. Also, headlamps with long-range beams let you see great distances, helping you see everything around your campsite during outdoor adventures. 

2. Tarp

A tarp comes in handy for various tasks while camping; from setting up a makeshift shelter to protecting your gear from the elements. Tarps are also versatile — you can use them as a ground sheet, to create a sunshade, or even as a stretcher. In addition, wild animals may grow curious about all the great food you brought on your trip, so protect your stash by covering it with a tarp. 

3. Personal Water Filter

A personal water filter is a must for any camping trip, especially for areas with questionable water sources. A good water filter removes bacteria, protozoa, and other contaminants from drinking water, so you can stay hydrated without worrying about getting sick.

4. Walkie-Talkies 

Walkie-talkies are a great way to stay in touch with your camping buddies in the wilderness. They come in handy for everything from coordinating dinner plans to finding each other during unexpected situations.

Even if you camp in an area with dependable cell service, it’s always best to prepare for the unexpected. If service is worse than anticipated or someone loses their phone, having walkie-talkies available keeps everyone connected.

5. Multitool

Multitools are great for everything from opening cans to fixing gear. So even if you’re only planning on building a fire and unwinding with a book and fresh mountain air, you may have several occasions to use a multitool. Cooking over a campfire, setting up a tent, and administering first aid are a few examples of camping situations made easier with a multitool.

Choose a multitool with useful features and attachments, so you’ll be prepared for anything that comes your way while camping. Look for models with safety locking, durable construction, a corrosion-resistant build, and a lightweight design.

6. Sleeping Bag

A good sleeping bag keeps you warm and comfortable while camping during the colder months. While you can use a cot, hammock, or airbed, sleeping bags are more convenient. All you have to do is remove them from their container, roll them out, and you’re ready to relax, grab a nap, or settle in for a full night’s rest.

Pack a bag rated 10 degrees lower than the temperature range you expect to camp in, so you can stay comfortable all night long. If possible, try out a sleeping bag before buying it. Testing the bag lets you know whether you have enough room to stretch out your limbs and roll over comfortably.

These are just a few essential tools and equipment you should never leave home without when camping. With these items in your arsenal, you’ll be prepared for anything that comes your way while enjoying the great outdoors.


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