When packing for a camping trip, there are a lot of things to remember. Miss one and you can be shivering. Or hungry. Or wet. Or (heaven forbid) all three. If you aren’t worried about making your trek as light as possible, bring some gear with you to make the cold, hard ground feel a little cushier, or a power bank to provide a couple extra hours for your Bluetooth speaker.
Below, camping items that check the boxes for items you need and want for a more comfortable and enjoyable outdoor adventure.
Soften the hard ground. Amazon
The LaidBack sleeping pad includes four pounds of memory foam, has a cool flow technology to help balance your body temperature, and is 72 x 23/8 inches thick. In total, the sleeping pad weighs 8.5 pounds. This isn’t the lightest pad you can find, and is thus not awesome for backpackers or other hikers obsessed with keeping their gear ultralight, but will provide more cushion for a comfortable rest. The polyester fabric casing makes the pad more durable and water resistant—not waterproof. There is a soft polar fleece layer on top for extra comfort and warmth.
Because they only use rocks in cartoons. Amazon
The Trekology contoured pillow folds to only about the size of an index card and weighs just under 3 oz. It’s made of a water-resistant, elastic fabric. Blow into the double-decked air valve and—ahhh—enjoy that sweet, sweet neck support.
If you’re doing a lot of hiking, one of these can bring you near nirvana. Amazon
You may be thinking: a chair? Really? Who needs that kind of luxury when you’ve got nature’s chairs. A little bit of back support makes you feel like a monarch. I recommend the Mountainsmith SlingBack Chair, which uses trekking boles as its frame. The rest of the chair can roll up and fit in a small pouch, so it’s not like you’re sacrificing a ton of pack room for this thing. The chair fabric is a 610D HP Cordura—a durable, tear-resistant polyester.
Battle campground grime. Amazon
Showers aren’t always an option when you’re in the wild, but that doesn’t mean you need to be coated in dirt all the time. These biodegradable wipes are alcohol-free, eco-friendly, and made of no synthetic materials. The wipes are thicker than most, providing a sturdier and longer lasting performance. Each resealable pack comes with 25 wipes. They’re biodegradable, but please remember to pack them out and throw them away outside your campsite.
Wash pretty much anything you bring on your camping trip. Amazon
Sierra’s Campsuds concentrated cleaning solution can de-grime just about anything from your underwear to your scalp. This 8-ounce bottle contains a biodegradable, eco-friendly cleaning solution that’s gentle enough for your skin but will also break down grime on plates after you’ve eaten. Place a few drops of the concentrate in either fresh or saltwater and get to scrubbing.
Just because you’re camping, doesn’t mean you can’t feast. Amazon
The Coleman Triton 2-burner propane stove has enough cooking area to whip up a cowboy-style feast. The cooktop can simultaneously hold a 12-inch pan and a 10-inch pan. Panels on the side of the stove block the wind for consistent and efficient cooking. Each burner has its own adjustable heat control knob.
Great for camping with kids. Amazon
Each pouch contains metal salts that create vibrant colors when introduced to fire or heat. It’s like magic, but it’s science. Packets should last for about an hour. They contain PVC, so it’s not recommended that you cook while using them and you should keep a safe distance.
Clean potential contamination. Amazon
The Katadyn BeFree is a collapsible soft bottle flask that holds 1 liters of water. The filtration system can filter up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water and removes 99.99 percent of harmful bacteria. The Ez-clean Membrane allows you to clean it by shaking or running water through the filter.
You never know when you’ll need an emergency knife or pair of pliers. Amazon
The stainless steel Leatherman Wingman has 14 tools—including knives, pliers, screwdrivers—and a locking feature that allows you to use a single tool safely while keeping the others in place. The multitool comes with a 25-year guarantee and every tool can be opened and operated with one hand.
A multi-purpose utensil. Amazon
This spork is made of titanium, comes with a bottle opener (great for those 6 packs you intelligently packed in your car), and a washable cloth case.
It comes with a built-in flashlight. Amazon
The RAVPower waterproof solar charger has a heavy-duty rubber design, making it dust-proof and shock-proof. The 25,000-mAh portable battery can charge an iPhone 8 about nine times and features two USB ports, which allow for dual charging. The charger also has inputs for micro USB and USB-C and an LED flashlight. There is a large solar panel in front, which could recharge the battery.
Bring the tunes wherever you go. Amazon
The JBL Lifestyle Xtreme 2 portable speaker connects to your device via Bluetooth, has a waterproof rating of IPX7—more info on that here—and features a battery that can last for 15 hours with continuous music. It can be paired with up to 100 similar speakers and comes with a handy carrying strap.
It floats on water and lasts for 30 hours. Amazon
The Streamlight lantern is waterproof up three feet, emits 360 degrees of soft, even light, and has a removable globe cover that reduces glare. There are five light modes, and boasts a battery life of up to 30 hours. Also, the bottom of the lantern has a rubber base that prevents it from sliding on wet or uneven surfaces. It can even float in water.
This insulated bag can hold up to 18 soda cans. Amazon
This YETI cooler contains thick insulation, which means cold things stay, uh, really, really cold. A grid on the side of the cooler allows you to attach camping—carabiners and bottle openers—to the side of it. It can hold 24 pounds of ice or 20 cans of beer, and has a Hydrolock Zipper, which is touted as being essentially leakproof. The fabric is a DryHide Shell—or an electromagnetically bonded puncture and water-resistant sturdy nylon material.