CAMPING & HIKING

Best Camping Gear: Essential Equipment & Accessories Every Camper Should Have

Best camping gear
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

When it comes to enjoying what Mother Nature has to offer, there’s no better way to do it than camping, right? But, you have to agree that if you wish to make the most out of your camping experience, one aspect that you can’t afford to overlook is having the best camping gear.

However, shopping for the best equipment can be downright tricky. When it comes to camping gear and equipment, there is a plethora of choices in the market. It’s just all too easy to get carried away and spend obscene amounts of money on cool-looking adventure toys and survival gear. Worse, you might end up with items you don’t actually need.

Choose the right gear for camping

The key to shopping for the best camping accessories is to keep it simple. Hopefully by the end of this article, you will have the right idea on how to shop for camping gear and accessories that best fits your needs. We are sure that if you take a good read at the features and the equipment we listed, you will be if not ready, then almost there.

Our top picks

Product NameProduct TypeWeightDimensionsSpecific FeaturesPrice
Eton Scorpion Multi Purpose Radio0.5 lb5.2 x 1.8 x 2.5 inCan charge smartphones, flashlight, weather alerts, crank and solar back-up power options, digital AM/FM radioCheck price on Amazon
Powertraveller PowermonkeyPortable charger1 lb6 x 3.5 x 1.1 inFully waterproof and ruggedly built, standard USB and 12V DC port output, simultaneously charge 5V and 12V devicesCheck price on Amazon
High Sierra Classic 2 Hydration pack1 lb15 x 11.1 x 1.7 in100% Polyester, main compartment holds a 2-liter water reservoir, easy-access reservoir openingCheck price on Amazon
Preferred Nation Folding chair4.7 lb11 x 14.5 x 11.5 inSupports up to 250 lbs, holds up to 12 cans, 420D nylon cushion for extra comfort, front mesh pocketCheck price on Amazon
IAN Camping UniversalInflatable mattress7.65 lb4 x 5 inLightweight, easy deflation, double safety air valve, 44UM thickness of high quality PVC materialCheck price on Amazon
Sea To Summit Ultra-SilKitchen sink0.55 lb7 x 9 x 3 inMade of nylon, unique design with stainless steel stiffening ring, broad baseCheck price on Amazon
Sea To Summit Pocket ShowerPortable shower0.88 lb1.7 x 6.1 x 7.8 inSuper compact and light, gives about an 8 and a half-minute shower, simple and easy-to-use twist mechanismCheck price on Amazon
Exped Mega 10Sleeping mat5.8 lb77.5 x 30 x 4 in3-D construction with vertical sidewalls, air cored foam insulation, velvety soft tricot top surfaceCheck price on Amazon
Kettle Charge 10-Watt Generator2 lb7.3 x 7.3 x 2.9 in10W On-Demand Power, smart LED dashboard, 750ml stainless steel kettle, multi-stove integrationCheck price on Amazon
MalloMe Mess KitCookware set0.7 lb6.6 x 6.3 x 3.8 inHighest quality FDA APPROVED non-toxic anodized aluminum camping cookset, 100% satisfaction guaranteeCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

Before you go out camping, hiking or on an off road adventure, it is important that you know you will be prepared and safe. You need the right equipment, but that will be based on features that you must consider before buying. Below, we will find those features, and hopefully after reading them you’ll know what’s the best equipment for you.

Communication

When you are going out into the wild on a camping trip, you don’t want to be disconnected completely. We know that one of the main reasons for you to go out of the city and into national parks, is to disconnect, but your safety comes first. Having a radio or a locator beacon is a must.

Communication camping gear

Radios tend to be a better choice, as the locator beacon is never going to fail, but it can only be activated as an emergency. A radio will give you weather updates, will allow you to communicate for other reasons that might not be a life and death emergency, and some can even charge other devices.

Hydration

This is normally an overlooked feature, or aspect for people that go camping. Many imagine that they can fill their water bottles in any river or stream, but that’s not the case. What if there are no streams? Or what if the water is dirty?

You should take a few water bottles, a hydration pack, water filters and or water cleaning pills. That way you will be able to fill the bottle in a stream and clean it. Or, if there are very few streams you’ll have enough water to survive.

Comfort

Think about the comfort, about what you want to achieve with the trip, and how you’d like it to be. Many pack too much or too little, and then complain. Others aren’t really able to give up simple things such as a good shower.

Comfort for camping

That’s why comfort is something to consider. Luckily, there are now things such as portable sinks or showers, to wash the cookware or to clean yourself. Also, consider the weight of what you are carrying, is too much or too little?

Cookware

This is a must, a necessity. It’s going to be very hard to cook if you don’t have cookware with you and if you don’t have a portable gas stove or any way to light a fire. It is essential that you have the right gear to be able to cook.

Fortunately, camping cookware is a very common thing, and they make really light utensils. As to cooking stoves, they are also lightweight and come in portable sizes/ Otherwise, especially during summertime, you can take with you a fire starter and light fires with leaves to cook.

Additional Equipment

By additional equipment, we mean all those little or not so little things that are sometimes overlooked but can become essential in a weekend in the woods. For example, pocket knives, portable chairs, generators and more. You want to have extra things that will make your trip more enjoyable.

Additional equipment for camping gear

The good thing is that people that have been camping forever have thought about this hundreds of times, and they have come up with all the equipment you can think of. Hence why it’s not hard to find portable generators, or comfy chairs that you can carry in a backpack. Just make sure that you think about what you’d like to take with you and include it.

Best Products on Today’s Market

As far as camping gear goes, it’s a given that you should have the essentials like a sleeping bag, a tent, knives, flashlights, lighter, clothes and more. However, in this article, we are going to highlight a number of camping equipment and accessories that might not be obvious inclusions, but are highly useful and definitely deserve to be on your shopping list. Here are some essential camping equipment and accessories that every camper should have along with our recommendations.

Etón Scorpion Multi-Purpose Digital RadioEtón Scorpion Multi-Purpose Digital Radio

Price: $40 – $50

Weight: 0.5 lb

Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.8 x 2.5 in

Specific features: Multi-function radio can charge smartphones, features a flashlight, weather alerts, crank and solar back-up power options, digital AM/FM radio, AUX-IN and headphone jack

Best use: Outdoors survival, camping, hiking, backpacking, disaster preparation

Description: Eton is a household name associated with high quality radios and accessories. The Etón Scorpion Multi-Purpose Digital Radio is one of the company’s most popular products and for good reasons.

First off, the radio only weighs about 0.5 pounds, which makes it a perfect digital radio that you can take with you wherever you go. It’s also pretty handy considering its size. As for its other features, it has a good LED flashlight that’s useful for lighting your way in the dark.

The digital tuner is great and can pick up stations quite well, even if you live out of nowhere. The sound quality is exactly what you can expect from a standard portable radio. For the power options, the Scorpion is solar powered and if that’s not available, you can always use the crank charging function.

If you have other gadgets like a smartphone or tablet, you can use this product to charge them. Overall, it’s a good option for a digital radio and a good value for its price.

PROS:

  • Charges other devices
  • Reliable
  • Has a good LED flashlight

CONS:

  • In a bit of enclosed places it will receive too much static

Related: The Eton Adapter Charger is the ideal item to buy alongside this radio, as you will need it to recharge properly or quickly the radio when you have a plug.

Check the price on Amazon

Powertraveller Powermonkey Solar Portable ChargerPowertraveller Powermonkey Solar Portable Charger

Price: $150 – $300

Weight: 1 lb

Dimensions: 6 x 3.5 x 1.1 in

Specific features: Fully waterproof and ruggedly built, charge an iPhone or smartphone up to 6 times, standard USB and 12V DC port output built in, simultaneously charge 5V and 12V devices, lightweight and compact for portability

Best use: Camping, hiking, backpacking, traveling, disaster preparation

Description: If you are in the market for a rugged and robust solar charger, the Powertraveller Powermonkey Solar Portable Charger is an easy recommendation. It is fully waterproof (up to 1 meter for 30 minutes) and solidly built that it should have no problems withstanding harsher environments, knocks and spills.

The charger houses a massive 9000 mAh lithium polymer battery that, when fully charged, can recharge a smartphone up to 6 times and up to 2 times for larger devices like tablets.

You can even use it to charge SLR camera batteries. It is compatible with 5V electronic devices like (smartphones, GPS, handheld video cameras) as well as 12V gadgets such as two-way radios, SLR cameras, heavy-duty flashlights and more.

Whether you’re a hardcore outdoor enthusiast who can’t live without your devices or simply a gadget junkie, the Powertraveller Powermonkey is a portable charger that won’t disappoint.

PROS:

  • Fully waterproof
  • Can charge a smartphone or other devices up to 6 times

CONS:

  • If not against direct light, it’s going to be tricky for it to start charging

Related: The Solove Power Bank is a good add-on to this solar panel, as you can charge the power bank to store the energy and then charge your devices anytime, even when there is no sunlight.

Check the price on Amazon

High Sierra Classic 2 Hydration PackHigh Sierra Classic 2 Hydration Pack

Price: $15 – $40

Weight: 1 lb

Dimensions: 15 x 11.1 x 1.7 in

Specific features: 100% Polyester, main compartment holds a 2 liter water reservoir, easy-access reservoir opening, hands-free reservoir pressure valve, vapel mesh airflow padded back wicks moisture, one exterior pocket

Best use: Camping, hiking, traveling, biking, backpacking.

Description: Many people are discouraged from buying hydration packs and systems because they can be rather expensive. With the High Sierra Classic 2 Hydration Pack, you don’t have to worry about spending too much.

Despite its relatively low price tag, this hydration pack has the features that would fit the needs of even the most hardcore outdoor people. The main compartment can hold up to 2 liters of water and can be flattened, which makes it easier to lug around.

The reservoir opening is very easy to access and can prevent spills. The pack also has a front pocket where you can keep smaller items like a wallet, keys and smartphones.

The best thing about this hydration pack is that it’s really small and portable unlike similar products out there. Overall, it’s a quality hydration pack and based on what it can offer, it’s a great value for money.

PROS:

  • Holds of a great amount of water (2 liters)
  • The pack also has extra pockets for extra storage
  • Affordable

CONS:

  • Valve tends to leak
  • The bag itself can be a bit uncomfortable

Related: The ZXUY Hydration Bag Cleaner pretty much explains in its name why it is the perfect match for this hydration pack. Clean it properly before and after any trip.

Check the price on Amazon

Preferred Nation Folding ChairPreferred Nation Folding Chair

Price: $25 – $30

Weight: 4.7 lb

Dimensions: 11 x 14.5 x 11.5 in

Specific features: Supports up to 250 lb and fits in the back of your car, spacious cooler storage holds up to 12 cans, insulated lining to keep beverages icy cold for hours, folding cooler seat, 420D nylon cushion for extra comfort, front mesh pocket

Best use: Outdoors, camping, fishing, hiking

Description: Preferred Nation is a great brand that makes outdoor recreation and travel gear. As you can see, this Preferred Nation Folding Chair is not just your standard folding chair as it actually includes a spacious cooler. At first, it’s easy to dismiss this chair because it actually looks quite small. And with that size, you’ll think that there’s no way that it can support the weight of a grown man.

However, it’s actually pretty sturdy and can hold up to 250 lb which is strong enough to support an adult. The cooler is also spacious enough to hold 12 cans.

Great for keeping your beers, sodas and other beverages icy cold. It is strong and comfortable which makes it a great lounging chair whenever you go camping. This folding chair is also available in many different colors. It’s a fairly basic folding chair and for its price, it’s truly a good buy.

PROS:

  • Supports a lot of weight
  • Comes with a built-in cooler, ideal for beverages or food

CONS:

  • Chairs are small
  • Comfort is not the best feature

Related: The BEARZ Outdoors Picnic Blanket is a good match to this chair, as you can extend it next to the chair to place food or beverages, and sit on the chairs around it.

Check the price on Amazon

IAN Universal Inflatable MattressIAN Universal Inflatable Mattress

Price: $100 – $180

Weight: 7.65 lb

Dimensions: 5.6 x 10.9 x 18.3 in

Specific features: Folding lightweight, easy to carry, easy deflation, double safety air valve, universal design for over 90% of cars, 44UM thickness of high quality PVC material, protect the cervical vertebra health care

Best use: Hiking, camping, traveling, road trips

Description: If you are someone who spends a lot of time on the road, you should consider checking out the IAN Universal Inflatable Mattress. Sleeping in your vehicle doesn’t have to be a cumbersome and backbreaking affair. It has a universal design so it should fit most cars and trucks. The mattress features a sleeping chamber inflated structure design, which provides great softness and flexibility.

While the mattress sits on the back seat, it will provide a more comfortable environment for resting by reducing bumps and noise caused by vehicle movement.

The mattress is inflated by using the car air pump in just 2 minutes. When deflated, the mattress is extremely lightweight and can be folded for easy storage, making it a must-have addition to your camping gear collection. The mattress is also strong enough to support users who are on the heavier side. We highly recommend this product for campers and long distance drivers.

PROS:

  • Excellent quality
  • Very comfortable

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Can, although not always, deflate after long time of use

Related: The Cozy Hut Portable Memory Foam Pillow is a great add-on to this mattress. Made of memory foam the pillow can be stored compactly and carried anywhere.

Check the price on Amazon

Sea To Summit Ultra-Sil Kitchen SinkSea to Summit Ultra-Sil Kitchen Sink

Price: $20 – $35

Weight: 0.55 lb

Dimensions: 7 x 9 x 3 in

Specific features: Made of nylon, unique design with stainless steel stiffening ring, broad base, works with hot water and detergent, wide webbing carry handles, comes with its own handy storage pouch

Best use: Camping, hiking, backpacking

Description: Sea to Summit has always been a name that we trust when it comes to outdoor gear and products. Thus, we find it hard not to recommend the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Kitchen Sink.

Many portable sinks claim to be just that, but they’re actually quite bulky and tough to work with. You will not have that kind of problem with this product as it solidly built and quite compact.

The stainless steel ring prevents the sink from collapsing even when it is filled with water. As advertised, it is durable enough to hold hot water, which is great for tasks like food preparation, washing dishes or cleaning wounds.

It comes with its own storage pouch so you can easily keep it away when not in use. Overall, it is a very solid camping sink that gets the job done. It is like you literally brought the sink with you on the trip.

PROS:

  • Very compact and lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Extremely handy

CONS:

  • Too fragile, not as durable as needed

Related: The Sea To Summit Folding Bucket is a good partner to this sink, it will allow you to have additional water ready to wash whatever cookware or item you need to wash in the sink.

Check the price on Amazon

Sea To Summit Pocket ShowerSea to Summit Pocket Shower

Price: $30 – $35

Weight: 0.88 lb

Dimensions: 1.7 x 6.1 x 7.8 in

Specific features: Super compact and light, gives about an 8 and a half-minute shower, simple and easy-to-use twist mechanism, holds up to 10 liters of water

Best use: Camping, hiking, backpacking

Description: Here’s another winning product from the same company, the Sea to Summit Pocket Shower. This product has got all the things that you would ever want from a pocket portable shower and even more, making it the ideal product to have with you during off road trips.

Like with most great outdoor gear, this pocket shower is super compact and light which makes it a no-brainer to take on trips. Even with the shower head fully open, it can give about 8 minutes of showering, which is more than enough when you’re in the wild with little to no water availability.

There’s also the ease of fill and setup. This product is also a multipurpose tool as you can use it like a bucket to securely transport water to the camp or as a dry sack to store clothes or sleeping bags. This pocket shower provides a quick way to clean up yourself in the wilderness and significantly improve your camping experience.

PROS:

  • When full, it gives around an 8 minute shower, enough for 2 people camping
  • Very lightweight
  • Very easy to carry

CONS:

  • Sometimes, especially when the water is finishing, it doesn’t come out as much or as fast as needed

Related: The Sea To Summit Wilderness Wash is the ideal all-in-one biodegradable soap and shampoo to go with this shower. Clean yourself and don’t harm the environment.

Check the price on Amazon

Exped Mega Mat 10 Sleeping MatExped Mega Mat 10 Sleeping Mat

Price: $200 – $250

Weight: 5.8 lb

Dimensions: 77.5 x 30 x 4 in

Specific features: 3-D construction with vertical sidewalls for wall-to-wall comfort, air cored foam insulation provides self-inflating convenience, Exped mini pump included, velvety soft tricot top surface

Best use: Camping, hiking, road trips, backpacking

Description: If you backpack for the sake of plush camping in breathtaking locations, this sleeping mat is definitely worth looking into. First off, let us start by saying that the Exped Mega Mat 10 Sleeping Mat is ridiculously comfortable.

The 3-D construction and velvety soft tricot top definitely helps with achieving that welcoming comfort in the middle of the wilderness. The mat is also exceptionally warm which is great for those cold nights without needing to wear endless layer of clothing.

It comes with a mini pump, which enables convenient and lung-free topping up. Deflation and storage is also a breeze. Another thing we appreciate is Exped’s craftsmanship and attention to detail.

The mat is extremely durable and lightweight but still manages to provide top-level comfort. Many customers swear that sleeping on this mat feels like lying on a Tempurpedic bed. If comfort is a big thing for you, this product gets our highest recommendations.

PROS:

  • Lightweight
  • Excellent quality
  • Great comfort

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • The pump takes time to inflate it

Related: The Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow is a great item to buy alongside this mat. The pillow can be taken practically anywhere, and will ensure, alongside the mat, that you will have a good night’s sleep.

Check the price on Amazon

Kettle Charge 10-Watt GeneratorKettleCharge 10 Watt Generator

Price: $55 – $80

Weight: 2 lb

Dimensions: 7.3 x 7.3 x 2.9 in

Specific features: 10W On-Demand Power, smart LED dashboard, battery boost, 750 ml stainless steel kettle, multi-stove integration

Best use: Camping, hiking, backpacking, disaster preparedness

Description: The KettleCharge 10 Watt Generator is a great product that truly sets itself apart from most camping generators. This generator actually uses temperature in order to produce electricity.

First, you add water to the stainless steel kettle, then you heat it using a portable / backpacking stove. Once the process is done, you now have hot, potable water and 10w of usable power. It really is an innovative way of generating on-demand electricity, which you can use to charge USB devices as fast as a wall outlet.

For optimal usage, the generator is equipped with an LED dashboard and it will give an audible alert once it gets too hot. At just 2 pounds, it’s a solid, lightweight off-grid power solution. Outside of outdoor recreation, the KettleCharge can be used during disasters where power outages are most likely to happen, and honestly, it will be pretty common for you to encounter power shortages during a camping trip.

PROS:

  • It integrates with many stoves, which is very handy
  • Extremely durable and great quality
  • Good price for the value it offers

CONS:

  • Makes a lot of noise
  • The shape makes it very hard to pour water without spilling

Related: The BioLite Press for Camping is the ideal partner of this kettle. Boil the water, pour it into the Press and get ready to make some warm coffee.

Check the price on Amazon

MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess KitMalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit

Price: $20 – $70

Weight:0.7 lb

Dimensions: 6.6 x 6.3 x 3.8 in

Specific features: Highest quality FDA approved non-toxic anodized aluminum camping cookset, anodized nonstick aluminum, 100% satisfaction guarantee

Best use: Camping, hiking, backpacking, picnic, outdoor survival

Description: With thousands of glowing reviews from customers, it’s hard not to recommend the MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit. This product completely eradicates the need to bring bulky pots and pans just so you can have a decent meal outdoors. Thanks to its lightweight, compact design, this mess kit is one of the smallest and the lightest ones out there.

You can actually grasp the whole kit with your hands, since it is impressively small and compact, which is also ideal to carry or pack anywhere. The handles of the pots and pans have heat-resistant coating for safer cooking.

The anodized nonstick aluminum ensures hassle-free cleanup after and even comes with its own wash sponge. For just $20 (current sale price), you’ll have everything you will ever need to make great meals outdoors without all the unnecessary bulk and stress. This mess kit is just hard to beat in terms of quality and value.

PROS:

  • Stores in a very compact design, ideal for storability and portability
  • Good price
  • Great quality

CONS:

  • Too many pieces, easy to lose them
  • Some things might stick to the pot and dishes

Related: The Coleman Propane Stove is a must if you buy cookware and plan to cook quickly and without a hassle. It will work faster and better than lighting a fire with leaves.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

Camping is hardly a one-time activity and it’s hard not to fall in love with it. Therefore, it’s always a good thing to invest in the best camping equipment that will significantly improve your experience. Also, because such equipment might mean a safer camping trip.

We haven’t featured these products just because they’re cool, they can actually provide the much-needed comfort and utility that is essential for your trips. Hopefully this article will help you find the camping equipment and accessories that’s right for you.

Outdoor gear for camping

Feel free to sound off in the comments regarding other gear and equipment that one should have on their camping “essentials”. Also, do you have any camping stories you can share with us? Please leave your comments below, we’d really like to hear from you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

  • Elliot Giles

    I have to agree that the Sea to Summit Pocket Shower it’s the best choice when you go camping. The shower was easy to fill and setup. Even at the highest setting, the water pressure is fairly low, but no lower than I was expecting from this product. The only thing I really wish was different about this shower is the cord you’re supposed to hang it with. The cord was very thin and I couldn’t keep a grip on it while trying to pull it up. I think I’ll attach some of my own rope to it to fix this problem.

  • Mark Foster

    Hi Elliot! Most campers love the Sea to Summit Pocket Shower and I think it’s awesome, too. Who would’ve thought that you can shower when you’re out of your house, right? For its low price, I believe that it gives you value for your money. Sea to Summit has very good products that strives to give you a unique camping experience every time.

  • Carl Thompson

    If you want a good sleep, you should get the Exped Mega Mat 10. These mats are not so portable, nor that light, but I’m yet to have a better sleep when out bush. Two fit together and make an almost perfect queen size bed – good for sleeping with a partner, because the movement in one doesn’t transfer to the other. Also use this occasionally at home for guests and have had no complaints there either.

  • Mark Foster

    One of the top products that scored high in comfort. The Exped Mega Mat 10 will make you forget that you’re sleeping outdoors. It really feels like you’re lying on a Tempurpedic bed, no kidding! No wonder your guests have no complaints, as well. Some may find this mat a bit pricey, but when you’re tired after a day of trekking, this product will make you feel like royalty.

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