Top 10 Camping Gear Essentials

Start With These Top 10 Camping Gear Essentials

Your friends invited you to go camping and you’ve never been before or it’s been a very long time since you last went camping. You have a few items and honestly, you just aren’t sure what you need and don’t need. If this sounds like you, then you need to start with this beginner’s list: Top 10 Camping Gear Essentials!

gray and black folding pocket knife
Photo by Lum3n on

Why start with this list?

  • I created this list to give you an idea of the very basic, essential items necessary for a comfortable camping trip.
  • This beginner’s camping gear list is a great starting point and will give you a great goal for gear to be on the lookout for.
  • I’ve been camping throughout Kentucky. Energy Lake at Land Between the Lakes, Green River, Red River Gorge, Daniel Boone National Forest & Nolin Lake. Although I am still learning, I have camped in the rain and during winter. I continue to camp and learn as well as seek new information that I can then share.


1. Sleeping Bag

One of the key pieces of gear you’ll need is a sleeping bag like this Oaskys Camping Sleeping Bag.

Top 10 Camping Gear Essentials - 1. Sleeping Bag

A solid night’s rest is essential to your overall mood. If it gets too hot, you can unzip the bag to let some air in. However, if it’s not rated for low temperatures, and the temperature drops, expect to be chilly.

To solve this, look for a sleeping bag that is rated lower than the lowest temperature you will be camping in.

There are other considerations to also consider before purchasing your sleeping bag such as sleeping bag style. Check out this great article from REI: How to Choose Sleeping Bags for Camping

2. Hammock w/ Rain Tarp & Bug Net

A hammock is a great option vs. a tent because it keeps you off the ground. All you have to do is hang it between two trees, between a van and a tree, or even inside your grand caravan! I have mine set up inside my caravan and you can learn more about that on my YouTube Channel: Mellow Nomadic Adventures. I am currently filming my first video!

3. Cooler

Now unless you plan on having only non-refrigerated food, it’s likely you will need a way to keep your meal ingredients cold. I like to use the Coleman Portable 50 quart with Wheels and I like this cooler because it has wheels, a telescoping handle, drain plug, & it’s 50 quarts which means I can fit a lot in it.

4. Camp Chair

Having a collapsible camp chair is also a great idea as some areas may not have anywhere else to sit. I use a chair similar to this Coleman Portable Camping Chair. You can catch them on sale at your local stores.

I also carry this tripod stool which has a smaller footprint.

5. Knife

Safety, preparing food, cutting rope, and a knife have multiple uses. I like this one because it has a full tang which means the blade runs from end to end and it has a leather sheath.

6. Water jug

Currently, I am using the 5-gallon version of this cube-style water jug. I purchased this jug years ago when I used to camp frequently. It’s still in great shape so I’m going to use this for now.

7. Rain Jacket

Having a rain jacket that is lightweight and that can be folded up into a backpack can be a game changer especially when weather decides to turn. I have a Columbia rain jacket I picked up from Target for about $60 or you can check out this one which comes in under $30.

8. Cookware

You’ll want a small set of pots and pans that nest together and that also come with utensils. Another item I have added is this Lodge griddle that has a flat top on one side and a grill top on the other. It’s actually on sale for about half off right now!

9. Gas Powered Stove

I inherited this Dual-Fuel Coleman Camping Stove from an old friend of my father. It’s used and still in great shape. This stove will use white gas fuel or unleaded gasoline.

10. Lantern

There are many options out there. I like the rechargeable type like this one.

Many Combinations

Definitely start with these 10 items and build upon that. There are so many possibilities! I have to include 1 more item that you must have!

11. Lighter or Matches or Flint or Some type of fire-starting item

Price for the Gear I Linked to:

  1. Sleeping Bag: $25.99
  2. Hammock: $25.95 (no bug net or rain cover)
  3. Cooler: $32.87
  4. Camp Chair: $31.48
  5. Knife: $24.99
  6. Water Jug: $14.97
  7. Rain Jacket: 25.99
  8. Cookware: $29.98 (pots, pans, bowls, silverware kit), $29.97 (griddle),
  9. Gas Powered Stove: $122.39
  10. Lantern: $23.98

Total as of the writing of this post: $388.56

Keep in mind that some of these prices reflect sale prices and that these prices may change over time.

Also, remember if this is your first time going, you are starting from zero and need to start with these basics.

Maybe you can’t do everything on this list right away. In that case, start with my Top 5 Camping Gear Essentials.

What items did I forget? Which items would you give up on this list? Are there items you would add?

Let me know in the comments!

photo of tent at near trees
Photo by Josh Hild on

*As an Amazon Associate & REI Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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