Last update 15. December 2020
If you’re like me, you hate forgetting things, especially when your companion is already a little hesitant to leave her castle to go into the woods and you promised to take care of everything. If this applies to you, print out this list of camping supplies and check it off before your next camping trip.
There are many lists of essential camping items, and this list will include common items, which only makes sense because the basic camping gear you’ll want to bring is pretty standard.
But our list of camping essentials will add to your essential camping list items that serve a dual purpose as survival items and will not only help you have a great time when camping with your family, but also keep you safe at the same time.
I will add the camping survival items and explain their usefulness so you can better understand why I recommend the items on this list. In addition, many items in this list are unrelated to the margin of error, so I am including items that you would never include as margin of error if weight is an important factor.
Why does the prepper’s blog include a list of camping equipment?
Good question! At first glance, you might think the concept of a camping list is irrelevant to a funnel or survivor, but I’ve always maintained that almost any camping equipment you buy can be used in a grid scenario.
Isn’t that what camping is all about? Camping is a vacation away from home and a temporary stay in a different way, depending on your equipment and resources. I know a lot of people who prefer glamping, but even with just about all the camping gear you can buy when you go out, you’re still a little rough around the edges.
However, items that can help you survive a winter storm, hurricane or power outage can also be used as camping gear. Having these items on hand before you need them can help you in the event of a power outage, local infrastructure failure or if you need to leave your home.
And because they can also be used for a fun family camping trip, here are the Camping Essentials from Prepper Journal.
Having a roof over your head is an important aspect of any camping trip.
Tents are a collective term for our camping equipment, which are only the starting point of the accommodation. As most of you already know, Rule 3 reminds us that without a way to stay warm when it’s cold or cool when it’s hot, we could be dealing with serious health problems at worst, or a ticking spouse at best.
Camping tents used to be made of different materials, but today we can use lighter fabrics and frame systems that reduce weight. You also have the option of opting for single-person tents that are both smaller and lighter, such as a double-width tent that only provides you with shelter while you sleep, or a hammock.
Another important option for camping is to make your car your shelter, and many people have done this with camping trucks that offer you both storage and a sleeping platform. It’s also good for singles, but a large family would prefer more headroom.
I bought a nice tent called the Oztent RV-5 that you could never carry on your back if it broke, but for car trips it’s pretty cool. There’s enough room for four when you’re sitting comfortably, and there’s a built-in vestibule to change clothes or just enjoy your favorite drink out of the reach of mosquitoes.
There are cheaper alternatives to the Oztent that can accommodate as many people as possible, and I personally have a Coleman Instant tent that sleeps 8. It was a lot cheaper, and the first two times I used it, it was great. The third time, the leg breaks (everything bends like an umbrella over a crack) and lands on me. Plus, you’ll never be able to put the Coleman tent back in your pocket. There’s always a part that comes out like Uncle Marty’s beer belly after Thanksgiving dinner.
Additional camping equipment for your tent / awning
Tent pegs and a rubber mallet to drive them into the ground. When backpacking I use titanium tent pegs because they are lighter and much stronger than the cheap hooks that come with a camping tent.
If you’re using your hammock as a shelter, the straps usually go in your bag, but a raincoat is a good option to keep you dry at all times, and you may want to put your hammock under in cold weather.
Backup objects can be survival objects that keep you alive. These are small, lightweight, Mylar-lined sleeping bags that fit into the corner of your car in a flash.
Why do you need survival gear when camping with the family? This is not one, but a number of those preparatory articles that somehow go back to EDC, but still make sense if you’re intentional about it.
Do you need survival gear when you’re in a KOA where the guy next to you is 20 feet away in his Minnie Winnie? Yes! Survival gear isn’t something you only need to carry when you’re out in the wilderness, miles from the nearest RV. You never know when you might need equipment. Since you are already planning to live outside your usual frame of reference, this equipment can help you.
The benefit of having this survival gear on our list of essential camping supplies is that it works for you when you’re alone, or something bad happens when you’re away from home. You can pack these items in a tactical case or even a plastic container.
Let’s start with the most obvious: It’s a fire starter. Fire is important in many scenarios, not just when you’re camping and need an excuse to pull out a set of rifles.
Fire can keep you alive or help you call for help if you get lost. Basic fireworks are therefore an important part of your camping equipment checklist.
Some people carry a butane lighter, but a simple double lighter will suffice in most cases. I have this in stock, as well as fireproof Swedish steel and a fireproof Swedish match. I keep everything in a light, waterproof bag, and I have a few of these fire sets so I never have to face the fire.
Survival of bivouac
To return to the aforementioned hideout: If you are not able to insulate your body from extreme cold or heat, you will not survive for long. These are relatively inexpensive survival items, and everyone should have one in their camping gear.
Survival bivouacs are also a good option to stay warm if you get caught in a winter storm.
Every serious tourist should carry at least one knife. You never know when you might need to cut up a bag of sausage or a butter-roasted pork tenderloin on the camp stove tonight.
The multi-tool makes a better knife and gives you more than a dozen other tools that can help you when camping or in a survival situation. I’ve been wearing a leather wave for years, but a leather skeleton is a great and lightweight option that makes you wonder how you ever lived without one.
When you carry a gun, you have the option to defend yourself from the bad guy with the gun or from the wild animals you are trying to kill. I know the chances of hitting a grizzly bear with a gun and trying to kill you are slim, but you never know.
If at all possible, when I’m not at home, I carry at least one firearm. If I want to camp in the woods, away from civilization, I’m pretty sure. There are plenty of stories about people being murdered that I don’t need to convince you of. Your experience may vary.
I usually receive maps when I arrive at our campground.
A good map will meet your camping needs in many ways. If you plan to explore unfamiliar trails, a good waterproof map of the park or wilderness area you are in can be helpful.
I usually have a few different options. First, I downloaded maps of my hometown to my smartphone. I use Gaia’s GPS maps, and even without a cell phone I can see exactly where I am with these maps and my phone’s GPS.
When I go backpacking, I also carry a map and a portable GPS receiver with my route and landmarks already plotted. I usually take maps with me when I arrive at the campsite, but depending on the trip, I may buy maps online in advance to plan our routes and explorations.
If you get lost, a map can be the thing that brings you back to civilization. The map can show you routes around roadblocks or obstacles that you want to avoid on foot or by car.
Knowing how to use a compass with a map is something many of us learned long ago and have forgotten. You probably know the basics of how a compass works, the arrow points north, but aligning your map is another important step.
Combined with a map, a compass is one of the essential elements of camping that can guide you to a familiar place or far from the destination you are trying to reach. These hiking compasses are cheap but effective, and you need to carry them with you and know how to use them.
Tape. Paracord was originally invented for use in parachute lines, and its usefulness as a survival aid has long been apparent. Paracord has an internal group of 7 small wires that can be used for different purposes, for example. B. for fishing, sewing, mounting equipment or assembling a Hubble telescope.
Overall, the paracord has a certain strength of 550 pounds, although I would not trust this paracord to lift heavy objects or people, such as the recall. This means it can be used in a thousand ways, and some people prefer to wear their paracord on bracelets.
However you wear it, the Paracord 550 is an essential addition to your survival kit.
Tape is the other side of your anchor, a checklist of all your camping supplies. I have used tape for many purposes. I fixed the holes in my raincoats, I fixed my camping gear, I used it to prevent blisters on my feet, and I made kitchen utensils.
Gorilla tape is a very good brand of tape that is stiffer and thicker than regular tape.
Pro tip: don’t wear the big roll. Just take off about 6 feet and wrap it in its own roll, and you’ll save space in your survival kit. I have also wrapped this around old hotel room key cards and it works very well and takes up much less space than the full roll. You can also buy gorilla tape in travel size.
A survival mirror is a signaling device that can show others where you are if you can’t use your voice or if the distance is too great. The emergency mirrors are designed to flag the aircraft and reflect the sun’s rays to any point in the distance.
You can also use a mirror to light a fire if you get a good redemption mirror like this one.
Another great alarm device, the survival whistle can be heard for miles and won’t make you lose your voice like a scream for hours. In a situation where you are screaming for help, you quickly become tired.
Take your survival whistle with you, and if you need to call for help, blow into it with a real charge. You will feel so much better and the sound will carry much further.
I attach a survival whistle like this to my kids’ backpacks.
If you are in the western United States, bears can be a big problem for you, and of course, if you are really isolated in those areas, you want to have bear insecticide to make sure that you have the means to protect yourself from these huge predators.
But bear spray is also a good defense against two-legged predators. If you can’t or don’t want to carry a gun, bear spray can be a good alternative to use in case of a pinch.
Having the right clothing for your activity is one of the essential elements of camping that can make or break your personal camping experience. That doesn’t mean you should be dressed like a movie star in $250 hiking pants, but the clothing choices you make can have a significant impact on your comfort and, potentially, your health in the elements.
- Layers – The secret to dressing well for your surroundings is to dress in layers. Look at the explorers who crossed the South Pole, or the people who climb to the top of Everest every year. I can tell they’re not wearing varsity sweatshirts and comfortable jeans. Depending on the season, you may need a layer of base material that controls moisture – think long coats, but thinner and more comfortable. Next, the middle layer – this is what you usually see on the outside (pants, shirt). If it’s cold, you might need a fleece to keep you warm, then a waterproof shell to keep you dry.
- Shoes – Wear shoes that are appropriate for the event you are attending. Hiking requires sturdy footwear if the terrain is rough or rocky. A sturdy boot, like the Soloman’s Men’s Quest 4d, will surprise you on rocky terrain. For softer terrain, lighter hiking boots like the Merrell Mans Moab are suitable. Either would be better than going out in flip-flops or tennis shoes.
- Socks – Take at least one pair a day, depending on the activity of the good hiking socks. This is important to keep your feet dry and free from blisters and scratches.
- Something to sleep in – Many people think they should just sleep in their clothes when camping. You can, but it’s best to wear clean, dry clothes to sleep. This includes fresh socks (depending on the weather) that you haven’t worn all day because they keep your feet warm.
- Warehouse Shoes – After wearing boots all day, it’s a good idea to take them off and slip into something more comfortable. It also facilitates the ventilation of your boots. I usually have a pair of cheap waterproof Crocs for that.
- Swimsuit – Don’t miss the opportunity to swim if you can.
Water is another essential part of camping and you’ll probably use more than you think for drinking, cooking and cleaning. My friend and I went camping for two nights and used what was stored in the 5-gallon water container I brought.
It was hot and we walked all day, but when you add in the kitchen dishes and hygiene, it goes pretty quickly. Make sure you have at least a good initial supply that will last a few days.
Optional water accessories
Be sure to bring reusable containers for drinking as well. You want something like a good bottle of Nalgene for each person that can be used as a camping water container and camping cup.
I also always take a water filter with me, especially if I’m away from home and need to find wild water to drink. I have tried several filters, but the gravity water filter is my favorite. It’s simple, fast, and there are no moving parts to break and no batteries to replace or recharge.
A quality sleeping bag is one of your best investments in comfort while camping or hiking. They are also important for your carry-on bag and for emergencies where you need to sleep elsewhere temporarily.
Our kids always slept in sleeping bags, and I always had them with me in case we lost power in the winter and needed extra warmth.
Sleeping bags come in different shapes, sizes and temperatures. Temperature values should be taken with a grain of salt, but they give a general idea of the degree of insulation they contain.
I recommend that you buy a good quality sleeping bag that is suitable for the temperature you will be camping in. Remember to check the forecast before playing it safe. Personally, I’d rather cool off a bit and wear a good baseball cap than be too hot and sweaty all night.
However, you don’t want to go camping in the winter with a light summer sleeping bag.
Sleeping bag / air mattress
Now that you’re comfortable in your sleeping bag, you want to be comfortable when you’re camping in the field. In addition to providing a cushion for your back and hips, a good air mattress can also insulate you and keep you warm.
On our first trip, we all had cheap foam pillows that you can buy at any camp store, but we quickly discovered that they weren’t very effective. They are also bulky and take up a lot of space. That’s why we chose quality air mattresses that cost a little more, take up a lot less space, but are much better for sleeping.
I even pack these air mattresses when I sleep on the tent bed for extra comfort.
Lighting – Floodlights / Bulbs
Even in situations where you have electricity, it seems that you always need more light at night. Almost all the campsites we visit are remote, so you’ll need to bring your own lights.
I have several lighting options, mostly for redundancy, but it’s also a convenience. Each has its own LED spotlight. I prefer these flashlights because they are hands-free and always point to where the head is looking.
I also have two types of flashlights. The first is a good Coleman propane flashlight (1000 lumens!), and they are very bright. These are battery-powered LED lanterns that are also very bright and are even better suited for indoor use in the event of a power outage, where you don’t have to worry about open flames or smoke.
Just make sure you have batteries or propane on hand for both lighting options.
First Aid kit
Injuries do occur and you should have a decent first aid kit in your first aid kit to deal with minor incidents. There are many kits available, but most of them are glorious bandboxes.
To be truly prepared for your next hike, make sure you have a very good wilderness first aid kit, then supplement it with items like tourniquets, hemostatic devices and any medications your family may need, such as epinephrine pens, inhalers or prescription drugs.
An axe may seem excessive on a typical camping trip if you’re just going to a managed park with showers and all the amenities, but as a survival tool, a good axe is hard to beat because of its usefulness.
The rods can be used to split the firewood into smaller pieces, making it easier to light the fire. If you are in a more remote area, they can also cut the rod into smaller pieces that will fit more easily into your fire ring. The back can be used as a hammer to hammer the tent pegs into the ground.
Can you do all that camping stuff with a really good survival knife? Yes, but not as easily as with an axe. For basic camping needs and general preparation, the axes are a wise investment.
Getting wet while hiking can be a fun experience, but if you’re cold and wet, hypothermia can quickly set in. If you don’t stay inside all the time (which is against the purpose of camping), you run the risk of getting caught in the rain.
But this should never discourage you (pun intended) when good rain gear is so readily available. I have a raincoat and a rain hat so it never rains, never rain pants, but I would be in the Northwest if it rained most of the time.
I have a light rain jacket for summer and a rigid outer that is waterproof in winter, so I have options.
There’s nothing like a hot meal in the open air, especially after a long day of hiking in the woods. The way people prepare their meals is very different. You can ask for gourmet chefs who bring steaks and wine to the minimalists who have little more than trail mix.
Whatever style you prefer to observe when preparing camping gear, chances are you’ll need heat. Yes, you can use fire to cook, but it’s a discipline in itself, usually with stronger tools like cast iron pans.
For most, the best choice is a propane stove or a simple burner and fuel to heat water for dehydrated food or coffee and perform basic tasks like heating soup. I have both and I choose depending on the trip I’m going on. A large stove is obviously not suitable for backpacking adventures, but when I travel by car, a Coleman propane stove is on my must-have camping list.
Unless you plan to eat dehydrated food with just one spoon from your bag, you need cooking supplies in your camping gear.
- Cooking pots – you need to prepare food for camping in something.
- Frying pan – Depending on the use, this may be lighter.
- Kitchen utensils – Large spoon, spatula is good.
- Corkscrew Bottle Opener / Corkscrew – Just the best selling products and stores for camping.
- Stove top/cup – Buy, wash and reuse camping bowls.
- Mugs – Plastic works, but the titanium camping mug is good for coffee and light enough to use while hiking.
- Cutting board – Beating with a bowl
- Camping Sink – Makes it easier to clean campgrounds and uses less water.
- Scratch/answer. You’ll thank me later.
- Paper towels – It’s much better than relying on hand sanitizing wipes on your pants.
- Spices – Even salt and pepper can make most dishes a little better.
Coolers have changed a lot over the years. I remember when my grandparents came to visit us, they had a metal fridge to store food and drinks during the 7 hour drive to our house.
For starters, moulded plastic radiators are all the rage. They have a much higher price, although they justify it by keeping the food fresh longer.
I have a 65 gallon RTIC cooler that I know will hold beer, food or ice for five days with two bags of ice. It is similar to the Yeti 65 cooler at a lower price (on sale). No matter which camping cooler you choose, don’t forget to camp.
The older you get, the more you appreciate a good chair. When I was younger, I could sit or sleep anywhere, but now I like a little more comfort and support. Camping chairs are probably a staple in most homes these days, we bring them along for ball games or family events, but they can easily be forgotten.
Make sure you have a camping chair for each person, because eventually everyone will want to sit in their own camping chair.
You may think you can just put your stuff on the ground or a log at camp, but a camp table is worth the weight and expense. To cook, eat, make coffee or play cards, you appreciate a good, solid surface on which to place your things.
Modern camping tables are light and small in size, so they don’t take up much space, but still offer good value for money.
Personal care/hygiene products
These camping supplies probably don’t need any explanation, but you’ll miss them if you don’t remember to include them in your camping gear.
- Toilet paper
- Hand cleanser
- Poop kick.
- Earplugs – It’s quiet in the woods, and they’re useful if you snore.
Insecticide/insect repellent spray
Nothing destroys nature faster than small insect pests that like to hang out in the water. Personally, I’m a bit of a mosquito magnet. So when I think about the need to camp, I want to be safe from mosquito bites at the end of my camping trip.
Some people don’t worry, but I prefer DEET mosquito spray and one that doesn’t apply with grease. I know the chemicals in the spray are not ideal, but in the summer my only option is to be covered from head to toe. I would probably even use a mosquito net over my head.
I have started selling firewood in most campsites, assuming you are not subject to a burn ban, as was the case in some places last summer. It can work for you as long as there is someone who can sell it to you and the prices are not astronomical.
If you can’t rely on numbness, bring wood to sit around the fire in the evening.
If you need propane for cooking or lighting, make sure you bring enough propane cylinders for the entire trip. Or cans of Iso Butana if you’re using a different cooker.
Last but not least, don’t forget the needs of our furry companions when you go for a walk with them.
- Bed or blankets for animals
- A long way to go – tie them to camp, but give them room to roam.
- Water and feeding troughs
Let’s go! Our list of essential camping supplies. Did you see anything we missed? Let me know in the comments below.
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