27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (2024)

So what camping gear is an absolute must have? Here is a camping essentials checklist that will ensure you have all the needed camping equipment for your next or first camping adventure!

updated 5/12/2023

27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (1)

I remember our first camping trip went a little something like, okay we didn’t bring that, okay we didn’t bring that either. Never did I think to search online for a camping essentials checklist. Very quickly we learned that we didn’t have all the needed camping essentials.

Thankfully that won’t be happening to you because we have put together the best camping list for you. We will go over all the camping essentials we think you need like a camping tent, camping chairs, camp stove and more.

You’ll be fully prepared for your upcoming camping trip.

This post is all about the 27 must-have tent camping essentials every camper should have.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a small commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please readfull disclosurefor more information.

Camping Essentials For Sleeping

1. Camping Tent

First on our camping essentials checklist is of course a tent! I highly recommend a slightly bigger tent for a more comfortable stay. If you are a family of two I would look into buying a 3 or 4 person tent. We have a 3 person tent and are so thankful for the extra room.

27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (2)
27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (3)

2. Sleeping Bag & Camping Blanket

Buying a good quality sleeping bag is so important. I mean it is going to be your main source of warmth so buying the right bag is essential to a comfortable camping experience.

I think the sleeping bags below are some great options because they can keep you warm up to 15 degrees. If you plan to do winter camping I would either combine it with a camping blanket or research a sleeping bag that can withstand very low temperatures.

tip: if you plan to do some backpacking invest in a lightweight sleeping bag which can be used for camping. backpacking and car camping.

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27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (5)
27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (6)

3. Sleeping Pads

A huge camping essential is a sleeping pad. A sleeping pad will either make your nights rest nice and comfy or extremely annoying. Investing in a high quality sleeping pad is the second item following the sleeping bag that I would highly recommend buying. We bought the Exped Mega Mat Duo and I am not even exaggerating when I say this sleeping pad is the most comfortable sleeping pad on the market, my 70 year old parents slept on one of these and had absolutely no problem sleeping and woke up with zero body pains. It’s that good.

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27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (8)

4. Camping Pillows

Personally we can’t sleep without pillows and don’t want to be luging our huge pillows from home. Camping pillows are the perfect size, comfortable and will help you get a better nights rest. Highly recommend.

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Camping Essentials For Comfort

5. Camping Headlamps

Make sure to always have a headlamp with you. Campgrounds get very dark plus sometimes you need to be hands free for cooking or washing dishes. This is our favorite brand and have had our for years now.

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6. Camping Lantern

These are great to put inside your tent as your are getting ready, on the picnic table for dinner or for late night bathroom runs. They are lightweight and and offer great lighting.

7. Camping Table

Although many campgrounds have picnic tables you will come across those campsites that do not especially as you start camping a bit more off the grid. This camping table is perfect because it’s not only a great size but comes with two benches as well.

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8. Camping Chairs

One of the best things about camping is sitting around the fire enjoying the crisp air and making s’mores. These chairs are so cool because they rock making the experience extra comfortable. We just bought these ourselves and can not wait to take them out.

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9. Hammock

Hammocks are the best! Seriously make sure you have one with you because nothing sets camping vibes more than relaxing in a hammock looking up at the tree line and enjoying the sounds of nature.

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10. Camping Canopy

We always try and find a shady area but that’s not always possible. Nothing is worst than being completely bogged down by the sun when you are trying to enjoy a meal. Bringing sunshade is something we definitely forgot our first time and instantly ordered a sunshade for our van the moment we got home. Life Changer!

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Kitchen Camping Essentials

11. Camping Stove & Fuel

Most campsites do not have a grill so if you plan to eat a very important camping essential is a camping stove. We have a two burner stove and that works great for making all our meals. We love the wind flaps on the stove because on windy days it helps keep the flames going.

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27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (17)

12. Lighter

Don’t forget to pack a lighter! These are perfect and come in a pack of 4. We always like to carry a couple extra lighters while camping just in case.

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13. Pots & Pans

I love this set. It comes with everything you need. The only other cookware I recommend is a camp size Dutch Oven, but it’s definitely not a must. This cookware set is more than enough for all your camp meals.

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14. Cooking Utensils

This utensil cooking set comes with a rest that also wraps around the utensils to keep them organized and easily stored away.

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Related Post: Camping at Mcarthur Burney falls Memorial state park

15. Camping Knives

These knives are awesome. They are durable, sharp and come in a pack of 3. They include the perfect variety of sizes and work great for camping, plus they come with an organizer.

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16. Eating Utensils

Buying titanium products are our go too. They last longer and don’t rust.

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17. Plates/Bowls

Again we recommend buying your plates and bowls in titanium as well.

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27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (24)

18. Mugs/Cups

We love our Hydro Flask Mugs they keep our coffee nice and hot and the tumbler is the perfect size for drinks. Plus they come with lids which is so nice to keep dust and insects out.

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27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (26)

19. Cooler

Keep all your food fresh and your drinks cold. The tight seal and tabs on the RTIC cooler is also super convenient as it prevents any animals from being able to open the lid.

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20. Camping Sink

Make sure to bring a sink you”ll be so happy you did. Most campsites do not have large sinks to wash dishes so this will come in handy.

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21. Biodegradable Soap, Sponge & Cleaning Cloth

It’s so important buying eco friendly products when you are camping. Make sure your soap along with all your other cleaning supplies are biodegradable and eco friendly.

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27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (30)
27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (31)

22. Large Water Jug

Camping essential for sure! We always bring a large jug of drinking water. From our experience there are very few campsite that have drinking water available for it’s campers. You don’t want to forget this plus this is so much better than bringing single use water bottles.

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23. Coffee Press

Oh how I love the smell of fresh coffee in the morning. Honestly the best things about camping is the morning coffee, it taste so much better than at home. So naturally a coffee press is an absolute must have camping essential.

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Camping Essentials For Safety

24. First Aid Kit

Make sure to always have a first aid kit on hand. This small kit is perfect and don’t recommend anything bigger. You can always add in your own products to customize it for your needs.

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25. Sunscreen

This face sunscreen is my absolute favorite, actually it’s Mathews favorite too. it is so lightweight and doesn’t feel like your wearing any sunscreen. Mathew likes it because it doesn’t get stuck in his beard like most sunscreens. For the rest of our body we use a lightweight sunscreen like the one below.

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27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (36)

26. Insect Repellent

Unfortunately insects are everywhere and if you’re anything like me I always get bit no matter where I go. A couple ways I prevent from getting bit is by applying insect repellent to my camping equipment. For added protecting I also apply the REPEL wipes. These wipes are the best and after trying so many products these are my go too.

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27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (38)
27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (39)

27. Camping Multi-Tool

You never think you will need a multi tool until that dreadful moment that you need it. Mathew carries this exact tool with him on every camping and backpacking trip. It’s the perfect size and can be used for so many things. It features a stainless-steel blade, needle-nose/regular pliers, wire cutters, screwdrivers, saw, awl, can/bottle opener, carabiner, safety whistle and a fire-starting ferro rod.

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Bonus Camping Essentials

The following products are not as important as the ones above, but over time will be a nice addition to your camping equipment collection.

1. Tent Foot Print

This tent footprint will keep your tent bottom cleaner and will help keep the bottom intact longer. It’s a small investment to keep your more expensive tent investment from tearing,

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2. Can & Bottle Opener

This is almost a camping essential but is dependent on what you plan to cook so I decided to make it a bonus item.

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3. Cutting Board

I love this cutting board because it’s foldable and stores away much easier than a regular cutting board. Plus I like having my camping equipment separate from my household items.

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4. Water Bottle

I always carry a reusable water bottle with me. I’ve been buying Nalgene water bottles for years now, the quality is awesome.

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5. Griddle

We recently added a griddle to our collection and are so happy we did. It makes cooking eggs, pancakes and bacon so much easier and faster.

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6. S’mores Forks

For obvious reasons. Nothing says camping like making s’mores by the fire.

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7. Camp Dutch Oven

This is another recent purchase of ours and it’s perfect for campfire dishes. One of our recent recipes that was super delicious was campfire nachos! So good.

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8. Camp Rug

We were actually gifted this and never thought to buy this and let me tell you it’s such a game changer. It helps us keep our area so much cleaner.

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9. Privacy Shelter

If you are camping a bit more off the grid and have no access to a restroom this is a great privacy shelter.

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10. Portable Toilet

We have not purchased a portable toilet yet but will actually be purchasing this ourselves soon.

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11. Sanitation Kit

When a restroom is not available having a sanitation kit is a must. This kit comes with everything you need.

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12. Quick Dry Towels

We recently purchased these towels from Nomadix and we really love them. First of they are made from 90% plus recycled material, they are super absorbent, quick drying, sand-resistant and funk resistant.

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13. Axe

This comes in handy for all those fire pit moments you”ll be sure to have. You’ll be happy you have an axe to help you chop away at fire wood.

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That wraps up this post, 27 must-have tent camping essentials every camper should have. Happy Camping!

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27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (54)
27 Must-Have Tent Camping Essentials Every Camper Should Have - A Travelers Trail (2024)

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