As the weather gets warmer, many people are looking for weekend escapes to get out of their homes for a longer excursion. Camping is one of the best and cheapest ways to get away. Below, I’ve rounded up three popular types of camping and the gear you’ll need while you’re away from home.
What Camping Experience Is Best for Us?
Generally, there are three ways to approach camping. I’ve outlined each below so you can decide which camping experience is best for you and your partner.
All-inclusive luxury camping
More and more “glamping” opportunities are popping up, offering an all-inclusive way for you and your partner to get away in a secluded location without giving up the amenities you’re used to from a hotel. Think Tom Haverford in Parks and Recreation. You won’t need much gear for this type of camping (aside from your DJ Roomba), so I’m going to focus on what you’ll need if you want to car camp, backpack or site camp.
If you and your partner are feeling adventurous but not that adventurous, car camping offers some creature comforts you’re used to, such as electricity, water and shared bathrooms and showers. There are usually general stores on site that sell essentials such as wood, s’more kits and charcoal. It’s a great way to see the country or your own state on a budget while leaning into camping.
Backpacking or site camping
True backpacking is what many people would refer to as “roughing it,” but it’s not as primitive as you’d think. Backpacking gear is pretty sophisticated, and you can still have a working stove, a makeshift shower and much more as long as you’re willing to carry it.
What Camping Gear Will I Need?
A quality tent
No matter what type of camping you’re planning to do, shelter should be the first item on your list. Every pound or ounce counts when you’re backpacking, so you’ll want a lightweight tent with a small footprint. If you’re car camping with two people, you can splurge on something larger. For two people, I’d recommend a tent that fits three to six people comfortably, like this four-person option from Eureka at Backcountry. Eureka is a trusted brand with more than a century of experience building tents and outdoor gear. I have an A-frame tent from Eureka that my wife and I have used for years on car-camping and backpacking trips.
A camp stove
A two-burner camp stove won’t make the cut if you’re backpacking, but it’s essential for car camping. This simple two-burner stove from Camp Chef can help you prep any meal you can imagine in the great outdoors, and it has enough capacity to cook multiple items at once. It’s more than enough stove for two people.
A cast-iron Dutch oven
This unassuming piece of cookware is all you need to car camp if you’re comfortable waiting a little longer for your meal. A cast-iron Dutch oven is the ultimate tool for one-pot meals, and it makes a mean cornbread if that’s your thing. You cook your food by positioning heated charcoal briquettes underneath and on top of the Dutch oven. Each briquette equals about 25 degrees of heat, so you can add or remove briquettes according to the recipe.
You’ll want a good all-weather sleeping bag, such as the Kush from Kelty. They’re great for most conditions and can handle temperatures as low as 30 degrees. If you’re planning to camp in colder weather, check out what’s known as a “mummy bag.” These sleeping bags can handle lower temperatures and keep you safe and warm all night.
You want to be comfortable when you camp, right? To add a little cushion to your sleeping arrangement, invest in a sleeping mat. These compact mats fill with air when you release a special valve, and they can be rolled up to remove the air when you’re finished. They’re only about a half-inch thick, but they provide a little buffer between you, your partner and the ground.
When you’re camping and it’s late at night, the No. 1 thing you need is a flashlight. The problem is that you also need to use your hands to clean dishes, open your tent and more. That’s where headlamps come in. These compact flashlights have headbands that allow you to illuminate your surroundings hands-free. They are essential for late-night trips to the bathroom and making your way around the campsite at dark. Petzl is a leader in headlamps, and the Tikka 200 is a must-have for your next adventure.
A quality multi-tool can take you really far while you’re camping, especially when it’s from Leatherman. I’ve owned a Leatherman Wave for more than 20 years, and it’s still going strong. The versatile tool has a knife, a bottle opener, scissors, a file and so much more. It’s one of those things you should have on hand all the time, even if you never set foot on a campsite.
These are just the essentials you need for your next camping trip, but there’s plenty more you should consider. Shop for all of your camping essentials on Rakuten and earn Cash Back at the same time. You need to be a member to earn Cash Back, so sign up today. It’s quick, free and easy.