Camping is my favorite way to relax, unwind, and recharge when life gets crazy. I love to pack up the car, load up my family, and drive out to the middle of nowhere to reconnect with nature. I’ve been camping since I was a kid, and have become the “go-to” person among family and friends when it comes to any and all outdoorsy-related questions.
If you’ve been wanting to get into camping for a while but aren’t sure where to start, I’ve compiled a list of 15 essentials for a camping “starter pack.” Each product is a no-frills version of what you need to survive out in the wilderness.
You will love our editor’s curated product picks! FYI: We are an Amazon affiliate partner and may get a share of the sale of your purchase (at no cost to you).
This Camping Tent For Sale On Amazon Is Perfect For Beginners
A tent is the natural first step when it comes to creating a camping starter pack, and this Sundome Tent by Coleman is a great one. My husband and I use this one, and before we had kids, were hesitant to buy a four-person tent, considering we were just two people. We’re so glad we went with the larger size.
Sure, it can easily fit four people without feeling cramped, but it’s so nice to have the added room when it’s just the two of you. Plus, it’s extremely easy to set up and take down, so it’s perfect for beginners.
This Adult Sleeping Bag Keeps You Toasty Warm
Next up, sleeping bags. When you picture camping, it’s easy to be turned off by the idea of how uncomfortable the sleeping situation will be. Luckily, there are products out there that will completely change how you think about sleeping outdoors.
This sleeping bag by REVALCAMP is not only surprisingly inexpensive (under $25!) it also keeps you warm and cozy during even the chilliest of camping trips. It comes in a variety of fun, bright colors, and can be compressed into a tiny size for easy packing. We can fit two into one backpack without a problem.
This Camping Sleeping Pad Makes The Ground 100X More Comfortable
Here’s another reason to be pumped about sleeping on the ground: Sleeping pads! No, you don’t just have to throw your sleeping bag down and feel every single rock and root digging into your back when you’re trying to catch some Z’s. This thing is the next best thing to sleeping in your own bed when camping.
This Outdoorsman Lab Camping Sleeping Pad packs a ton of cushioning into a tiny package, so don’t be fooled by the slim size. Simply throw it into a pack when deflated and inflate it once you’ve set up camp for a good night’s sleep under the stars. They’re also great for making your backseat or trunk more comfortable while car-camping.
This Inflatable Travel Pillow Is Easy To Carry
Sure, you can bring your own pillow from home with you when you’re camping, but do you really want to risk getting it covered in dirt, bugs, and a variety of other disgusting things that can be found in the great outdoors?
This camping pillow is also super easy to inflate and cradles your neck and head just-so for maximum comfort. Oh, and if it does get covered in random dirt and unwelcome critters, it can be wiped down for quick cleanup. Who can say that about a traditional pillow and pillowcase?
This Camping LED Lantern Has Four Different Modes
As you might imagine, it can get pretty darn dark when you’re out in the middle of nowhere, so a lantern like this LED version is an essential addition to any camping starter kit. It has two built-in hooks for convenient hanging and has four different settings: Daylight, warm light, combined and flashing, in case of an emergency.
The battery-powered design lasts for up to 25 hours and the anti-slip rubber handle keeps it in your hand no matter what the weather condition. We even use this thing in our backyard to brighten up our patio while dining al fresco.
This Headlamp Flashlight Brightens Up Dark Evenings
Speaking of illuminating things while out in the wild, can you imagine how difficult it would be to try to start a fire in pitch darkness? It’s basically impossible. These headlamps are total game-changers and are at the top of any serious campers’ list.
The adjustable strap gives you a customized fit, and the shock-resistant design means you can wear them out in the rain, snow, or sleet without fear. We have one for every member of our family and like to wear them when we’re playing cards in our tent after a long day of hiking.
This Camping Chair For Sale On Amazon Is Comfortable And Portable
Even though camping seems like it would involve a lot of work (which it does), there’s also a whole lot of sitting around and just taking in the beautiful scenery. Why not do it in comfort and style with this Portable Camping Quad Chair by Coleman?
It’s extremely lightweight so it won’t weigh you down while hiking to your campsite, and the built-in cup holders make it simple to sip a hot mug of coffee in the morning or a frosty cold beer at the end of the day.
This Gas Camping Stove Is A Total Must-Have
Sure, you can make your camping meals directly over the fire if you want the full camp experience, but sometimes you want to enjoy a more complicated meal while roughing it in the woods. That’s where this camping stove comes in.
It’s basically just a portable stove burner, which means all you have to do is screw on a butane or isobutane canister, place a pot or pan on top, light it up, and you’re free to create whatever you’re hungry for. It even comes with a convenient travel bag.
This Fire-Starter Kit Is A Literal Life-Saver
When you think about camping, you probably imagine yourself sitting around a roaring campfire, right? It’s a quintessential part of the experience, and pretty necessary since it can get cold at night even in the dead of summer. Ready to have your mind blown? It can actually be pretty difficult to start a fire.
This fire starter from Bear Grylls (you may remember him from the show Man vs. Wild) makes it a total cinch to bring a blazing fire to life. Even someone who hasn’t had a lifetime of practice starting fires will be able to make this work.
This Camping Tableware Set Is Seriously Sturdy
Remember how we went over the fact that it’s always a bad idea to bring the pillow from your bed camping? It’s also a bad idea to just pull some ceramic or glass plates, mugs, and utensils out of your cabinets.
No matter how durable they seem, there’s a chance they might break while you’re out in the wild, which would be a safety concern and leave you with nothing to eat off of. This set is made from sturdy steel and just has that classic “camp” feel to it. I look forward to using it every time we go camping!
This Pudgy Pie Maker Will Change Your Life
Let me be honest with you for a moment: It really wasn’t until I tasted a Pudgy Pie for the first time while camping as a child that I became okay with the experience as a whole. It was completely life-changing, and if you’ve never had one I absolutely insist that you purchase this Coghlan’s Cast Iron Cooker immediately.
What’s that? You’ve never even heard of a Pudgy Pie? It’s basically just two pieces of buttered white bread stuffed with the pie filling of your choice and cooked to perfection on an open flame. Trust me, it’s better than it sounds.
This Camping Cooking Set On Amazon Is Non-Stick And Durable
This camping cookware set is absolutely ingenious. It features specially designed handles that collapse inward, making them easy to stow and carry without taking up a ton of space. Can you imagine trying to find space for a traditional pot in your backpack? It would be completely impossible.
This 10-piece set comes with non-stick pots and pans with heat-resistant handles, a cleaning sponge, a bamboo spoon, a serving ladle, a plastic bowl, and even a kettle for making tea and coffee. The aluminum construction keeps everything super lightweight.
These Marshmallow Roaster Sticks Because, Duh, S’Mores
I realize that you’ve probably been asking the same question since you first started reading this article: “What about the S’MORES?! Will I be forced to just pick up a dirty stick off the ground to roast my precious marshmallows?”
And while you of course still have that option, I prefer to use these special roasting sticks, which have a telescoping design that allows you to get far enough away from the fire to stay comfortable and safe while still being able to give your ‘mallow a primo roasting.
This Camping Dishwashing Tub That’s Collapsable
Doing dishes is about as fun while camping as it is at home, but sadly, it’s very necessary, since you don’t want to attract bugs or any other unwanted intruders by leaving bits of food around the campsite. This dishwashing tub at least makes it as easy as possible.
The collapsable design means it becomes completely flat, which saves you a ton of space, and the non-slip design keeps it firmly in place. Plus, you can fill it with ice and use it to keep your favorite beverages perfectly chilled. Talk about a great multitasker!
These First Aid Kit Supplies Give You Peace Of Mind
It’s important to be prepared for any situation when you’re camping, especially since the combination of being out in the wilderness and far away from civilization can have disastrous results. That’s why a first aid kit is an essential addition to this list.
This 130-piece emergency kit is fully stocked so you can handle whatever life throws at you. The hardshell case keeps the contents safe from the elements, and the compact size means you can throw it in your bag and forget about it until you really need it.