As far back as I can remember, camping has always been a part of my life. Although there were probably trips before it, the first camping trip I remember was when I was 5. We went to a campground near the Oregon coast for a few days, where we enjoyed all the staples of camping.
While we used to go camping with a hatchet, a cooler and a few sticks for marshmallows and hot dogs, things have evolved since then. Nowadays, there is a wide range of camping gear designed to make your camping trip a little more convenient.
Whether you're looking for cooking gadgets to chef up meals like you're at home or a handy lantern, you can find it all for pretty reasonable prices these days. I still go camping a few times every year, which has given me the chance to add a lot of great gear to my arsenal.
Since I've spent all these years camping and using a variety of gear, I decided to create a list of some of my favorite camping gear. These tools will help make your camping trip a little bit closer to home.
Cooking is an incredibly important part of camping. You usually have to cook with a limited set of tools when you're camping, but that's not the case anymore. If you're looking to cook something other than hot dogs or eggs and bacon, the camping gear industry has caught up to your demands.
The first essential that any camp has to have is a camp kitchen. I use this for just about everything I do, from prepping food to storing things. You can pick one up for less than $100 and it's a worthwhile investment.
Dishes are the bane of any camper, but there are better ways to go about things. I always bring a portable sink with me. They're made of plastic and rubber and collapse into a flat shape. Bring one of these, some dish soap, and a sponge, that way you can bring actual silverware without being too wasteful.
No camping gear list would be complete without a good cast iron skillet. I use a 12" skillet, which is a bit heavy but provides plenty of cooking surface. They work great over the campfire, and they get better with time as you season them more.
I also like to pre-cook meals to heat up over the campfire. Make sure to bring plenty of plates, silverware, cups, and paper towels. Also bring cooking basics like spices, butter, cooking spray and other things you might need to cook.
I hate sleeping on the ground, so I'm constantly trying to find ways to make it a more bearable experience. Unfortunately, camping is just one of those things where you have to sacrifice some comforts, but there are ways to help.
Self-inflating air mattresses are your best friend for camping. They're inexpensive and extremely portable. I take a self inflating air mattress with me every time I go camping.
For maximum comfort, bring as much as you can from home. I bring a pillow or two from my bed, as well as my bedspread and a blanket or two. Keep in mind the ambient temperature will be significantly colder in your tent, so you'll need to bundle up a bit more.
I always like to opt for the nice camping chairs, too. You'll probably spend a lot of time sitting around the fire, so you need something comfortable. The best chairs are the ones that have extra features like cupholders and trays.
Nowadays, we have the technology, and I love to take advantage of it every time I go camping. Little gadgets can help you make the most out of your phone while camping or enjoy some entertainment.
A portable speaker is a great thing to have when you're camping. I picked up a cheap one at a local store for about $30, and it sounds a heck of a lot better than the speaker on my phone. Plus, a single charge will last for quite a while.
Of course, a speaker is no good if your phone dies. This is why I always have a portable power supply on hand to recharge my phone if it dies. You can pick up a cheap one that will do a single charge, or a more costly version that can do up to six or eight charges.
If you have a portable game console or tablet, that's also a good thing to take with you. It can keep you busy for those times when you're waiting on food or relaxing at the end of a long day.
My biggest tip for packing camping gear is to pack for the weather your area gets. The Oregon coast, where I first went camping, is often cold and rainy. If you're going somewhere like that, it would be wise to pack a portable canopy or a tarp to keep your camping spot dry. It's also good to do this if you won't have any shade on a hot day.
I invested in a good cooler that keeps ice for days. To make it work even better, I keep it in a nice shady spot so the sun doesn't warm it up. This is essential if you're bringing raw meat or other items that perish quickly with you.
I don't spend a ton of money on my camping gear, but I always have a good time. As long as you take the time to make a good camping gear list, you'll be prepared for just about anything that comes your way. Most importantly, you'll have a great camping trip.
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