Top 20 Best Camping Essentials: The Ultimate Packing List

camping, camping essentials

If you’re an avid outdoorsman, there’s nothing quite like setting up your campsite for the night or for the week. The space you create as your home base in the wilderness can make or break your outing. Of course the comforts of a well designed tent and a cozy sleeping bag are pivotal for your campsite’s success, but what else can really make your camping experience both smooth and special?

We’ve put together a top twenty list of some of the raddest camping accessories available to turn your next campout or backpacking venture into a wild west excursion — minus the frozen toes and dehydration. Our compiled list of gear includes some classic camping items as well as some newer, state of the art equipment. There’s something for every style campsite, from mess kits to tent-friendly space heaters. Sometimes the gear you take along with you can really add to the “immersion into wilderness” type of feeling we’re all after when camping. It’s both the simple things like splitting wood at sunrise to get a fire going for morning coffee, as well as the luxuries provided by technology like charging a cell phone or portable speaker that can really make your campsite something to be proud of. Whether you’re after a real authentic and raw camping experience, or a more home-away-from home type campsite, we’ve got you covered with some cool and affordable gear that’s bound to get you stoked to be in front of a camp fire.

1. Leatherman Wingman Multi-Tool

multi-tool, camping, camping essentials, leatherman


Everybody needs a good multi tool when camping. Whether your opening a beer or sharpening a stick to roast a marshmallow, the assortment of tools on this Leatherman are bound to come in handy. Featuring 14 different tools and representing Leatherman’s renowned quality, the Wingman is a solid option in multi-tools. The pliers, spring action scissors and locking blade are all particularly useful to have all in one place when camping. Leatherman’s stainless steel design coupled with their 25 year product guarantee will ensure this multi tool holds up for the long run. At just under four inches in length, this is an ideal pocket-sized tool that will have your back in the wilderness. For $40 with free shipping, why spend hundreds on a high end multi tool when everything you need is nested within the Wingman?

Price: $39.95 & Free Shipping

Buy the Leatherman Wingman Multi-Tool here.

2. ProHealth Titanium Lightweight 3-Piece Pot and Pan Camping Cookware Set

mess kit, camping, camping essentials, prohealth


This pot and pan set by ProHealth is great addition to any camp kitchen. The titanium construction of this set makes it super light (just under ten ounces) without sacrificing durability. In fact, most customers review’s of this set by Prohealth rave about how it weighs next to nothing. All the pieces are tasteless, odorless, and won’t corrode or rust. They are also non-allergenic for those campers who keep an eye out for that. The lid-pan and pots can be nestled together to form a double boiler or can be used separately. The whole set nests together when storing and it also comes with a mesh carrying pouch included. All three pieces may be a bit excessive for the solo backpacker, but this set would make an for an excellent addition to a more stationary camp kitchen. This cookware set is also dishwater safe, so you may even consider using it in the home given the quality of the materials used.

Price: $49.95 & Free Shipping

Buy the ProHealth Titanium Lightweight 3-Piece Pot and Pan Camping Cookware Set here.

3. Coleman Perfect Flow Grill Stove

coleman, propane grill, camping, camping essentials


What’s camping without a grill? When it comes to searing steaks or cooking up some dogs, the Coleman Perfect Flow Grill Stove is all you need. This simple and reliable unit by Coleman is a great camp stove and grill all in one. A friend and I spent two months visiting national parks across the United States this past fall and prepared almost all our meals on this trusty Coleman grill. This model performed perfectly consistent day after day throughout our entire trip. The two in one design allows you to use the stove and grill at the same time, so you won’t wast any time cooking your meals. Coleman’s Wind Block panels help to shield the burners from wind and can also be folded down and used as side tables. I can’t speak enough about this feature — when battling high winds in the field it’s really helpful to have some built in protection from frustrating gusts. The Perfect Flow Grill/Stove puts out 20,000 total BTUs of cooking power, so there’s not really anything this unit can’t do in terms of camp cooking. It will fit up to a ten inch pan on the stove and sports 130 square inches of grill space, so despite its compact size you can cook a pretty decent amount of food on this bad boy! One last thing to note is that this is a very fuel efficient unit — my buddy and I only went through a few propane canisters over our two month long trip which we were quite appreciative of.

Price: $58.95 & Free Shipping

Buy the Coleman Perfect Flow Grill Stove here.

4. Boombotix Weatherproof Bluetooth Speaker

boombotix, portable speaker, camping, camping essentials


The person who brings the tunes is always a hero. This powerful little speaker by Boombotix will ensure your campsite has music. This portable, weatherproof speaker sounds really great for the size and cost — and you won’t be disappointed with how tough this little boom-box is. I purchased this speaker almost a year ago last summer, and it has played countless hours of music for me. The powerful clip on the backside of the speaker makes it easily attached to a backpack strap while hiking, or to rigging on a kayak or boat. I take mine fishing and to the beach on a regular basis and it sees a lot of splash and a lot of sand — but nothing has stopped it yet. On a full charge my Boombotix will play music for around eight hours — pretty killer battery life if you ask me. If your favorite music device doesn’t have Bluetooth capabilities then fear not, you can use the auxiliary plug. This speaker can even be “daisy-chained” to other Boombotix speakers for more volume output. All in all, if you want to bring some music along on your wilderness excursions this season, definitely check out this tough, dependable and LOUD speaker by Boombotix. On a final note — I purchased mine for $60 at RadioShack last year and am thrilled with the product, so Amazon’s price of $14 seems almost unreasonable for such a sweet little unit.

Price: $14.00 (77 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Boombotix Weatherproof Bluetooth Speaker here.

5. Schrade SCAXE2 Survival Hatchet

schrade, hatchet, camping, camping essentials


Every campsite should have a good hatchet. I love the ability to make kindling from larger pieces of wood when I don’t feel like wandering through the night for smaller sticks. This survival hatchet by Schrade is a top choice for splitting wood at your campsite. Sporting a titanium coated stainless steel head and a fiber glass filled handle, this tough little hatchet is built to last. The ergonomic black TPR rubber grip in particular is mentioned by many customer reviews for feeling great in your hand. At less than a pound and a half, this smaller sized survival hatchet is just light enough to accompany you in the wilderness while backpacking. The total length of Schrade’s survival hatchet is just under 12 inches, so it’s quite a compact tool. Users praise this hatchet for its good balance and its high quality blade that will still sharpen well later on in its life. A hammer pommel on the back side of the head makes for a great stake pounder or survival mallet, and an extra large ferro rod for starting primitive fires is also included within the handle. If you’re going to carry a hatchet along for the ride it might as well have some survival features right? All in all, this hatchet by Schrade is a highly reviewed item that you can plan on keeping sharp and using for years.

Price: $33.14 & Free Shipping

Buy the Schrade SCAXE2 Survival Hatchet here.

6. ALPS Mountaineering Eclipse Table

camping table, camping, camping essentials, ALPS mountaineering

(ALPS Mountaineering)

ALPS’s approach to the campsite table is something new and different. Rather than having a hard top, this table is a foldable fabric that is pulled taught by strapping when not collapsed. The table folds up into roughly the size of a folding chair, making having a dining and gaming space quite portable. ALPS also conveniently includes an 8×36 inch shoulder carry bag. There’s cup holders located on a lower level underneath the main table surface so you can safely store drinks without them spilling and keep the table top free. For road-tripping and other space saving endeavors, this could be the perfect table for folding up and packing with the rest of your gear. We all know that cursed game of back seat tetris when it comes time to pack up and move to the next campground, so saving space where you can is always appreciated. At seven pounds total, this table isn’t quite as light as it is portable, but certainly not to be considered heavy. The table top measures 27×27 inches, an ideal size for camping purposes in my opinion.

Price: $32.69

Buy the ALPS Mountaineering Eclipse Table here.

7. Winner Outfitters Double Camping Hammock

winner outfitters, camping essentials, camping, hammock

(Winner Outfitters)

Hammocks are a big up and coming outdoor item these days, and for good reason. A good hammock packs small, can be set up in a variety of places and is a great option for both campsite lounging and sleeping. This double hammock by Winner Outfitters could make a nice addition to your wilderness accommodation. For you backpackers out there, at just one and a half pounds, you’ll hardly remember that you’re carrying it until you collapse into its embrace at the end of the day. This hammock has a whopping 500 pound weight limit, and claims to provide plenty of space for you and a friend or loved one. The 210T nylon parachute fabric employed in its design is what allows this hammock to be both strong and light. Winner Outfitters includes two tree friendly straps and carabiners with this hammock so it comes ready to rock. At $27, this is a very reasonably priced hammock, and customer reviews insist the quality is adequate. Winner Outfitters also offers a single hammock if you don’t have anyone to snuggle with or rather sacrifice lounging space for even less weight.

Price: $26.99 & Free Shipping (61 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Winner Outfitters Double Camping Hammock here.

8. Icefox Rechargeable LED Headlamp

icefox, headlamp, camping, camping essentials


A good flashlight is always a must-have on any camping trip. Rummaging around the campsite after the fire has gone out or illuminating the table during a card game requires a reliable light source. I have always opted for headlamps over conventential flashlights because they keep your hands free — because if you need a flashlight while camping you’re probably using your hands right!? Furthermore, I prefer rechargeable headlamps over battery powered lamps because packing loads of batteries is no fun. I learned this the hard way during a cross country road trip when my battery powered headlamp only had a charge half the time, while my buddy’s was always bright as can be because he would charge it in the car. This unit by Icefox is a well reviewed, high quality headlamp. With four working modes of brightness and a 90 degree rotatable lamp, this light is pretty neat. Although it may be a bit on the cumbersome side, the battery life (up to eight hours) and brightness (6000 lumens) of this headlamp makes it worth its weight. A few customer reviews claim it may be a bit heavy on the head for children, but as an adult outdoorsmen this headlamp should not be overlooked. This light by Icefox will likely outlive your friend’s and save you the hassle and cost of purchasing batteries for every campout. At $26, the cost of this headlamp is totally comparable to the inferior competitor lamps — why settle for a crummy flashlight or headlamp that costs around the same?

Price: $25.99 & Free Shipping (57 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Icefox Rechargeable LED Headlamp here.

9. Anker PowerCore 20100 20000mAh High Capacity Power Bank

charging, portable charger, camping, anker, camping essentials


Having a power bank when camping is under or over rated depending on your attitude. If you’re just roasting marshmallows from your tailgate, then maybe you’re not in the market for a high quality power source; but if you’re trekking through the backcountry and relying on electronics to keep you safe in the wilderness, then you oughta have some backup juice for your devices. I suppose either way it’s nice to extend the weekend lifespan of your electronics. The Anker PowerCore 20100 20000mAH High Capacity Power Bank provides you with the extra charge you might need for your phone, GPS, camera or whatever else. At just 12.5 ounces and highly portable, this unit has enough power on one charge to charge an I-phone 7 almost seven times, or a Galaxy S5 five times. Pretty impressive stats. Anker includes a micro USB cable, travel pouch and an 18 month warranty with this product. For those outdoorsmen who want to ensure their cameras will keep shooting or their GPS units will continue to navigate on those longer trips, the Anker PowerCore is a great preventative measure.

Price: $41.99 & Free Shipping (48 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Anker PowerCore 20100 20000mAh High Capacity Power Bank here.

10. Mountaintop 40 Liter Hiking Backpack

hiking backpack, camping, camping essentials, Mountaintop


This 40 liter backpack by Mountaintop is included here for its great value. At just $35 and with free shipping, its hard to find such a solid backpack at this affordable a cost. It’s a pretty standard pack, but well reviewed and silly inexpensive, so I found it worthy as an item to include here considering every camper and hiker needs a trusty backpack. This pack does include a laptop compartment and also has a space that is suitable for holding a water bladder and tube. Mountaintop includes an adjustable hip belt on this bag that fits waist sizes 25–55 inches. If your torso is longer than 52 centimeters, then Mountaintop recommends you seek a different pack. An adjustable sternum strap, breathable molded foam back panel and S-shaped shoulder straps ensure you can properly carry the weight of your gear. This bag will even meet the carry on requirements for most airlines, making it a pretty sweet pack for gearing up and flying out on a minimalist trip to your favorite wilderness. It comes in nine different color options so there should be one for you. Mountaintop also includes a 90 day limited warranty on this item — so don’t let the super small price tag scare you out of checking this bag out it — it’s worthy!

Price: $34.99 & Free Shipping

Buy the Mountaintop 40 Liter Hiking Backpack here.

11. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

LifeStraw, water filter, camping, camping essentials


I think we can all be amazed at the water filter created by LifeStraw. A seriously cool recent innovation in safe water filtration, the LifeStraw has changed the game for both packing and consuming water while camping or hiking. For just $15 you can stride through the wilderness in confidence knowing that you can safely drink from freshwater sources. Some landscapes in particular are ideal for owning a LifeStraw. For instance; while backpacking and hiking around Yellowstone National Park for a week last fall, my companion and I encountered countless streams suitable for drinking if we only had brought a safe filtration system. We regretted not having the option to simply lean in and drink from all the beautiful stream water we came across, and instead hauled around heavy canteens all week. Lesson learned — where there’s abundant water that’s suitable for filtration, leave the water bottles behind. The LifeStraw removes a minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction) and even surpasses EPA standards for water filters. Without employing iodine, chlorine, or any other chemicals, the LifeStraw is designed to filter up to 1000 liters of contaminated water throughout its lifespan. I even read some customer reviews that claimed the lifespan of their LifeStraw was more than doubled by attaching a regular coffee filter to the end of the device with a rubber band — pretty smart! For a super affordable cost you can purchase a LifeStraw and add it to your survival kit, backpacking equipment or regular camp gear. For such a reasonable price it’s in my opinion totally worth running any questionable water through this unit before consumption while camping.

Price: $14.97

Buy the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

12. Coleman Tent Kit

Coleman, camping, tent, camping essentials


Do you always find yourself coming up with make-shift rigging to secure your tent when there’s incoming weather? If you’re like me, then the answer is yes. Owning a Coleman Tent Kit (or two) is a great way to make life easier while setting up and maintaining your tent. Having a mallet for pounding stakes is no doubt a beautiful thing, but even if you purchase this kit just for the rugged ten inch steel tent pegs and stake puller, then you’re still getting a good value. There’s nothing more maddening than having to re-stake your tent after every gust of wind, so having some heavier, longer stakes with a flat striking head on hand is never a bad idea as long as your backpack allows it. Furthermore, owning a trusty mallet and stake puller when and where you know the ground is going to be difficult is also a great way to avoid going nuts. Lastly, having a little dust-pan and tent broom is very convenient when you’re assembling and breaking down your tent on a daily basis. Having a small broom and pan was really useful for avoiding any punctures in my tent while driving cross country — but I think I paid as much or more for just the hand broom than I would for this whole set. This little kit will very likely come in handy and make your life easier; a wise set of items to have in reach at any campsite.

Price: $8.37

Buy the Coleman Tent Kit here.

13. Leader Accessories PVC Waterproof Dry Bag

dry bag, camping, camping essentials,

(Leader Accessories)

Lewis and Clark would have killed for a couple of these bad boys. If you can expect to get wet during your camp outs, then owning a couple of dry bags can be a smart move. A simple, but effective design, the modern PVC dry bag is great for storing and securing gear during wet weather or while rafting or boating. This dry bag by Leader Accessories is perfect for keeping your sensitive camping gear away from the wetness, and it comes at an affordable cost. Available in seven different colors and sizes, (5 liter to 55 liter) there’s a Leader Accessories dry bag that’s right for you. This type of storage should not be overlooked as equally effective for shielding your sensitive electronics and other gear from fine dust or sand. If your backpacking route is going to take you over some dusty trails, you might consider encasing some of your items in a dry bag for added protection. Leader Accessories also includes an adjustable shoulder strap on this model, so it can be used as a day-pack on your camping excursions. When paddling into your favorite campsite or rafting long distances on more rugged trips, stowing your gear in a couple of PVC dry bags will allow you and your crew to trek in confidence.

Price:$9.99 – $34.99 (up to 57 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Leader Accessories PVC Waterproof Dry Bag here.

14. MallowMe 10 Piece Camping Cookware Mess Kit

mallowme, camping, camping essentials, mess kit


A good mess kit is a must have for any serious backpacker or space saving camper. This kit by MallowMe is well reviewed and praised by camp cooks and hikers alike. At just $20, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better valued set. Made of anodized aluminum, this cook set conducts heat quickly and washes clean with ease. The pieces included are a one liter nonstick pot and cover, a nonstick pan, two BPA free bowls and a BPA free soup spoon, a folding stainless steel spork, a wooden spoon spatula, and a cleaning sponge. It’s all there! There’s also a nylon travel drawstring pouch included to collapse everything into for transport. At just about one pound, this is a pretty inclusive set for the weight! Customer reviews insist all the pieces to this kit other than the cleaning sponge are great (some users did favorably review the loofa) — and that’s easily replaced! On a final and less practical note, I think this mess kit has a real badass look to it with the green on black color scheme. An excellent mess kit at an excellent price, MallowMe is the go-to on this one.

Price: $19.95 (71 percent off MSRP)

Buy the MallowMe 10 Piece Camping Cookware Mess Kit here.

15. Thermos Vacuum Insulated 34 oz Coffee Press

thermos, french press, camping, camping essentials


There’s nothing more satisfying than pressing your coffee in the morning while the birds sing for your campsite. Something about making coffee while immersed in the wilderness and sipping it in front of last night’s dwindling fire is just plain satisfying. Using a French press has become one of the preferred methods of brewing coffee, and lucky for lovers of a good cup of joe, they are very portable units. This coffee press by Thermos is the ideal French press for camping. Thermos vacuum insulation technology is designed to trap temperature and preserve coffee flavor and freshness. Thermos boasts this press will keep your brew hot for six hours, and customer reviews support that this unit keeps coffee hot longer than you should ever need to. Built with durable 18/8 stainless steel, its the construction of this French press that make it the ideal camp coffee maker. Its durable metal design is made to take a beating, so no more broken glass OR settling for crummy instant coffee. If a 34 ounce brew isn’t enough for your campsite, then just whip up another brew, it will only take a few minutes! Ahh, the beauty of a French press!

Price: $32.08 & Free Shipping

Buy the Thermos Vacuum Insulated 34 oz Coffee Press here.

16. Core Survival Paracord Survival Bracelet

survival bracelet, camping, camping essentials, core survival

(Core Survival)

You never know when you might find yourself in a survival situation. Things DO happen regardless of planning and preparation, so it’s always wise to have a few items on hand that could get you out of a jam. This survival bracelet by Core Survival may do just that. Constructed with approximately ten feet of 550 pound paracord, the material of this bracelet alone could really come in handy for shelter building, trail marking or countless other tasks. It also comes equipped with an effective whistle and compass, so finding your way back to the campsite remains possible if you’re truly lost. A magnesium flint and striker are also included in this compact survival bracelet. If you find the paracord too bulky for your wrist, then just clip the bracelet to your backpack and rest assured that it’s there if you need it. Survival scenarios aside, this bracelet is a pretty neat piece of equipment to own, and it can be fun to practice making primitive fire with the flint and to explore some of its other features. At only $13, this bracelet is in my opinion worth owning.

Price: $12.99

Buy the Core Survival Paracord Survival Bracelet here.

17. Reebow Tactical Gear 115 Piece First Aid Kit

reebow tactical gear, first aid kit, camping, camping essentials

(Reebow Tactical Gear)

You should never leave home for a camping trip without a complete first aid kit. This 115 piece kit by Reebow Tactical Gear speaks for itself — it’s got just about everything you need to patch yourself and your buddies up in the event of a minor camping accident, or to get you to adequate medical care in the case of a more serious injury. The compact and portable bag is about eight inches by five inches and the total weight is approximately one pound. You can’t really trim down a first aid kit any more than this without starting to leave important items out. There’s a few items in particular that make this kit a good fit for your campsite. A rescue whistle, a compass, a light-stick and disposable raincoat gives this first aid kit the edge over others for outdoor purposes. This kit comes from a trusted manufacturer at a reasonable price, so whether you want to add some of the included items to your existing medical supplies or need a place to start, this first aid kit is up for the task.

Price: $18.60 (36 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Reebow Tactical Gear 115 Piece First Aid Kit here.

18. Quest 10 Ft. X 10 Ft. Instant Pop-up Canopy Tent

ez up, canopy, camping, camping essentials, quest


Here’s an item for the more luxurious camp site. When you have plenty of space to pack, it’s always great including a canopy when camping. This ten by ten foot canopy tent by Quest is ideal for providing your campsite with some shade, or protection from unwanted rain. It’s perfect for setting up over your kitchen space or card table when you and your friends want to stay out of the elements. My pals and I always erect a canopy tent on our annual fly fishing trip just to toss our waders and fishing gear under so it all stays out of the sun. The water resistant and fire retardant 150D silver coated polyester fabric creates up to 64 square feet of shade. The slant-leg, steel frame with adjustable telescopic legs is simple to assemble and break down. This canopy by Quest has two different working heights with a walk in height just over six feet. It’s the perfect size for a regular campsite in my opinion, but if you’re interested in something a bit larger then check out this larger, screened option also by Quest. A wheeled storage bag with hand grips as well as four ground stakes also comes included with this canopy.

Price: $86.88 & Free Shipping

Buy the Quest 10 Ft. X 10 Ft. Instant Pop-up Canopy Tent here.

19. Stylish Camping Full Back Folding Director’s Chair

stylish camping, camping chair, camping, camping essentials

(Stylish Camping)

Everyone needs a wilderness throne — and everyone has their preference of camp chair. I’ve found that most outdoorsmen appreciate a side table and cup holder when setting up seating around a campfire. This chair by Stylish Camping provides you with just that. Despite its lightweight flat aluminum frame, at ten pounds this seat is fairly heavy. The weight shouldn’t be an issue as long as you’re using this seat for car camping or out in the back yard. The accessory pockets are removable if they aren’t your style, but I imagine most people will find them convenient. Having a side table can really be great, especially when meal prepping at campsites that don’t provide a picnic table. The back height of this seat is 32.7 inches tall and most reviews agree this chair is comfortable to sit in. A 300 pound weight capacity should accommodate most campers. For $40 and with free shipping, you’ve got yourself a comfortable seat with a durable frame that should do you solid for a good many seasons.

Price: $39.45 & Free Shipping (24 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Stylish Camping Full Back Folding Director’s Chair here.

20. Mr. Heater 4,000-9,000-BTU Portable Radiant Heater

mr. heater, camping, camping essentials, portable heater

(Mr. Heater)

This tent friendly space heater by Mr. Heater is a crowd favorite. Campers and outdoorsmen of all kinds praise this heater for its reliable and consistent heat output. When it’s just too savagely chilly outside (or inside) to enjoy yourself, there’s no shame in firing up a unit like this to come back to life. Whether you’re on a multi-day hunting expedition or out on the ice doing some fishing, you’ll find the Mr. Heater Portable Radiant Heater to be an easy and convenient way to keep warm. This unit puts out 4,000 to 9,000 BTUs for spaces up to 225 square feet. That should be more than enough for most style camp sites. The Mr. Heater has an auto shut-off feature if it detects low oxygen. The unit will also shut off if it tips over or if the pilot light goes out. I was skeptical about the idea of sleeping with a radiant heater in my tent due to safety concerns, but it turns out the technology is quite sound. All you have to do is connect this unit to a propane tank and then you’re all set to turn the heat on! Trek farther and later into the season with this unit and push limits on when and where you can camp.

Price: $69.00 & Free Shipping

Buy the Mr. Heater 4,000-9,000-BTU Portable Radiant Heater here.

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

No Comments

Discuss on Facebook