Of course, having fun, making memories, and relaxing are the whole point of going camping, but it does take some preparation. The best way to achieve this is to make sure you pack all the camping must-have accessories before you leave the house.
10 items that need to be on every camping must-have accessories checklist
We are assuming that you will be using a tent in this article. It would really be bad if you left your travel trailer at home in the driveway. Forgetting some kind of shelter would put a damper on things quickly when going camping, but I have seen it happen before. A shelter should be at the top of every camping must-have accessories list.
These days you can pick up a tent at almost any sporting goods store for a good price. They range everywhere from a small 2-man tent to a larger 2-room, 10-man condo for the woods. You can get a better idea of your needs by reading our 5 Best Camping Tents article recently published.
What to look for in a camping tent
Room to move – Tents come in a variety of shapes and sizes for every need. We all know too well how it is to cram too many people into a tent and then fight for space as you try to get comfortable. The size of a tent can be a deal-breaker and needs to be addressed when shopping for a new tent.
Weather-resistant – Something that you really need to keep in mind is, what is the tent made of. A good quality tent should hold up well to the elements, and keep water out and warmth in. How this material is put together is another factor you will want to keep in mind as a poorly sewn seam will fail quickly and leave you searching for a new tent prematurely.
Ease of set up – Some or even most of the newer tents today can be set up rather quickly or even automatically. With better quality, flexible supports as the backbone of your structure.
Cost – Price is another factor to research, as some can be rather pricy. Before you start shopping for a good new tent, do your homework. A more expensive tent may be what you need, but for a weekend part-time camper, you could probably get by with a more reasonable price tag.
2. Sleeping Bag
After a room over your head comes a place to lay your head. Sleeping bags come in a wide spectrum of shapes, sizes, weather resistance, and quality.
5 Types of sleeping bags
- Duel sleeping bag
- Kid/Youth size
Other things to keep in mind are weather resistance (both water and cold temperatures). Construction materials like the stuffing (down or synthetic fill) and outer shell (nylon, canvas, or polyester)
Sleeping bags range from $50 to up over $500 and come in many styles. A place to lay your head at night is pretty important and I am sure you can see why it is on the camping must-have accessories checklist.
Having quality light is something we can all use especially if we are going off the grid away from others. Large campgrounds seem to have all the lighting you need from the surrounding campers. A good light to get you to the bathhouse and back or in an emergency is priceless. The lighting can come in the form of a lantern, handheld flashlight, or head-mounted headlamp.
I can’t tell you how many times I end up dropping something and have to reach for a flashlight to find it. Plus the many times I have tripped over the awning cords that extend out into the campsite hiding in the dark.
4. Water Bottles
Keeping hydrated should certainly be a concern to any camper that tends to be active. Jogging, hiking, or just a long walk in the woods can drain you. I think we all know how sketchy campground water can be from state to state. Plus who wants to drink from a place that knows what it has seen over the years?
I always pack a case or 2 of spring water in my RV before every trip we take. RVs can be even worse with their holding tanks and water lines that may have all kinds of bacteria in them. Campground water is really only good for showering and rinsing things off.
A collapsible 5-gallon water jug is a great way to make sure you have some fresh water whenever you are in need. Fill it up at home or any trusted fill station, and collapse and store it when not in use.
5. Fire Starter
The need for a fire starter boils down to when and where you will be camping. I have been to places that are abundant with little twigs and other places where I cannot find one. A good fire consists of small kindling, medium logs, and then the big long burner logs.
Natural Pine Fire Starters are great for getting dry medium-size logs roaring, then you can top it with the larger logs and just sit back and enjoy.
I also keep a brown paper grocery bag in the garage and fill it with twigs I pick up in the yard all summer. These work the best for getting a fire going, but I have used the Natural Pine Fire Starters too and they work well. Remember, it is really hard to build a fire if the wood is damp in any way.
When making your list of camping must-have accessories, don’t forget matches or a lighter.
6. First Aid Kit
No matter how careful you are someone always finds a way to cut or scratch themselves around the campground. It never fails and usually, we are not prepared to properly care for the injury. Paper towels and duct tape work, but there is a better way Lol!
For less than $40 this 350-piece emergency first aid kit can handle any situation that comes up.
Many injuries can pop up at any time, be prepared. Sunburns, scrapes, insect bites, rashes, and even more serious injuries.
This seems like a no-brainer to me, but I have run across many people camping and had nothing. No hammer, knife, screwdriver, or good for anything, duct tape. Makes no sense to me that a person does not have even a small setup in their trunk at all times.
This DEKOPRO 158 Piece Tool Set has almost anything you would need besides the duct tape. After you are done camping just throw it in the trunk and leave it there.
- Duct tape
- Spool of electrical wire
- Spare fuses (if applicable)
8. Map and Emergency Radio
It is important to know where you are and alternative routes in case of emergencies. It is just as important to know what is going on when volatile weather is heading your way.
These days phones can give us maps and routes to pretty well any place on the planet, but you never know. Especially if you forgot your charging cord or have no place to plug it in. A good paper map, at least for the campground may come in handy.
I think every camper should have this Emergency Digital Weather Radio that needs no batteries and can charge your phone in a pinch. Getting caught in a storm and not knowing if you should be running for covbgt5f4rer can be scary.
9. Weather-Appropriate Clothing and Rain Gear
It is not always sunny and warm when you are camping. Check the weather forecast and know the nighttime temperatures in the locations you will be staying. Even if everything looks good, be prepared because mother nature can rear her head at a moment’s notice.
Have some backup clothing stored in a vacuum-sealed travel bag that you can pull out for those unexpected cool nights. A box of disposable rain ponchos and some waterproof footwear is also a good idea for those times when it seems to rain all week.
10. Toilet paper
This one is self-explanatory, especially if you have ever been caught off guard in the woods and not prepared. I have been to plenty of campgrounds that have run out of toilet paper in the bath houses and I was left hanging with paper towels or whatever I could find.
Just store a couple of rolls in gallon baggies and throw them in your trunk or the RV for backup. So, this should definitely be on your list of camping must-have accessories.