Basic Camping Gear List For A Beginner’s

When you first start camping, it’s not simple to know what you will need. Plus, you have to decide which items you should purchase and what you can rent or borrow from your own family supplies. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of gear that you should take on any camping trip, whether you’re car camping or backpacking.

Of course, these aren’t necessarily the only things you might want to carry, but these essentials will put you on the path toward a successful camping trip. You can rent most of the materials here, but whether you plan to start camping regularly, some things (like a good tent and water bottles) are worth the investment.

⌛ Tent

A good harbor is critical because it will defend you from the elements and keep you dry, warm and comfortable.

What to Look for:

Elbow Room If bad weather hits, you might huddle inside your tent for hours, so choose a shelter that’s not cramped and has enough space for each person. Before you buy, crawl inside the tent to check the floor-length and ceiling height. Can you sit up straight? Can the tallest person in your party expand out completely?

Three-season shelter For spring, summer, and fall camping (as well as winter in Alabama) go for a “Three-Season” harbor, which typically has a tent body, a rainfly and mesh panels, which provide critical ventilation and prevent the inside from receiving stuffy and damp.

Camping with kids If you’re car camping with small kids, you can go big with a cabin-style tent that’s designed to sleep a specified number of people. Consider receiving older kids their own decent-sized tent for more space and privacy.

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⌛ Sleeping Bag

A good sleeping bag is just as important as a good tent—whether you’re afflicted and can’t sleep, you won’t enjoy your trip.

What to Look for:

Temperature rating Bags are rated to be comfortable in a certain temperature range, so look for one that handles the coolest temps you’ll face. Keep in mind the listed rating is an estimate and you have to factor in whether you sleep hot or cold. Whether you tend to be cold, purchase a bag that is 10 or 15 degrees warmer than the lowest temperature you’ll encounter. Or, buy a bag liner to add warmth.

Rectangular vs. mummy For mild climates, where temperatures don’t drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you can use a less costly rectangular bag. For colder conditions, choose a mummy shaped bag, which hugs your body to eliminate pockets where cold air can accumulate. If you are backpacking, mummy bags are a better choice because they are lighter and less bulky.

⌛ Sleeping Pad/Mattress

A sleeping pad or mattress is crucial because it puts a layer of cushioning and insulating air between your body and the cold, difficult ground.

What to Look for:

Comfort For car camping, go as plush as you’d like and receive the thickest, most comfy air mattress or pad that you can stuff into your tent. If you have an inflatable mattress for guests in your house, you could make that work. But backpackers need a lightweight, durable pad that’s either inflatable or made of foam. Most high-quality, lightweight pads extend in thickness from 0.75—3 inches. Whether you tend to be uncomfortable when sleeping on a floor, go for an inflatable pad that’s two inches or more in thickness.

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