If you are lucky enough to go camping in your spare time, you are also lucky enough to choose your own equipment. Sure, our ancestors camped under the stars with nothing but a rock as a pillow, but they also died from exposure or were run over by a boar while they were ripe old age 15. You can do better. Once you’ve got the basics down, you can start looking for ways to enhance your camping experience – especially if you’re traveling in a vehicle rather than on foot. With a few essential purchases, you can eat better, sleep more comfortably, and bring your favorite playlist with you – all while maximizing your camping budget. That sounds like a wilderness oasis that you never want to leave.
Here are some points that strike the perfect balance between civilization and border survival. You may even have money left over for provisions.
Yeti Tundra cooler
The cooler craze is in full swing, but there’s a reason the Yeti Tundra made such a name for itself. Thanks to the robust construction, the cooler can be used for years. Large NeverFlat wheels and a welded aluminum handle make it easy to move around, even when they’re full of frost. Inside you have enough space for 45 cans of beer with a very scientific ice to can ratio of two to one. A sturdy shell and proven insulation keep the contents of this cooler safe and cold, even when temperatures rise by three digits. There are more compact Yeti coolers with higher capacity, but this one is the Goldilocks of the group. [Buy]
Covacure Camping Hammock
Sleeping on the floor is fine, but sleeping in a Covacure camping hammock is arguably more comfortable and definitely looks better. Durable parachute material makes this hammock light, tear-resistant, and strong enough to carry over 750 pounds. In addition to the adjustable nylon straps, you will receive metal posts to reduce the swinging effect during sleep. With a length of more than two meters and a width of two meters, you have plenty of space to make yourself comfortable. The best part is that this hammock comes with a mosquito net to keep the bugs out. If waking up with no back pain or mosquito bites counts as glamping, count me down. [Buy]
EcoXGear Eco Trek speakers
Everything is better with music, and EcoXGear’s Eco Trek speaker isn’t your average Bluetooth boombox. With 100 watts of power and 50 hours of battery life, you can keep the party going for as long as you want. The durable design is tough enough to withstand dirt, water, and tough outdoor bumps. In fact, it’s not just waterproof – this speaker floats, so toss it in the canoe or strap it to a kayak. Connect it to your device with an additional cable or pair it wirelessly from a distance of up to 30 meters. You can even use Siri or Google, and there is also an AM / FM radio in case you want to hear about civilization. This beefy speaker isn’t suitable for backpacking, but it sure takes more established campsites to the next level. [Buy]
Masterbuilt table grill
Granola and trails may be enough for some people, but if your stomach growls for bacon and eggs, the Masterbuilt Smoke Hollow has the answer. This gas grill is small enough to throw in the car for a weekend, but big enough to cook six hamburger patties at once. The stainless steel construction is durable and easy to clean. The 10,000 BTU burner distributes heat evenly and runs on standard 16-ounce propane bottles. With a built-in detonator, you don’t even have to break out the matches. Go ahead, eat like a lumberjack. [Buy]
GoerTek solar charger
Keep all of your electronics charged and ready with the GoerTek solar charger. Even the purist backpacker can tell that his cell phone can serve as a map, camera, and lifeline, but it’s not good when the small internal battery is empty. This solar charger converts sunlight into electricity and stores it until you need it. Most phones can be charged with stored power more than five times. A green light indicates when the solar panel is charging the internal battery and a row of blue lights indicates the current charge. You can charge several devices at the same time via three USB ports. There is also a bright white LED array on the back of the charger that turns your backup powerhouse into a powerful lantern. If you’re not camping like a caveman this is a no-brainer. [Buy]
Moon Lence Camp chair
When camping to relax, don’t forget to have a comfortable place to sit, like the Moon Lence Camp Chair. Weight is an important consideration and this folding chair will only add two pounds to your backpack. That weight pays off when you have a spot to kick back at the end of the trail. Sturdy cloth and an aluminum frame support more than 240 pounds. Reinforced seams and corners ensure this chair can stand the test of time. With a compact carrying case, you can stow your backpack just as easily as the trunk for outdoor events. If your feet are sore from a day on the trail, this chair will be a welcome sight. [Buy]
Ruff Products Bark Bowl
Your dog may be the best way to add value to your campsite. So don’t forget a bark bowl to keep them hydrated. Bringing some equipment for man’s best friend is only considerate, after all. This silicone shell folds up when not in use, making it a great addition to your camping gear list. Its smooth surfaces are also much easier to clean than soft dog bowls. There is no rigid plastic rim and all materials are BPA-free. An aluminum carabiner even makes it easy to carry this outside of your backpack if you prefer. This bowl is fully expanded and can hold up to 27 ounces of water. This is a great way to groom your dog without wasting water by trying to get him to drink from a water bottle. [Buy]
Related: 9 Of The Best Camping And Survival Axes Money Can Buy
Types of campsites
- Wilderness camping: Primitive, secluded escapes that are likely to require a day of hiking are the essence of camping. Some of the best wilderness campsites are in national parks. Current U.S. military service members and their dependents can use their shared access card to obtain a free annual pass at a federal resort location.
- Car camping: Adding a car to the equation makes camping on your feet easier and provides a safe place to sleep. Auto camping offers tranquility for those who deal with forest dwellers, but the tradeoff is limited to accessible places and requires a car to sleep in.
- Overlanding: Modern wilderness expeditions require a strong mind and body. Overlanding combines rugged camping with offroading for an undoubtedly fantastic adventure. As an added benefit, you have an excuse to buy things like a lift kit and a roof tent. Let the Toyota / Jeep debate begin.
- Camping for RVs: Also known as glamping. Modern RVs are blurring the boundaries between camping and mobile homes, but that’s no less fun for them. Take advantage of this tour bus lifestyle and travel a few miles. Don’t forget to plan ahead and reserve a campsite.
Main characteristics of camping equipment
- Materials: Durability is of the utmost importance. Whether you’re shopping for an ice ax or a bluetooth speaker, you need to rely on your gear when things get tough. Camping gear should be strong but also easy to clean. Equipment won’t last long if you pack it away wet and dirty. The faster you can get it clean and dry, the better you will be.
- Weight: When you go on foot, keeping your backpack light should be a top priority. Adding a vehicle to the mix will certainly increase your payload, but weight is always a factor. Light materials are very important. So expect to pay more for less. However, that doesn’t mean you are sacrificing quality. Modern materials can be both light and strong.
- Size: As with weight, in order to have an ideal camping trip, you may need to purchase equipment that maximizes space. Drop the shovel and bring an e-tool. Opt for an inflatable sleeping mat instead of a conventional foam pad.
- Multifunctionality: What better way to save weight and space than eliminating items entirely? Purchasing gear with more than one use can shorten your gear list without giving up the skill. The popular military poncho, which is basically a tarpaulin with snaps, was loved as a raincoat and tent. Buy multifunctional tools and you will understand the feeling.
- Price: Specialized camping gear costs more than everyday alternatives, but most of it is worth the premium. With the extra money, you get products that are smaller, lighter and often more durable. There is a point, however, when yields go down. So you don’t have to break the bank for top-notch items every time. There are plenty of bargains to be found.
Advantages of high quality camping equipment
Buy once, cry once, as they say. Well-built camping gear can cost a pretty penny, but it’s usually worth it. These products are light, compact and durable. Eventually, you’ll use them in situations where they can’t be replaced if you fail. Custom gear can save you from blisters, cold nights, and a growling stomach. If you plan ahead, set aside some money, and stock up on the essentials, you can be ready for an epic camping trip every time you step outside the city limits.
Camping equipment prices
Camping gear ranges from items at the cash register to custom high-dollar items. As with anything else, you get what you pay for. Take the time to prioritize your equipment list to save money where you can and look for brands when you should. For example, if you can get by with utensils from your kitchen, you don’t have to throw money on anodized aluminum utensils designed for the campsite. On the other hand, an inexpensive sleeping bag or pair of boots can make you unhappy.
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