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    28 Useful Camping Products You'll Wish You'd Known About Sooner

    The perfect excuse to get out and camp = buying cool new gear.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI β€” prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. A waterproof, wind-proof portable campfire that keeps bugs at bay, makes very little smoke and soot and no embers at all, and burns for up to five hours.,

    Once you light it, it'll stay lit with no maintenance β€” until you're ready to put it out, of course, by snuffing it with the tin's lid.

    Promising reviews: "Bought two of these to try out on a weekend trip up to Lake Hume in Sequoia National Forest. These worked amazingly well! Used half of one the first night the rest on the next morning. Used the next one for the second night and before it was completely out toasted marshmallows to perfection. This is a must have for me on all my trips from now on!" β€”Mgonz

    "I just used it tonight on the beach for the first time and it was perfect! It was compact, easy to light, and the flame was large like a campfire and it gave off much more heat than I expected. It smelled really good and was easy to put out when we were done. The down side: it did smell a tiny bit like burning paint as the wax burned down and the side of the tin heated up. But once I finish this tin (looks like I’ll get about 4.5 hours of burn time) I’ll absolutely be buying another. It is really an awesome product!" β€”Kayla Vallone

    Get it on Amazon for $29.99 (also available without the bug-repelling oils). Or save (a little bit) by getting multipacks directly from Radiate β€” you get 10% off for two (so, $54.99), 15% off for four ($95) and 20% off for eight ($179).

    2. A bright LED headlamp to light your path whether you're setting up your tent after dark, reading a little before tucking into your sleeping bag, or navigating your way to the campsite's bathrooms.

    It has four different modes: three levels of white light brightness, plus two flashing red lights (so you could jog with it before sunrise and still be seen by cars).

    Promising review: "I used this last summer on a camping trip and it really came in handy! We were at a campground and among its many other uses, this was helpful even in walking to the toilets. I actually used it in the shower stall too, because the lighting in there was really poor and there were things in there I did not want to touch.

    Sometimes it's helpful to keep both hands free for other tasks and this accommodated my needs! I now keep it in my SUV just in case. No workmanship complaints and the battery life is good." β€”Sam-I-Am

    Get it on Amazon for $7.99.

    3. And a hand-held flashlight that converts to a camping lantern to hang from the ceiling of your tent, so you can stay up chatting even after the fire's burned out.

    Promising reviews: "These CANNOT be beat...especially for the price! We just used them on a camping trip and they are GREAT! They are very light and do feel "cheap", but what can a person expect at this price. I purchased them because I like the flashlight/lantern combo and these deliver. The light is very bright and they are easy to use." β€”busymomof4

    "This light is awesome! Small and lightweight but has a BRIGHT shine! My sons love this light. Its perfect for camping and we are planning on buying a few more to keep in our cars and home for emergencies." β€”vanessa

    Get it on Amazon for $6.99.

    4. A set of eight marshmallow roasting sticks β€” they telescope out to 32 inches for campfire time then collapse to 13 inches to store neatly away.

    Promising review: "I grew up hunting down my own marshmallow stick and carefully pointing it with my dad's pocket knife. Sometimes I found the perfect stick, but mostly, they were curved and required contortions to cook a marshmallow evenly without setting it on fire.

    Another recent phenomenon is campsites that have been picked over, with no sticks left. We had a 12th birthday campout party for my son and marshmallow roasting was going to be a central part of the evening's activities β€” we wanted to avoid the problem of no decent sticks, so we picked up a set of these sticks before the trip.

    They're made from a good quality stainless steel auto radio antenna stock, with wood handles that don't get hot, and ended up being just what we needed! They're color coded so kids knew which one was theirs, were sturdy enough for 12 years olds to not destroy (even the one that a kid kept turning every marshmallow into a torch). After one hard use, the sticks are all still tight, the gauge of metal thick enough that they didn't droop." β€”Rob S

    Get them on Amazon for $18.99.

    5. A top-rated oversize collapsible camp chair that comes complete with a four-can cooler pouch on one side and storage pockets on the other, so you can rough it comfortably.

    Best for only those trips where you can drive into your campsite, of course β€” while it does come with a carrying bag, you're not gonna want to tote its eight pounds much further than a few yards.

    Promising reviews: "This chair is by far the best chair of this kind that I have ever bought! I love that the seat is wide and you don't have to worry about the metal poles digging into your legs. It's very comfortable, and the cooler and the storage are great bonuses. Cooler held about 5 beers with no ice. I love this for my campfires!" β€”Ashley

    "These chairs are so comfortable! I love the cooler on the side. I didn't put ice in it, just stuck our drinks in, and it did keep them cold for a few hours. I would definitely recommend this for any plus-size person." β€”Phileena

    Get it on Amazon for $29.89 (two colors).

    6. A waterproof backpack cover for keeping all the contents of your pack safe and dry, no matter what kind of weather Mother Nature throws your way.

    For those trips where you're hiking out to your campsite, of course.

    Promising review: "Great for my larger packs that don't have a built-in rain shield cover. No generic fit cover will be as perfect as one fitted exactly to the size and shape of the backpack in question, but this one does the job very well despite being a little loose in fit. Its looseness actually helps with the shoulder strap connection points on the pack; with the added slop the pack's shoulder straps aren't trying to dislodge this cover nearly as much with some some of the earlier covers that I ordered. A little moisture does sneak by between coat and pack, but otherwise it keeps the contents of my pack and the majority of the pack itself quite dry." β€”monoblocks

    Get it on Amazon for $7.99+ (four sizes, six colors).

    7. Or a backpack that includes a waterproof cover in a dedicated pocket, if you're just starting to build your collection and don't want to use your high school pack anymore.

    Promising review: "Okay so you're going camping for a few days, maybe do a bit of hiking. Well if you need something comfortable, a bit roomy and pretty good quality for that trip let me recommend this pack. I am a woman and finding something that sits well on my back without rubbing in the wrong places can be trying at times, but this pack sits well on my small frame. And it can hold a lot of stuff in a very organized manner, so you can find it without having to unpack everything. The straps are very comfortable and even with the added weight of your gear don't cut into you.

    I loaded up a sleeping bag, tent, and self inflating mat off the rear of the pack, letting them dangle behind me, then piled my clothes and personal items inside. It worked very well for me and I highly recommend you to give it a try. Great buy for the price." β€”J. Mason

    Get it on Amazon for $36.99 (three colors).

    8. A set of lightweight but heavy-duty aluminum tent stakes sure to put the plastic ones that came with your tent to absolute shame.

    They're brightly colored and topped with reflective neon cord, so they're easier to spot in long grass.

    Promising review: "These things are AWESOME! They're lightweight for all you backpackers out there, but they also hold exceptionally well. I was camping in Hatteras a few months back, and these things really held well in the sand of the campground there. Even when 30-40 mile an hour gusts from a late season thunderstorm rolled in, all of my staked-down tent parts held firm. I especially appreciated the easily-seen-in-the-dark pull cords that let me quickly pull up my tent at 3 AM when I decided to ride out the storm on a drive to my next destination instead of in the tent in open ground.

    Excellent product, would highly recommend, and one I will not forget when I need to buy more stakes." β€”Amazon Customer

    Get a pack of ten regular-size stakes plus the carrying case on Amazon for $12.95 (also available in small, without Prime shipping, and extra large.)

    9. And a cozy two-to-four-person tent β€” it pitches in no time so you can get out and start hiking ASAP, if you don't have tent that you love yet.

    Promising review: "I just took this tent out for my first camping trip with 2 small dogs. I had never set up an tent before and I had this one set up in about 10 min in the rain. I was out for 2 nights and it rained the 85 percent of the time. Not just sprinkles, downpours thunderstorms and wind. Not one drop of water came into the tent we stayed dry the entire time! I was amazed! Lots of ventilation in this tent also, was very humid and the tent stayed comfortable. I was set up by a pond in Florida, but no bugs came in the tent at night as long as the door was kept closed. Its only flaw: the stakes are a little small, and you may want to get heavy duty stakes." β€”Julie Brennan

    Get it on Amazon for $60.27.

    10. Or a two-person truck-bed tent that you could basically leave up all camping-season long so escaping to your favorite campsite every weekend's easier than ever.

    Promising review: "I have a 2018 Silverado 1500 Crew Cab. First time I took it out, it rained, sleeted and snowed all day and night. It took me about 30 minutes to set up that first time. I had a little space heater with me and despite being in the 20’s, the tent heated to over 70 degrees in about 10 minutes! And, most importantly, I stayed dry all night! Was also very impressed with the amount of room in this tent. I’m 6’ tall and had more than enough room for my gear.

    I love this tent and have used it several times. Never once have I been disappointed. Feel like I got away with something because of the price!" β€”M. Seyer

    Get it on Amazon for $79.99.

    11. An easy-to-inflate sleeping pad to make any type of ground feel like a luxury pillow top mattress.

    Well, maybe not quite that nice, but definitely more comfortable than it would've been.

    Promising review: "Where has this thing been all my life? I took it on a four day excursion and never slept better. Once inflated (takes me 9-12 breaths), I can't MAKE any part of my body touch the ground when laying down on it (I'm about 185 lbs). My back is ALWAYS pretty sore and usually keeps me from sleeping as long as I'd like when camping, but I got a good 8-10 hours of sleep a night with this thing. I've NEVER been able to do that tent camping. 9-12 breaths of inflation is definitely worth the enhanced comfort and convenience.

    The bag also has a little sown in pocket that includes a patch kit. Thankfully I haven't had to use it, but it's a nice touch." β€”J. Rolfe

    Get it on Amazon for $54.93+ (5 colors available).

    12. Or a full-fledged, self-inflating air mattress that you can even fit with a spare set of sheets and a comforter instead of a sleeping bag, if you're more of the ~glamping~ type.,

    Which: no shame! You make your tent as a fancy as you like, especially if you're driving up to your campsite or are near somewhere with a wall plug β€” because you will need that to inflate it.

    Promising review: "First time to purchase this brand. Did as directed, and inflated and deflated several times before we actually used it to stretch it out. We took it camping! It was great! Comfortable! Did have to inflate a bit one day but think only because of temperature change in the weather. It went from 99Β° and dropped to 62Β° in a rain storm. But other than that , wonderful!!! Especially loved the height being able to sit on the side and stand up like a normal bed." β€”Catherine Beckett

    Get it on Amazon for $119.95. No wall plug? Get a self-inflating air mattress that uses a battery-powered pump for $127.49.

    13. A basic sleeping bag β€” it'll keep you warm as long as it isn't literally freezing outside, then pack down into a small (ish) little pouch for storage.,

    Promising review: "Took this on a trip to Colorado, used it at around 9,500 feet. Daytime was 105, nighttime was in the 50's. It's perfect for camping: lightweight and easy to carry. Only negatives I have: the "pillow" at the top was a little flat β€” bring your camp pillow β€” and it is VERY hard to get back into the little bag (but that is typical of any sleeping bag: they grow). Heading back out to CO for a fall camping trip, and looking forward to using this again." β€”Amazon Customer

    Get it on Amazon for $38.97.

    14. A double hammock made of lightweight nylon ideal for peaceful afternoons reading under the trees and gentle nights sleeping under the stars.

    It also comes with all the stuff you need to hang it up easily (not all the hammocks on Amazon do).

    Promising review: "This is a fantastic hammock setup! It is a bargainβ€”huge, versatile, and very comfortable. Plenty of room and no uncomfortable seams in the wrong places. The tree straps with loops are very convenient. After initial setup neither the hammock nor suspension stretched appreciably over the duration of two rainy nights. I love that it uses nylon webbing in lieu of ropesβ€”less stretch and feels more robust. It comes with tree straps, hammock, and suspension all tucked inside an attached stuff sack. I'm so pleased with this hammock I may start leaving my tent at home. You need one." β€”Julian

    Get it on Amazon for $22.99-26.99, depending on which of the 18 colors you choose.

    15. And a simple, easy-to-set-up hammock tarp that'll keep you dry no matter how hard the rain pours down.

    Promising review: "Can't beat it for the money. Surprisingly good coverage. I have taken this thing through a torrential downpour and stayed perfectly dry. If it's blowing and rainy things might get dicey depending on orientation and how much other protection you have. But for the money, I don't know if you can beat it. Incredibly quick setup too. Sometimes I will use my Kelty Noah 12 for more protection, but i just grab this 90% of the time. It is the size of a 1L Nalgene and i love that." β€”Atrain

    Get it on Amazon for $29.47. If you're looking for an upgrade, the Kelty Noah 12 the reviewer mentioned has great reviews, too, and more configuration options: it's on Amazon for $51.95.

    16. A compact microfiber towel to dry you off faster than you can say "quick dip in the lake".

    Promising review: "It's a good size, thin but soft, machine washable and dry-able, quick to dry in the sun, and beach sand doesn't really stick. It's not as warm and supple as wrapping up in a cotton terrycloth towel right out of the shower, but it dries you off in a fraction of the time. It dries bare skin very quickly (though you have to blot the water off) becoming only minimally damp itself, though it gets saturated with water in any spots where it's wrapped over wet swimwear. It's extremely light and compact. I've taken it to the lake, beach, camp shower, and gym. It's a very worthwhile investment!" β€”bruyere

    Get it on Amazon for $12.99-$19.99 (three sizes available in 10 color combos).

    17. A personal water filtration system that you can rig up with your CamelBak so you never worry about carrying enough water on a hike through the woods ever again.

    As long as you know you'll pass a lake or river, that is β€” desert hikers, please still pack plenty of water!

    Promising review:

    "I immediately took it out for a day hike with the dog to give it a test in the field, near the Rattlesnake Creek in Missoula. Filling it was easy with the current, then I screwed the filter onto the bag, tipped it upside down, and water came out with a very effortless squeeze. After I got done laughing about how simple it was, I gave my boy Yoshi a drink as well (my English Bulldog). He also took to it well, as he's a big fan of drinking from water bottles anyway. So yeah, this is a dog friendly design!

    Also out of curiosity I affixed the straw directly to the filter and drank directly from the creek and it was quite easy to do. The amount of suction required was similar to drinking a milkshake, and the flow rate was surprisingly great. When I got home I did the back flush with the syringe twice, and the thing flushed perfectly. This thing was a piece of cake to use, and for $20, you cannot beat it. I would recommend this filter to anyone!" β€”EJD

    Get it on Amazon for $20.03.

    18. The classic, durable AF, BPA-free, quart-size Nalgene water bottle β€” it really needs no introduction. You can basically drop them down the side of a cliff and they'll stay perfectly intact.,

    Promising review: "Nalgenes are notoriously hard to break. I've taken them hiking in -20 degree weather and had them freeze, but they still didn't burst on me. I've dropped them down cliffs while full of water and found them again later, still intact. It has a wide mouth that makes it easy to fill and clean, plus measurement markings on the outside so you can measure out amounts of water for, say, cooking at camp. It can even can hold hot/boiling water if necessary (for a winter night, put hot water in this bottle, wrap it in a wool sock, and put it in your sleeping bag. It will keep you nice and toasty)." β€”A. Jones

    Get one on Amazon for $10.95+ (70 color and design options available at varying prices).

    19. A lightweight aluminum folding table that can go from meal prep area to dinner table to evening poker table without batting an eye.

    I mean...if tables had eyes? It also packs away into a handy carrying bag.

    Promising reviews: "I went to a family reunion last year with one of these. This year, there were four of these tables because everyone went out and got one. Very useful for camping. Not strong enough to sit on or anything, but use a chair (your mother and I raised you better)." β€”George Teuber

    "Perfect for camping. Lightweight but sturdy, easy to assemble. Collapses and stores in the included storage bag. I use it for my small Weber Charcoal Grill." β€”jeepnyakin

    Get it on Amazon for $34.42.

    20. A combo mess kit and cooking set to heat up simple meals for one or two people.

    Promising review: "I am a retired US Army NCO who is more than 70 years old, lives in New Mexico and loves to hike and camp. At my age, I'm always on the lookout for good lightweight kit, and my experience with this little kit was very good.

    The kit comes with a nesting fry pan and sauce pan, a terrific little carved bamboo stir spoon, a couple of plastic bowls/cups, a folding ladle, a sauce pan cover, and a nifty little metal folding spork. In addition to all of this, it has a nice cloth sack with a plastic closure that holds the kit snugly together in my ruck sack. I washed it all up and stuffed in an extra pair of socks and a couple of bandana handkerchiefs so it didn't rattle (an old army habit).

    This little kit did exactly what it was supposed to do, it is light and strong, well made and I expect that it will provide me with hot meals out on the backside of the high desert for years to come. I bought this thing sight unseen and hoped for the best: I got the best." β€”Francis B. Morganti

    Get it on Amazon for $25.49.

    21. A full-fledged propane camp stove/oven range so you can eat incredible cinnamon rolls while gazing at incredible views, with none of the stress of campfire cooking.

    Promising review: "This thing is the BEST! Maybe the greatest camping purchase ever. I bought it and immediately brought it to a campground/festival we were at for 8 days of no-hookup camping in Maine, and it was the bomb.

    I made 3 pies (two peach, one blueberry), using the Pillsbury refrigerator crust, puff pastry topped with Newfoundland snow crab, two batches of biscuits, baked haddock, countless pots of pour-over coffee, a giant pot of steamers, reheated clam chowder, popcorn, cookies, you get the idea. We went through 4-5 pounds of propane. Overall, if you're on the fence β€” just get it. You won't be sorry!" β€”Buddy

    Get it on Amazon for $189.99 (and a carrying bag for $44.99). You can also get just the two-burner stove, which is also very highly reviewed, for $77.44.

    22. But if you do want to try campfire cooking, a classic flat-top, cast-iron dutch oven's one of the easiest ways to get started making meals like you're on the Oregon Trail.

    Promising review: I don't own any Lodge cast iron that I don't LOVE! This was no exception. "Camp fire cooking creates some of the best flavors. If you've never tried it, DO IT. If you aren't sure how to cook with one of these, there are plenty of web sites with information and how many coals to use under and on top to regulate your cooking temperature. I most commonly make beans in mine, however, I am eyeing some recipes for other pot dinners and meats. Plus, Lodge is one of the few cast iron companies that actually ship a pre-seasoned product." β€”Warren P.

    Get it on Amazon for $47.48+ (available in 3 sizes). You might also want to consider a lid lifter ($8.06 on Amazon) and/or a lid stand ($13 on Amazon), to make opening and moving the pot around a bit easier.

    23. A mini dishes tool that makes cleaning up even the grimiest cooking pot a breeze, especially if you're backpacking.

    Promising review: "An excellent product that fills a niche you didn't even really know you had until you add it to your bag. I hate dishes as much as the next guy and its frustrating to try to keep stuff clean with a dirty rag or something. I keep this with my jetboil and no longer worry about cooking messy things in the pot since this works so well, and doesn't really get gross or take up space like a regular dish brush or scour pad.

    It's one of those little things that makes such a big difference in your overall quality of life in the backcountry, on road trips, anywhere really." β€”d

    Get it on Amazon for $4.95.

    24. A huge 120-quart cooler β€” it basically has superpowers, because it can keep ice from melting even while it sits in the direct sun day after day.,

    Promising review: "The claim that this cooler keeps ice for up to 6 days, is LEGIT. I loaded this cooler up on Thursday morning as we were going camping. Sunday night when I returned home, the ice had barely melted. The daily temperature during our camping trip was average 75-80 degrees. Cooler was in the sun most of the time. Since Sunday, I've left it in the sun (90 degree average temp.) to see how long the ice would last. After 6 days, still has enough ice to cool food or drinks. I started out with four 10-lb blocks of ice and one 20lb bag of ice cubes. This morning (Wednesday), was the sixth day and the ice is still there. This cooler is well worth the money!" β€”Laura Pinola

    Get it on Amazon for $63.84.

    (They also make a smaller 70-quart version of the same cooler, but on Amazon it's currently only available from third party sellers. But you can get it at Home Depot for $42.35 or Walmart for $58.38.)

    25. Or a smaller soft cooler that'll keep everything chill AF for a weekend in the woods.

    It all depends on how many people you're feeding, of course!

    Promising review: "Excellent cooler, keeps things cold over 24 hours if not in direct sun. The bag is leak-proof and the soft material allows for flexibility in transportation (and what seems like less total space). I've used this for grocery delivery, groceries, and for camping. Easy clean-up. Excellent bag. Worth the price." β€”J.R. Collins

    Get it on Amazon for $44.97+ (four sizes available in six colors).

    26. A mini utility tool to fit right on your keychain. It can tackle any loose screws, stubborn sticks, or unopened bottles that cross your path β€” whether you're at a campsite or not!

    Remember to leave it at home if you get on an airplane, though!

    Promising review: "I love having this on my keychain! I often find myself needing and a small screwdriver for various quick repairs at home and at my office and this tool fit the bill. I even made use of it several times on a camping trip where we had forgotten to bring tools to assemble a small grill. The only minor downside of this product is it can be a little bit difficult to open at times, but then again its good to know its secure to your keyring and won't accidentally come off. The tool's slim but solid and blends in nicely with the rest of my keys, despite being longer than a standard key. Overall an incredibly useful and versatile product and all for less than $10!" β€”Jon E.

    Get it on Amazon for $9.92.

    27. A magnesium fire starter that'll work in any weather and take up almost no space in your camping gear, just in case (or just for fun).

    Promising review: "I don't normally use a firestarter, opting instead to include a fresh Bic in my bag in case the normal one I use runs out of fluid when needed. I purchased this more out of curiosity than anything as I haven't used one since I was in the Scouts.

    It took a bit of work to remove the coating, but once removed I was treated to a pretty impressive spark. I was able to catch a small amount of dry grass on fire without needing to scrape off any of the magnesium which is definitely a bonus since this is more of a last ditch item in my bag." β€”Amazon Customer

    Get it on Amazon for $8.95.

    28. Insect repellent made with Picaridin instead of DEET, which means it works to repel biting flies as well as mosquitos β€” as well as ticks, chiggers, and gnats.

    Learn more about the differences between different repellents here and here.

    Promising review: "I live near rice fields, which means mosquitoes all day, every day, 10 months of the year. I was really disappointed with DEET products: most are aerosols, and they quit spraying while you have about half the product left in the can. I found this product from the Consumer Reports review and decided to try it. It is VERY effective. When I use this, I don't even see mosquitoes in my vicinity! It has a light scent that fades within 20 minutes, but keeps working for hours. I walk my dogs 2-3 times per day, and most other products are pretty effective, but I will notice that clouds of mosquitoes following me, especially after a long walk (they are attracted to the CO2 you exhale). Not so with this: mosquitoes keep their distance. This is also long lasting β€” I spray it once and don't need to reapply for up to 7 hours." β€”L. Bradford

    You can buy it in sixteen different sizes and applications, like two bottles of spray for $14.22 (that's $7.11 each).

    The reviews in this post have been edited for length and clarity.

    Looking for the perfect gift for any occasion? Check out all of BuzzFeed’s gift guides!

    Allison Krausman / BuzzFeed

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