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    Updated on Aug 12, 2020. Posted on Aug 2, 2020

    27 Things People Who Camp Swear By

    Everything you need from the basics to outdoorsy extras.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. A basic tarp that'll come in handy in more ways than you can imagine, but for starters as a tent footprint, shady cover for your picnic table, or a little rain shelter if you're in a pinch.

    blue tarp rolled up in packaging

    Promising review: "Simple tarp. Took it on a five-week backpacking trip and a three-week road trip. Easy set up through the holes with some rope or bungee cable and trees. Used it in sudden rain and hail storms as shelter, as an emergency shelter for two nights in one situation, and as a spread underneath a tent or just on the grass for a picnic or pit stop. Classic, pretty much indestructible, light-weight, versatile tarp. No complaints! Definitely a camping/backpacking must-have." —SC

    Get it from Amazon for $9.99+ (available in three sizes).

    2. A lil' two-person tent with a footprint to prevent you and your guest from getting wet when rain or morning dew inevitably makes an appearance.

    small green tent with rain fly

    Promising review: "I am very happy with this tent. I used it about 10 days last month in various settings, including heavy rain. Setting it up is very easy. Like most 2P tent, it is really comfy for one person. The walls are vertical close to the ground which makes it less claustrophobic for those prone to it." —StJoan

    Get it from REI for $249.95.

    3. A collapsible, solar-powered lantern that's as easy to travel with as it is to charge! Leave it out during your day's hike, and it'll be ready to pop up and use by the time night falls.


    Promising review: "This is my favorite solar light out there. Collapsible and durable, it stuffs into your pack without taking up much space at all, or you can clip it to the outside to charge on the go." —Matt Hazelgren

    Get it from Backcountry for $19.95.

    4. A hanging gear organization system so you have access to your necessities without having to dig through your absolutely stuffed backpack every time you need your headlamp.

    strap with fabric rings attached to tent ceiling with twist ties hanging S-Biners and carabiners  hlding gear like water bottles, hats, and keys

    Promising review: "This was a great addition to our camping gear. The gigantic twist ties on the ends hook easily to the loops in the tent, and the S-Biners were perfect for attaching hats, lights, a mirror, keys, and all those little things that tend to get lost. Big thumbs up." —smartypants

    Get it from Amazon for $17.40+ (available in three colors).

    5. A Lifestraw personal water filter that allows you to safely drink from any water source. When you're camping and hiking a ton, it's just good to have reassurance that you won't run out of clean water.

    reviewer drinking out of a stream from a lifestraw

    The straw's microfiltration membrane eliminates bacteria and parasites so you can safely drink from any available water source without worry.

    Promising review: "Used it on a hike recently; tried different configurations as shown, with the drinking straight out of the river, and out of a wide-mouth bottle. The flow-rate through the LifeStraw is a little reminiscent of drinking a really thick milkshake, which is understandable considering the filter basically gets everything. When I filled up my Nalgene with water from the stream, I could see the sediment start to settle; I even made sure to get some with the straw just to see. Worked like a charm. You just need to remember to blow into it afterwards to clear out the straw." —Kingston

    Get it from Amazon for $17.47.

    6. A compact broom and dustpan for sweeping dirt out of your tent quickly and effectively. It may seem inevitable, but there's nothing worse than a super dirty tent floor.

    reviewer holding a small dustpan in the palm of their hand with a tiny broom inside.

    Promising review: "OXO quite by mistake has created the best tent broom I've ever used. I know they had other things in mind when they designed this but it is perfect for car camping ( a little to big for backpackers). The bristles are soft and fine enough to get the sand off your taffeta tent floor without damaging it. The cup style dust pan holds your sweepings so you don't have to re sweep after you accidentally tip them. The whole kit packs together securely so nothing gets lost. Five-star performer." —H Bart

    Get it from Amazon for $7.99.

    7. A BioLite headlamp so you don't have to struggle with a flashlight AND the dishes AND your toiletry kit when you're re-packing your car after dark. This one is super slim and unobtrusive and even tilts downward so you can have a better view of right where you're walking.

    Rachel Dunkel / Via BuzzFeed

    I LOVE this headlamp! It sits flush against your forehead to provide the most comfort and least slippage possible. It's moisture-wicking to combat sweat, is rechargeable, has multiple brightness levels, and can be adjusted to face downward if you need to see ahead of you on a trail (the BEST feature!). I'm really looking forward to using it more on future outdoor trips.

    Get it from REI for $59.95 (available in four colors) or Amazon for $59.95 (available in three colors).

    8. A pop-up trash can that will help you keep any and all waste contained. Always remember to take out everything you brought into the site — especially trash!

    green soft trash can with black corded spiral around it to help it pop up

    Promising review: "Absolutely love! We bought this for our camping trips and I can't express how much this pop-up trash can made a difference. It has clips in the inside to hold open the trash bag, it zips to keep the bugs and critters out, super easy setup and takedown, and it stakes to the ground to keep from blowing away! Best camping purchase ever!" —Ariel Butler

    Get it from Amazon for $16.50.

    9. A pack of cleansing wipes so you can freshen up a little bit between showers, much to the satisfaction of your campmates' noses.

    wipes in their flexible plastic container

    Promising review: "I will never go camping without having a fresh pack of these in my bag. I recently went on a week long overland trip to Maine, and these wipes made my entire life better. Being able to wipe down the areas where the sun don’t shine while out on the trail was such a mood booster. I don’t think I ever had such a great camping trip. Smile on my face the whole time. If you’re going camping I highly recommend these." —Markd1124

    Get a 25-pack from Amazon for $7.99.

    10. A lantern and fan hybrid that's as close as you're gonna get to sweet, sweet AC in the woods. I cannot help but stan a mini ceiling fan gadget, it's just so cute and helpful.

    light and fan combo hanging inside a tent

    Promising review: "I went camping this week, and I just hate when it's sooooo darn hot in the tent, and of course there's no place to put a fan AND a light. This one worked perfectly. It hung by it's built in hook to the top of the tent, the light was just right, and the fan was quiet and effective for a two-person tent. Happy I bought it." —Kevin Gaither

    Get it from Amazon for $23.99.

    11. A bottle of Campsuds biodegradable soap so you can wash your dishes, hands, or anything without harming the environment. Just remember to bury your soapy water!

    small green bottle of camp suds

    Promising review: "Great for cleaning dishes, bottles, and hands at camp. Not recommended for showering or bathing. Also, used as laundry detergent in hotels while driving across the nation." —Midwest James

    Get a two-ounce bottle from REI for $3.95 or a four-ounce bottle from Amazon for $10.95.

    12. A portable Jetboil camp stove, which boils water in just 100 seconds, has a color-changing boil indicator, and is light and easy to travel with.


    Fuel canisters aren't available for purchase from REI online, but are available in stores!

    Promising review: "I couldn’t ask for a better way to cook in the wilderness. This tool boils water fast — and I mean FAST! It’s durable and fairly light. I always look forward to getting back to my campsite after a long hike to cook with this bad boy." —LittleMicrobe

    Get it from REI for $109.95 (available in four colors).

    13. Or a Camp Chef two-burner stove perfect for whipping up a full meal in the great outdoors. With two burners and heat control, you're gonna be the head chef of the wilderness.

    stove with two burners and three knobs with the top open

    The stove can be closed and locked for easy carrying.

    Promising review: "Best stove I have ever used in camping. My brother is a food server at a prominent restaurants — he said it was as good as a chef's stove!" —Anklejac

    Get it from REI for $109.95.

    14. A handy double-ended spoon and fork that's like the CatDog of utensils. I have this and love it! It's super easy to travel with, feels sturdy to eat from, and is super easy to wash off or clean with a little Campsuds.

    purple plastic utensil with a spoon at one end and a fork on the other

    Promising review: "Great utensil, worked much better than I was expecting and a great option for the casual camper who is looking to eliminate that box of plastic cutlery from their camping list." —Shane

    Get it from REI for $2.95 (available in eight colors).

    15. A solar power bank to give all of your devices the boost they need while you're off the grid.

    solar power bank with droplets of water on it and carabeener attached

    The power bank takes six to seven hours to fully charge in the sun, is water-resistant, and has two USB ports as well as an LED light.

    Promising review: "Used this first while doing primitive camping. The South Texas sun charges this really quickly. It was more than enough to charge my IPhone 11 Pro Max and as a lamp in my tent at night." —Erik

    Get it from Amazon for $14.95.

    16. An REI Co-op Trailbreak sleeping bag available in men's and women's sizes that's rated for use down to 20 degrees! It's weight-cutting mummy shape, hood drawstring, and extra foot insulation makes this one of the coziest options available, and I just really want that for you.

    purple mummy sleeping bag

    Promising review: "The Trailbreak 20 is officially my favorite sleeping bag! While testing out this sleeping bag, for the first time, it was pouring rain with temperatures in the mid-30s. Unfortunately, my tent leaked a lot and the end of the bag sat in a puddle of water most of the night. Fortunately though, the inside of the sleeping bad didn't get wet at all!! I stayed warm and dry."—Log Cabin Kid

    Get them from REI: $99.95+ for men's (available in left or right zip options and long sizes) and $99.95+ for the women's (available in left or right zip options and long sizes)

    17. A Therm-a-rest compressible camp pillow so when you gently lay your head down to rest at camp, your cheek isn't mushed up against a rock or root. Worth it, in my opinion.

    small green and blue patterned pillow

    Promising review: "This is one of my favorite pieces of gear. I wanted a pillow that had some fluff to it, and I found this. Most backpacking pillows are so thin that your head is resting on the ground. This pillow is thicker than my pillow at home but yet compresses to the size of a size 10 shoe! It will inflate pretty fast, especially if you help it out by hitting the sides. Putting it in the dryer after using it really fluffs it up too." —born2camp

    Get it from REI for $20.73 (originally $26.95).

    18. An inflatable lounge chair that will make your midday nap feel like the height of luxury after sleeping on the ground for so long. You inflate it just by whipping it in the wind, meaning no pesky hand pumps or electricity needed!

    reviewer laying in purple inflated chair

    Promising review: "I'm not a small person, and I wasn't sure how it would hold me, but this chair is wonderful. I have used it all over! I took it camping, I took it to the beach, and I even sometimes blow it up and use it in my living room while watching TV. The hardest part is getting out of it gracefully!" —Kindle Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $41.98 (available in 11 colors).

    19. A lauded Yeti cooler, because you'll want your ice to last as long as possible to keep your perishables fresh. Ice doesn't grow on trees!, Amazon

    The Yeti cooler has three inches of PermaFrost insulation and is certified bear-resistant. Reviewers swear this chilly chest makes their ice last for upwards of three days.

    Promising review: "Absolutely no regrets with this purchase. I needed a cooler for rustic camping where ice isn't easy to come by. Froze my marinated meats and put them in the Yeti packed with ice on Friday and didn't add new ice until Tuesday. Probably could have gone longer. No food waste. The lid straps keep it closed very tightly, but is easy to open, which was a worry for my 76-year-old mom. She had no trouble opening or closing it. Slide proof bottom kept it secure in the back of our SUV where it stayed for the entire trip. Looking to add a smaller Yeti to our equipment for beverages. A great product!" —Ducky's Mom

    Get it from Amazon for $299.98 (available in two colors).

    20. A large six-person tent that's a remarkable six and a half feet tall so most people can comfortably stand and change inside! Such luxury. Such opulence.

    tall orange tent with rain fly

    Promising review: "I love this tent. It is easy to set up and easy to take down. It has a vestibule at each end which helps greatly to maintain desirable temperatures and keep bugs out. The zippers work really well. There are vents at the top to help with air circulation. I can stand up inside while I dress and that’s fantastic! It’s lightweight and packs up into a very manageable bag. I’ve been camping for 50 years, and this is the best tent I’ve ever owned."—Richard

    Get it from REI for $349.

    21. A super light side table so you have a place to put your drink, speaker, or any other camping accessories you need on-hand.

    black table with camp chair–like folding legs and foldable top

    Promising review: "Spent Thanksgiving weekend tent camping at the Texas Ren Faire. Very lightweight. Rolls up compact. And sturdy enough to support several horns of an adult beverage." —Ramshovel

    Get it from REI for $49.95.

    22. A pull-string fire starter, because Boy Scouts is over — you're not gonna win any awards for starting a fire with two twigs and sheer will.

    hand holding block-shaped fire starter

    Just place the block next to the firewood and pull the drawstring to ignite!

    Promising review: "Took a pack of three with us for a backpacking trip. First night worked great and extremely fast. Second day it rained while hiking and still started the wet wood up really quickly. Highly recommend especially after a long day of hiking it was nice for it to be so simple to start a fire." —Andrew

    Get a three-pack from REI for $14.95.

    23. An Aeropress coffee and espresso maker that brews top-notch coffee anywhere boiling water is available. It's also small, durable, and easy to clean, so bringing it to the ends of the earth with you is a no-brainer.

    grey cylindrical aeropress sitting over a coffee mug

    The set comes with the chamber, plunger, seal, filter cap, funnel, filter holder, scoop, and stirrer. Here's a super informative video on how to use the Aeropress (while camping, even!) made by the coffee smarties at Stumptown.

    Promising review: "This might make some of the best, fastest coffee I have ever had. I visited my cousin in Alaska and she used one EVERY day for her coffee. I forgot completely about it until it was time to take this camping trip, and I randomly found it on Amazon while searching for camping kettles — I am so glad I did. It is super compact, durable, and easy to use. You can have a real quick cup in 30 seconds, or you can wait a couple minutes and let the flavors meld, the choice is yours." —Gordon Leonard

    Get it from Amazon for $29.95.

    24. Extendable skewers so no knuckle hair is harmed in the making of scrumptious s'mores and hot dogs.,

    Promising review: "These are easy-to-use extendable roasting sticks. Took them camping with the family, and everyone liked having their own color. Comes with a nice little bag to carry them in. I just wrapped the tips in paper towels before putting in bag until we got home to wash. Would definitely buy again if needed. Quality seems good — nice and strong didn’t not bend or feel like anything was going to fall off." —Alaskan jen

    Get an eight-pack from Amazon for $15.99.

    25. A self-inflating sleeping pad so you don't have to choose between struggling to blow up a pad with your own breath or sleeping on the hard ground.

    1.5 inch thick tan sleeping mat with valve on the corner

    Promising review: "I got this mat because i wanted something that wasn't incredibly expensive, more comfortable than a solid foam mat, and less bulky when packed than other thicker self-inflating mats that REI makes or sells. This mat checked all the boxes. I'm 5-foot-9, 165 lbs and I fit fine on the mat with no pressure points, even on a hardwood floor." —A Whale

    Get it from REI for $59.95.

    26. A Rumpl indoor/outdoor blanket to keep you warm and cozy all through the night. Its smooth surface is waterproof and resistant to dirt, so there are no worries about exposing it to the elements.


    The Rumpl blanket is also machine washable and dryer-safe! I have one and absolutely adore it.

    Promising review: "We took this king-size blanket with us on our camping trip to New Zealand. At first I thought it might have been too overkill since it took up a lot of space in my luggage and a duvet was included in our camper van rental. But we ended up using this every night, enjoying the warmth and breathable comfort even on fairly warmly evenings. It was definitely large enough for two even with tossing and turning, we both had enough Rumpl to sleep well throughout the night. Great purchase, totally worth it." —Becca606

    Get it from Amazon for $74.25+ (available six colors).

    27. A cot and air mattress if the only thing keeping you from sleeping outdoors more is discomfort laying on the ground. Sleeping under the stars is rad, but sleeping in a BED under the stars? Unbeatable.


    Promising review: "This is the most AMAZING camping bed I've ever used, and I've camped my entire life. Not only is it up off of the ground, so my 36-year-old disabled ass doesn't have to cry every time I get in and out of my sleeping bag, my suitcase FITS UNDERNEATH THE BED. Then, there's the cot itself. Mmm...comfy. There's an included air mattress! But won't that just fall off of the cot? That's where the Genius of Coleman comes in, kids. They added a pocket made out of super soft microfiber material that feels like your favorite Grandmammy's sheets and zippers open to slide the PREMIUM COLEMAN AIR MATTRESS WITH DOUBLE AIR LOCK MAGICALNESS inside and then you ZIPPER IT SHUT AGAIN. But wait. There's more. HOW CAN THERE POSSIBLY BE MORE?! YOU'VE ALREADY GIVEN US SO MUCH, COLEMAN! MotherLoving Side Tables, Batman. They snap on right where you want them. With holes for all of your beverage-holding needs. And just enough room for a kindle, a phone, and an adult beverage." —LieslGeneva

    Get it from Amazon for $120+ (available in twin and queen sizes).

    Enjoy your camping trip! Stay safe!


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

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