Camping Gear I Never Want to Camp Without

August 25, 2023

PLUS a downloadable checklist!

Camping under the stars, roasting marshmallows over the campfire, and breathing in the fresh air. There’s truly nothing quite like it. But to make these experiences memorable for the right reasons, you need reliable gear by your side. Over the years, I’ve tested and tried a plethora of camping gear and equipment, but only a few have made it to my essential list. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a newbie, you won’t want to miss out on these trustworthy items that have become my camping mainstays. And to make your camp trip preparation hassle free, I’ve also created a downloadable PDF checklist. Let’s dig in, shall we? 


Camping Gear I Never Want to Camp Without: My Outdoor Tried and Tested Essentials

In this blog, I will discuss specific items I bring on my camping trips in detail, as well as recommend some gear that I regularly use and would buy again 😊


Your shelter can make or break your trip. When camping, choose something durable that will keep you safe even in wet and windy conditions. A good tent, if taken care of properly, should last many years of use and adventure. You definitely don’t need to purchase a new tent, but be sure to inspect it thoroughly if buying one used. 

There are two tents that I use on my camping trips, depending on what I’m doing.

  • The REI Half Dome 2+ is essentially a two and a half person tent.
    • I love this tent because it’s affordable, durable, spacious, and has worked for both a camping and backpacking tent for me over the years. I’ve had mine for more than six years now and it’s still in great shape!


  • For those seeking something even more durable without compromising on space, the Sea to Summit IKOS TR2 is a great option.
    • Sea to Summit’s Tension Ridge system is perhaps the best part of their design. It allows for more space around your head and shoulders, as well as minimizes condensation build-up since it has a vent at the top of the tent. This tent has incredible airflow, and gives you the option to use it without even setting up the body of the tent, known as “Hangout Mode,” which is great for shade or if you need a quick shelter during wet weather. 
    • Code ‘GUA15’ saves you 15% on your order!

Watch Later: IKOS TR2 Tent Review

Sleep Comfortably and Soundly


Tossing and turning on uneven ground is one way to never want to camp again. With my Big Agnes Insulated Q-Core Deluxe Sleeping Pad, a bad night’s sleep is a thing of the past. This sleeping pad offers comfort akin to your home mattress. Whether you’re camping in chilly or warm conditions, its insulation has got you covered, so much so that I have used this sleeping pad all 4 seasons of the year. 


A good pillow is often underestimated. I’ve forgotten mine a couple of times, so now I leave a backup pillow in my car, just in case. I’m a big fan of the Sea to Summit camp pillows, and this Aeros ultralight camp pillow is easy enough to just keep in the car! I always sleep soundly using this pillow.

Camp Kitchen Essentials


Camping doesn’t mean giving up on delicious home cooked meals! Since I camp quite a bit, I have three different camp stoves for different reasons. Here’s what those are and why I like each one:

  • Eureka Ignite 2 Burner Stove: This stove is perfect for full-fledged meals, and/or camping in windy conditions since it has wind protection on both sides. This propane fueled stove is easy to use, has extremely accurate temperature control, and packs well with your camp gear. I always bring this stove when I’m camping with my family or a group.

  • Eureka SPRK+ Single Burner Stove: Eureka really outdid themselves with this stove. It uses butane rather than propane, meaning it is precisely accurate. With an 11,500 BTU burner, cooks and boils water extremely fast, and has great simmer control, making it the perfect stove for cooking steaks, pancakes, and really anything else you could think of.


  • MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe: This one may surprise you as being used as a camping ~not backpacking~ stove, however I used this as my sole camp and backpacking stove for 4 years before upgrading to the stoves listed above, and it still serves me flawlessly. It is compact, yet so powerful. This is a great option for smaller meals. 


A dedicated space for all my cooking explorations. Sturdy and easy to set up, this camp prep table is a game-changer. You may think this sounds like any camp table, however this one is perfect for cooking because it’s durable with a weight capacity of up to 100 lbs, heat-resistant for hot meals, and the coolest feature? It has independently adjustable legs, similar to trekking poles, so you can set it up on uneven or rocky terrain and be confident it will stay sturdy. 


Water is a requirement on camping trips. You need it to stay hydrated, to cook, and plenty of extra to put out your campfire. You can bring your own water, but having a filter has proven handy on more than one occasion on my camping trips. I’ve tried multiple different water filtration over the years, and there’s three that really stand out that I use regularly: 

  • Sawyer Squeeze: This water purification device is portable, effective, and easy to use. You don’t have to wait to have clean water as it works almost instantly! Even better, this is one of the more budget-friendly water filters on the market, and can filter over 3.5 MILLION gallons of water with proper care, so it will last you quite some time. 

Enjoying your read? Learn more about the great outdoors and Ground Up Adventures by following along on my social media channels!

  • Katadyn Steripen: If you’re in an area with relatively sediment-free water, this is a great option. The Steripen by Katadyn is essentially quick, ultraviolet (UV) magic! Fill up a water bottle or Nalgene with water being careful to keep the sides of the bottle clean. Swirl the UV pen around for 90 seconds or until the light turns off, and you’re good to hydrate away! UV filtration has it’s perks, including being highly effective, requiring little energy and time, and it’s also chemical/taste-free!


  • Platypus Gravity Works System: When camping in groups, this is my go-to. This water filter, like the name says, uses gravity to provide 4 liters of clean water in just 2.5 minutes without you having to pump anything! Remember to carry a water bottle or hydration bladder for your drinking convenience.

Read next: 10 Things the Wilderness Has Taught Me

Camp Luxuries


Seating and drink cooler…combined. Need I say more? With a built in 4-can cooler, side pockets, and adjustable arms, the Coleman Cooler Camp Chair is perfect for at camp or at the tailgate. Did I mention you can get if for under $40?!



This portable power station by Jackery is a lifesaver. Whether it’s charging gadgets, powering string lights, or warming up with an electric blanket during cold nights, the Jackery has my back. I love how creative I can get with using this device, too – we’ve even had a movie night at camp by hooking up our projector to it!


Camp lights really set the ambience after the sun goes down. If you have a Jackery, you could just plug any outdoor lights into that, however if not, these two are my favorite for keeping camp lit after dark:

  • Black Diamond Moji Lantern: If you’re looking for a powerful, compact lantern that will last, look no further. They no longer make the original plain white light moji lantern that I fell in love with, however their upgrade did not disappoint with it’s new full-spectrum lighting, with every color of the rainbow as an option. For under $30 you can get a light that easily hangs from your tent, and lasts quite some time before needing to change the batteries. These lanterns are durable and likely will never need to be replaced. 

  • MPOWERD Solar String Lights: For that magical camping ambiance. I love that these have a color changing option, too! You can hang them off of some tree branches, or they’re the perfect size to wrap around a 2 person tent! 


There truly isn’t anything better than relaxing at camp with some comfy shoes. Walking around the campsite or taking short strolls, these Outdoor Research Tundra Aerogel Camp Booties provide warmth, comfort and protection from anything poking around your camp floor. They’re made with NASA-approved insulation and barely weigh a thing. 

Camping gear can be a deeply personal choice. However, these tried and tested items have never let me down. So next time you’re packing for an outdoor adventure, remember to check off these essentials and enjoy a hassle-free trip!


Download the FREE Camping Gear Checklist to ensure you’re fully prepared for your next outdoor adventure! 


For a worry-free hiking experience, consider booking a guided tour with Ground Up Adventures. Let me handle the logistics so you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. Check out my website for more info about my offerings and book your next adventure today! 

Happy camping! 🏕

*Please note that some links above are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission on any purchase you make – at no additional cost to you. If you use any of these links, thank you for your support in advance!


Read next: Scaling New Heights: A Beginner’s Guide to Climbing a Mountain

Hi there! I’m Shelby, a
Colorado hiking and backpacking guide!

I’m here to inspire you to climb your mountain from the ground UP.
I’m an avid hiker and backpacker, and also love camping, fishing, and anything else I can do outdoors, even if it means going alone! I believe nature is the best teacher of all, and I find joy sharing this knowledge so you can feel empowered on your own adventures! 

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