Tent– Obviously a no-brainer you will need a form of shelter from the elements and to sleep at night. Weather protection is your number one priority here when choosing a tent with size and weight a close second.
Sleeping Bag– A good quality sleeping back is the difference between tossing and turning all night from the cold and lack of comfort to “sawing logs” with your deep sleep snore. Choose a bag that is suited to the environment you plan to camp in. Also, a side sleeper might want a rectangular bag vs. a back sleeper or cold environment you might want a mummy bag.
Lantern, Flashlight, or another light source— we recommend a LED lantern and/or headlamp for longer life and less hassle because it uses rechargeable batteries and are extremely dependable. A headlamp is also great because it allows both hands to be free which is nice if you are setting up camp after dusk. We highly suggest you have two light sources for preparedness.
Camping fan: to avoid the heat on the road, you can carry one with you
Food and WATER– You got to eat, right? camping food comes in all different shapes, sizes, and most importantly tastes! Car tent camping you can get away with hot dogs, hamburger patties, pancake batter, etc. but if you are doing some backpacking you will want to go the freeze-dried route. Non-perishable, high in complex carbs, and low in sodium type snacks are great for any adventure! Something almost every camper underestimates is the amount of water they need. A good rule of thumb is a gallon of water a day which will include water for food. At higher elevations and being more active will require more water intake than normal to keep from being dehydrated.
Camp Stove— If you’re worried about finding a good fire pit, bring along your own camping stove. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy as long as it’s sturdy and has the right kind of fuel. Additionally, this is also an opportunity for some burgers and hot dogs if you are car camping or at the very least some boiled water for a hot cup of joe in the glory of a backwoods morning.
Plates and utensils– Something that is overlooked on the newbie camper but essential in the latter process of preparing food. Your food. That will keep you alive in the wood’s food. Anyway, there are plenty of inexpensive tent camping style plates and utensils that fold up nicely into each other to take up less space, are lightweight and are very durable for all your cutlery needs.
First Aid Kit— What good is food and shelter without the ability to stay safe along the way? While there are many ready-made kits on the market, it’s a good idea to customize your own. What should you include? The list will vary depending on who is going and what they’re doing, but here are some basics: pain reliever(ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc.), bandages of varying sizes for small scrapes or large gashes, gauze pads in several sizes for larger wounds, medical adhesive tape, scissors, tweezers, and a thermometer.
Camping Knife– This one doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple by finding a knife that has both a smooth and serrated blade and if it folds then make sure it has a blade lock. It doesn’t need to be any longer than four inches unless you are bushwhacking in Australia or something. If you want to get fancy, splurge on a good quality multitool like the ones from Leatherman.
Matches AND Lighter– I mention both here because for preparedness it is highly recommended you have at least two reliable sources to produce fire (and I don’t trust you hitting two rocks together, sorry.). One obvious reason to have a fire source is to cook your food but another very important one is to keep warm! A campfire is an amazing experience but also a necessary one during those cold, high elevation nights and mornings.
Rope or Cord— Having a rope and/or paracord is great to have for its versatility. You can use it for tying down your tent and other items as well as stringing stuff up into trees that you don’t want critters (big or small) to wander their way into. In survival scenarios, rope and paracord have a ton of uses to help you out from lean-to type shelters to catching small game, to survival first aid needs.
Jacket, Hat, and other coverings– You need ways to protect yourself from harsh environmental elements. You can have a less than desirable experience from too much exposure to sun, rain, wind, or snow so having protective clothing for these elements is imperative. Research and understand the environment you are going into and prepare for multiple possibilities.
Sunscreen and bug spray– Similar to the above reasons, sunscreen and bug spray help protect you from the elements you face in the backcountry and potential diseases as well.