The other day one of our friends asked me what gear they needed to go camping. They had nothing. No tent, no sleeping bags… nothing. That prompted me to put together a short list of essential camping gear for new campers.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of camping gear – rather a short, concise list of items that are absolutely essential to car camping. All items are available on Amazon for your convenience and many of the items can be found at Walmart.
4 Person Tent from Coleman
Your first tent doesn’t have to be an expensive one. In fact, sometimes it is nice to have a cheaper tent to turn to for summertime camping trips so you don’t have to worry about it getting destroyed as much. Consider this 4 person tent by Coleman that comes in at less than $60 for your first camping tent.
Some things you don’t want to cheap out on and a sleeping bag is one of those. If you are new to camping you don’t need to $300 bag but you do want something that is going to keep you warm enough when temps drop into the 30s at night. Kelty makes a quality bag at a reasonable price: ~$100.
When car camping you can afford some luxuries you normally can’t if you are backpacking. One of those is an air mattress. Consider the Coleman inflatable air mattress for car camping as a more comfortable alternative to the sleeping pad. Just keep in mind you need a way to inflate it. Less than $40
Need something a little more portable than an air mattress? Then check out your options when it comes to sleeping pads. They compress smaller, are lighter and do not require a pump to inflate. This Outdoorsman sleeping pat fits the bill at just under $40 and is perfect for those new to camping.
If you opt for an inflatable mattress you are going to need a way to blow it up. We really like the rechargeable pumps because they don’t eat through batteries and you can actually inflate your mattress in the tent rather than next to your car (inflated mattress often don’t fit through your tent door). This Coleman pump is both rechargeable and affordable and is perfect for air mattresses and water floaties.
What’s a campsite without a lantern? You need a way to see around at night when you are hanging out by the fire and these days battery operated lanterns are all the rage. Costing less than 40 bucks and delivering some serious light the Streamlight lantern is our favorite of the battery operated variety and is perfect for the new camper.
Camping involves alot of sitting around and doing nothing. That’s kind of the point of the whole thing. So you need somewhere to sit and while a rock or stump will do – it gets uncomfortable fast. A folding camping chair is ideal and Coleman makes a great introductory chair for under $30.
The Camping Cooler
The cooler is a bit of a necessity when camping. Food needs to stay cold or it will spoil. Same goes for beer 🙂 The best deal on a cooler is most likely going to be found at your local sporting goods store (or Walmart) but if you want to order one online we suggest the Coleman Coastal Xtreme series. It will cost you around $50 and is the perfect introductory cooler for those new to camping.
The Camp Kitchen
Coleman Propane Stove
The stove will be the center of your camp kitchen and this Coleman Propane stove is the quintessential camp stove. Seriously – this specific stove is what we would recommend to both novice and expert car campers alike. It is priced well and is one of the most essential and well-built camp items there is. If you buy one thing on this list it should be this stove.
Stanley Cook Set
How do you plan on cooking your food on that awesome stove you just bought? Pots, pans, plates, spatulas and utensils all take up tons of room. Unless, that is, you have the Stanley Cook set for 4. This awesome set includes all the basics for your car camping kitchen and is perfect for those new to camping.
We hope you find this list helpful and if you think we are missing an essential item please share it with us in the comments below. Happy trails!