14 Must-Haves for a Perfect Camping Weekend
Countless studies name nature as one of the best ways to bring down your stress and pick up your mood. Plus, spending time outside means seeing awe-inspiring sights and hiking some of the prettiest paths in the world.
So this summer (and fall!), we suggest you hit the trails for a sojourn amongst the trees. And to make your time in the wild feel like home, we found the best must-get camping gear. From your tent to your hiking shoes, here’s what you need to survive and thrive in the woods.
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1. Best Affordable Sleep Set: REI Co-Op Camp Bundle ($239)
Score a three-for-one deal with the REI camp bundle, which will make your nights much more comfy. The pack includes a two-person tent (complete with several mesh pockets for organization, a rain cover and waterproof flooring), a self-inflating sleeping pad and a sleeping bag. Your cozy lodging awaits.
2. Best Tent for Extra Leg Room: The North Face Homestead Domey 3 Tent ($250)
If you’re heading into nature with a few friends, you’ll want some roomier shelter. Enter The North Face Homestead Domey 3 tent. The waterproof, single-wall tent has three different doors, so you don’t have to worry about crawling over your sleep mates in the middle of the night. It also comes stored in a duffle, offers an easy set-up and has a skylight for stargazing before you shut your eyes.
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3. Best for Bed for Two: Big Agnes King Solomon 15 Double Sleeping Bag ($400)
The Big Agnes double sleeping bag is worth the hefty price if you’re looking for a good night’s rest — that feels just like home. With a fill made of DownTek water-repelling down and a microfiber soft shell, this two-person sleeper keeps you snuggly and dry. It also has a draped design that wraps around your shoulders, as well as sleep-pad sleeves for a soft cushion. Talk about the perfect place to cuddle. (Sleep pads sold separately, $20, bigagnes.com)
4. Best for H2O to Go: L.L. Bean Woman’s Day Trekker Day Pack ($129)
Hiking mountains and setting up camp requires lots of water to keep you going — especially in hot temperatures. Thankfully, the L.L. Bean Woman’s Day Trekker Day Pack has you covered. With a pouch to story a bladder sleeve (sold separately), two water bottle pockets on the sides, and a design that’s made for women’s bodies, you can easily sip and walk simultaneously. The Boa closure system (and numerous zip closures) also keeps belongings extra secure if you’re climbing up rocks. Plus, the thick padding on your back and around your hips means you can trek for miles.
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5. Best Carry-All Cooler: Dakine Party Pack ($70)
What’s a weekend in the woods without some cold ones? Tote a bunch of your favorite brews with the Dakine Party Pack. You can stash up to 15 cans in a separate, insulated compartment on the bottom, which has a convenient side zipped pocket. (Nope, you don’t even have to take the pack off when you get thirsty!) It also has two insulated koozies on the front, a bottle opener, two straps to hold a blanket or sweatshirt and a fleece-lined pocket to protect your phone or glasses.
6. Best Cold-Weather Cover: Cotopaxi Kusa Blanket ($90)
If you’re camping in chilly temps (like at the top of a mountain), you’ll want a little something extra to snuggle up to. This Cotopaxi blanket is the ideal way to stay warm, since it’s super lightweight (weighing less than a pound) and comes in a convenient portable sack. The poly insulation and nylon cover also keeps you cozy, but never overheated.
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7. Best for Sight & Sound: ECOXGEAR EcoSlate Wireless Speaker ($150)
The oh-so-durable ECOXGEAR EcoSlate speaker brings more than just 12 hours of your go-to pump-up jams. It also has a wide-beam built-in lantern, and you can hang it in your tent when the sun goes down so you’ll still see what you’re doing. It also has backlit buttons and ports for recharging your devices. What’s more: The quality sound machine is waterproof, can float and won’t break if you drop it on the gravel below. Basically, it’s the camping gadget you won’t ever want to leave home without.
8. Best Way to Light the Night: Ledlenser L7 Flashlight ($40)
With six hours of battery life and a shock- and shatter-proof casing, the Ledlenser L7 flashlight will increase your visibility in any condition. You can also easily switch from a more focused beam of light to see long distance, or a wider cast to see close up. Either way, it keeps things shiny and bright.
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9. Best Cooking Gadget: Snow Peak Trek 900 Titanium ($53)
Whip up a quick meal with this Snow Peak cooking set. The metal won’t corrode or make your food taste metallic, yet it’s light enough to carry wherever you go. Pop a fuel canister (sold separately) in the bottom and the accompanying frying pan goes on top. Light the fire and you can cook up eggs, meat or whatever you’re craving that day in a flash.
10. Best Take-Anywhere Stove: Primus Kamoto Openfire Pit ($130)
For those camping on the beach or anyplace without a fire pit, pick up the Primus Kamoto Openfire Pit. The stainless steel stove comes with a grill gate and an ashtray on the bottom to catch any debris. Use it with wood or charcoal to roast hot dogs, burgers, pizza — or some tasty s’mores.
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11. Best Footwear: Merrell Moab 2 Ventilator Hiking Shoes ($100)
While you’ll want some lightweight clothes to scale the mountains, the most important gear for trekking new terrain is what’s on your feet. And these Merrell hiking shoes aren’t dubbed the Mother Of All Boots for nothing. They offer support for your arch and heel (where you’ll also get more stability and shock absorbance), a super grippy outsole that’ll stop you from falling, plus breathable, mesh paneling for when temps pick up and your toes need some air.
12. Best All-Day Lounger: Sea to Summit Ultralight Hammock ($90)
This hammock‘s best attribute is all in the name: It weighs just over five ounces. When you reach your base for the night and just want to kick back and relax, this is the perfect way to do so. The nylon fabric won’t take up much room (or weight) in your bag, but it’ll still hold up to 300 pounds when secured with the aluminum buckles.
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13. Best Pick-Me-Up: Sea to Summit X-Brew Coffee Dripper ($18)
You don’t need to skip your morning cup of Joe while away in the woods. With this collapsible Sea to Summit mug, you can easily prepare two cups of piping hot coffee. Even better: No paper filter is necessary, thanks to the reusable stainless steel mesh. Simply add hot water, let it drip and get sipping. You can even attach it to a wide-mouth water bottle to slurp on the go.
14. Best Hydration Station: 1Hydro Series Filtration Bottle ($30)
With all your hiking and climbing, water is a necessity. Keep it clean and bacteria-free with this filtration system (that happens to be 76% off). It removes nearly 100% of unwanted contaminants and will provide up to 1,500 liters of clean H2O. We’ll drink to that!
Disclosure: All products featured on our site are hand-picked by our editorial team in the hopes of getting you closer to your health and fitness goals. We only recommend products we love and believe that you will, too. If you come across an affiliate link on our site, that means we receive a small commission should you decide to make a purchase.
Originally published July 2017. Updated September 2017.