ultimate camping guide

Best Camping Gear Essentials - 30 Critical Stuff you Need in 2023

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We often hear campers say, "A bad day camping is still better than a good day working." Not only is this true, but it hints at just how great a good day camping is! That's why we're here, to give you all the keys you need to make your next camping trip as smooth as possible.

At Eiken we are campers at heart, having grown up in the beautiful French Alps. Between skiing and snowboarding in the winter and hiking and camping the rest of the year, you can trust us when we say that we know all about camping!

So here is a list of the best camping equipment you can easily get on Amazon divided into 2 categories: the best products and the best quality/price ratio.

camping gear guide

I. Best Camping Transport Equipment

In this section, we'll discuss:

  • Backpacks
  • Hiking Shoes
  • GPS
  • Camera Backpacks
  • Jackets

  • Best Products

    1. Backpacks

    The backpack is the key piece of transport, with a bad bag, you won't go far. Or you will go far, but your back will resent it. It is important that the bag you choose is as ergonomic as possible so that walking remains a pleasure. Otherwise, you'll be trading in admiration for the scenery for concern for the safety of your belongings and your body. In my experience, there are 5 criteria to recognize a good hiking backpack:

    1. A suitable weight
    2. A good storage capacity
    3. The extra features of the bag
    4. Stuff can be organised easily
    5. And most importantly, an optimal carrying comfort
    backpack camping gear guide

    The reason comfort is so important is because you will be stepping out of your comfort zone during your walk, the added value of a good backpack allows you to stay comfortable even in the wilderness. The suspense has gone on long enough, the best hiking backpack on Amazon in our opinion is :

    Osprey Atmos AG 65 Men's Backpacking Backpack and Osprey Aura AG 65 Women's Backpacking Backpack. (The only differences between the men's and women's models are the available colors and sizes, otherwise the bags are identical).

    1. The reason this model is the best in our opinion is that it fulfils the 5 criteria mentioned with ease. The first criterion depends on the length of your hike, so it is different for everyone. It's hard to argue with this point except that the bag comes in several sizes and is suitable for medium to long hikes. In addition, the anti-gravity suspension system gives you the impression that you are carrying less weight than in your bag, but I'll get to that later.
    2. Same for the second point, some need more space than others, Atmos and Aura are however designed to accommodate the maximum storage capacity possible for their weights. Unless you're bringing your whole house with you, you should have the space you need
    3. This Osprey model is packed with features, so there's no need to delay quoting them all when you'll find them without a fuss on the bag link.
    4. In this price range, bags that don't allow you to organise your stuff easily are rare. However, they do exist, so don't worry, there are plenty of pockets for the most common items used by hikers. Atmos and Aura were designed by hikers for hikers!
    5. Other bags are great, but this one was selected for this article because of its comfort. Not only is it very breathable, but its anti-gravity suspension system is perfect. Hard to believe without trying it on, but it feels lighter on the back than it really is. Don't take our word for it, go read the hundreds of good reviews and find out about this system and you'll see.

    Despite its many qualities, no bag is perfect and this one is no exception. It's a shame that the zips are so difficult to open/close with one hand, which is frustrating as these pockets are designed to be accessible with one hand when travelling...

    We are confident in recommending this product to you, whether you are a budding camper or a seasoned expert it will not disappoint.

    Atmos AG 65 Men's Backpacking Backpack
    Atmos AG 65 Men's Backpacking Backpack
    Aura AG 65 Women's Backpacking Backpack
    Aura AG 65 Women's Backpacking Backpack

    2. Hiking Shoes

    As with the backpack, choosing the right shoes is not a decision to be taken lightly. Poor quality shoes can ruin your outings in the medium and long term. Especially as the choice of shoes is often neglected, you take your old trainers and hope for the best. Unfortunately, all it takes is a bit of rain or a crack in the ground to give your feet a hard time.

    Comfort is always a priority, but versatility is the name of the game. That's why we've selected trail running shoes for you. They have the strength and durability needed for running sports in nature, and the walking comfort needed for long trails. That's why the best shoes you'll find for camping on Amazon are : Salomon Men's Speedcross 5 Trail Running Shoe and Salomon Women's Speedcross 5 Wide W Trail Running.

    These shoes have the strength and durability of classic hiking boots in the same price range while being lighter, more stable, breathable and flexible. If you're looking to travel fast and light, you won't find anything better!

    Another benefit is the grip, if you're the type to get off the trail or just want to avoid slipping, you'll love this. The Speedcross 5's sole has larger lugs designed for almost unbeatable grip.

    hiking shoes camping gear guide

    The shoe is also equipped with "Sensifit" technology to keep your foot in the shoe. It offers the feeling that the shoe is integrated into the foot, a feeling that is enhanced by the comfort of the shoe. This technology has its limitations, you need to find a pair that fits you otherwise it is useless. Speedcross 5 also has Quicklace technology so that the shoe can be tightened more easily and quickly and the laces don't stick out (plus they are durable).

    The versatility of these shoes is undeniable, enough to satisfy the overwhelming majority of hikers. The shoes may be too low or too thin for some of you, in which case you are looking for conventional hiking boots. Higher shoes tend to be a little more durable and offer more support to your foot as you walk. It's up to you if you prefer higher shoes.

    We prefer the lightness, stability, breathability and flexibility of this all-purpose shoe, which is suitable for all situations.

    Salomon Men's Speedcross 5 Trail Running Shoe
    Men's Speedcross 5 Trail Running Shoe
    Salomon Women's Speedcross 5 Wide W Trail Running
    Women's Speedcross 5 Wide W Trail Running

    3. GPS

    Another piece of equipment that is often overlooked is a GPS, useless if you know where you are going, but essential if you are likely to get lost or off the beaten track. Your phone is a good option that won't cost you anything (provided you have a phone) but not only are most phones not designed to be exposed to water, mud or snow.

    Not only that, but if you don't have a connection (which is likely to happen a lot when you're camping), your phone will be unable to guide you. That's why we've searched for and found a GPS that can withstand harsh weather conditions, guide you even in the most remote areas and of course, is easy and convenient to carry.

    gps camping guide

    Introducing the Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct, the ideal smart/connected watch for campers with an exploratory soul. The reason why this watch is so good is basically because it fulfils the 3 criteria mentioned in the previous paragraph

    1. It easily withstands harsh weather conditions as it has been designed to military 810 G standards for thermal, shock and water resistance. So before you get the hang of it, you'll be using it for a while!
    2. While your phone uses 4G or 5G, Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct uses the capabilities of GPS satellite networks to track you anywhere.
    3. Do I really need to explain why a watch is easy and convenient?

    There are obviously many other reasons why this watch is great. Not least because it's easy to hold and will serve you well outside of your camping trips. Whether it's your sessions at the gym, keeping in touch with your loved ones without taking your phone out of your pocket, or even more surprisingly, giving you the weather.

    Watches do so many things that we almost forgot to mention that it tells the time. The Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct has many other features but it's the durability and satellite GPS that will appeal to campers. This watch is a great value if you need a GPS that won't let you down when you need it.

    Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct
    Instinct GPS

    4. Camera Backpacks

    Not everyone camps for the same reason, some like to discover new spots, others enjoy the mix of sport, rejuvenation and sharing while others are passionate about photography for example. For the latter, it is essential that they find a backpack that can carry their camera safely.

    This time, there is no doubt that the watchword is safety. A camera is an expensive and fragile object, so the choice of the right bag must be taken very seriously.

    camera backpack camping gear guide

    But the practicality of some products should not be overlooked either, so the idea was to find a bag that was both robust, practical and space-saving. Of all the camera backpacks that met these criteria, the best was without a doubt the MOSISO Camera Backpack. You are probably asking yourself: Is my camera compatible with this bag? MOSISO Camera Backpack is designed to fit most common cameras (Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc.)

    Having a compatible bag is one thing, having the perfect bag is another, so why this bag?

    1. Firstly, it's robust: between its fully waterproof hardshell protection, foam padding and highly elastic back padding, your camera will be well protected.
    2. It's multi-functional: it's a camera bag, but it's also a drone bag and a computer bag. It's the kind of product you buy for camping and end up using everywhere. If you want to know if your device is compatible, the details are in the product description.
    3. It's not very bulky, despite all its features, the MOSISO bag is actually quite small. With external dimensions of 17.32 x 11.8 x 7.5 inches (43.18 x 27.94 x 17.78 cm) and a very small weight, this bag remains quite small and light.

    If you prefer vintage camera bags, take a look at our website, we have wonderful camera backpacks and messenger bags.

    DSLR Camera Bag
    DSLR Camera Bag
    Camera Backpack
    Camera Backpack
    Canvas Camera Bag
    Canvas Camera Bag

    5. Jackets

    To finish this section, we have decided to talk about jackets. Your choice of jacket will depend on many factors, what weather, temperature, season, where you are going to camp etc. In this kind of situation, it is difficult for us to advise everyone correctly, so we recommend a good outdoor jacket in general. 

    In addition, there are certain criteria that are essential for all campers who want to enjoy peace of mind. You don't want to be too cold on a hike, but if you're too hot, you don't want a jacket that takes up too much space to store. How do you deal with this problem that hikers and campers know so well?

    jacket camping guide

    It's always best to have a waterproof jacket to avoid getting wet, warm to avoid getting cold and breathable for sweaty, hot days. But how can you have a jacket that is both waterproof (typically smooth) and breathable (typically porous)?

    The answer in two words, Helly tech. We chose Helly-Hansen Men's Crew Hooded Midlayer Jacket and Helly-Hansen Women's Crew Midlayer Jacket for your outdoor activities for several reasons, but mainly for Helly tech. Many garments are both very waterproof and very breathable, but the best results (as far as we know) are with Helly-Hansen.

    The reason is simple, the jacket was designed for sailing, so you can be sure that it is waterproof. The brand promise: a waterproof, breathable, windproof jacket with DWR (Durable Water Repellent) treated outer fabric. A promise that sounds too good to be true, and yet this jacket fulfils all the criteria. Its autumn/spring jacket appearance has fooled many, you can put this jacket on in winter without any problem even when skiing for example.

    So whether you are a camper in the mountains, in the forest or near the coast, this jacket will not disappoint. The jacket is however often criticized for being too small, so if you decide to invest in this jacket, make sure you go up a size or check the size chart.

    DSLR Camera Bag
    Men's Crew Hooded Midlayer Jacket
    Camera Backpack
    Women's Crew Hooded Midlayer Jacket

    Best Quality/Price Ratio

    1. Backpacks

    In the "Best Value" sections we have focused on Amazon's entry-level camping equipment. For those of you who want camping gear that is both high quality and as cheap as possible.

    Back to the backpacks, if you buy an entry-level bag, don't expect to go away for a week. But for an overnight stay in the forest that isn't too busy, (which is what we usually do when we start camping) a small bag is perfect. Apart from the obvious price point, the other major advantage of an entry-level bag is that it is generally much lighter. There is no need for an anti-gravity suspension system, as long as the bag is light, strong and has enough room to put everything you need in it.

    Our final choice was the Gonex Ultralight Handy Travel Backpack. Particularly light and strong, this small backpack meets all the criteria. But Many backpacks met these criteria, but this one is really more durable than the others.

    1. Made from a nylon material, Gonex is both water repellent and tear resistant so that your first camping experiences don't end in disaster.
    2. In terms of lightness and space, the bag weighs in at 6.5 oz (185 g), so it's hard to get much lighter. It can hold 20L of everything you need for a night's sleep, and it folds to just 6.3 inches (16cm) wide. The latter feature saves you a lot of space, which is always handy.

    If you're looking for a space-saving camping backpack to try your hand at camping, this bag is perfect. But it's definitely too small to carry more than you need. Nevertheless, it has many advantages, especially for its low price.

    2. Hiking Shoes

    When it comes to shoes, we don't recommend buying entry-level shoes. Having good shoes is too important and really cheap shoes are usually great 3 weeks before you fall or are not great at all. We strongly recommend that you invest in good sports/hiking shoes, especially as they will come in handy even when you are not camping.

    3. GPS

    Unsurprisingly, it is difficult to find good, affordable GPS units that can be used for camping. If you're just starting out, the best options to locate you are :

    • Stay on the predefined paths and follow the signs (the "lost in the wilderness" aspect is a bit lost but at least you are sure to find your way).
    • Camp in an area you know so you don't need to locate yourself (you lose the "discovery" aspect of finding a spot where you feel no one has been).
    • Stay in areas where there is a network and use your phone (but you may run into a lot of people)
    • Use maps! If you're new to camping, learning to read a map is a great way to spend little money and really get into the spirit of the place. You'll come away with valuable knowledge and an authentic experience.

    4. Camera Backpacks

    Back to camera bags, at the entry level, there are some good ones that will do just fine. But never neglect the protection of the camera, buying a camera bag that does not protect well may mean you have to spend a lot more than you should if you like your camera. As with the backpack, the advantage of a cheaper product is that it is often smaller and more convenient to store.But you often lose out on comfort and functionality.

    Our choice is the G-raphy Camera Bag Insert. If you want to protect your camera on the smallest possible budget, the G-raphy bag is your best option. It is less convenient to carry than the MOSISO Camera Backpack, but its small size allows it to be stored in most large bags or even carried as a small briefcase. In terms of its ability to protect, it is shockproof and waterproof to keep your camera safe.

    Like the vast majority of camera bags on Amazon, it is available for most common cameras (find out more on the product sheet), except that it is not designed to hold mirrorless cameras. If you don't want to spend too much money, the best thing to do is to use the camera bag that came with the camera if there is one. If not, a small bag like the one from G-raphy will be more than sufficient for nature photography.

    5. Jackets

    To finish this long section, let's focus on an entry-level jacket that will protect you during your camping trip. As with the Helly-Hansen jacket, we were looking for a jacket that was both waterproof and breathable. But finding these features in an entry-level jacket is difficult, so we chose a windproof jacket. We chose the Charles River Apparel Pack-N-Go unisex jacket. Classified as a "pullover", this windbreaker-like garment will never keep you as warm as a "real" jacket, but it will protect you from moisture and wind.

    1. Being protected from moisture and wind is its greatest quality
    2. Like many windbreakers, this garment is so light that you forget you have it on. What makes the Charles River jacket different is that it can be stored in its own front pocket to save even more space.
    3. Apparel Pack-N-Go is also very breathable, so if you hear that someone is too hot in it, they are a liar.

    Unfortunately it comes with a few flaws, this windbreaker protects against moisture, it is not waterproof. An important distinction that many people fail to make. It is also advisable to go one size down, Charles River is a size large.

    In absolute terms, this jumper is a smart purchase to make when camping in case it starts to rain. Its small volume and weight allows you to store it anywhere without taking up too much space, whether you are new to camping or not.

    Now that we have seen the best products and the best value for money products for transport, let's take a look at the camping food equipment.

    II. Best Camping Eating Gears

    In this section, we'll discuss: 

    • Camping kitchen kit
    • Cutlery
    • Mug
    • Water bottle
    • Stove
    • Cooler

    Best Products

    1. Camping kitchen kit

    Unless you opt for the good old sandwich, (which is fine) you're going to need a kitchen kit. You already have cutlery, plates and pans, you might ask. But the real problem is space. Unless you have folding cutlery and plates that fit right into your pan, all this stuff will take up too much space. Investing in a camping kitchen set is worth it if you go camping a lot.

    You'll be able to vary your dishes and you won't feel like you're just having a picnic in the woods. To make sure you choose the right kit, the key word is ergonomic. Cooking in the forest is hard enough as it is (at first), the last thing you want to do is pick up a bulky or difficult to use kitchen set.Our choice? The Stanley Base Camp Cook Set for 4.

    Breakfast while camping in the woods

    This kit is made up of 21 pieces, needless to say we're not going to list them one by one, just know that there's enough to do everything you need for 4. There are many reasons why we think this set is the best, but there are 2 main reasons:

    1. Many camping kitchen sets are ergonomically designed, as the vendors are well aware that space saving is of the essence. In our opinion, Stanley does it best with every millimetre optimised. There is a slightly larger set from the same brand (Stanley Even Heat Camp Pro Cookset), but this one is more than enough for most campers.
    2. The catch is that most camping cook sets are very good at optimising, so of the best in this group, how do you choose the best set? In our opinion, the answer is durability. If you're going to invest, you might as well invest in a set that will last over time. This is where Stanley products are better than other kitchen kits. Made of stainless steel, it requires no maintenance other than washing up after use (and is very resistant to direct impact, of course).

    As for the criticisms made about this kit, the plates are too small and the spoons/forks are not very practical. The problem with this kind of set in general is that the plates are always going to be small unless the pan they are stored in is huge. That's why they are often too small.

    Despite these two flaws, the practicality and durability make it superior to other options.

    Stanley Base Camp Cook Set for 4 | 21 Pcs Nesting Cookware Made from Stainless Steel & BPA Free Material | Incl Pot, lid, Cutting Board, Spatula, Plates, Spoons, Forks, Bowls, Dish Rack, Trivet
    Base Camp Cook Set for 4
    Stanley Even Heat Camp Pro Cookset, 11-Piece Camping Cookware Set with Stainless Steel Pots and Pans, Utensils, Lids, and Cooking Accessories, Outdoor Travel Kit for Backpacking, Hiking, and Fishing
    Stanley Even Heat Camp Pro Cookset

    2. Cutlery

    It's almost a relief that the biggest flaw of the previous product is the cutlery! What's the point of cooking in the middle of nature if the hardest part is eating? Ironic, isn't it? Having the wrong cutlery when camping is like buying a great harpoon for underwater fishing and forgetting the flippers! You'll struggle with the easy part.

    camping cutlery guide

    As for the previous part, the watchword is ergonomics. We are well aware that you all have cutlery at home, but if you want to save space, weight and practicality, it is better to have specialised utensils in there. We have chosen the UCO Spork, the "UCO Utility Spork 3-in-1" 4-Pack and 2-Pack. For this section, you can take any cover that saves you space. We chose this one in particular for these reasons:

    1. They are super practical! Not only for their design (even if other brands have very similar designs) but also for their very low weight or the way they can be stored to optimize space.
    2. Moreover, if this kind of object can help you stop buying single-use cutlery, the planet will thank you. In the same spirit of responsible purchasing, this cutlery is strong and durable. UCO cutlery can take a beating, can be bent, and is resistant to heat and all forms of moisture.
    3. The fact that they are made from nylon glass, in addition to the above-mentioned advantages, means that they are immune to rust, which is not the case for most camping cutlery.

    Despite this, nylon glass is quite polluting (it's still better than disposable cutlery). This is probably the only drawback of this product, although in the long run, their durability is a big plus as you won't need to buy new cutlery for a long time

    UCO Spork, the UCO Utility Spork 3-in-1 4-Pack
    UCO Spork
    the UCO Utility Spork 3-in-1 4-Pack
    UCO Spork, the UCO Utility Spork 3-in-1 4-Pack
    UCO Spork
    the UCO Utility Spork 3-in-1 2-Pack>

    3. Mug

    After the cutlery, it's the turn of the mug, the ultimate product for those who need their coffee even in the middle of nature. This is a luxury that many people find difficult to do without, and we understand them well! In the abstract, any mug will do, but as you might expect, there are always options that are better than others. To find the perfect mug, as with any piece of equipment, you have to ask yourself what makes a mug good?

    camping mug guide

    Firstly, strength and durability, you don't want to get a clay mug that breaks if you drop it or a cheap mug that breaks in 2 days. And secondly, the practical aspect, what are the functionalities, is it light or easy to store... Our choice was the GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug, and here's why:

    1. No product is indestructible, but you won't have to worry about breaking your Infinity Backpacker Mug anytime soon. With its 2 layers, one of BPA free and non-leaching plastic and the other of fabric to both keep the liquid warm (or cold for cold drinks), have a better grip and make the product even more robust, this mug is strong and durable, plus it's green plastic!
    2. The Infinity Backpacker Mug has a lot of useful features, we've already seen the better grip. Unlike clay or iron mugs you won't burn your hands thanks to the fabric. The sealable spout prevents spillage so you can travel with your drink ready. The plastic container serves as a measuring cup, the handle does not take up space in your bag. And finally, the cup is both lightweight (105 grams) and can hold 1.1 L.

    This is a complete product that we highly recommend to both experienced and novice campers and hikers. The fabric handle is strange at first, it takes a little time to get used to it and the measurement units disappear somewhat with time. It's hard to find any other faults with this outdoor lover's must-have.

    GSI Outdoors Infinity Backpacker Mug
    GSI Outdoors
    Infinity Backpacker Mug

    4. Water Bottle | Water Flask

    Having a mug is great, but without a water bottle you will quickly run out of water... In our opinion, the perfect water bottle will not spill in your bag and will be as light and large as possible. Sturdiness is obviously an important factor, less so for a water bottle than for other pieces of equipment, but this criterion should not be neglected.

    The extra features that a product offers is, as usual, an important factor in deciding between the best water bottles. Sometimes you just have to follow logic, the best choice of water bottle on amazon in our opinion is the water bottle from a brand called "Iron Flask".

    water bottle camping guide

    At least you can be sure that they specialise in a specific product and when you see how good their bottles are, it's hard to resist. The name of the bottle is as sober as the name of the brand: Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle. However, the mistake would be to confuse simple with banal, since their water bottle is rather the opposite of banal. Behind this simple design are several important assets.

    1. Stainless steel has already proved its worth with the Stanley Even kitchen kit and we choose this material again for the same reasons. Strong, durable, easy to care for and rust resistant, it's hard to beat for a water bottle.
    2. The insulation is double walled to keep your cold drinks cold and your hot drinks hot.
    3. You have a choice, the Iron Flask comes with 3 lids all with their respective uses to satisfy everyone. In the same logic of choice, there are several sizes and several colours, it's a small bonus but it's always nice to be able to choose.
    4. As usual, there is still the question of weight and capacity, with all the different sizes, don't expect me to list all the details. That said, their product sheet is very comprehensive and the bottles are still very light, especially for steel.

    Finishing with the defects of the product is important to us so that you don't have any bad surprises when you buy it, but for the time being, finding a defect in this product is complicated. The price is not for everyone but if you use it often it is a worthwhile purchase. You could say that this bottle is a bit heavy but that's really the only thing we found.

    Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle
    Iron Flask
    Sports Water Bottle

    5. Stove

    If the backpack is the key piece of transportation on a camping trip, then the stove is the key piece of equipment for cooking while camping. Ironically, you can do without one if you eat cold or make your own fire. Otherwise, it's a must-have that allows you to eat cooked food even when lost in the wilderness.For those who like their coffee in the morning while camping, you will need a stove to heat the water.

    The camp fire option is of course viable, provided you know how to do it, can legally do it or are equipped accordingly. Especially since a bit of rain or simply wet weather can put a damper on your fire dream... The safe bet remains the stove, provided you choose the right one of course. We have chosen the Jetboil Zip Camping Stove Cooking System, Carbon.

    stove camping guide

    The watchwords are safety and ease of use, hence our choice for this product. It is designed to make pasta, rice or soups for 2 people (the kind of dishes that are a dream to warm up while camping). But all stoves can do that, if this one has retained our attention, it is for 3 reasons:

    1. Fast: In addition to being very quick to set up, the water boils in 2 to 3 minutes, which is faster than the hotplate in my house!
    2. Compact: Jetboil has really succeeded in making a product that doesn't take up much space in the bag! It weighs only 340 grams for 0.8 L of available water. Don't expect to feed 4 people at once but you'll have space and lightness on your side.
    3. Easy to use: We are aware that not everyone uses stoves for their camping trips, the good old sandwich being both convenient and easy. Upgrading to a stove can be a scary experience for the uninitiated, in this case no worries, Jetboil has designed a product that is affordable for everyone (except children of course).

    As for the flaws, re-buying gas is an additional cost to run the stove. That's why we recommend you buy a stove that boils water quickly, don't be fooled by the cheaper products that will cost you a fortune in the long run. This is a problem with all stoves but the tank on this one is quite small...

    Jetboil Zip Camping Stove Cooking System, Carbon.
    Zip Camping Stove Cooking System

    6. Cooler

    The cooler is typically the gear you want to take on a summer camping trip but it's always a pain to carry. It's heavy, impractical and the only viable alternative is to put your beers and drinks in a cool stream if there is one and hope they don't move. Besides, your pre-made food that you keep cool is not going to appreciate the heat of the inside of a bag (especially in summer when most people go camping...)

    In short, coolers and camping are not friends and many people still use coolers exclusively for picnics and barbecues.

    Yet there is a solution, one so simple that it's amazing anyone thought of it before. An ingenious combination of backpack and cooler that allows you to carry your cooler more easily, while still being able to take other things. The best available in our opinion? Insulated Backpack Cooler by Earth Pak, as it fulfils the mission of cooler and backpack!

    cooler camping guide

    Firstly, it solves the problem of carrying a traditional cooler as this equipment can be carried like a backpack. Like any good cooler, it will keep your stuff cool, and the Earth Pak promises 72 hours of coolness. A difficult promise to test since the cooler itself is not the only factor that comes into play, the outside temperature or the freshness of the products. However, the 72 hours seems consistent according to several tests.

    This bag is sturdy, waterproof and particularly comfortable, qualities often sought in backpacks. The waterproof aspect is probably the most successful, no chance of water getting in as the bag is fully waterproof. As far as robustness is concerned, the Insulated Backpack Cooler is resistant to punctures and abrasion thanks to the NBR (nitrile) of which it is composed. Its carrying comfort is undeniable with its moulded back panels and extra straps.

    Finally, the Insulated Backpack Cooler is equipped with several small gadgets that make it more ergonomic for everyday use. For example, it has a bottle opener on the side, straps and cords to carry more stuff or external pockets to optimize space. As for the flaws, NBR is notorious for not aging well, so your cooler will probably lose some of its aesthetic appeal over time even though it will still be as efficient and practical as ever. But it is undeniably a good product for those who need a cooler that can follow you wherever you go.

    Insulated Backpack Cooler
    Earth Pak
    Insulated Backpack Cooler

    Best Price/Quality ratio

    1. Camping Kit

    Back to the camping kitchen kits, ergonomics and space saving are still the priority. Durability is obviously a must for all the products we recommend.

    We have chosen MalloMe Camping Cookware Mess Kit Gear as our best value kitchen kit. With a smaller, less expensive kit, don't expect to feed too many people but several sizes are available. However, the low price and quality of the raw materials make it a smart buy for those looking to cook in the wild.

    1. In terms of ergonomics, it's hard to beat this little design gem. Made of aluminium, it is both light and strong and heats up quickly so you don't have to use all the gas in your stove. In addition to the above benefits, aluminium offers durability over many years.
    2. It takes up the minimum amount of space while still having enough food for 2 people.
    3. This kit is very easy to carry around thanks to its small bag that can be hung anywhere.

    In terms of faults, it is not recommended for use on campfires as the handle is plastic and there is no way to attach it over a fire. If you are using a stove, the product will suit you very well, there are three sizes to suit your needs.

    2. Cutlery

    For cutlery, if you're trying your hand at camping and your budget is limited, traditional cutlery works well. UCO cutlery is affordable anyway, so there's no point in recommending anything else.

    Avoid bulky cutlery and be careful when you pick up your knife not to cut yourself. This is the kind of accident that can easily be avoided by taking a knife that doesn't cut like the "Spork" or by taking a knife that cuts badly.

    3. Mug

    The same goes for the mug, if you are looking to limit your budget, a traditional mug will do. Be careful not to break it during the trip, as clay mugs are very fragile to shock. The Infinity Backpacker Mug is also affordable but if you want to spend as little as possible, wait until you are sure you like camping before making this kind of purchase.

    4. Water Bottle | Water Flask

    In the grand scheme of things, what is a good water bottle? Simplicity has been mentioned as the "best bottle". Storage capacity and strength, or even design are all important criteria. As is the strength of the closure so that the bottle does not open in your bag. Our best value water bottle is a bit of all of the above. We chose the Nalgene Wide Mouth Water Bottle.

    With its large storage capacity, low price and simple, practical design, Nalgene's bottle is a safe source. Its timeless look makes it more or less the default water bottle for many campers/hikers. In addition, these US-made bottles are made of BPA/BPS-free plastic. A material that is almost indestructible to impact but sensitive to high temperatures, it is basically the perfect water bottle as long as you drink something cold.

    5. Stove

    If you're just starting out camping, you can usually make sandwiches first and not focus on cooking right away. But you have to start somewhere, don't you? Well, there are some great entry-level stoves that are perfect for outdoor cooking. As with the Jetboil stove, the key words are safety and ease of use. We have also focused on refill life or price to avoid unpleasant surprises. Our ultimate stove in terms of value for money is MSR PocketRocket Ultralight Stove:

    1. Perfect for those who are using a stove for the first time, it is extremely easy to handle. Its affordable price is in keeping with the logic of a first camping stove.
    2. It won't take up much space, as it is small in size and folds up. The space will also depend on the size of the gas bottle you buy but the product itself is very light and small.
    3. It heats water relatively quickly, in 3.5 minutes for 1L of water to be precise. This is not as fast as the Jetboil, but it is very fast for an entry level product.

    Unfortunately, this stove does not come with a gas bottle. Don't worry, they are also affordable (MSR Liquid Fuel Bottle) unlike some brands that sell their stoves for a small price and sell very expensive bottles.

    6. Cooler

    You know our take on traditional coolers in terms of practicality... They're usually great for the beach or picnics but not ideal for camping because of the difficulty of transporting them.

    However, there are some very good and affordable backpack coolers that overcome this problem. The best of these in terms of value for money is in our opinion Everlasting Comfort Insulated Cooler Backpack and here is why:

    1. There is so much room! There's room for 40 cans in addition to the many exterior pockets.
    2. This bag doesn't hold the cold as well as Earth Pak with a promise of 24 hours of coolness versus Earth Pak's 72 hours, but its insulated design keeps things cool and warm if you want to use it that way.
    3. It's comfortable, with padding on the shoulder straps and a large capacity, the Everlasting Comfort bag is really spacious.
    4. It is a waterproof bag! Liquids inside stay in and liquids outside don't get in thanks to its rigid waterproof lining.

    It's hard to find any real fault with this backpack cooler, its performance in strength, durability and coolness are all surpassed by Earth Pak's cooler but the big difference in price totally justifies this imbalance. It's the perfect entry-level cooler and the kind of thing you'd use for camping, picnics, barbecues or beach trips.

    Before we move on to the best sleeping equipment, it is important for us to remind you that if you decide to eat out, please don't leave anything behind. Leaving a place as you found it is a great sign of respect both for nature and for the next people to pass by

    -Now that you know what to eat with in the wilderness, it's time to move on to sleeping arrangements. An essential part of camping, especially when you think about the origin of the word "camp". 

    III. Best Sleeping Camping Gears

    In this section, we'll discuss:

  • Sleeping mat
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Camping pillow
  • Hammock

  • Best Products

    1. Sleeping Mat

    Whether you're camping or not, to sleep well, it's best to have a good mattress. Easier said than done, you might say, and you'd be right. The thing about camping mattresses is that in addition to being comfortable like traditional mattresses, they have to be compact, easy to carry and light. This is a problem because a good mattress is usually thick. Most air mattresses are not of good quality, they tend to puncture and break after some use...

    Choosing a quality camping mattress is therefore a question of compromise. Choosing between lightness while walking but complicated sleep or tedious walking and quality sleep. It may have been like that before, but not anymore, so the idea was to find an inflatable mattress capable of offering a real good night's sleep and being robust enough not to break through at the slightest friction.

    sleeping mat camping guide

    In our opinion, this mattress exists, it is the WELLAX UltraThick FlexFoam Sleeping Pad.

    1. The reason this mattress is so good is that it is suitable for all body types, even the tallest of you are taken into account. Despite its large size, it doesn't take up much space when folded.
    2. In terms of comfort, it doesn't get any better than this, once inflated it is thicker than other mattresses and it holds your shape. If an optimal night's sleep is your goal, look no further.
    3. It's easy to inflate and deflate! Inflating a camping mattress is probably the most difficult thing to do when camping and WALLAX is well aware of this. Not to mention the fact that you have to be super quick to close the cap on most mattresses if you don't want the air to escape.
    4. The icing on the cake is that it is robust and durable. Both tear-resistant and waterproof, FlexFoam Sleeping Pad won't deflate with a single rub.

    As for the flaws, it is a little heavier than average, weighing in at 5.64 pounds (2.5 kg). Its size and thickness don't come out of nowhere. It is also quite expensive, but its durability makes it quite affordable with a long term vision.

    WELLAX UltraThick FlexFoam Sleeping Pad
    UltraThick FlexFoam Sleeping Pad

    2. Tent

    If there's a centerpiece for camping sleep, then it's definitely the tent. It's even the centerpiece of the whole camping experience, there are so many reasons why a tent can ruin your night. Beyond the night itself, a long or tedious setup is enough to put some people off.

    It's hard to give a single word of advice, as comfort, weight, ease of setup and transport, and even sturdiness are all of paramount importance in making a good tent. Our choice for the best tent is therefore an interesting compromise. Some tents are lighter but suffer in terms of comfort and sturdiness.

    Others are really easy to set up but don't offer ease of transport. What I'm trying to say is that it's hard to find a really bad tent, but it's even harder to find a tent that's really consistent on all of these features. The best tent we can recommend is definitely the Coleman Sundome Tent. Sometimes there's not much to explain, this tent is just consistent, it's a great value.

    tent camping guide

    We don't recommend it in cold weather, that's the only time it doesn't perform. But if you're going to be camping in winter or cold weather, make sure you get a tent specifically made for that

    1. Don't worry, it's easy to set up. It's not the kind of tent that can be unfolded and set up in 2 minutes but we don't really recommend this kind of tent. There is a little bit of work involved but you won't have a hard time, I promise!
    2. It is durable and strong. An important aspect for any product in our opinion, the idea is to invest in a product that is capable of doing its job in the first place, but doing it for as long as possible. The Coleman Sundome Tent is no exception to this rule, it is wind and water resistant without too much trouble, it is not indestructible against tearing, but all tents have problems.
    3. Hard to believe, but this tent is both very spacious and relatively light. The weight will of course depend on the size of the tent you take (it is available for 2, 3, 4 and 6 people). Some tents are less bulky when transported, but it is not constrained and the extra space is well worth the cost.

    It's hard to find a truly perfect tent, as mentioned before, we don't recommend this tent in winter. But if you're looking for an all-terrain tent that won't disappoint, this is the best choice for us.

    Coleman Sundome Tent
    Sundome Tent

    3. Sleeping Bag

    After the tent, the sleeping bag, another essential for a good camper. The problem is that not everyone is looking for the same thing in a sleeping bag. Some are looking for comfort, others for warmth, others for ease of transport and size in the bag. Most of us are looking for a mix of all of these things for as little money as possible.

    We know that, but sometimes (often) it's better to invest in a more expensive product for better features and to keep it longer. Coleman is definitely doing a good job, after designing the best tent, they also made the best sleeping bag with the Coleman Big Basin Sleeping Bag.

    sleeping bag camping guide

    Ironically, despite the biggest flaw of the previous product (the cold), this sleeping bag is optimal for winter nights. Not only is it very warm, but it will fit all sizes and shapes without any problem. Made of polyester, this sleeping bag is robust, weatherproof and very durable. It weighs just under 8 pounds (3.6 kg), which is relatively heavy without being excessive but it will keep you warm.

    In terms of flaws, the problem with polyester is that it retains odours so remember to air it out at dawn. It is also quite bulky, even when folded, but you can hang it in your bag without too much trouble.

    Coleman Big Basin 15 Big and Tall Adult Sleeping Bag
    Big Basin 15 Big & Tall Adult Sleeping Bag

    4. Camping Pillow

    As usual, there are several criteria that make a good product a good product. In the camping environment, space saving and weight are even more important than in other environments. Durability and sturdiness are also important as they will be exposed to less favourable conditions than a home product for example.

    But the most important aspect of a pillow in our opinion is comfort. A pillow that is not comfortable, even if it meets all the other criteria, is not worth buying. You might as well use a jumper from your bag in that case... Nevertheless, even if comfort is the priority, the other criteria should not be left aside.

    camping ultimate guide

    That's why we think the ultimate camping pillow is the Portable Memory Foam Camping Pillow by the Cozy Hut Store.

    1. We've dedicated a paragraph to the importance of comfort in a pillow so you can imagine that we've made sure it's comfortable. Between its velour cover and its high quality memory foam, it offers both comfort and support for your neck.
    2. It's foldable and comes with packaging to store it in your bag, it really doesn't take up much space at 5.5 inches (less than 14 cm) when folded.
    3. Needless to say, it's lightweight, like many pillows, its quality materials make the price high but it won't let you down, it's durable.

    On the downside, it is expensive for a pillow, but if you want to invest in quality camping gear, you can be sure it won't disappoint.

    Portable Memory Foam Camping Pillow Travel Pillow Ergonomic
    Cozy Hut
    Portable Memory Foam Camping Pillow

    5. Hammock

    To finish off the best sleeping equipment section, let's not forget hammocks. While the tent is still the go-to for most campers, the hammock is a great option for several reasons. It takes up less space, it's lighter, it's easier and quicker to set up and provided you have two trees, you can set up on a slope. It is often better than a tent if you want to travel light and fast or there is no flat ground where you are going.

    hammock camping guide

    Tents are however recommended if you have a lot of stuff to store inside the tent, as hammocks are less spacious. For those who prefer the lightness and versatility of a hammock, it is ideal to have a product that is strong, comfortable and easy to use. For this reason we have chosen the Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Hammocks.

    1. If you are looking for a hammock, you are probably looking for a compact and lightweight product. With a weight of 24oz (- 0.7 kg) it weighs almost nothing.
    2. Despite its small weight, it can support 400 oz (+ 180 kg), enough to satisfy all body types. In length too, 120 inches (305 cm) long and 78 inches (198 cm) wide, good luck finding someone too tall.
    3. One of the advantages of the hammock compared to the tent is also the price, the Wise Owl Outfitters hammock is no exception to the rule and at a very affordable price.
    4. You might think that the monopoly of comfort when camping is held by the tent, but this is totally wrong. This hammock is particularly comfortable, ensuring a real night's sleep even in the wild.

    The biggest drawback of this hammock is that it doesn't come with a mosquito net and rain cover... They are available on Amazon but you will have to increase your budget, in terms of quality, there is nothing to say.

    Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Hammocks
    Wise Owl Outfitters
    Camping Hammocks

    Best Quality/Price Ratio 

    As with the previous value for money sections, our quality criteria remain high, so there are no nasty surprises! However, special attention is paid to the price to ensure a quality camping experience at the lowest possible price.

    1. Sleeping Mat

    Back to the camping mattresses, we wanted to avoid the entry level mattresses that break down in 2 weeks, comfort is very important, but so is durability. One of the advantages of taking a cheaper camping mattress is that it is often less heavy and less bulky.

    This is the case with Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad, our choice for the best value camping mattress. Despite its extremely light weight of 0.9 Pounds (0.4 kg), it is both waterproof, tear resistant and comfortable. It is also very compact, ideal for saving space.

    Sleepingo's product is also relatively thick when inflated, 2 inch (+ 5 cm), so it's not as comfortable as at home, but you'll sleep well.It's quick to inflate, so unless you're already out of breath from walking, you'll be able to inflate it without exhausting yourself.

    The icing on the cake is that their customer service is apparently excellent, so if you are unlucky enough to have a problem with their products, you can always contact them (we haven't experienced this ourselves). Sleepingo are so confident that they have a lifetime satisfaction guarantee. It's hard to find fault with this product... For its price, you won't find better, we highly recommend it, a sure value!

    2. Tent

    For our best value tent, we recommend the same as our best tent. The Coleman Sundome Tent meets all the criteria of a good and affordable tent.

    3. Sleeping Bag and Pillow

    f you are looking for value, you don't need to buy a pillow for your camping trip. It's a good buy if you're going to be camping a lot, you'll clearly sleep better and it doesn't take up much space.

    The best choice in terms of value for money for a camping pillow is to buy a sleeping bag with a pillow included. For this reason we offer you the following sleeping bag.

    For the sleeping bag, we have decided to go with a polyester product because of the qualities of this material that we have developed for the best sleeping bag (warm, robust, weatherproof, very durable but odour-retaining). The sleeping bag in question is the HiHiker Camping Sleeping Bag + Travel Pillow.

    1. Its biggest advantage is its price, it is very affordable for all the qualities it brings. If you want to keep costs down but still have a good sleeping bag that won't let you down, this one from HiHiker is perfect.
    2. Waterproof and easy to clean, this sleeping bag adapts to you and not the other way around. It is also very light even though it is very bulky.
    3. It comes with a small polyester pillow, a nice addition that proves how affordable this sleeping bag is.

    However, we do not recommend it for tall people, unfortunately only one size is available and it will not fit. If you are over 6'2 (189 cm), we cannot recommend it. If you are over 250 pounds (113 kg), this sleeping bag will be too small. For the others, no worries! The product is also quite bulky but at least it will keep you warm easily.

    4. Hammock

    To finish, let's take a look at the best hammock for this section. As with the best hammock, weight and ease of use are central criteria. Size is also important for optimal transport. But it's comfort and price that matter most, since it's on these two factors that hammocks differ the most from each other (almost all hammocks are light, not too bulky and easy to use). The best hammock for the price is the Lifeleads Camping Hammock.

    With an almost unbeatable price and the comfort you would expect from any hammock, Lifeleads offers the entry-level hammock of your dreams. In addition to comfort, this hammock ticks all the boxes you would expect from a hammock:

  • Lightweight
  • Small and compact when stored
  • Can carry a substantial 500 lb (226.80 kg) load
  • It also resists tearing
  • etc.
    • It does however suffer from the same problem as the best hammock mentioned earlier, it does not come with the mosquito net and rain cover. If you are camping in good weather and don't have a problem with small animals, then no problem, otherwise the budget will increase a bit. 


      Here is a small list of products that you may need to take camping but do not need our advice to choose:

      • Toilet paper
      • Menstrual products
      • Toilet bag
      • Toothbrush, (general hygiene)
      • Identity card
      • Phone (with full battery, otherwise take a good external battery)
      • Sunscreen
      • Star map
      • A good book
      • A garbage bag
      • A good book, a rubbish bag, etc.
      camping friends trip

      Camping is one of the best activities to do for so many different reasons.

      • Whether it's for the sporting aspect, which allows you to do sport while enjoying yourself and without crowding into gyms.
      • Or for the beauty of exploring nature, discovering new spots or having your loved ones discover them. An activity that encourages curiosity and even wonder.
      • It is also a very good way to recharge your batteries, to clear your head and forget about your problems, whether for one night or for several weeks.
      • It is a discipline that is suitable for all levels, whether you want to camp in a small forest near your home or in the middle of the hinterland far from civilisation.
      • It is an activity that is quite affordable, some purchases can be daunting but once you have the equipment, there is almost no expense involved (which is also why there is so much emphasis on durability).

      Whatever the reasons for your love of camping, we hope that this article has helped you to choose some of the products you need for your next outing. 

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      Baptiste is an adventurer with a passion for urban and wilderness exploration and adventure, and a lover of vintage objects with timeless charm. As a Founding member of the Eiken team, he tries to share his passion and expertise for travel and vintage fashion through his articles.

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