There has been a resurgence in camping in recent years as people realize that you don’t need to be some aspiring Everest summiter to enjoy spending a night in the wild with limited cell service. Vacations are a great way to unplug, and few journeys allow you to truly do that like a camping trip.
Camping doesn’t need to be a strenuous affair, as the rise in car camping attests. But it also doesn’t have to be some never-lift-a-finger “glamping” experience, either. You want to make sure you’re roughing it a little because half the fun of a camping trip is doing stuff yourself—and doing that stuff wrong and laughing with your friends about it after.
To get you equipped for an epic camping trip, we gathered all the gear you’ll need. And no, it’s not an accident that there isn’t a portable phone charger on this list. You’ll survive without playing Pokemon Go for a couple days.
POLER TWO MAN TENT
Who says a tent has to be a boring? Poler’s two-man tent has a colorful pattern that is hilariously titled “Rainbro” and has been proven to repel mosquitos and bears. (We are TOTALLY kidding about that. Always bring bug spray and keep your food secured. Seriously.) The tent has two doors and a vestibule to keep your gear dry and uses just one pole, so you can avoid the typical fumbling bloopers that typically accompany tent setup.
COTOPAXI SUENO SLEEPING BAG
Filled with responsibly sourced 800-fill duck down and rated to 15 degrees, Cotopaxi’s sleeping bag weighs just 2 lbs, 13 oz. It also has some useful features like a pocket to hold a pillow (or sweatshirt, or towel, or whatever separates your head from the ground) and a half-length zipper on the left side that goes along with the full-length zipper on the right so you can sit up in your bag and keep your toes toasty.
THERMAREST NEOAIR XLITE
Unless you’re some kind of masochist, you need a good sleeping pad. The NeoAir Xlite is ready for an Appalachian Trail thru-hike, so it’s more than up to the task for a weekend car camping trip. It weighs a scant 12 ounces and packs up smaller than a one-liter water bottle, but still provides tons of comfort so you can get a good night’s sleep.
TOPO DESIGNS KLETTLERSACK X-PAC
A sturdy daypack like this one from Topo Designs is all you need for most camping trips. The X-Pac material used on the exterior makes the bag waterproof and adds strength so it can stand up to your worst abuse. It has 1,368 cubic inches of storage and the flip top of the Klettlersack makes it easy to get at all your stuff. There are also side pockets for your water bottle and lash tabs to attach other gear to. The pack is sleek enough that it will double as a work bag (complete with padded laptop sleeve) when you return from your trip.
MIIR WATER BOTTLE
A good water bottle is essential in life, not just on a camping trip. With Miir’s bottles, you get the added benefit of doing good, since money from the purchase helps support clean water projects. You can even track which projects your bottle helped online. The BPA-free bottle looks great with its stainless steel construction and powder coated finish.
STUMPTOWN VOYAGER COFFEE KIT
When you go camping, you wake up with the sun. That makes having quality coffee all the more necessary. And it’s not a myth that coffee tastes better in the great outdoors. This Stumptown kit has everything you need for an epic cup of joe, including a grinder, foldable pour-over set-up, filters, and, most importantly, a bag of Stumptown’s famed Hair Bender blend.
SNOW PEAK CAMP STOVE STARTER KIT
A campfire is an essential part of the camping experience, whether it’s for telling ghost stories or keeping warm. But it’s nice to have a camp stove as well for preparing your food. It’s not a big production to start up or put out like a wood fire and it allows you to get your food faster, which is always a plus. Snow Peak’s elegant starter kit features a stove and a titanium pot and a spork because sporks are awesome.
BURTON CAMP CHAIR
If you want to channel your inner cowboy and sit on a log throughout your camping adventure go right ahead, but prepare to be jealous of the other people on your trip who brought a chair. Burton’s Camp Chair has a great southwestern print that looks right at home in the wild, and is the perfect height so you don’t feel like your performing a squat every time you sit down.
BLACK DIAMOND SPOT HEADLAMP
When we’re in our homes, we don’t really notice what time the sun goes down unless we’re busy snapping pics for Instagram. But when you’re camping, you are acutely aware of the departing sun. And unless you plan on going to bed at 7:30 and never have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you’ll need a headlamp. The Black Diamond Spot has 200 lumens of power that allows you to see up to 80 meters and features simple brightness controls. It is also waterproof so it can stand up to the elements.
DAN & DAVE SONS OF LIBERTY PLAYING CARDS
No matter how adventurous you are, there still ends up being a lot of downtime on a camping trip. There are still few more versatile ways to pass the time than with a deck of cards. Whatever your game of choice is, the competition gets heated (and fun) when you’ve got nothing else to do but play “one more hand.” Art Of Play sells a ton of decks that take the design up several notches. One favorite is this Sons Of Liberty pack featuring highly detailed artwork inspired by the American Revolution. It makes a game of War feel much more important.