Having the right tool can make any job look easy. The same is true for camping gear. Having the right equipment and knowing how to use it can make the difference between a warm night’s sleep and a cold one; a dry backpack and a wet one; a hot meal and stale granola.
Below are some tools to help you evaluate the factors that are worth considering when it comes to choosing your camping gear, as you mark off the items for your camping checklist. It’s important that you pick the right gear for YOU…as everyone is different and some priorities rank higher than others. There are also links to product reviews and pricing data to help you further determine the right camping equipment for you.
When it comes down to factors to consider, climate trumps them all. The temperature and weather considerations can easily sway you from a lightweight sleeping bag to a mummy bag, or make the decision as to whether to pack a bed roll or just sleep on the ground. If your camping expeditions take you through multiple seasons and areas, some gear can bridge diverse environments…some can not. For example, my kid’s cotton flannel sleeping bags are great for summer campouts and indoor sleepovers, however, they would be terribly inadequate for a Spring campout along the Appalachian Trail. Be sure to plan ahead and look at the climates you'll encounter on your next planned hike or adventure camps overnight.
- Weight & Dimensions:
You’ll notice that all of the product reviews have product weights and dimensions. If you’re driving up to your campsite in your van or SUV, this may not seem significant. If you’re carrying all of your gear on your back, every ounce matters!. Having a lightweight camping stove, sleeping bag, and tent, will allow you to cover more miles with fewer blisters. I know that everyone is different, but I’m uncomfortable when my pack starts to approach 40 pounds. So consider your gear’s weight and size if you ever want to take it backpacking or hiking.
While I’m not a big fan of over-priced name brand items, some name brands are well worth the higher cost. I think this is especially applicable to clothing and footwear. Waterproof boots with double stitching and a fabric-attached tongue will keep your feet dry walking through a small stream…many others will not! And there’s a reason why Gore-Tex is so expensive…try it on a winter trip in the woods and you’ll see why. Depending on your camping habits, you may not need your gear to endure for many miles & years, in which case cheap camping gear beats durable camping gear. There are many brands of camping equipment that have good reputations for being durable under the elements, and some are easier on the pocketbook than others. So talk with hiking club friends, read product reviews (like the ones below), and decide for yourself which products give you the most bang for YOUR buck.
The list of our camping gear reviews below is a growing one. Most of the information comes from camping, hunting, and other field expedition experience. We try to supply a complete and unbiased review to give you a summary of product performance, limitations, cost evaluation, and features. If you have a product that you’d like us to test and review, please contact us.
Camping Gear Buying Guides
& Product Reviews:
GoalZero Torch 250: Product Review
Camping Tents: A Buying Guide
Choosing the Right Camping Shovel
Buying Tips for Camping Sleeping Bags
Camping Chairs, Stools & Benches
Eureka Silver City Sleeping Bag Review
Garmin Rino GPS / Radio - Product Review
Orion GoScope 70 - Product Review Survival Hax Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad - Product Review
Leave Camping Gear & Return to the Camping Field Guide homepage
Would you like to subscribe to my FREE monthly newsletter, The Roasted Marshmallow? It tells you each month about the new information that I’ve added, new product reviews, our camping tip of the month, and perhaps a few other fun antidotes, stories, and ideas! Just fill out the simple form below.