When the summer months come around, campers start getting excited to carry on with their long-awaited hiking trips.
Of course, every trip would be incomplete without a great selection of high-quality essential camping and hiking gear. Forget the cool gadgets for camping, these are the essentials, the must haves for camping and hiking.
Packing for a camping trip also depends on what kind of trip you have in mind. If you’re driving to another city or planning small day hikes from a populated town, you can carry a big stove. If you’re hiking more than 30 miles, you would prefer taking along a more portable stove that is both lightweight and easy to use.
The most suitable hiking and camping gear depends on weight and ease of packing. So make sure you do your homework when buying the right equipment for your perfect getaway trip. Whether you’re a beginner to hiking or a pro, we’ve got you covered.
Camping Gear: Must Have for Camping
Tents for overnight hiking or camping are available in a variety of sizes and prices. If you want to travel long distances and prefer carrying lightweight stuff, then you should look for a swag, bedroll or a portable, lightweight, waterproof bivy sack. Bedrolls and bivy sacks are robust, shapeless and waterproof bags that can readily convert into sleeping bags and are easy to set up almost anywhere. These bags help you keep off from the ground, and those with mosquitos nets are definitely a blessing.
We recommend this Coleman Dark Room Sundome Camping Tent. It comes in either a four or six-sleeper size. For families, it’s always better to get a bigger tent to allow for extra luggage and storage of other camping gear. What makes this tent great is that its dark room technology blocks 90% of sunlight (vs. a comparable Coleman tent) so you can sleep in past sunrise!
Comfortable, weatherproof clothing is a must for your camping trip. Water resistant pants, shorts and shoes manufactured with breathable material makes climbing and trekking a lot easier. A rain jacket may also come handy in unpredictable weather. To dry yourself clean use a microfiber towel as it absorbs moisture and dries rapidly.
Merino wool clothes are perfect for both camping and hiking – read our full post to find out why Merino wool clothing is perfect for traveling.
With the help of a portable solar charger, you don’t have to miss any Facebook post or email notification anymore just because your phone battery is dead. Invest in a long-lasting and durable charger that can accompany you throughout your trip.
Backpacks help you differentiate between a camping trip and a hiking trip. If you’re camping, you don’t really need a backpack, but it is a must-have if you’re planning to go on small hikes.
Backpacks fall into various categories, including day backpacks (read our list of top functional and stylish daypacks), overnights, and long trips. Make sure to purchase a backpack that fits you perfectly. If it doesn’t, you might end up with blisters and backache during the journey.
One of the best rated dry bags on Amazon is the 20 liter dry bag from Earth Pak. You can safely store all the things you need for a day on the water. The bag is made of a water-repellent material called 500D PVC that can even float.
I am very enthusiastic about this bag. It is of excellent quality and doesn’t take up much space, but you can store a lot in it and I have found that everything stays 100% dry. I tested it in the ocean and nothing got wet. I was able to fit sandals, a towel, a change of clothes, sunscreen, a brush, my wallet and a few other things. However, you might prefer two straps instead of one. The larger ones have those. The strap can be easily removed, which is very convenient.
The bag is easy to roll up and takes up very little space in my suitcase. I think the quality is very high and it is easy to wipe to keep it clean.
There are different sizes to choose from: either with a capacity of 5L, 10L, 20L or even up to 40 liters in volume! The versatile accessories of this lightweight dry bag also include a waterproof mobile phone case for smartphones that can be a maximum of 16，5 cm long / wide (measured diagonally). Very useful is also the zippered front pocket for quick access to essential items without having to open the top main compartment. Like that you have easy access to keys, knives, and other personal items you want to keep close at hand while on the go!
A First Aid Kit
Carrying a first aid kit along with you on your trip shouldn’t come off as a surprise – it’s one of the essential camping and hiking gear. Stack your box with the usual aspirin, bandages, gauze, and painkillers. It’s better to do some research too before heading out. Include some camping essentials like bug sprays, Aloe Vera and moleskin for blisters and burns.
This ready-made first aid kit is ideal for camping and hiking as it is compact, organised, water-resistant, lightweight and includes over 100 items.
Looking for an epic hiking destination? Check out our hike from Bologna to Florence on the Path on Gods in Italy:
Hiking Gear: Must Have For Hikers
Hiking is comparatively riskier than camping. To have a good time you can ask a friend to accompany you on your trip.
If you have a little extra cash on your hand to spend, make sure to invest in a good pair of binoculars. You could even purchase digital binoculars that will automatically record everything you see. Sony recently launched DEV Digital Recording binoculars that work in high resolution even under water. So the next time you go back home from your hiking trip, you can boastfully tell tales of you spotting deadly crocodiles under water.
A good pair of sunglasses is essential for hiking. Check out our list of the best sunglasses for hiking for more guidance.
One of the major problems that could hinder your hiking is mediocre phone connectivity. This is a considerable risk, especially if you are heavily relying on internet and GPS connection. For long-haul hiking trips purchase software rather than your phone’s inbuilt GPS. Most smartphones have miserable battery life and are not compatible with hiking trips. A durable, long-lasting GPS unit has comprehensive geographic maps that also serve as compasses.
Garmin has a range of great handheld GPS’s that are great for hiking, compare their options here.
What shoes you carry along, depends on the type of trip you’re planning to go for. Regular sneakers are just fine, but if your trip is long and requires a lot of climbing and trekking then you might want to pack high-performance hiking boots that provide support, protection, balance your movements, and rigidity while running and climbing.
Boots inevitably make a lot of noise, but they are definitely sturdier than sneakers. They are perfect for people who like getting their shoes dirty in the mud. While planning a hiking trip you specifically want to invest in trail runners, hiking boots and approach shoes. Trail runners are lightweight and provide very little ankle stability. They are perfect for jumping and climbing.
Approach shoes are a combination of hiking boots and trail runners. They are suitable for climbing and have greater a life expectancy. Most people prefer approach shoes, but overall hiking boots do the job perfectly well too.
Child carrier – Kids Backpack
Having a child is great, but it also means that hiking changes towards strolling with a trolley on even surfaces… unless you find a comfortable way to carry your child over longer distances on your back. And that freedom comes with a child carrier, like the Poco from Osprey. It fits like a good backpack and you carry the weight with the hips thanks to a good belt. You can change the size very quickly and it won’t even take a minute, so that it fits all sizes. The child seat itself can also be quickly changed in its size, so that you can carry it for 1-3 years. The child sits safe and got a good view. Our daughter fell regularly asleep, as it was so comfortble. And she wanted to get into the seat every time she saw it.
The Poco got all it needs, from rain and sun cover, but also easy to reach pockets, where you can store food, drinks and the diapers of course. The price is fair for what you get and it keeps its value if you should consider to sell it afterwards again.
Whether you’re hiking short distances or long, there is no such thing as enough water. Carry as much water as possible, so you stay hydrated the whole time. But if you’re backpacking, you’ll have a hard time carrying water, and you’ll require a filtration system. Holding bottles in hands while climbing is definitely risky, we suggest you purchase Iodine tablets or a hydration pack that attaches to your backpack (like this one), allowing you free movement.
Trekking poles, hiking sticks or walking sticks, you name it. Some hikers swear by these useful tools to help them pass through the steep landscape and provide support on rocky terrain. However, these sticks could be painful to pack, and we recommend you keep them home unless you suffer from a bad leg or knee and require support throughout your trip.
Remember you’re out there in the wild, chances are you’ll have zero connectivity. It is reliable to carry paper maps along with you in case your phone GPS gives up on you. You can easily print a map online or purchase it at a minimum cost from the local camping station.
These were some of the essential camping and hiking gear to consider taking along with you on your trip. They not only come handy but are also lifesaving. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy!
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