Basic Camping & Hiking Equipment

Enjoying the Great Outdoors in Style & Safety

Ready to head off into the wild blue yonder for a fun camping or hiking trip with the family?  If you find yourself a bit rusty on what and how to pack, this list should serve as a guide to camping and hiking essentials.

Description Popular Products

Navigational Equipment

The old-school compass is top priority on a hiker's list of essentials and now technology offers dual-purpose equipment such as sport watches and hunting knives that are fitted with a compass and altimeter.

GPS units have come a long way in terms of functionality, design and price.  They are not likely to replace the compass altogether though because the GPS relies on a power source, which has the potential to drain, and readings can also be difficult to pick up under a heavily clouded sky.  It is always recommended to have a compass of some sort, on hand as back-up to a GPS unit.

Silva Explorer Compass
at  L.L.Bean, Inc.

Hydration & Water Purification

It is essential to keep well hydrated when hiking so be sure to carry water with you at all times.  Remember that although the body can subsist for weeks without food, water is vital to your survival!  Purification units will ensure the safety of your drinking water and are useful as an alternative to boiling your water before you drink it.

Hydration Packs
Camelbak Powderbak Hydration Pack

First Aid Kits

First Aid kits come in various shapes and sizes and it is vital to have one on hand for your camping or hiking trip.  A basic kit will comprise of the tools, supplies, and instructions for treating various minor injuries, whereas a larger one will facilitate treatment of complex emergencies.  The duration of your trip and the terrain you will be facing on your hikes and in your campsites are considerations for selecting an appropriate first aid kit.  If you are traveling with children, you may want to supplement your kit with an extra box of Band-Aids and a selection of antiseptic creams.

First Aid

Utility Knife

This is possibly the most useful item in your backpack.  While hunters & fishermen might prefer a single blade - straight or serrated, campers and hikers will probably find a multi-functional tool more useful.  Multi-tools feature a good sharp blade and a variety of other tools such as pliers, a screwdriver, a bottle opener, scissors, that may come in handy.

Our Top Tip:  Add a note to your pre-camping "To Do" list to sharpen your blade.

Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier
at  Walmart

Frontal Lamps, Flashlights and Lanterns

A flashlight or a frontal lamp could get you out of some sticky situations in the great outdoors!  It will help you find your way back to your camp site, as well as help you see nocturnal animals and other potential dangers in the dark.  Camp site lighting has come a long way from the old kerosene lanterns that were not only cumbersome, but a fire hazard.  Thankfully a range of solar powered lights offer an economical and eco-friendly solution to campsite lighting, but battery-operated units are still popular with campers.

Tulip Lantern

Mattresses & Sleeping Bags

Good quality sleeping bags are tailored for different weather conditions.  Before purchasing one, determine when you are most likely to use it which will help you decide which type of fill and bag design is going to be most suitable for your needs.  Mummy bags taper at the feet, widen at the shoulders, and taper again into a hood.  Their design fits close to the body and keeps the most warmth in.  Heat is sacrificed for the extra room you will get in a rectangular bag.

Mats, although not essential, are certainly a luxury on a camping trip.  Whether or not you have to carry your mat will probably be the determining factor on what you choose for a hiking trip.  Inflatable beds will make “roughing it” a little more comfortable for campers who are able to drive to their final destination.

Sleeping Bags

Cooking & Food Storage

Once again, having to hike with your cooking equipment and cooler vs. being able to drive it into your campsite, is going determine how and what you choose.  Food storage is extremely important, especially when it comes to wild animals.  Make sure to stash anything that may attract bears or other wild animals in a tree, or lock it away in the car or your camper.


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Tents & Sleeping Bags
Ventura 18'x16'x80'' Family Dome Tent w/Screen Porch
at  Walmart
Grand Valley 6 Person Tent (11'X 9')
at  Walmart
Hiking Boots
Wrangler Hero - Hiker Shorts
at  Walmart
Walking Sticks
Women's Trail Trekking Poles
HUGO Smoke Folding Cane
at  Value Valet

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