The products featured in this article have been independently reviewed. When you buy something through the retail links on this page, we may earn commission at no cost to you, the reader. The Sports Illustrated editorial team is not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more here.
Camping gear options have really, ahem, branched out over the years. No longer are you limited to a standard tent, a sleeping bag and some general tools for starting fires, fishing or hunting and taking care of basic hygiene. Now there’s a wide range of camping equipment designed to help you thrive in the great outdoors and make the most of your camping trip.
For whatever type of camping you want to do—from car camping and trail hiking to living it up in an RV—there’s equipment out there ready to make the experience all the more worthwhile, restful and safer. But navigating the aisles at REI and even scrolling online sites like Amazon to find camping equipment can be overwhelming due to the quantity of camping equipment available. Not to mention the seemingly endless array of brands—from Coleman and Patagonia to Kelty and NEMO—to choose from. But don’t worry. We’ve tracked down and collected the best camping gear available today.
Our Top Picks for the Best Camping Gear:
- Best Tent: Mineral King 3 Tent
- Best Sleeping Bag: Stoic Groundwork Single Sleeping Bag
- Best Camping Mattress: Brooklyn Wanderlust
- Best Camping Sleeping Pad: Lightweight Series Air Pad - Double
- Best Camping Pillow: TREKOLOGY Ultralight Inflatable Camping Travel Pillow
- Best Camping Stove: Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System
- Best Camping Grill: Camp Chef Rainier 2X
- Best Camping Cook Set: GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Camper Cook Set
- Best Cooler for Camping: Yeti Tundra 65 Hard Cooler
- Best Camping Chair: Big Agnes Big Six Camp Chair
- Best Camping Hammock: JungleNest Hammock
- Best Camping Lantern: Biolite AlpenGlow 500
- Best Camping Headlamp: BINDI Ultralight Headlamp
- Best Camping Duffle Bag: Patagonia Black Hole 55
A full mesh canopy and a rainfly that’s designed for easy securing when a storm catches you by surprise, the Mineral King 3 Tent gives you space to stretch out (with just over 42 square feet of floor space) while delivering features intended to make your camping trip memorable—not miserable. When set up, its two doors can be secured open to help ventilation. And its five pockets and vestibule for dry gear help you keep the interior tidy and your personal belongings dry.
- 3-person capacity, interior height: 41 inches, floor dimensions: 68 inches x 90 inches, floor space: 42.5 sq. ft., packed size: 7 inches x 25 inches
- Trail weight: 6 pounds; packed weight: 7 pounds
If you’re a fan of winter camping but you hate the idea of freezing while you sleep, the Stoic Groundwork Single Sleeping Bag has you covered. Its mummy-style design and dense fabric help to trap warmth and protect you from the elements all the way down to zero degree temperatures.
- Max user height: 6 feet, shoulder circumference: 70 inches, hip circumference: 56 inches, foot circumference: 40 inches, bag length: 6 feet, stuff size: 15.5 inches x 10 inches
- Weight: 5 pounds
- Nylon material is dirt- and water-resistant
Are you someone, maybe a hiker, who appreciates and respects nature—but still wants a good night’s sleep in an RV? The Brooklyn Wanderlust mattress is a two-layer design built to give you comfort wherever you set up camp for the evening. Its two inch top layer is a gel memory foam that contours to the body and helps keep you cool during hot nights, followed by a four inch base second layer constructed from high-density foam for stability and support. If you opt for the 12- or 14-inch sizes, your mattress will include a third additional layer that sits between the top gel memory foam and high-density base layers for a softer feel.
- Quilted fabric treated to resist spills and staining
- Available in 6 inches, 8 inches, 10 inches, 12 inches and 14 inches sizes
The ALPS Mountaineering Lightweight Series Air Pad offers cushion and support between you and the ground—with plenty of space up top to roll around alone or share with your partner. It provides three inches of air cushion and can easily be separated into two sleeping pads with a little distance is appreciated.
- 3 inches thickness when fully inflated
- A Velcro fastener up the middle offers easy detaching and reattaching of the two pads
When you’re ready to rest after a day of trekking the backcountry, the last thing you want to do is blow up an inflatable pillow. The TREKOLOGY Ultralight Inflatable Camping Travel Pillow is designed to fully inflate within three to five breaths of air, so you can rest your head and your lungs at the end of a long day. Plus, it deflates in seconds and packs up to be smaller and lighter than a soda can.
- Surface area: 12 inches x 16 inches, Depth: 4 inches
- Detachable latch for securing to your sleeping surface
- Pillow surface is a durable and elastic TPU fabric
The lightweight and compact Jetboil MiniMo Cooking System is designed for one to two people in need of a quick hot meal or hot water. It boils liquid in under five minutes and has a 54-minute total burn time on one full tank of propane fuel. The easy-push ignition also helps to make sure you don’t have to expend too much energy when it’s time to start cooking. The design was made to save space in your pack and there’s even an extra cup for eating and drinking.
- Size: 5 inches x 6 inches
- 1 ounce weight
- Stainless steel burner, metal handles, aluminum cup, neoprene cup cozy
Need a way to rustle up some grub without having to lug around heavy cooking gear or use a fire pit? The Camp Chef Rainier 2X Camp Stove offers two burners that fold into a suitcase-like carrying case for easy portability. It takes a one pound propane tank and features matchless ignition so you can fire up and get cooking in no time flat. The Camp Chef Rainier 2X Camp Stove comes with a one-year warranty.
- Material: Frame and drip tray: Stainless steel, griddle/grill surface: Aluminum with nonstick finish
- 15 pound weight
- Propane fuel
The Bugaboo Camper Cook Set supplies your camp kitchen with the cookware, containers and plates you need to feed a group of four and store leftovers for later. The set comes with a two liter and three liter pot with strainer lids, a frying pan with a nonstick, high-heat aluminum cooking surface, four 14 fluid ounces insulated mugs with sipping lids, a pot gripper and a carry bag that’s welded so you can use it as a sink. There are also four 14 fluid ounce bowls and four 7.5-inch plates.
- Mugs and bowls are BPA free
- Stackable for space-saving storage and easy transport
Venture into nature with a cooler that’s designed to keep your drinks cold and food hot. The YETI brand needs no introduction by now. Its Tundra 65 Hard Cooler includes all the temperature-preserving specs you’d expect and it makes space for 42 beverage cans or up to 52 pounds of ice. The non-slip feet beneath the cooler keep it secure when in a vehicle, while the leakproof and durable design protects whatever the Tundra 65 holds inside of it.
- Size: 30.6 inch width x 17.3 inch depth x 16 inch height (external dimensions), 23.1 inch width x 10.6 inch depth x 11.1 inch height (internal dimensions)
- 29 pound weight
- Material: UV-resistant polyethylene
Big Agnes designed its Big Six Camp Chair for easy carrying, unfoldi and breaking down whenever and wherever you need a good rest. It’s a compact size that won’t take up a ton of space at the campsite or in the trunk of your vehicle. And if you’re setting up on uneven terrain, the Big Six Camp Chair features a self-equalizing center pole that levels it out so you’re not doing a balancing act between two or more of the chair’s feet. It lacks a cup holder, but makes it up for it in comfort!
- Size: 2 inch width x 20 inch height
- 3 pound weight
- Material: Frame and poles: Lightweight aluminum, print material: polyester oxford with polyurethane coating and nylon polyester ripstop
Want to sleep out of the tent but off the ground? The Eagles Nest Outfitters JungleNest Hammock keeps you safe from the bugs while setting you up for a perfect view of the night sky. It can hold up to 300 pounds and the mesh bug net can be unzipped when buzzing critters aren’t an issue. The hammock is designed for easy setup in a lightweight package and it’s meant to be a budget-friendly alternative with many of the same benefits you’d get from high-end brands.
- Size: 10 inches x 5 inches x 5 inches (packed), 10 feet x 4 feet10 inches (unpacked)
- 3 ounces weight (24 ounces with suspension straps)
- Material: Nylon, mesh
- Comes with unzippable mesh bug net (nonremovable)
Light the way forward on the trail or set the scene for a late-night storytelling session in the tent. The Biolite AlpenGlow 500 lantern comes with an assortment of light settings and color options, so you can set the mood and let in as much—or as little—of the night as you want. Perch it on the ground or hang it above from its hook. It also doubles as a battery charger for USB devices, making it a great multi-tool!
- Size: 5.4 inches x 3.8 inches
- 13.4 ounces weight
- Up to 500 lumens of light intensity
- Rechargeable battery life: 5 hours of burn time on high, up to 200 hours on low, single-color or multi-color options
The BINDI Ultralight Headlamp gives you plenty of light (200 lumens) while freeing up your hands to steady your walk or follow your map down the trail. It’s a very compact and lightweight design that takes up next to little space (especially if you’re wearing it, obviously). It features three lighting modes (proximity, movement and distance) and the tiltable headlamp gives you the option to wear it around your neck and still light the way forward. It has minimal contact points on the band that are designed to wick away sweat and promote ventilation.
- Size: 6 inches x 4 inches x 2 inches
- 1.23 ounces weight
- 200 lumens of light intensity
- Micro USB charging port
The Patagonia Black Hole 55-liter Duffle Bag is designed to store a lot of outdoor gear. It’s also designed to keep that gear highly organized. There’s top-zipper access into the main compartment and an additional zippered side pocket that’s accessible from inside the main compartment or the bag exterior. And you can use the mesh interior lid to keep camping essentials within reach. A padded base protects the bottom from the wear and tear of outdoor life and there are several daisy chains for clipping gear like a water bottle or lantern.
- Size: 26.7 inches x 15.7 inches x 11.8 inches
- Capacity: 55 liters
- 2 pounds 9 ounces weight
- Material: 100% recycled and weather resistant polyester fabric
- Durable haul handles and removable padded shoulder straps
- Folds into self-contained storage when not in use
How do I make my camping luxurious?
There are outdoorsy folk and then there are people who appreciate the outdoors but still like to set some boundaries. (We’re not judging!) If you want to maximize comfort and dial back the rugged nature of, well, nature, look at options like an air-inflatable mattress and tents that maximize interior space. If comfort while camping is your goal, there are plenty of products available that will cater to your needs. In fact, with the right gear, you can almost make the outdoors feel very much like a comfortable indoor environment without losing the gorgeous views or fresh air.
The best advice we can give here is this: Write down a list of your absolute must-have creature comforts. Then search for the products that will either deliver on those comforts or get you as close as possible to the same experience. You don’t always have to go for a name brand item (like an MSR tent) to get what you want, either. Shop budget-friendly options as well. They just might surprise you. Oh and if you really want to make your camping trip more luxurious, a good place to start is buying strong bug repellent.
How do I elevate my camping tent?
First, before we talk about how to elevate your tent, it’s important to note that it’s a good rule of thumb to find the highest and driest ground possible. Higher ground helps protect the base of the tent—and your gear—from water runoff and sodden soil where water collects after rainfall. Also, the higher the ground, the less condensation you should have in the tent. As far as elevating the base of the tent goes, you can use a tarp to add a thin but nearly impenetrable layer between the earth and the bottom of the tent. This will further protect your tent from water and ground bugs.
You can also set up your tent on a tent platform. These platforms may be constructed from wood, which aren’t practical for traveling, but there are collapsible and more compact tent platforms constructed from plywood available as well. If you don’t need space for multiple people, you can even buy a one-person tent with a sleeping cot as its base.
What camping accessories do I need?
That depends on several factors, including how long you plan to camp, what your creature comforts are and what activities you plan to do while out in nature. If you plan to camp over multiple days, consider the food you’ll need to bring for meals, as well as snacks to keep your energy up—especially if you’re doing some serious hiking, kayaking or boating or any other strenuous activity. (You should consider protein snacks as a quick source of energy.) Think about how you’ll cook that food. Also, think about hygiene protection, storage and what your preferences are (e.g., a sleep bag versus a hammock versus an inflatable air mattress).
Do you plan to do a lot of hiking? Hiking shoes are a given. How much water do you plan to bring? If you intend to set up camp for several nights, a water filter will certainly come in handy. And one item that is universally a good idea regardless of how long and why you’re camping is a first-aid kit. You never know what nature has in store!
Related Post: 10 Best Hiking Backpacks for Every Outdoor Adventure
How do I charge my phone while camping?
If you want to stay plugged into the digital world, battery packs with the correct charging ports will be your best friend. Like the Biolite AlpenGlow 500 featured on this list, there are all kinds of battery-powered camping gear that double as power banks. Of course, just be mindful that recharging your phone diminishes the battery life from whatever source you’re using. If you bleed off too much power from your lantern to charge your phone, you might find yourself wasting your phone’s battery life for its flashlight feature.
Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.