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Friday, June 21, 2024

Essential Guide to Shopping for Camping Gear: A Beginner’s Handbook

Photo by Everste via iStock

Embarking on your first camping adventure can be an exhilarating experience filled with anticipation and a dash of uncertainty. As a beginner camper, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the myriad of options when shopping for camping gear.

But fear not!

This guide is here to walk you through the essentials, helping you make informed choices that will ensure a comfortable and enjoyable outdoor experience for your first time out. 

Additionally, I’ve provided a few links to gear you can source from BTR Outfitters. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with the BRT Outfitters team over the last few months, and you won’t find a more helpful and dedicated group of outdoor enthusiasts.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Shopping for Camping Gear: Invest in a Good Shelter

Adventurous woman watching sunset from tent in Whistler backcountry mountains.

Photo by VisualCommunications via iStock


Before anything else, you’ll need a reliable shelter to protect you from the elements. Tents come in various sizes, styles, and materials, so choose one that suits your needs.

If you’re camping solo, a one-person or two-person tent should suffice. Families or groups may require larger tents with multiple rooms. Look for tents with easy setup mechanisms like color-coded poles and quick-clip systems, which will save you time and frustration at the campsite.

As you’re shopping for camping gear, you might also consider a rooftop tent if sleeping on the ground isn’t your thing. Rooftop tents come in all sorts of shapes and sizes to fit your specific needs (and the size and load capacity of your car, too). While I do like to sleep up off the ground, climbing up and down a ladder to get in and out of my rooftop tent can be a bit of a drag. Just keep that in mind!




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MARBERO 88Wh Portable Power Station 24000mAh Camping Solar Generator 

Shopping for Camping Gear: Make Sleeping Easy

Woman relaxing in sleeping bag on red mat

Photo by Everste via iStock

A good night’s sleep is crucial for an enjoyable camping trip. Invest in a high-quality sleeping bag and sleeping pad to keep you warm, insulated, and comfortable.

Sleeping bags are rated for different temperature ranges, so consider the climate of your destination when choosing one. If you’re camping in colder conditions, opt for a bag with a lower temperature rating than the lowest temperature you’ll be camping in – it’s better to have too much warmth than not enough!

When shopping for camping gear, also pair your sleeping bag with a suitable sleeping pad to provide cushioning and insulation against the cold ground. Sleeping pads are available in many different forms, from small, single-person pads you can roll up for backpacking to large inflatable air mattresses that two or more people can sleep on at a time.

Why Winter Rooftop Tent Camping is the Best

Photo by simonapilolla via iStock

If you go the rooftop tent route, there’s a good chance the tent will come with a mattress, but if not, source one that fits the footprint of the tent and consider getting an anti-condensation mat to go along with it to prevent moisture buildup in the tent overnight.

Shopping for Camping Gear: Outfit Your Camp Kitchen

Young Woman Is Cooking Is Next To The Campfire

Photo by ArtistGNDphotography via iStock

Cooking over an open flame or portable camping stove can elevate your camping experience. The crackle of the fire, the smell of a great meal – there’s nothing better around camp!

Basic cooking gear includes a portable stove, cookware, and utensils. Look for lightweight and compact options, especially if you’ll be hiking to your campsite. A sturdy camping stove allows you to cook meals efficiently, and modern models often come with adjustable heat settings for versatile cooking.

Pack cookware that’s easy to clean, like non-stick pots and pans, and don’t forget utensils like spatulas, ladles, and tongs. A powered cooler can be a great addition to your camp kitchen, too, as there’s less need for finding ice while you’re on your journey!

Shopping for Camping Gear: Water Storage is a Must

Close-up photo of female hands filling up a fresh cold mountain stream water into the plastic touristic bottle while water break on the tourist hiking route.

Photo by Solovyova via iStock

Staying hydrated is paramount during outdoor activities. Ensure you have access to clean drinking water by carrying a refillable water bottle or hydration reservoir.

Additionally, invest in a reliable water filtration system or water purifier to treat water from natural sources, such as rivers or lakes. These tools eliminate harmful bacteria and contaminants, safeguarding your health during the trip. Compact and portable water filters are a must for any camping adventure.

Shopping for Camping Gear: Don’t Forget Appropriate Clothing

Man solo traveling backpacker hiking

Photo by Everste via iStock

Selecting the right clothing and footwear is essential for your comfort and safety. Dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions. Moisture-wicking base layers help regulate body temperature while insulating layers trap warmth. A waterproof and windproof outer layer shields you from rain and chilly winds. Don’t forget to pack extra socks and underwear—they can make a huge difference in your comfort level!

Your choice of footwear can make or break your camping experience. Invest in sturdy, supportive hiking boots that are broken in before your trip to prevent blisters. For lighter activities, like lounging around the campsite, a comfortable pair of camp shoes or sandals is a great addition.

Young Couple Out Camping Playing Chess Together At A Picnic Table Photo by grandriver via iStock

When the sun sets, having proper lighting is crucial for navigation and safety. Pack a reliable flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries. Headlamps are particularly useful, as they keep your hands free while providing a focused beam of light. You can also get touch-enabled lights or hard-wired lights!

Lanterns are a good idea for your campsite to create a cozy and well-lit environment. Opt for LED lanterns, which are energy-efficient and offer various brightness settings.

It’s Not ALL About the Gear…But Good Gear Helps!

Young couple sitting at the top of the mountain over a fire

Photo by Dimensions via iStock

As a beginner camper, stepping into the world of camping gear might seem overwhelming, but by focusing on a few essential items as you’re shopping for camping gear, you can set yourself up for a successful and enjoyable trip. Remember, the key is to strike a balance between comfort, functionality, and portability.

Before you head out, take the time to familiarize yourself with your gear. Practice setting up your tent, lighting your stove, and using your water filtration system at home to avoid any surprises at the campsite. With each trip, you’ll gain more experience and refine your gear selection based on your preferences and the specific conditions of your chosen destinations.

So, gear up with BTR Outfitters, get shopping for camping gear, and immerse yourself in the beauty of the great outdoors. Happy camping!

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