Camping essentials: Expensive equipment isn’t necessary for ‘state-of-the-art’ experience

So, you want to go camping. 

There are dozens of lists floating around the internet detailing all the essentials you’ll need for camping, especially if you’re a novice at outdoor adventures. Beloved outdoor retailer REI has a long list, as do websites like and 

There are the obvious needs: tent, sleeping bag, food, plenty of water, flashlights and appropriate footwear. You’ll probably want other items like a sleeping pad or cot, some sort of sunshade or tarp, a portable coffeemaker and binoculars. But to really understand how to have a great overnight, outdoor experience, you should consult the experts. 

Mikah Meyer is one of those experts. The 37-year-old is considered a “professional road tripper,” and in 2019, he completed a 3-year journey that included stops at all 419 U.S. National Park sites. Erin Stender, the CMO of, is also eager to share her know-how. They’re full of camping tips, especially for beginners. 

Figure out what sort of experience you want

This, Stender said, is the crucial first step. Some people want a rugged, primitive experience. Others don’t. But no matter what you’re looking for — tent camping, staying in a cabin, etc. — Stender is convinced you can find it. 

“Many campgrounds view themselves in the business of hospitality,” she said. “They want to offer campers the experience they want. So you can sleep in a tent and have access to a clean, multi-stalled bathroom with soap.”

A quick internet search before you set off can help you identify which campgrounds specialize in amenities (like heated bathroom floors) or access (to some of the best fishing spots, for example). 

Figuring out how you want to camp will also help you figure out what, exactly, you want to get out of it. Stender and her husband have two young children, and will often meet up with other families at an RV campground or beach. While there they might take a day trip to a nearby waterpark or spend an evening teaching the kids how to build a fire and roast marshmallows. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. 

“For us, one night away is often plenty, and our RV is a mode of recreation,” Stender said. “This is how we adventure and how we travel.”

Try before you buy

It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of camping equipment and suddenly find yourself hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, in the red for a hobby you’re not sure about. But tons of places, including REI and many local RV spots, allow you to rent equipment. 

“Some people think, ‘OK I have to go to Dick’s Sporting Goods and buy everything so I can go camping tonight!’ But that’s not true at all,” Stender said. “You don’t have to own state-of-the-art gear to get a state-of-the-art experience.”

Buy a bigger tent than you think you need

This one is pretty straightforward, Meyer said. Most tents are made to be tight fits, so if you’re someone who likes to move around when you sleep or store your luggage inside, you’re going to want to go up a size or two, especially if you’re on the taller side. Otherwise, “in the middle of the night, some woodland creature runs by your head and you’re right there,” Meyer said. “It’s nice to have a little bit of extra space,” unless you’re backpacking, when you’ll want to pack as light as possible. 

In the outdoors, paper maps are king

Yes, we all love our phones and many of us can’t imagine life without being connected 24/7. But Meyer is a believer in grabbing a paper map or atlas, and not just because you might not have cell service.

“It provides this sense of whimsy, especially as adults,” he said. “It’s a practical tool, helping you ideate where you are in the park but also it shows you something you might not know is around the corner − it can help you get lost in the unexpected.” 

The best place to grab a map, of course, is at the visitor’s center. And while you’re there, Meyer advises chatting with whoever is working. 

“One big thing I notice at national parks is that people will pull up, check in and then just drive off to their favorite site,” Meyer said. “But the single best thing you can do for your camping experience is talk to someone — a ranger, a volunteer. These people are the experts, and they’re there to give you free advice. The parks change so much because of natural disasters, maintenance, etc. If you check in with these people, a lot of times you can save yourself time because what if the place you want to go, that road is washed out?” 

Pack a lot of water. Then grab more. 

Especially this summer, when record high temps are expected across the country, Meyer said it’s important to make sure you have plenty of water. You’ll need it for more than just drinking − cleaning pots and pans, washing off your shoes.

Especially in high heat, it’s good to have more than you anticipate you’ll drink. So stock up on the reusable water bottles. And if you’re worried about enough drinkable water, Meyer recommends a CamelBak LifeStraw pack or something similar, which filters water that otherwise would be unsafe.

Don’t knock it before you try it

The bottom line, Meyer and Stender agreed, is that camping can be for everyone − even if you don’t think you’d like it. 

Camping used to be associated with stuff like weird food or a miserable sleeping experience. But it doesn’t have to be like that. In the age of DIY, “camping is more about the idea that you can craft your own adventure,” Stender said.

Meyer has converted about 2/3 of friends who were previously convinced the outdoors weren’t for them (the remaining 1/3, he said, can’t get over the bugs). 

“I tell people, just give me your phone, I’ll put it on Airplane mode, and usually, after 24 hours, when they’ve enjoyed the benefits of forest bathing or truly surrounded themselves in nature, people are so happy and they have such a great time, they forget they didn’t like it,” he said. 

Stender stresses to people “it’s irreplaceable, the value and quietness you can find when you’re outside breathing fresh air. Just the change in routine is nice.”” 

Plus, as Stender’s husband likes to remind her: “There is nothing better than drinking coffee while you watch the sunrise.” 

Follow Lindsay Schnell on Twitter @Lindsay_Schnell

{ link.setAttribute(‘href’, url); }); } })(); function fireNavShareAnalytics (type) { try { let analytics = document.getElementById(“pageAnalytics”), section = ga_data.route.sectionName || ga_data.route.ssts.split(‘/’)[0]; if (analytics) { analytics.fireEvent(`${ga_data.route.basePageType}:${section}:nav-share-buttons:${type}`); } else { if (window.newrelic) window.newrelic.noticeError(‘page analytics tag not found’); } } catch (e) { if (window.newrelic) window.newrelic.noticeError(e); } } ]]>

Camping essentials: Expensive equipment isn’t necessary for ‘state-of-the-art’ experience

If you have any question please CONTACT  Us
Email us at:
Call US : (832) 722-8074

Don’t Forget to Visit our Shop 

For reliable and quality Managed IT Services and VoIP, Contact Precise Business Solutions 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *