Looking to go camping? We hope so. To get you started, or so you can brush up on the latest, we have put all the top camping gear in one spot. Below! This is the gear our veteran testers would recommend to their best friends. We cover all the basics: tents, best cookware for the campsite, comprehensive camping stove reviews, and so on. Our testers have been pitching tents and sleeping under the stars for years, all the while taking diligent notes, analyzing materials and comparing features. We buy every item at the store, just like you. We also recommend checking out our best hiking gear reviews, as a lot of these items can be used in all manners of outdoor adventures.Editor's Note: We updated this article on March 29, 2023, to incorporate our latest picks for Pocket Knives.
Best Camping Gear of 2023
Getting the right tent for any outdoor excursion is a must. A solid tent means you stay dry, warm, and get a good night's sleep. A tent should suit a lot of your camping needs, and it should last a while. We have loads of tent reviews, including the best camping tents, top rooftop tents, and our best canopy tent picks. Naturally, there's a considerable price range across genres. Below you are going to find our best picks in each category.
The type of camping tent you need depends, of course, on the type of camping you are planning. Our picks prioritize spacious interiors, great design, easy to set up, durable fabrics, family friendly and a good value.
The North Face Wawona 6
Kelty Wireless 6
Marmot Torreya 6
A relative newcomer to the camping world, the design (and comfort) of rooftop tents is getting more dialed each year. Beware of a hasty purchase, however, as you could end up with a tent that doesn't work like you thought it would, such as a rack that doesn't quite synch with your vehicle, or a tent that doesn't fit on your rack. Thankfully, we've worked out all the kinks for you in our review of the best rooftop tents.
Roofnest Sparrow EYE
Thule Tepui Kukenam 3
Canopy tents are slowly finding their way into the camper's kit. It's fair to say that, when erected, they quickly become the kitchen and dining room in most campsites, for good reason. A canopy tent fulfills a variety of purposes too: good for the park and the beach. Have a good sense of how you intend to use yours, since some are designed for commercial use (think farmer's markets), and others are best for carrying around, such as those intended for camping and the beach. See our top canopy tent review for the full comparison of products.
Clam Outdoors Quick-Set Escape
The little things always matter, especially when it comes to food. Our testers have gone to great lengths to bring you the best camping kitchen setup around. We divulge on the best camping cookware, top camping stoves, and yes, even a comparison of camping tables. When you have a good set up, you can cook the best food, in the quickest amount of time, with the least amount of fuss. Be discerning, however, as there is a lot of variety out there, and having a good sense of how you intend to use your kit will make all the difference.
Camping stoves range from your standard double burner to those with legs so it can stand on its own. Not to be confused with a backpacking stove, a camping stove is the kind you use when car camping, or you are, at least, nearby the car. Why? They are hefty and not built for backpacking. Time to boil and wind resistance is key to a good camping stove, along with a host of other metrics we tested to help you find the best camping stove on the market.
Camp Chef Everest 2X
An excellent choice for the park or the campsite, take your camping kitchen to the next level with a portable grill. Do your homework, as some of these grills run on gas, while others need charcoal. It all depends on what you are going to use it for. To learn more, take a dive into our research on the best portable grills.
Weber Q 1200
Coleman Roadtrip 285
Crucial considerations to any future set of the best camping cookware are: what is it made out of and what types of bells and whistles does it have that I don't know about? Reason being, there are some creative differences in what was traditionally just referred to as just "pots and pans."
GSI Pinnacle Camper
Stanley Adventure Base Camp
Tired of using your camping stove on the ground? Yep, you sure are. Let's be honest, camping tables are not an essential item to sleep in the woods, but they sure make life easier when you do, and they are handy for more than just cooking. When scrolling through the table options, take special note of stability and portability, key features to the top camping tables we've tested.
Lifetime 4428 Height Adjustable Folding Utility Table
Camp Time Roll-A-Table
Never, ever, underestimate the importance of a cup of coffee when camping. A good cup of coffee is the glue that holds the day together. We're happy to say you have a lot of options, from espresso plungers to presses to pour overs. Check out our review of the devices that will secure you the best camping coffee you can get. You can thank us later.
Hario V60 Plastic Dripper
The sheer diversity in shape and construction of today's camping chairs is bewildering. But don't be fooled, there are clear stand-outs. The top camping chairs are comfortable, portable and they last a few seasons.
ALPS Mountaineering King Kong
REI Co-op Camp X
More so than just about any other camping item, coolers have undergone a not-so-silent revolution. Insulation technology has gotten much better, and with it the average price of a cooler. But you don't need to break the bank. Figure out what exactly you need your cooler for, and let our testing guide you. We have comparison reviews of the best soft coolers available, and the best powered coolers out there. Be discerning, as there is lots of innovation (and price range) in each type.
In this category, we are talking about the best-of-the-best, old-school coolers, good for the campground, back of the truck or park barbeque. They can be hoisted up with ease, function as seats and will most likely keep ice for a few days. But this doesn't mean the best camping coolers are all the same. They aren't. Read on for our top picks.
Yeti Tundra 65
Think portability when you think of soft coolers. These are great, of course, for camping, but also for taking to the park, beach or a friend's house. Soft coolers don't hold as much as a standard cooler, but, again, they make up for it when you are on the move. See our review of top soft coolers, from our veteran testers, below.
AO Coolers 24 Pack Canvas Cooler
A powered cooler is as it sounds—it needs to be plugged in. They are excellent for road trips, as you can plug them into your car's DC outlet. Though they are more expensive than other cooler types, they can double as mini-fridges. Below are our favorite powered coolers we have tested.
Dometic CFX3 45
Lanterns and headlamps have a lot of range. No pun intended. Over the past few decades, batteries have gotten better and lights have gotten brighter, all the more reason to take the time to figure out exactly what kind of campsite lighting you want. Whether you are looking for the best headlamps for camping or our favorite lanterns, we've put hundreds through a battery of tests over the years. Below you are going to find the best we've come across.
It is barely worth noting that a good headlamp is a must-have when camping. Getting stuck on the trails with a dead torch isn't fun, same goes for stumbling around a dark campsite. Headlamps come in different shapes, weights and sizes. As you are looking around for the best headlamp, follow this advice from out testers: "we recommend you think about how it might perform when things go wrong."
Zebralight H600w Mk IV
Take it out to for dinner, then into the tent to tell ghost stories to your kids, lanterns are handy when the lights go out. They come in all sizes, and, remarkably, are stocked with features, such as the ability to charge your phone, solar/USB charging, and so on. Only the top lanterns below.
Goal Zero Lighthouse 600
The fear of not getting a good night sleep can keep some people from camping. But, be not worried, we can help you find your comfiest self: we have comprehensive reviews for the top camping sleeping bags. A good night's sleep doesn't stop there, however, as we have compiled reviews of the best camping pillows and blankets for the campsite.
Right up there alongside your tent, a sleeping bag is all-important when sleeping outside. Prices vary a ton, and the same goes with quality. In general, you need to figure out how warm of a bag you need, what material is ideal, and your budget. The best sleeping bags should last a long time, trust us.
REDCAMP Cotton Flannel
ALPS OutdoorZ Redwood
You really need to stop lugging around your bedroom pillow on camping ventures. Grab yourself one of our favorite camping pillows, would ya! They pack light, you can get them dirty, and you can stuff them in your backpacking pack as well, since most are light and extremely compressible.
REI Co-op Trailbreak Foam
Camping blankets are as good for sleeping as they are for wrapping around yourself on those chilly mornings. But make sure you make a good decision before you ditch the sleeping bag, if that's what you're thinking, as camping blankets tend not to be as warm as their zippered counterparts. But in general, the best camping blankets are excellent to drape over anyone and anything—pets included—for extra cold-weather assurance.
A camping mattress isn't just for camping, it's great for when you have visitors or are sleeping in the back of your car. These mattresses take that old foam-rolled pad to the next level. Most of the top camping mattresses are inflatable, and some are big enough for two. Consider the size of your tent, and packed-down size, in case you intend to use it when backpacking.
Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D
Exped MegaMat 10
Bigger and arguably more comfortable than a comparable sleeping pad or blow-up camping mattress, a camping cot definitely has its place, especially for side sleepers…and those times where sleeping off the ground is a good thing. Think spiders. Our favorite camping cots, all tested, below.
Coleman Pack-Away Cot
KingCamp Folding Deluxe
Hiking and camping go hand in hand. Hit the trails during the day, circle the fire at night. It's the way life ought to be. Thankfully, we have a small arsenal of comparative hiking gear reviews to help you find what you need, same with our favorite camping gear. And, if you are looking for a best-of-the-best sampler for all-things hiking, check out our best hiking gear listicle, where we list the top items, just like we are doing here. Everything we review we have bought at the store, then tested rigorously over months.
While they might not be top-of-mind for every hiker, a good set of binoculars can be light enough, and handy enough, to warrant a spot in your pack. If you are car camping, even more of a reason to grab a pair. Zoom in to view the local wildlife, birds or elk. The best binoculars can be used for stargazing, birding, and a host of specialized and all-purpose uses.
Vortex Viper HD 8x42
Swarovski EL 8.5x42
Assuming you've got the big-ticket items figured out, such as a good handle on the best tents and best sleeping bags for camping, now is the time to think about the other stuff. Pocket knives and multi tools are good for the kitchen and making spears for the kids, and a camp shower is a sure bet when there's no river nearby. Lastly, don't forget the best first aid kit with all the essentials. Below is a hand-curated selection where you can see our our favorite pocket knife and the best hammocks for camping.
Whether you are fishing, cutting salami, or your kiddo is whittling a spear, a pocket knife is arguably the most versatile piece of gear on any camping trip. The best pocket knives have durable blades, bomber construction and fold up easily.
Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585
Benchmade 535 Bugout
There are things in life you don't need and then you really need one. A multi tool is one of those things, so why not keep one stashed in that tub of camping gear. The top multi-tools have loads of features, are sturdy and don't break the bank.
Leatherman Charge+ TTi
Leatherman Skeletool CX
We welcome the addition of hammocks to the line-up of modern camping. They are great for an afternoon siesta, lounging, reading and even sleeping, if you can handle it. If you're on a budget, and who isn't, check out our budget hammock review. As for the best hammocks for camping, venture below.
Gold Armour Camping
Whether you are erecting a lean-to in the Alaskan wilderness or splitting some deadwood in the mountains of Virginia, a good camp axe should split with efficiency, swing with precision, and have a durable blade. Our top top camping axe picks below.
Fiskars X11 17-Inch
MTech USA Two-Tone
Like with most camping gear, finding the best shower for camping should be undertaken with care. Some strap to the top of the car, while others are great for washing dishes and helping clean off the mud your dog rolled in for an hour. There are a lot of options, so choose wisely!
NEMO Helio Pressure Shower
First Aid Kits
The first aid kits we tested come in all shapes and sizes. Some of these are great for car camping, while others are compact enough to warrant a spot on a backpacking trip. Our top first aid kits are ideal for day use when you are relatively close to the car.
Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Hiker
Ever had a stiff wind blow off your tent fly in the middle of the night during a storm? If so, you know what I'm talking about. The best tent stakes do stand out from the crowd, and they do make a difference. Not all are created equal. Some are extremely lightweight, and some need to be corkscrewed in, for sandy soil. The good thing is that we've tested tons of these over the years, and can help you find the best.
MSR Mini Groundhog
We trust this list of the best camping gear was helpful. Every one of our recommendations above is the result of thousands of hours of comparative testing. That is our promise and guarantee. Whether they are sleeping under the stars or zipping and unzipping tents, our testers are taking note of the things that matter.Thanks.
— Francis Sanzaro
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