Sleep Under the Stars: Backcountry Gear’s Top Picks for the Perfect Camping Adventure

A group of people sitting around a campfire at night.

Camping under the stars holds an enchantment that transcends words. The experience is a charming blend of simplicity and wonder. With the stars overhead, scattered like diamonds on velvet, it’s like being part of a cosmic masterpiece that’s beyond anything you can imagine.

And beneath this celestial canvas, the world just feels different. The crackling of the campfire and the nocturnal whispers of the wilderness paint a picture that’s straight out of a Disney fairytale. Breathing in those earthy fragrances while listening to all these sounds is what the great outdoors is all about—an experience like no other!

Also, the absence of artificial light means the stars will leave you awe-struck! Each twinkling light carries with it stories of the universe, sending you into deep thought, and who knows—you might find yourself building a profound connection to the universe.

Camping under the stars is a retreat into simplicity, a return to the fundamentals of existence. The night becomes a companion, offering solace and reflection. It is a reminder of the timeless beauty that exists beyond the confines of modernity, a reminder to pause, gaze upward, and immerse oneself in the magic of the celestial show overhead.

But to actually enjoy all the wonders nature has to offer, you will need some worldly essentials—it’s still going to be fun and adventurous, but let it be an organized chaos.

Here are some of our top camping essentials you should get your hands on first before planning the great adventure!

Make Sure Your Sleeping Arrangements Are Sorted

Selecting the right sleeping arrangements for your camping trip is crucial for a comfortable and restful experience. There are various options to consider, each with its own advantages and considerations. Here are some common sleeping arrangements for camping:

Tents

Sleeping Bags and Sleeping Pads: This classic setup involves using sleeping bags and sleeping pads directly on the tent floor. It’s a lightweight and portable option suitable for backpacking and car camping. Choose sleeping bags with appropriate temperature ratings for the conditions you expect.

Air Mattresses: For added comfort, especially when car camping, you can use air mattresses inside the tent. Make sure to bring a pump for easy inflation. Keep in mind that air mattresses may not provide insulation from the cold ground, so consider using them in conjunction with sleeping pads.

Camping Cots

Sturdy Camping Cots: Camping cots are elevated, portable beds that provide a more comfortable sleeping surface than sleeping directly on the ground. They come in various sizes and weight capacities, catering to different preferences. Sturdy camping cots can be a great option for those who prefer a raised sleeping surface and want to avoid getting down to ground level.

Benefits of Camping Cots

Elevation: Cots keep you off the ground, which can be advantageous in colder weather to avoid direct contact with the chilly ground.

Comfort: Many campers find cots more comfortable than sleeping on the ground, especially for those who experience back or joint pain.

Storage Space: The space underneath the cot can be used for storage, helping to keep gear organized and easily accessible.

Considerations

Weight and Size: While camping cots offer comfort, some are bulkier and heavier than other sleeping options.

Setup Time: Some camping cots can take a bit more time to set up compared to traditional sleeping arrangements. Look for models with easy and quick assembly.

Our Recommendation

A folding camping bed with a bag on it.

If you’re looking for a camping cot that’s both easily portable yet durable and easy to set up, we suggest Tough Outdoors’ Camping Cost for Adults. It comes with an organizer and storage and is very appropriate for camping and hunting trips.

The camping cot is available in different shapes and sizes and is designed to offer comfort. Having this camping cot on your trip will immediately uplift your entire trip!

Hammocks

Camping Hammocks: Hammocks provide a unique and lightweight sleeping option. They are excellent for backpacking and camping in areas with trees for suspension. Ensure you have a bug net and rainfly if needed.

Benefits of Hammocks

Portability: Hammocks are lightweight and compact, making them suitable for backpackers.

Versatility: They are versatile and can be set up in various environments as long as there are anchor points.

Considerations

Temperature: Hammocks can be cooler than traditional tents, so bring insulation like an under quilt or sleeping pad for warmth.

Learning Curve: Properly setting up a hammock requires a bit of practice, so it’s advisable to familiarize yourself with the process before your camping trip.

Don’t Forget Cooking Essentials

When planning for a camping trip, having the right cooking essentials can greatly enhance your outdoor culinary experience. Here are some essential cooking items to consider:

Camp Stove

Portable Camp Stove: A compact and portable camp stove is a versatile cooking solution for camping. They come in various types, including canister stoves, liquid fuel stoves, and wood-burning stoves. Choose one that suits your needs and fuel preferences.

Benefits: Easy to set up, lightweight, and suitable for various cooking styles. Some models have built-in windshields for improved efficiency.

Cookware

Camp Cookware Set: A lightweight and compact cookware set specifically designed for camping is essential. Look for sets that include pots, pans, and utensils. Consider non-stick coatings for easy cleaning.

Collapsible Cookware: Some camp cookware is collapsible, saving space in your backpack or camping gear.

Portable Cooking Station

Camping Tables or Portable Cooking Stations: Having a dedicated surface for food preparation and cooking can make the process more organized and enjoyable. Portable cooking stations or camping tables provide a stable surface for chopping, mixing, and cooking.

Benefits: Convenience in organizing cooking ingredients and utensils. Some models come with additional features like storage shelves and hooks.

Our Recommendation

A camping table with two shelves and a sink.

We personally love GCI Outdoor’s Master Cook Station. It’s more than just a portable camp kitchen table—it comes with various shelves and storage spaces. There’s a collapsible sink, a pole for your lighting fixtures, and just about anything you might need to make camp cooking an easier task for you. It’s completely foldable, making it super easy to transport—it’s definitely a must-have!

Cooler

Insulated Cooler: A good cooler is essential for keeping perishable food and beverages fresh during your camping trip. Look for a durable, well-insulated cooler that suits the length of your trip.

Ice Packs: Consider using reusable ice packs to keep the cooler contents cold without the mess of melting ice.

Propane Grill

Portable Propane Grill: For those who enjoy grilling while camping, a portable propane grill is a great option. They are easy to set up, provide consistent heat, and come in various sizes.

Benefits: Quick and efficient cooking, suitable for grilling meats, vegetables, and more. Some models offer features like temperature control and easy cleaning.

Our Recommendation

A barbecue grill with two burners and a lid.

If you want your food to taste as good as it does at home, you need to invest in this high-performance propane grill at HitchFire. It’s a powerful grill, but it’s designed for camping, so it’s incredibly portable. It will take your camp cooking experience to a whole new level!

Illumination Gear Is Absolutely Necessary

Lighting is a crucial aspect of camping, providing visibility, safety, and ambiance. Here are various lighting essentials you might need for a camping trip:

Flashlights

Compact LED Flashlights: Bring a compact and powerful LED flashlight for tasks that require focused lighting. Look for flashlights with multiple brightness settings.

Benefits: Portable, versatile, and suitable for various situations, such as navigating through the campsite or reading inside the tent.

Our Recommendation

Petzl headlamp with a battery and a micro usb charger.

Invest in Petzl’s Rechargeable Headlamp. Headlamps are essential for hands-free lighting. Petzl is a reputable brand known for its reliable and durable headlamp options. A rechargeable headlamp can be convenient, as it eliminates the need for disposable batteries. It’s essentially a flashlight on your head! And it’s got adjustable brightness levels and a long battery life.

String Lights

Solar-Powered String Lights: For adding a cozy and decorative touch to your campsite, consider solar-powered string lights. They are eco-friendly and can be charged during the day for ambient lighting at night.

Benefits: Aesthetic appeal, no need for electrical outlets, and a sustainable lighting option.

Campfire Lighting

Fire Starters: Besides the functional lighting, the campfire can provide a warm and ambient glow. Bring fire starters, such as waterproof matches or a reliable firestarter, to ensure you can easily light a fire when needed.

Solar-Powered Lanterns

Solar-Powered Camping Lanterns: These lanterns harness solar energy during the day to provide illumination at night. They are eco-friendly and can be recharged with sunlight.

Benefits: Sustainable, no need for batteries, and suitable for extended camping trips.

Our Recommendation

A black fan with a light on it.

Odoland Portable LED Camping Lantern with Ceiling Fans is a great investment. They’re not solar-powered but are super energy-efficient. This type of lantern offers both lighting and a built-in fan to improve air circulation inside the tent. The combination of light and fan can be especially useful in warm weather.

Backup Batteries

Extra Batteries: Always bring extra batteries for your electronic lighting devices to ensure you have a reliable power source throughout your camping trip.

Something To Navigate Through the Wilderness

Navigation tools are crucial for a camping trip, helping you to find your way, stay on course, and navigate unfamiliar terrain. Here are various navigation tools to consider:

Map and Compass

Topographic Maps: Topographic maps provide detailed information about the terrain, elevation, and natural features of the area. Choose maps specific to your camping location.

Compass: A reliable compass is essential for determining direction. Learn basic compass skills to complement map reading.

GPS Devices

Handheld GPS Units: Handheld GPS devices are portable and specifically designed for outdoor navigation. They use satellites to provide accurate position data and may include features like waypoints, tracks, and mapping capabilities.

Benefits: Precise location tracking, waypoint marking, and the ability to upload maps for offline use.

Our Recommendation

A garmin gps device with a map on it.

We highly recommend Garmin’s handheld GPS with built-in inReach satellite technology. It’s truly a game-changer for camping enthusiasts. It’s military-grade yet user-friendly and has some incredible features like an interactive SOS trigger, multi-GNSS support, Wi-Fi connectivity, location sharing, and Bluetooth connectivity. It’s definitely worth investing in.

Smartphone Apps

GPS Navigation Apps: Many smartphones have built-in GPS capabilities, and there are various navigation apps available. Apps like Gaia GPS, AllTrails, and Google Maps allow you to download maps for offline use.

Benefits: Convenient, user-friendly, and often includes additional features such as route planning and real-time tracking.

Satellite Communicators

Satellite-Based Communicators (e.g., Garmin inReach, SPOT): These devices offer not only GPS tracking but also two-way communication via satellite. They can be crucial in emergencies, allowing you to send and receive messages even in remote areas.

Benefits: Emergency communication, real-time tracking, and the ability to request assistance if needed.

Altimeter

Barometric Altimeter: Some GPS devices or watches come with barometric altimeters, which measure changes in atmospheric pressure to estimate elevation. This can be useful for understanding the terrain and planning your route.

Traditional Pacing and Landmark Navigation

Pacing and Landmarks: Basic navigation skills involve estimating distances based on your pace count and identifying landmarks. These skills can be useful in conjunction with maps and compasses.

Trail Markers

Trail Markers and Signage: When hiking on established trails, look for trail markers, signs, and trail blazes to stay on the right path.

Emergency Whistle and Signal Mirror

Navigation and Signaling Tools: An emergency whistle and signal mirror can be used for both navigation and attracting attention in case of emergencies.

Paper Backup Maps

Printed Maps: Always carry printed maps of the area, even if you’re using digital navigation tools. Electronics can fail, and having a physical backup ensures you can navigate even without technology.

With these, you’re almost all set for your camping adventure. You can, however, explore other options for the Best Climbing Helmets reviews on BackCountry Gear. We have some excellent recommendations for those. You can also check out Camping Iron Cookware reviews and camping boot reviews here before you make any purchases.

Check it all out!

A person hiking with a backpack in the mountains.
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