5 Pieces of Must-Have Camping Gear for Summer

To help you make the most of your summer season, we’ve compiled a handy list of must-have items to enhance any campsite.

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It’s officially summer. And you know what that means: It’s time to go camping.

Think back to last summer—did you get outside enough? Hear a campfire crackle? Disconnect from distractions and connect with one another? Watch the stars appear one by one until they ignite the sky?

I hope so. And I hope this summer you get out-of-doors even more.

To help you make the most of your summer season, we’ve compiled a handy list of must-have items to enhance any campsite.

Let’s start with camp cooking:

Camp Cookware

Campsite cooking is one of the great joys of the outdoors. We love perfecting recipes and creating gourmet meals when car- or canoe-camping. And we also love the simplicity of a dehydrated backpacking meal—just add water—and the satisfaction of refueling after a long day on the trail. Whether you cook over the campfire, with a canister stove, a white-gas unit or what have you—you’ll need quality cookware. (We like to cook on a stove, with pots and pans made from lightweight aluminum and that are nonstick for easy cleanup.)

Insulated Water Bottle

Hydration is key to health. Doubly so when you’re exerting yourself outdoors. When hiking or paddling, aim to consume about a half-litre per hour. Listen to your body—and don’t let actual thirst kick in, as that means dehydration is on the way. So, ensure you have a quality water bottle on-hand. We particularly love insulated bottles, which keep your H2O ice-cold for hours (as well as keeping stuff warm, or preventing ice-up in winter). A spout lid is great for on-the-go glugs.

Camping Tarp

Weather is unpredictable and tarps make campsites better. Whether set up over your tent for some extra wind and rain protection, atop the camp kitchen for communal gatherings, on the tent floor or even above a hammock for those ultra-lightweight excursions—you need a quality camping tarp. For general-purpose camp setups, three metres by three metres (10 feet by 10 feet) is a good size. Polyester construction is a rugged choice and it should come pre-treated for water repellency.

LED Lantern

You have a flashlight. Maybe a headlamp too. But what about a lantern? Trust us—the soft, dispersed glow of a camping lantern makes food prep, reading, journaling or just chatting (especially when there’s a campfire ban) so much nicer. The best ones are LED, compact, water-resistant and USB rechargeable.

Lightweight Hammock

Once you get a camping hammock, you never go back. Simply put, nothing enhances a campsite like a simple lightweight hammock strung between two trees with an expansive view or some woodsy serenity to enjoy. Shop around and you’ll discover lot of options—search out a unit made of ripstop nylon, that packs into its own stuff sack and weighs less than a kilogram and you’ll be satisfied. Insert a lightweight camping mattress in there for extra support and comfort.


Do you need more quality gear like this? Well—I have a surprise for you.

Each one of these items was in a Live the Adventure Club Gear Box during the past year. Plus—so much more! From camp stoves to crampons, headlamps to hatchets, sleep pads to survival knives, and tons of other goodies, members of Explore Magazine’s Live the Adventure Club get equipped.

Interested in discovering more info about this inspiring club? Read on:

Curious about explore magazine’s “Live the Adventure” Club?

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Plus, get exclusive access to the Facebook community where members share their stories, ask adventure experts questions through Live Video Q&As, and compete in outdoor challenges designed to get you outside and exploring—and win amazing prizes (we’re giving away a stand-up paddleboard right now!)

What are you waiting for? Sign up for the “Live the Adventure” Club today.