Elevate Your Next Camping Trip with These Essential Pieces of Outdoor Gear

Camping Tent and Campfire
Photo: Carmian/Getty

These pretty, functional must-haves prove that it's possible to enjoy the great outdoors in style.

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Camping Tent and Campfire

Whether snuggled in a sleeping bag or in the comfort of a canvas tent, it's hard for even the most adventure-averse to deny the crisp, quieting energy you get while spending a night outdoors. And camping is a great activity to do with your family or quarantine pod during the Coronavirus pandemic. "It's the best sleep you can get," says Terra Glamping founder Rebecca Martin, whose experiences bridge the gap between classic camping and a luxury hotel stay. "You're getting that nice, cool air around you and there's something about it that's just hypnotic. It puts you straight to sleep," she explains.

By day, camping is all about unplugging from the every day and connecting with nature—at Terra's East Hampton location, that includes activities like paddle boarding and kayaking—and both glampers and camping purists can agree that there are a few essential creature-comforts you'll want to bring along to do it.

For Martin, a large, round multi-purpose towel is an absolutely must-have. It can do double-duty as either a ground covering or a cozy wrap after a dip in the lake. Shatter-proof wine glasses, a portable speaker with Bluetooth connectivity, and broad-spectrum sunscreen are also crucial. (S'mores ingredients go without saying.) "You want to do a take in and take out [policy] if you're really truly camping," she adds, offering a reminder about minimizing waste, setting up your site in the most sustainable way possible, and leaving the grounds the way it was before campers arrived.

Read on for more of Martin's camping—or glamping—essentials, plus some of our favorite items to pack when heading into the great outdoors.

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An Ultralight Day Pack

orange and gray camping backpack
Courtesy of Amazon

Roomy enough for all of the essentials, this carry-all can be stuffed into its own zippered pocket when not in use.

Shop Now: AmazonBasics Ultralight Packable Day Pack, $17.44, amazon.com.

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A Solar-Powered Cooler

gosun solar-powered chill cooler
Courtesy of GoSun

Toting perishables can be cumbersome (and messy) when bags of melting ice are required. But this food and snack stash spot is like a mini fridge on wheels, drawing energy from UV solar rays and using it to power a motor that keeps items frozen for up to 10 hours—without ice.

Shop Now: GoSun "Chill" Cooler, $586, indegogo.com.

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Roomy Tent

REI Eight-Person Camping Tent
Courtesy of REI

Just because you're sleeping outdoors doesn't mean you can't do it in style. This roomy tent offers ample space for eight people, but features a divider for privacy.

Shop Now: REI Co-Op "Kingdom 8" Tent, $579, rei.com.

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A Multi-Use Sleeping Bag

camping kubie red
Courtesy of Kijaro

Glampers, like Martin, know the truth: "Just because you're not putting a tent up yourself and sleeping in a sleeping bag on some rocks, does not make this not camping." Whichever you fancy, the versatile Kubie can be configured as an insulated poncho—the hood is fleece-lined—a ground cover, sleeping bag, pillow, hammock, hammock liner, underquilt, or shade canopy.

Shop Now: Kijaro Kubie, $80, kijaro.com.

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Cleansing Wipes

camping micellar wipes
Courtesy of Amazon

Even if you're keeping your beauty routine minimal, a daily skin refresh is essential. Leave the bottles of cleanser at home and bring along these, equally-effective, micellar cleansing wipes instead.

Shop Now: Belei Oil-Free Micellar Facial Cleansing Wipes, $9 for 25, amazon.com.

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Govino Glasses

camping govino glasses
Courtesy of Govino

Whether you use them for wine or sparkling water is up to you, but the fact that these "glasses" are also reusable and feature a comfy thumb imprint that ensures they won't fall put them in the must-pack list.

Shop Now: Govino "Go Anywhere" White Wine Glass, $38 for set of eight, food52.com.

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Music on the Go

camping wonderboom speaker
Courtesy of Ultimate Ears

Nature makes its own music of sorts, but if you're missing your favorite songs or podcasts, pack a speaker like this one, which is waterproof, drop-proof up to five feet, and has a battery life of 10 hours.

Shop Now: Ultimate Ears "WONDERBOOM" Speaker in Lilac, $100, amazon.com.

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Bug-Stopper Tee

camping bug stopper tee
Courtesy of Simms Fishing

Keep the elements—insects and dangerous UV rays—at bay, and keep comfortable while doing it. This long-sleeve tee is made with UPF 50 and fabric designed to repel mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers, and midges.

Shop Now: Simms Women's BugStopper Tee, $49.97, simmsfishing.com.

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Camping Chair

camping idle time chair
Courtesy of Burton

When it's time to gather around the campfire, pull up this lightweight lounger, which has a cooling compartment in the back to stash beverages on the go.

Shop Now: Burton "Idletime" Camping Chair, $64.95, burton.com.

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Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40
Courtesy of Supergoop!

This weightless, scentless formula is made for daily wear in both the city and country alike. What's more, "It goes on completely clear, so you don't have to worry about the dreaded white cast of other sunscreens," Martin says.

Shop Now: Supergoop! "Unseen" Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40, $34, sephora.com.

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Oversized Towels

camping beach people roundie towel
Courtesy of The Beach People

Large enough for two people and versatile enough for all your wrapping, covering, drying needs, this 60-inch towel is made of plush velour on one side and terry on the other.

Shop Now: The Beach People "Starboard Roundie" Towel, $99, thebeachpeopleco.com.

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