Camping Gear for Beginners

New to camping, but need to know what to bring with you? This list of camping gear for beginners should help!

camping gear for beginners

There is no secret here that we love to camp! Camping is one of our favorite family activities because it is a cheap way to vacation, it gets us away from technology for a bit and it’s just so much fun! If you are new to camping, I decided to put together a list of camping gear for beginners for you so you know exactly what you need to make your camping adventure successful.

If you are new to camping in Oregon, be sure to check out our list of the best campgrounds in Oregon for kids and find your new favorite vacation spot. Before you read that list though, let me be very clear. We do love primitive camping and do it sometimes, but I love “glamping” sort of camping. We do tent camp, but I appreciate being close to a restroom and I enjoy having the option to shower if I’ve been camping for more than just a few days. 

Camping Gear for Beginners

Let’s talk about all of the best camping gear for beginners and how this gear will help your trip run much more smoothly. 

What to do Before You Buy New Camping Gear

If this is your first time camping, you may not know what you need as far as gear goes for your first camping trip. If you are really not sure about camping and whether or not you are going to love it, you may consider renting or borrowing the following equipment to save yourself money. 

If you are fully committed to a new lifestyle that includes fun camping trips, have at it and get you some good gear! You won’t regret it!

camp fire

List of Camping Gear for Beginners

The following is a list of camping gear for beginners, however this list includes items that all campers will need to bring along with them on their camping adventure. 

Camping Knife

A camping knife will become a very versatile tool while you’re camping. You can use it to cut paracord or anything that you may need while you are camping. Heck, it can even be used to butter a bagel with cream cheese!

Even if you think you are fully prepared and would have no need for a sharp knife on your trip,  you may want to bring a camping knife for just in case scenarios. They do happen. 

My husband is a knife enthusiast and will not buy lower end brand knives. He does however like the Gerber Brand of camping and survival knives. 

Camping Furniture

Some campsites will have picnic tables, and that’s if you’re lucky! I highly recommend bringing some camping chairs or other seating to help make your camping experience more comfortable. You do not want to spend your entire camping trip sitting on the ground or using your cooler as a makeshift seat. 

I am all about saving money. I am all about being thrifty. I will say this though, when it comes to camping chairs, the cheapest is not the way to go. I am 43 years old. My first purchase of “expensive” camp chair was when I was 38. At the time I kept telling my husband no, we did not need to spend that much money on a camp chair (it was $30). Honestly, I am still using it to this day! It has lasted years and the difference in comfort is almost indescribable. 

This is the chair I own and I love it! 

Cooking Supplies

campfire cookware

The cooking supplies you will need will be based on your cooking options and what you’re making! Here are some general cooking supplies you will need to bring along on your camping trip:

Pots and pans (If cooking over a fire, I highly recommend using cast iron)

Camp stove (optional, but we LOVE the Blackstone)

Kabobs or skewers

Aluminum foil


Eating and Cooking Utensils

Can opener

Firestarter (great if you are new to fire building)

Serving supplies such as bowls, plates, etc.

First Aid Kit

Whether on your hiking trails or on the campsite grounds, you may find yourself with a scraped knee or a bruised ankle! Having a first aid kit can save a life in an emergency, but it’s good to have for the bumps and bruises.

We have this kit in our camping supplies. 

Oh, and to help prevent bee stings, which can cause allergic reactions, check out this post on how to get rid of bees while camping.


You will need a few light source options while you are camping. This will be mainly used at night, but you can also use them for navigating the campgrounds when it gets dark. 


Lantern (you can make your own using a milk jug and a headlamp)


Hanging lights for the tent

I’m going to be honest here and tell you that I used to only buy cheap flashlights, because I love to save money. Those cheap flashlights let me down more than once though.  My husband has since banned cheap flashlights and we now only have what I consider high dollar lighting supplies here and I can’t complain. They are great!

Sleeping Bag

When it comes to your sleeping bag, you want to choose a quality sleeping bag! You want to first look at the temperature rating of your sleeping bag. Look for one that can handle colder temperatures that you will face at your campsite. If you are usually cold, you want to buy a bag liner for added warmth or look for one with a better rating. 

If you’re worried about comfort, consider buying a sleeping mattress for added comfort!


The first thing you need to determine is how many people need to fit in your tent. It might make more sense to split up your group if you are camping with a lot of people or a larger family. Pay close attention to how many people should fit in that tent and practice before you go! This is the only thing keeping you from the ground, so make sure it’s a sturdy and quality tent!

I like having a lot of space in our tent because there are 5 of us and we are notorious for overpacking. I need room for all of our stuff! This is the tent we have and I love it. 


Dehydration is a common problem when camping, so make sure you bring enough water! You’ll also need water for washing your camping dishes and for bathing yourself. On a hot day, you may need to rinse off or wash your dirty feet before going into the tent. It’s best to bring extra just in case!

Should You Buy Used Camping Gear?

If you are a camping newbie or if you are on a budget, you might be considering buying camping gear that is used. I don’t blame you. I LOVE thrift shopping and buying used items when I can. You should absolutely take advantage of buying used camping gear, just be cautious about the items you buy. There are some items that I prefer not to buy used and I will list them below.

Camping Items That You Should Buy Used

The used camping items that I would be willing to buy are the following:

Tent (after thorough inspection)

Never buy a used tent that you can’t see set up, as it is easy to see a missed pole, rainfly, etc.


You can find great deals on used camp stoves. I have found that most of the used camp stoves I have found are either owned by camping enthusiasts that have taken great care of their gear, or by people who have used it only once or twice and decided that camping isn’t ever their thing. 

Sleeping Bags

Yes, it’s okay to buy used sleeping bags. Just be sure to clean them properly when you get home.


Buying a used cooler is perfectly fine, just make sure that it seals well. When it comes to buying coolers, I tend to prefer new ones because sometimes people just don’t clean them well. 

Camping Items You Should Never Buy Used

Skip these used camping items and buy new ones instead

Electronic Camping Gear

Just like with other electronics, electronic camping gear becomes outdated quickly so it’s better to buy new.

Safety Equipment

Safety equipment should always be purchased new so that you know the history of it. 

Anything that Smells Funny

That may sound like a joke, but I am being completely serious. First of all, ewwww. Second, if the items you are buying have been in storage for a long time you never know what kind of damage it may have received via moths or mice, etc. 

Common Camping Gear for Beginners Questions

What is the best way to clean camping equipment?

It is recommended to clean equipment with warm water and mild soap, then dry thoroughly before storing. For tougher stains or build-up, a mixture of baking soda and water can be used as a scrubbing agent.

How should I store my camping gear?

It is important to store camping gear in a dry place, away from moisture and extreme temperatures. Compressed bags or plastic bins can help save space and protect equipment.

What should I do if my tent develops a hole or tear?

Depending on the size and location of the hole or tear, it may be possible to patch with specialized tent repair tape. If the damage is extensive, it may be necessary to replace the tent altogether.

What type of sleeping pad should I use?

This will depend on personal preference and the specific needs of the camper. Foam pads tend to be inexpensive and durable, while air pads are lightweight and easily inflatable.

I hope that this list has provided you with a general guideline of what you will need to get for your family’s first camping trip!

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