The Top Camping Gear Essentials for Your Next Vacation
Half of the fun of going on vacation is booking your trip and letting the anticipation build. It’s exciting to imagine the sights you will see, the adventures you will go on, and the memories you will create.
However, a less enjoyable aspect of preparing for your trip is making sure you have everything you need packed away.
Additionally, if you are going on a camping trip, you will need to pack much more than if you were going to an all-inclusive resort or visiting a friend. While camping, you will most likely be too far from a drugstore to make any late-night runs, and you might need to bring some extra essentials.
Creating a packing list for a vacation outdoors can feel overwhelming, so we’ve rounded up a list of the top camping gear essentials for you to throw in your bag for your next vacation.
Camping Essentials: Clothing
Below are our top recommendations for when you’re packing clothes for your next camping trip.
Defense against harmful rays is a crucial part of a camping trip since you will want to spend your afternoons hiking and swimming in the sun. Make sure you bring gear that’s going to protect your skin, eyes, and hair.
Pack a hat that will shield your scalp, shoulders, and face while walking on a winding trail. This could be anything from a wide-brimmed sun hat to a lightweight baseball cap. Add a pair of sunglasses with good UV protection, and you’ll be ready for a full day of sunny adventures.
When you’re moving a lot throughout the day, especially out in nature, you want clothes that will work with your body rather than against it.
Make sure you pack your comfiest activewear for camping trips that are filled with hiking, yoga, horseback riding, or anything else. Choose fabrics that are breathable, form-fitting, moisture-wicking, and temperature-controlling.
Summertime travel often leads to lake or river activities. If you’re going camping near water, make sure you have something you can splash around in. Pack your favorite bathing suit to slip on when you want to take a dip.
If you are going to do something a little more fast-paced, like tubing or wakeboarding, we recommend going with a more secure option, like a one-piece bathing suit. Also, water shoes and a rashguard are great to have if you’re going to take on whitewater rafting.
Overnight Bag Camping Checklist
Wonder what other essentials to bring with you? Here are a few miscellaneous items to put in an overnight bag.
The elements can be rough on your body, so make sure to pack any skin, hair, and body care products that will keep you feeling your best. This category includes shampoo, conditioner, soap, and even lip balm. Your toothbrush, toothpaste, and a few clean paper towels for drying your face are also essential. You’ll also need deodorant if you’re out in the backcountry for more than a few hours.
Bring sunscreen that won’t irritate your skin as you reapply. You may also want to have two different options, one for your face and one for your body — a gentle facial sunscreen will prevent your pores from getting clogged.
For excursions into the woods, bring a bug repellant that you tolerate well. Many products today have harsh chemicals, so you should make sure yours agrees with your skin.
If you are visiting a drier climate than you are used to, be sure to pack your favorite face moisturizer and body lotion to keep your skin feeling hydrated and healthy.
Of course, if you’re a guest of Collective Retreats, each of our accommodations come stocked with luxury toiletries for your ease and comfort.
When you’re on a camping vacation, sometimes you need to make your own light. Aside from the glowing moonlight, nights are mostly pitch black. Pack some battery-powered or rechargeable flashlights for when you want to go on a stroll in the dark.
You’ll also want to make sure you have an emergency and first aid kit that includes the following:
- Duct tape for fixing leaks
- Hand sanitizer
- An extra water jug
- Insect repellent
- A headlamp
- A multi-tool
- A cell phone charger or power bank
- Fire starters or kindling
- A rain jacket
- Antibiotic ointment
- An ultralight emergency blanket
Make sure you pack some snacks for your next vacation in the great outdoors. You may feel peckish between meals, especially after a hike or a swim, and food like granola bars and bags of chips or popcorn is perfect for snacking.
Stash a few of these snacks in your daypack alongside marshmallows and other s’more supplies if you want. If you’re planning on going all-out and creating your own camp kitchen of sorts, we recommend bringing the following supplies for cooking camp meals.
- Eating and cooking utensils (tongs, forks, knives)
- Camping chairs
- Potable water in a reusable water bottle
- A portable camp stove
- A cutting board
- A frying pan or dutch oven
- A tablecloth
- Trash bags
- A can opener
If you’re headed to a campsite with a picnic table, these items are all you need. Otherwise, you may want to bring along a foldable camp table if you have room in your pack.
Still, many of us prefer a more upscale dining experience when we’re on vacation. Instead of making your own pre-packaged meals, enjoy a culinary experience to remember from one of our world-class chefs.
Collective Retreats provides gourmet culinary offerings at each of our getaways, curated to showcase the local culture and complement the great outdoors surrounding us. At night, you can enjoy fresh s’mores around the fire with your loved one.
Even in more temperate climates, temperatures can dip at night. It’s important to have a few comfy sweaters, warm socks, and fleece-lined pants for when it gets chilly. Even if you don’t suspect cold weather on your trip, a light sweatshirt can be a lifesaver.
If you’re traveling to a colder climate, you should also grab a good beanie or pair of ear warmers. You lose a lot of your body heat through the top of your head, so keeping your head cozy will do you good in the wilderness. Warm gloves come in handy, too.
Before you go camping, you’ll want a plan for how you’ll spend your nights. Consider the following options for your sleeping arrangements:
- A camping air mattress with a manual pump
- A standard sleeping pad
- A hammock
Any of these options can work, especially if you have a camping pillow and a collapsible tent. However, not all of us can enjoy our outdoor getaways with such bare-bones accommodations. Thankfully, camping isn’t the only way to enjoy the great outdoors — Collective Retreats offers a luxurious alternative for your outdoor retreat.
The Best Camping Spots for Luxury Camping Experiences
If pitching your own tent, using the woods as your bathroom, and trying to get a night’s rest in a sleeping bag in a national park does not sound like your dream vacation, we understand. Instead of camping, consider an alternative outdoor lodging experience.
Here at Collective Retreats, we strive to give guests the ability to immerse themselves in nature while staying in top-of-the-line accommodations. If you want to put on your hiking boots and enjoy luxurious comfort, we have an upscale alternative to camping.
Additionally, if the idea of cooking your own food over a fire or eating canned food for every meal has always turned you off of the idea of camping, you will especially appreciate our culinary offerings. An on-site chef will prepare three meals a day that highlights local, fresh ingredients and showcases local cuisine for you to enjoy.
We have locations across the country, each with a variety of outdoor activities that reflect the natural wonders of the area. No longer do you have to choose between comfort and outdoor adventure. At a Collective Retreats ranch, you can have it all.
We offer a variety of accommodations that fit all types of travel groups, preferences, and needs. Our most popular accommodation option, however, is our Summit Tent. Designed to mimic the luxuries and amenities of a five-star hotel, you will have everything you could possibly need during your stay.
Perfecting the idea of indoor/outdoor living, you can start your morning by sipping your coffee and soaking in the views on your private deck that sits right outside your front door. Then, after a day of immersive and exciting outdoor experiences, you can return to your tent, rinse off in your rain style in your en suite bathroom and freshen up at your vanity set up.
Lastly, hop into your king-sized bed that is dressed with high thread-count sheets and rich, woven textiles for a comfortable night of sleep.
Head To Vail
If you live in Colorado or have always wanted to camp around the Rocky Mountains, you should make Vail your next vacation destination. As a Collective Retreats guest, you will have immediate access to Colorado-specific outdoor activities.
One of the most popular pastimes around Vail is fly fishing, thanks to the unpressurized water, impressive network of rivers, and consistent water temperatures. Even if you have never held a fishing rod, wading in the water and standing under the grandiose mountain tops is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
Visit Governor’s Island
If you want to experience a camping experience in New York City, there is only one place to do so: Governor’s Island. This small oasis right off of Manhattan offers the green space and serenity that can be difficult to come across in other parts of the city.
This small island is only accessible by ferry, meaning the streets are solely reserved for walking and bike riding. Renting a bike with our Collective Retreats concierge and taking a relaxing and scenic ride along the 2.5-mile perimeter of the island is a must-do activity. At Governor’s Island, you’ll be surrounded by green space with unrivaled views of the Statue of Liberty across the New York Harbor. It’s a retreat like no other in the world.
Enjoy Texas Hill Country
Some of the most beautiful and peaceful sights to see in Texas sit in the stretch of land between Austin and San Antonio. Known as Texas Hill Country, this area is known for its gorgeous foliage, rolling hills, and plentiful opportunities for outdoor adventures.
If you are looking for an outdoor alternative to camping that is centered around wellness activities, be sure to book your stay at the Hill Country Collective Retreats ranch. Start your morning with a sunrise yoga session, strengthening your muscles and calming your mind.
Relish in the relaxation that accompanies a deep breath of fresh air and the views of the morning light hitting lush foliage. After a successful yoga class, join our sound meditation session to be lulled into serenity by an expert as they produce meditative sounds from singing bowls.
Pack Your Bag and Head Out
Once you have your destination picked out and your bag packed, all that’s left to do is enjoy the tranquility brought by a camping vacation. Be sure to bring all the essentials, such as natural sunscreen, bug spray, and a flashlight. Additionally, packing a few extra layers and a bathing suit will keep you covered, no matter what the environment is like.
If you are hesitant to give up the everyday comforts you are accustomed to, immerse yourself in nature at one of our luxurious Collective Retreats locations.