If you are a camping veteran, you’ll know that no two camping trips are alike, but what you might have discovered is that there is always that one item you forgot to pack that would have made your trip so much better.

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of 7 essential items that you should consider taking with you on your next camping adventure. You can find more essential tips for a great camping trip by reading a comprehensive van life guide.

OK, before we start, let’s make this clear we are not going to go the obvious route. I mean, you know that you’ve got to bring your van, right? We are talking about those items you may not have thought about, the little things that can make a big difference to your camping trip.

A Generator

While the purists might balk at the thought of using electricity when camping, these days, with so many outdoor enthusiasts using laptops, tablets, and phones, a generator can be a lifesaver. You’ll need to do your homework first, so it’s best to check out a generator review site such as 10PowerUp to discover which generators the experts recommend for camping.

You’ll want to find one with enough output to power all your devices, but it isn’t so noisy that it will disturb the peace of the great outdoors or your fellow campers.

A Cooler

A good cooler is worth its weight in gold when you’re camping. There are so many different coolers on the market these days, from small personal ones that will fit in your backpack to large ones on wheels that can accommodate everything you need for a week-long trip.

Again, do some research and read some reviews before investing in a cooler. You want one that will keep your food and drinks cold but isn’t too bulky or heavy to carry. If you’re planning on doing any fishing while you’re camping, a good cooler will come in handy for storing your catch, too.

Insect Repellent

Don’t forget to pack insect repellent. No one wants to be constantly swatting away mosquitoes and other biting insects or waking up covered in bites!

While DEET is the most effective insect repellent, it can also be toxic, so if you’re looking for a more natural solution, there are some plant-based repellents on the market that work pretty well, made with ingredients like citronella, lemongrass, and peppermint.

If you prefer, you can also buy mosquito nets to keep the little critters at bay while you’re sleeping.

A Multi-Tool

A high-quality camping multi-tool can come in handy when you are least expecting it. It can open beer bottles, cut rope, prepare kindling for a fire, and do 101 other tasks. As all the tools are contained in one small package, it doesn’t take up much room in your backpack either.

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Make sure you find one with all the features you might require, and don’t opt for a cheap option; you don’t want it breaking on you during an emergency. Features to look for include a knife saw, screwdriver, can opener, and pliers.

Two of the best brands are Leatherman and Victorinox if you’re looking for a top-quality multi-tool.

A First Aid Kit

You can guarantee if you forget to pack a first aid kit, someone in your camping party will end up needing it. Someone will get clumsy with the multi-tool mentioned above and cut themselves, or someone will get stung by a bee. Even the person who had a bit too much to drink might need some TLC if they wake up with a hangover and need a painkiller or two to see them through the day.

A first aid kit doesn’t have to be big or fancy, and you can easily buy one pre-made, or you could put one together yourself with all the essentials like bandages, antiseptic wipes, painkillers, and sting relief cream.

If you want to get a bit more adventurous with your camping trips and do some hiking or climbing, you might want to consider getting a more comprehensive first aid kit that includes items such as snake bite kits and splints.

A Camping Chair

Just because you are roughing it in the great outdoors doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. A camping chair will make sitting around the campfire or chilling in your tent much more pleasant.

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If it rains while you’re camping, a good camping chair will also keep you dry, as you can sit on it while cooking or performing other tasks outside your tent.

There are all sorts of different camping chairs available, from ultralight backpacking chairs that weigh next to nothing and can be stuffed into your backpack to full-size reclining chairs that come with their own footrests. It all depends on how much space you have and how much weight you’re willing to carry.

A Flashlight

Where’s the flashlight? Those are the dreaded words you don’t want to hear as dusk starts to fall and you are preparing for your first night in the wild!

A flashlight is an essential piece of camping gear. Fumbling around in your tent, trying to cook in the dark, or going to the toilet in the middle of the night without illumination isn’t fun!

While most phones nowadays have a built-in flashlight, it’s not always convenient to use your phone as a light source, and the last thing you want is to run out of battery power when you need it most.

One type of flashlight that is popular with campers is the headlamp. Headlamps are great because they leave your hands free to set up camp or cook dinner. Most headlamps have different settings, so you can choose how much light you need.

Don’t forget to bring some spare batteries for your flashlight too. Nothing is worse than being in the middle of nowhere with a dead flashlight!

Final Thoughts

These are seven essential items to bring on your next camping trip but don’t forget the basics. Arriving at your camping spot without a tent or sleeping bag is not going to make for a fun trip!

Of course, there are other items you might need depending on where you are going and what other activities you have planned. If you are combining your trip with some fishing or hiking or going camping near Carlsbad caverns, then you’ll need all the right gear.

Preparing a camping checklist before you go will help ensure that you have a great trip and don’t forget anything important.