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Camping can be a daunting prospect. As in Y’s case, a love of nature doesn’t necessarily translate into a desire to sleep under the stars. Sometimes it’s easiest to dip your toes in the water before trying to swim upstream. We’ve composed an accessible gear list for the semi-agoraphobic that’s perfect for day trips, RV camping, hotel stays, light hiking or walking tours.
Depending on the length of your excursion, it may make more sense to leave some of these items in the car, RV or hotel, but they’re good to have on hand. Running around an unfamiliar city looking for a blister stick is even less amusing once the blisters have formed.
Our Camping Gear Guide for Newbies will help you get the most from your trip to the great outdoors, with the least amount of stuff, because while a walk in the woods is free, gear can get expensive.
This gear list is specifically for RV campers, day trippers or those staying in hotels. If you’re Glamping and sleeping under a solid roof during your outdoors experience, this list is for you.
If you’re looking to pitch a tent, check out our other Gear Guides:
Novice, Intermediate, or Advanced.
- Small Backpack or (gasp) Fannypack
- Utility Tool
- Garbage Bag (for cleanup or for use as an emergency rain poncho)
- First Aid Kit
- Flashlight (Always have one, even if you don’t plan to be roaming around at night.)
- Spare Batteries
- Water Bottles; Plan for 32oz or a liter per hour.
- Phone (for photos, the gram, and the odd emergency)
Always, always, always dress in weather appropriate layers. A raincoat or hoodie might feel excessive at ground level, but temperatures can drop with even a moderate increase in elevation. Nothing ruins a hike faster than being improperly outfitted – except maybe listening to your hiking companion complain about being improperly outfitted. Be aware, be smart, be an adult.
- Comfortable, Flat-Bottomed, Closed-Toe Shoes or Light Hiking Boots
- Street Clothes
- Shorts (Be wary of bugs/plants, shorts are often not the best idea.)
- Light Gloves
- Swim Suit
- Microfiber Towel
- Change of Outfit
You’re in picnic mode here so you can get as lavish as you like. We prefer a no-frills approach that lets you focus on the scenery rather than a splendid table.
- Picnic (no equipment needed, no heat, cutlery or containers)
- Trail Mix
- Kind Bars
- Fruit (fresh or dehydrated)
- Wine (screwtop)
- Beer (cans; easily compactable or transportable)
- Flask (with the spirit of your choice)
- Wet Naps
No matter how you dine, always clean up after yourself, pack out any waste or wrappers, and do not feed the animals. Baiting an animal to snag a sweet pic might just be a death sentence for your furry friend. When fed, wild animals stop being wild and quickly fall victim aggressive predators or are forcibly relocated. Don’t be fooled by the cute factor, they know how to feed themselves better than you do. That bear will straight up eat you.
There’s a lot of odds and ends that are nice to have, but by no means necessary. Since you’re not on the hook for carrying it for miles and miles though, you might as well come prepared. This is a case where it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
- Rescue Whistle
- Bug Spray
- Added Picnic Equipment
- Spare Film, Batteries
- Icepack (Protip: Use a frozen water bottle, which can do double-duty keeping your lunch cool when it’s not being used for first-aid.)
- Backup Battery/Charger/Solar Charger
This gear is pretty universal for any level of interacting with the outdoors, so it’s a good place to start as you outfit yourself.
If you’re looking to add to your personal equipment, check out our Novice, Intermediate and Advanced Camping Gear Guides.