These Are All the Essentials You'll Need for Your Next Camping Trip

You'll want to pack these tools to eat well while camping.

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March 06, 2020
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Whether you're a first-time camper or a seasoned enthusiast, you're going to need to feed yourself while you're out in the woods. Use this packing list to make sure you have all the essential, most-affordable tools. From the best camping stove and grill, to portable tables and comfortable camp chairs, to classic cups and coffee makers, the majority of these cost less than $30. Remember the Scout motto: Always be prepared.


With classic style and functional design, this must-have propane-powered camp stove protects your two burners and their precious flames from the elements.

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Screw these into your gas camping grill and you'll be ready to boil, fry, toast and sear. Buy extras to ensure you won't run out of fuel mid-trip.

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Instead of lugging your expensive Weber gas grill into the wilderness, opt for a folding campfire grill. The culinary options are limitless— just place your pans on top of this grill and cook up a storm.

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When grilling over an open fire, the worst feeling is losing your dinner to the ashes. Prevent drops and slips with a grilling basket.

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If you never learned to light a fire with sticks and shavings like a Scout, a long-stemmed lighter is key. Avoid burnt arm hairs by keeping hot campfires and stove burners at a distance.

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While grilling over a campfire can be an exciting experience, it's not always easy to regulate the temperature. To prevent food poisoning while staying in a tent (not fun), use a grilling thermometer to make sure your meats are fully cooked.

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If you wanted a perfectly clear cup of coffee, you would have gone to Starbucks. This percolator can sit on a stove or over a campfire, and provides you with a rich, unpretentiously rough cup o' joe.

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When heading off on a camping trip, versatility is key. This combo can fry up some Spam and eggs in the skillet-shaped lid while heating chili in the pot. Or, prepare a roast dinner, cover, then throw the whole thing on the coals to cook.

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While aluminum foil can be helpful for outdoor storage, it's also a great cooking tool. Use the heavy-duty stuff to wrap up your favorite ingredients, then place the foil packet near some hot coals to get cookin'.

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Leave your fine, forged steel at home and bring along a knife that will do a bang-up job in the great outdoors. Make sure to get a plastic locking sheath to keep sharp edges away from kiddie fingers.

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While you could just push your corks into the wine bottle, going off the grid doesn't mean you have to become a barbarian. The corkscrew feature on this classic French pocket knife is a must-have, while the razor-sharp blade comes in handy for slicing rope and whittling marshmallow sticks.

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This board is big enough to handle your basic cutting tasks, but small enough that it will still fit in your wash bin. The durable plastic requires no maintenance, and is perfect for outdoor use.

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If you're cooking with cast iron, wooden tools are ideal. And if you only want to take one cooking utensil, this one has the best of all worlds — a spoon element for tasting and a flat edge for scraping, flipping and cleaning out pesky corners.

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Keep hot potatoes at an arm's length with these big grilling tongs. They're made without any plastic, so if you accidentally drop them in the fire (you silly goose), they won't melt.

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Please your inner survivalist with these military-style can openers. If you're looking to pack light, a bit of maneuvering is all it takes for these things to slice through a lid like buttah'.

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The last thing you want is to wind up in the middle of the woods without a way to open your can of beans. If you don't want to go gung-ho with your Swiss Army knife, this O.G. tool makes lid removal a cinch. Plus, it has a built-in bottle opener for your brews.

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Not all campsites come with a picnic table. This lightweight folding table allows you to bring your own workspace for cooking, cleaning and dining. The adjustable height makes it great for preparing a meal while standing or sitting down to eat with a group.

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Long day of hiking? Take a load off! This comfortable, collapsible chair makes for a convenient piece of portable furniture that you'll be able to use year-round, whether at a tailgate, at the beach or in the backyard. Oh, and did we mention that the cooler pocket fits four cans?

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This three-utensil set clips together so you'll never be missing that spoon when you need it. Plus, the knife has a built-in bottle opener. Each camper gets to carry their own cutlery.

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There's nothing that screams "outdoors!" more than this classic spotted enamelware. If you're looking to pack one dish per person, go with this shallow cereal bowl; it's perfect for serving soups, stews and pancakes too!

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If you're concerned about the quality of the water at your campsite, you'll want to invest in a water filtration system. This simple, miniature device features both a filter and a water bag, so you can squeeze water either into your mouth or into a bottle to drink later.

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It's a simple item to bring along, but it makes camp life exponentially easier. Park it on a bench or table, then use it to fill water bottles and rinse hands. Once it's empty, you can refill it with clean water.

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Forget about plastic wine glasses; these enameled cups do it all — from water and coffee to wine and whiskey.

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Speaking of whiskey, there's only one backcountry bourbon that you should be passing around the fire, and that's Wild Turkey. This one's extra-strong and extra-spicy, with a bit of pepper and a bunch of rye.

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If the outdoors is your kitchen, you'll still need a sink for the dirty dishes. This heavy-duty, collapsible bucket does the trick by holding six gallons of soapy water. When not filled with liquid, use it to carry all of your kitchen supplies.

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This legendary soap is biodegradable and can be used to wash dishes, hands, hair, teeth, toes, automobiles and literally anything else imaginable. Just always remember to Dilute! Dilute! OK!

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When it comes to sponges, don't settle for less. Choose the best scrubber side around.

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Pick thick trash bags to keep odors in and animals out. Plus, they can be cut to size and used as a drop cloth under your tent to prevent you from getting wet while you sleep. Always remember to leave no trace behind.

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You could stuff 63 cans in this cooler, but odds are you'll want to make sure you leave a little space for your barbecue ingredients. It comes complete with a leak-resistant drain, so you can keep the ice and get rid of the water.

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Plastic bags are key for storing leftovers on ice without leakage. Use them as well to marinate your meats and keep your devices dry in case of a deluge.

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If you time your dinners properly, you won't need a powerful headlamp. But try dicing an onion in the dark and see how many fingers you have left afterward.

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