14 of the best camping gear pieces that our editors have tested IRL
Shop these camping essentials that our editors have tested IRL
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Just because you like to rough it doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. Camping doesn’t actually need to be uncomfortable. If you like eating beans from a can from the comfort of your PVC-pipe camp chair then more power to you. If you like to sleep well, eat well and thoroughly enjoy your getaway in the great outdoors, however, the right camping gear will make all the difference.
Here is some of the best camping gear for everything from car camping to back woods getaways. We’ve personally tested everything on this list, so it comes with our personal stamps of approval.
1. Best camping hammock: Eno Doublenest
There are so many great camping hammocks to choose from, but after informally testing the Eno Doublenest for the last decade, my husband and both recommend it as the best camping hammock above all others.
The super strong construction allows it to hold up to 400 pounds, but this hammock is no lightweight—the triple-stitch seams make this hammock super durable and resistant to rips and tears.
The Eno Doublenest packs down small into a 19-ounce package (roughly the size of a grapefruit), making it a good option for car camping and backpacking—or wherever your travels may take you.
Also, we highly recommend you think ahead and buy the strap suspension system. You’ll be glad you did.
2. Best camping lantern: Vont LED camping lanterns
These supremely durable camping lanterns are a favorite during our multi-family campouts and stand up to just about anything a herd of 8-year-old boys can throw at them (or throw them at).
These Vont LED camping lanterns are compact, lightweight, have superior battery life and come with an astonishing lifetime warranty. Each lantern throws enough light to illuminate a tent or a picnic table, and the handle makes them perfect for hanging from a tree or being carried to the commode.
$18 at Amazon
3. Best camping cot: Coleman Camping Cot
When it comes to camping, some of us prefer roughing it, while others prefer to keep their creature comforts with them wherever they go.
If you don’t like sleeping on the ground, or if you are camping with a crew that is constantly tracking dirt and debris into your sleep space, you may want to look into a camping cot, like our favorite inflatable option by Coleman.
There is nothing rough about this super comfy inflatable cot, which comes with attachable side tables that have inset cup holders for your morning coffee or your evening cocktail.
4. Best Camping table: Coleman Ultra Compact Folding Table
Sometimes you just need a little more space. Whether it’s for you camp kitchen, having a stable spot to put down a cold one, or a clear area for a game of cards, a folding camping table can be a campsite game-changer.
We like this ultra-light, compact option for its lightweight portability and for its versatility. It’s, of course, perfect for camping but you may soon find yourself toting this camp table to the beach or to your next picnic or tailgate as well.
5. Best camping sleeping pad: Trekology Backpacking Pad
We understand that some of us are minimalists but, trust us, a sleeping pad for camping is essential.
A camping sleeping pad is a buffer against rocks, pinecones and roots that may find their way beneath you mid-sleep. It also works as an essential insulation layer between your body and the earth in a way that a sleeping bag can’t provide on its own.
We like this camping pad by Trekology for having extra support for both back and side sleepers.
6. Best camping chair: Helinox Ultralight
You can try dozens of camping chairs but none will measure up to the comfort of the Helinox Ultralight Camping Chair.
Its claim to fame is that it’s only one pound and packs down to the size of a water bottle, making it a highly portable option for backpackers and for car campers with limited space.
We, of course, love how lightweight it is but it also looks great and gives your back all the support it needs as you settle in to relax.
7. Best camping loveseat: Kelty Loveseat
The Kelty Loveseat camping chair is the ultimate loveseat to cozy up in. The seat, back and armrests are all loaded with soft padding—plus it sets up easy and it comes with two convenient cup holders, making this a chair that’s all about comfort and ease.
This loveseat is a favorite of the families we camp with. After pining for it for a few seasons, we got our own and haven't been more cozy and comfy.
8. Best instant tent: Coleman Skylodge
During testing, we watched as our fellow campers took over 40 minutes to set up their large and unwieldy family tents, while the Skylodge instant tent was set up in under five minutes.
If you’re a family camper, do yourself a favor and invest in this instant tent. The simple setup makes it a game changer for busy family camping trips.
9. Best camping tent: Coleman Skydome
If an instant tent isn’t your thing, we are crazy about the Coleman Skydome tent. It’s one of the easiest and most-intuitive camping tents we’ve tried. We can't praise this tent enough for being a well-ventilated and high-quality tent that's full of value.
Pre-attached poles that unfold and break down easily ensure you are never scrambling to figure out which pole goes where. The color-coded hooks make rain-fly assembly intuitive.
With the rainfly off, this tent’s entire top portion is mesh, allowing for incredible nighttime views, making this tent the next best thing to camping in the open air.
10. Best sleeping bag: Sea to Summit Basecamp
When you're trying to determine the best camping gear to buy, we always recommend splurging on an excellent sleeping bag. This bag by Sea to Summit basically takes all of the best parts of a mummy sleeping bag and a standard bag to make the perfect balance between the two.
One of Reviewed's senior editors Séamus Bellamy swears by this roomy and versatile sleeping bag, and he praises it for its versatility and thoughtful design.
Tapered edges and a hood help retain warmth, while the body of the bag is still roomy enough for side sleepers. A foot box zipper allows for ventilation on hot nights, and the full-body zip lets this bag convert into a quilt for picnics or for curling up by the fire.
11. Best kids' sleeping bag: Kelty Kids Mistral
Cozy, comfortable and easy to clean, the Kelty Kids Mistral is the best kids’ sleeping bag for kids of all ages—and it’s one of the most affordable.
Warm and well-structured, this sleeping bag for kids offers exceptional comfort thanks to a fluffy fill and a silky liner. The sleeping bag's high-quality materials and construction mean it’s going to last through numerous outings and growth spurts.
We love the extra snuggly hood, which comes with top and bottom drawcords to make things cozy, as well as extra padding at the top of the hood to keep warmth contained during chilly nights.
12. Best air mattress: Sound Asleep Luxury Air Mattress
A good air mattress can ensure a good night’s sleep on your next campout and help you wake in peak performance for all of your outdoor activities.
This camping mattress was praised during testing for being the perfect comboination of comfort and support.
If you are struggling with any sort of back pain, or you are trying to get a reluctant camper in your life into the great outdoors, this air mattress by Sound Asleep is our top choice.
13. Best camping stove: Weber Q 1200
If you’re just looking for a utilitarian camp stove that cooks up burgers, eggs and dogs, then you can always go with the straightforward and classic Coleman camp stove, but if you want to kick things up a few notches, the Weber Q 1200 portable propane grill is the way to go.
It packs a ton of power into a portable package and our testers love it for its superior heat distribution.
14. Best portable fire pit: Bond Aurora
If you’ve camping in California, Nevada or Colorado recently, you may have noticed that campfires are becoming a thing of the past. Because of droughts and fire warnings, the flying sparks and the slow burnout of campfires are deemed too dangerous for many campsites. It’s only a matter of time before campfires are banned everywhere.
Enter: Propane fire pits! Because propane fires don’t throw out sparks and don’t require kindling—and because they can immediately be turned off when necessary—it’s still possible still get your fire-roasting fix, without breaking the rules. Our favorite propane fire pit is the Bond Aurora portable fire pit. It’s easy to use, easy to transport and park ranger permitted.
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