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The Best Lake Camping Gear for Beginners: An Essential Camping List for New Campers

The Best Lake Camping Gear for Beginners: An Essential Camping List for New Campers

Lake camping is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors without having to stray too far from civilization. And, with the right gear, it can be a comfortable and enjoyable experience for even first-time campers.

Of course, packing for a lake camping trip can be daunting if you’re not sure what kind of gear you need. That’s why we’ve put together this essential list of lake camping gear for beginners. From tents and sleeping bags to fishing poles and kayaks, this list has everything you need to make your first lake camping trip successful, so let’s get started.


Having a quality tent is essential for first-time campers as it allows them to keep safe and warm in inclement weather and harsh climates. Researching the types of camping tents and their weight, capacity, and features is essential so that the right choice can be made and the best tent can be picked. The AmazonBasics 4-Person Tent is an excellent option for lake camping as it is a 3-season / 4-person tent, is lightweight, and comes with accompanying accessories. It is also easy to set up and can withstand various weather changes. In addition, having extra tent pegs of varied lengths is also recommended to ensure that the tent is secured in sandy areas or on the beach.

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Sleeping Bag

Having a sleeping bag is essential while camping because it provides warmth and comfort. Sleeping bags are lightweight, easy to transport, and require no setup. Different types of sleeping bags are available, such as temperature-rated, insulated, and zippered sleeping bags. The Oaskys Camping Sleeping Bag is one of the best sleeping bags for camping because it is made with a polyester cover and flannel lining, which make it both durable and soft. It also has a double-filled technology, a durable waterproof compressible foil, and a two-way zipper design, making it more comfortable and easier to use. Additionally, the Oaskys Camping Sleeping Bag is lightweight and easy to store, making it perfect for camping trips. With its warmth-to-weight ratio and comfortable design, the Oaskys Camping Sleeping Bag is the best choice for camping trips.

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Sleeping Pad

A sleeping pad is an inflatable or foam mattress that provides additional cushioning, insulation, and comfort for campers. It is essential for lake camping because it helps to keep you warm, provides a more comfortable sleeping surface, and can protect you from the ground. The insulation from the sleeping pad helps to trap your body heat and block cold air from entering your sleeping space. Additionally, the cushioning of the sleeping pad can make the difference between tossing and turning all night or sleeping like a baby out in the wild.

The WANNTS Sleeping Pad is an excellent option for those looking for quality sleep while camping. It has a built-in foam pillow-top that is both comfortable and supportive and a 2 to 2.5 R-value that provides plenty of insulation to keep you warm even on cold nights. The pad is lightweight and compact, making it perfect for backpacking, and it inflates quickly with only a few breaths. Additionally, WANNTS makes sleeping mats geared explicitly toward women by creating a more accommodating shape for wider hips.

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Foldable Chairs

Foldable camping chairs are essential for any camping trip, as they offer a comfortable place to sit and relax around the campfire. The Coleman Broadband Mesh Quad Camping Chair is a great option, as it is lightweight, easy to assemble, and packs down really small. It also has a low price point compared to more premium options, making it an ideal choice for those on a tight budget. The chair also features back support, additional padding, and durable construction, making it an excellent choice for those who want to stay comfortable for hours on end. The built-in cup holder and extra pockets also add to its convenience and make it an excellent choice for any camping adventure.

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Water Storage

The Dromedary Bag Water Reservoir is an excellent option for novice campers looking for the best lake camping water storage gear. Made of tightly woven fabric with a BPA-free liner, it is drop-proof, can be frozen, and doesn’t impart any flavor to the water. The large size allows you to fill it up partially when necessary. Alternatively, collapsible water cubes are also useful when camping or carrying water on a long ride. For temperature control, a stainless steel insulated bottle like the Flobottle can keep your beverage cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours. Additionally, it is advised to bring 5-gallon water jugs when camping in a remote destination or in colder months to ensure an extra 2-3 gallons of water per person. Other items that should not be forgotten include a trowel or portable toilet, a portable/solar shower, baby wipes, a sun hat, and a dry bag for electronics and other items that cannot get wet.

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Camp Stove

A camp stove is a portable cooking device used outdoors, away from traditional kitchen facilities. It is an excellent choice for lake camping because it provides a convenient, efficient, and safe way to cook meals while camping. Camp stoves are usually small, lightweight, and can be powered by various fuels, such as propane, butane, white gas, or wood. They are easy to use, provide excellent heat, and are highly versatile, allowing you to cook a variety of meals. They are also effortless to transport and can be packed up quickly and securely for storage when not in use. Camp stoves provide a great way to cook outdoors, especially when camping near a lake, where traditional kitchen facilities are unavailable. Additionally, camp stoves burn fuel very efficiently, providing more heat while using less fuel than other cooking methods, making them an excellent choice for camping trips that require a small, lightweight stove.

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A flashlight is a handheld portable device that provides light when darkness falls. It is an essential item when camping near a lake, as it can provide illumination during the night, safely navigate around the campsite, signal for help in case of an emergency, and even act as a first aid tool.

Having a powerful light source with you when camping near a lake can allow you to explore the surrounding area in the dark, making it easier to spot wildlife or any potential danger. It also allows you to signal for help if you get lost or stuck in an emergency. Additionally, a flashlight can be used as a first aid tool, for example, if you need to locate a cut or scrape in the dark.

When camping near a lake, it is essential to have a flashlight that has an adjustable beam in order to suit different conditions and to make sure you have extra batteries on hand, just in case. Headlamps are also a great option, as they are lightweight and hands-free, allowing you to move around more easily in the dark.

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First Aid Kit

A first aid kit for lake camping is an essential item that should never be overlooked. It is a collection of medical supplies designed to provide immediate and necessary medical attention in the event of an injury or medical emergency outdoors. It contains items like gauze, bandages, antibiotics, antiseptic wipes, cold packs, and other items that can be used to treat wounds, burns, insect bites, and other minor ailments. It is essential to have a first aid kit when lake camping because it can be the difference between life and death.

Having a first aid kit on hand is essential when lake camping because of the increased risk of injury that comes with being outdoors. When camping, people often engage in activities like swimming, fishing, and hiking that can lead to accidents like cuts, broken bones, insect bites, and more. A well-stocked first aid kit with items to treat minor injuries can reduce the risk of infection and provide the necessary medical treatment until professional help is available.

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The best sunscreen for lake camping offers broad-spectrum protection, a high SPF (ideally 50 or higher), is water-resistant, and won’t leave a greasy residue. Opt for a sunscreen containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for maximum protection, which offers superior protection from UVA and UVB rays. If you’re looking for a sunscreen that’s free of harsh chemicals and fragrances, consider natural sunscreens such as Badger Sunscreen. For maximum protection and a pleasant scent, try All Good Sport SPF 30 Sunscreen, made with coconut oil and green tea extract. Whichever option you choose, don’t forget to bring along a lip balm with SPF, sunglasses, and a sun hat or ball cap to protect your face from the sun’s rays.

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Insect repellent

When it comes to lake camping, the best type of insect repellent to use is Permethrin. It is an odorless synthetic form of insecticide produced by chrysanthemums, kills ticks and mosquitoes on contact, and is safe for humans. It can be bought pre-treated on clothes, or you can treat your own clothes yourself. Royal Robbins Bug Barrier collection is an excellent option as it uses unique technology to bond the Permethrin to the clothes for up to 70 washings. For an easier alternative, you can apply bug spray or lotion repellents that contain DEET, Picaridin, or IR3535. Make sure to re-apply as necessary and always follow the directions on the product label.

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Tips for making your camping trip comfortable and enjoyable

• When planning a camping trip, it is essential to ensure that you have the right gear to make your experience comfortable and enjoyable.

• Research camping gear before purchasing, practice setting up your tent before the trip, make sure your tent is waterproof, and select a camping location before arrival.

• Consider camping during less busy times, such as during the week, and check the weather before you go.

• Pack snacks and easy meal ideas, keep your campsite clean and clear of food and trash, and know the quiet hours.

• Hiking or cycling to a campsite is recommended for an eco-friendly trip, but most have car parking available if you want to drive.

• Consider what the campground offers for amenities such as bathrooms and showers before arrival, and make your first trip overnight closer to home.

• Finally, bring the right gear for your trip, such as a comfortable sleeping mat, something to use for a pillow, and a sleeping bag suited to the temperature.

• A headtorch and a water bottle should be kept close by, and earplugs and an eye mask can help if you’re a light sleeper.

Happy family camping in the forest playing guitar and singing together


What type of backpack is best for camping?

When it comes to backpacks for camping, there are a variety of styles and sizes to consider. For hiking or backpacking trips, a lightweight, compact design is critical, as you will be carrying it on your back. Look for backpacks that are made of durable materials and feature comfortable straps. Additionally, get one with a waterproof or water-resistant coating so your gear won’t get soaked if it rains. For cycle touring trips, you may need something a bit larger, as you may not be carrying the bags in a backpack. Consider getting a larger bag with more pockets and compartments to fit items like a sleeping bag and camping pad. Finally, if you are heading into cold climates, look for a backpack with insulation to keep your food and gear from freezing. We recommend the Osprey Eja 58L Backpack as it offers an adjustable torso length, numerous compartments, and a breathable mesh back panel for optimal comfort.

What type of stove should I use for camping?

When it comes to camping stoves, there are many options available to suit different needs. Coleman’s popular two-burner camp stove is an excellent choice for those needing to feed a small crowd. It is made of rust-resistant material, has adjustable wind block panels to allow for larger pans, and is fuel efficient. For those looking for something lightweight and simple, a single burner stove such as Jetboil or Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0 offers a great solution. Both are pocket-sized, durable, and user-friendly. Finally, the Kelty Camp Kitchen is an all-in-one solution that has almost everything you need to prepare a meal outdoors. Whichever option you choose, make sure to stock up on fuel, like propane or gas, and carry extra canisters, so you don’t have to worry about half-cooked meals.

Do I need to rent camping gear, or can I buy it?

While it might be tempting to go out and splurge on top-of-the-line equipment, entry-level price points are now just as good as the more expensive brands. You can also find gently used gear at REI if you’re on a budget. When it comes to must-haves, you’ll need a warm and dry shelter, bedding, cooking essentials, and food and water storage. You can consider bringing a sun/rain shelter, camp chairs, a hammock, and a coffee maker for nice-to-haves. Remember, you don’t need specialized camping items; you can use old pots and pans, plates, and blankets instead. Finally, check the weather and adjust your packing list accordingly.

What type of tent should I use for camping?

When it comes to camping, choosing the right tent is essential. A beginner has several factors to consider before making a purchase. Weight, capacity, features, trip type, duration, and geography should all be considered. Consider a 3- or 4-season tent for most types of weather, but factor in the tent weight, setup complexity, and cost. Research online reviews and user experiences, and if possible, borrow or rent different kinds of tents to test out. Splurging on a well-made tent from a reliable brand is also recommended, as a tent that breaks or leaks will ruin your trip. Finally, consider the type of camping you plan on doing and the climate you will be camping in when selecting a tent, and always make sure it is rainproof before your first trip.

What type of lantern should I use for camping?

When it comes to camping, it’s essential to have a reliable light source to navigate the campsite in the dark and carry out activities like cooking and playing board games. While flashlights are always an option, headlamps are lightweight and hands-free, making them an excellent choice for campers. Small camp lamps like the Black Diamond Moji Lantern or the Black Diamond Storm 400 are great options for illuminating the tent’s body or an outdoor table. The Petzl Tikkina Headlamp is an affordable and reliable option suitable for beginner campers.

What type of first aid kit should I bring on camping trips?

For camping trips, it is essential to bring a first aid kit that is adequately prepared for any potential injuries and illnesses. Many first aid kits are available, from pre-made versions to ones you can assemble yourself. A pre-made first aid kit is an easy option for beginners and comes in a handy nylon bag and includes sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and an antiseptic spray for kids.

For those who are more experienced campers and hikers, the Adventure Medical Kit is a great choice. It is made specifically for outdoor use and has supplies to treat common hiking wounds and burns, allergic reactions, bug bites, and stings. Additionally, they have a medical kit specifically for dogs, a key necessity when bringing furry friends along. In addition to a first aid kit, camping beginners should also bring bug spray, sunscreen, a satellite communication device, and a map and compass to ensure safety in the outdoors.

What type of shoes should I wear for hiking trips?

Having the right shoes for a hiking trip is essential to ensure safety and comfort in the wilderness. When it comes to shoes for hiking trips, it is essential to invest in a good pair of hiking boots. A great example of an affordable yet quality pair of boots is the Columbia Newton Ridge boots for both men and women. These boots are incredibly durable and waterproof, making them an excellent choice for any hike. Additionally, for relaxing around the campfire, slip-on shoes like Chacos are great for quick bathroom trips in the dark. Lastly, bring a pair of flip-flops or slippers to wear around the campsite for comfort.

What type of pillow should I bring when camping?

When it comes to sleeping equipment for camping, pillows are often overlooked, but they are essential for getting a good night’s sleep. Various pillows are available, ranging from stuffable camping pillows to inflatable travel pillows. For budget-friendly options, you can try the TETON Sports Camp Pillow, while the Nemo Fillo Inflatable Travel Pillow is a camper favorite for its combination of comfort and weight. If you want to save on space and weight, you can also take a pillow from home and just place it in a trash bag to keep it from getting dirty. Additionally, don’t forget a sleeping pad, as this will provide cushioning and insulation from the cold, hard ground for a more restful sleep.