8 items to make your next camping trip a great one

Here are 8 great camping must-haves for first-time campers. (Getty/File)

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Victoria Day, considered by many the unofficial start of camping season, is fast approaching.

While glamping is still a popular option, outdoor seekers in 2024 are looking for a peaceful spot to settle in and unplug. In fact, this might be the best year yet to try out camping and embrace the calm-cation trend, in which stressed out travellers are opting for closer-to-nature, simpler and more affordable trips.

But even if you’re not sleeping in a tricked-out yurt, there are lots of ways to make you and your travel companions comfortable in a tent. If you’ve decided this is the year you’re going to try sleeping under the stars, you’ll need some gear to get you started.


You may already have a decent sleeping bag, but what’s underneath is even more important. Every great sleeping bag need needs a great sleeping pad. This one packs down to the size of a water bottle, is close to 10 cm thick and waterproof, meaning even in a rainstorm you’ll be kept dry from any type of leaks.
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If you plan to hike from one site to another, lugging a regular pillow along isn’t going to work. This genius self-inflating neck pillow, which can be adjusted to a customized height, can be shrunk to the size of a pop can when not in use. Consider popping it into your suitcase for the next hotel visit or weekend at the relatives, too for an extra pillow.


A great cookware set can make the difference between grumpy camper…or a happy one.. This set features 16 pieces, including two durable, non-stick pots and two pans that nest compactly together when not in use. The set also features a small camp stove that reviewers say heats up quickly, along with cutlery and cups. Once dinner is served, simply wash these up and collapse the handles, and the whole thing fits into a deceivingly small mesh bag.


This may seem like a frivolous piece of camping equipment, but after you try doing dishes in whatever pail or old container you’ve brought, you’ll quickly change your mind. The best part? It collapses flat when not in use – or it doubles as a container for your extras when you’re packing up to leave.
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It’s always nice to have a place to relax when camping, but sometimes the ground can be uneven. A hammock is the perfect solution. This bestseller comes with two super strong straps and two carabiners to attach securely to any two trees. Besides being available in six colours, it’s breathable and quick drying, which is important in case of an unforeseen rainstorm. But the best part is that it’s great for snuggling in the shade as it can comfortably support two adults up to 330 kilograms.
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Ensure everyone knows whose marshmallows are whose with these eight colourful, extendable marshmallow sticks that can roast several at a time, ensuring that the s’mores keep coming! Easy to wash up and tuck away in the carrying case when not in use, the sticks ensure that even little ones will be able to roast their ‘mallows to the perfect level of toastiness without burning themselves. If you’re a parent who’s always chiding the kids for waving around sharp sticks during campfire time, these also come with safety tips so they can be covered when not in use.


There’s nothing more frustrating than searching for something in your tent at night and not being able to see properly. This box of five camping lights solves that problem brilliantly. With five different colours, they clip via carabiner to the sides or roof of the tent providing illumination to all the corners. Featuring various settings from bright to lower light to even an SOS pattern, these lights take regular AAA batteries and, making them even more useful during camping adventures, they’re waterproof and shatterproof.
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Along with roasting marshmallows and singalongs, you’ll need to pack a few activities for your would-be campers. Frisbees and cards are great must-pack items for camping trips, but they’re also not as easy to play at night. If your group are already familiar with the cornhole game phenomenon, take it up a notch with a day-and-night- glowing set. The two targets and the beanbags will provide the glow your party needs, from daytime right into the evening.
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