This list includes the top 5 items we felt were “must-have” for campers. We selected these by going through the most popular camping essential items and choosing the highest reviewed. We then reviewed the items ourselves to develop this list. In some instance similar items were found to have similar review scores, in which case we chose purely based on preference and what we felt was best for our audience.

5. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter (ad)

Description: This product essentially allows you to drink any water, from anywhere, even if you are out camping or hiking in the middle of nowhere. It acts as a straw. You put one end in the water and drink from the other end. The Lifestraw removes 99.9% of waterborn bacteria and protozoan parasites, although it doesn’t remove some chemicals like chlorine, iodine, and other chemicals that shouldn’t exist in the wild.

Why you need it: This is a product that most campers won’t ever actually use, until it saves their lives. It is something you should keep in a survival kit (it comes in a sealed bag) that you carry with you during your camping adventures in the wild. If you find yourself lost or stranded in the wilderness, you will be able to use this to drink from basically any water source you find.

View On Amazon (ad)

4. Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent Trigger Spray (ad)

Description: This odorless spray is for use on fabrics and is as effective as 100% DEET. After applying and waiting for it to dry, it will work for 6 weeks or 6 washes. The bottle is 24 oz. which should be enough for 4 outfits or a 2-Person tent. Not for use on animals or human skin, although it is EPA safe. If you did apply it to your skin (which you should not), your skin would break it down quickly and it would be ineffective.

Why you need it: It will keep the mosquitoes and ticks away! This product is widely praised as being effective at it’s job, and will keep you protected for a fairly long period of time. You could use it in tandem with on skin bug spray, but it really will be quite effective on its own. The product is designed to keep away mites, mosquitoes, and ticks, but not lice.

View On Amazon (ad)

3. Camelbak Eddy Bottle (ad)

Description: This is the highest reviewed and most popular water bottle on Amazon. The way it works is you bite the straw and then sip. There is no tilting of the bottle or opening of a cap required. The bottle is very tough and durable, it is top rack dishwasher safe, and comes in several sizes and colors.

Why you need it: If you’re a camper, you obviously need a water bottle to carry water with you so that you can stay hydrated, and this is the best water bottle available. The bite and sip straw makes drinking fun, the modern design is very cool looking, and the bottle is very tough and easy to clean, all of which helps to make it better than any water bottle you currently own. The next time you need a new water bottle, buy this one.

View On Amazon (ad)

2. Mini Cree Led Flashlight Torch Adjustable Focus Light Lamp (ad)

Description: More than just a flashlight, the Mini Cree LED Flashlight Torch has an adjustable lamp that goes up to 300LM (which is bright). It uses two AA batteries, is waterproof, and is very easy to hold onto. The small size also makes it easy to carry and store. This would be the perfect flashlight to keep in your pocket, or in a small pocket in your backpack or survival bag.

Why you need it: If you’re camping, a flashlight comes in handy for a lot of reasons. Once the sun goes down and it’s dark, you’ll need it to find the restroom (or woods), to look for those supplies you need, or to check the area around your camp. The reason for needing this specific flashlight is that it has multiple settings, is small, easy to store, waterproof, easy to hold onto, and, best of all, it is extremely affordable.

View On Amazon (ad)

1. Coleman MicroPacker Compact Battery Lantern (ad)

Description: This lantern from Coleman runs on three AA batteries. It has two LED lights which make it very bright. The lantern folds down for easy packing, and really it is fairly small to begin with at just 7.5 inches tall and it is fairly thin.

Why you need it: A lot of campers use lanterns on a regular basis, typically to light a tent or place it on a table so you can see to play cards or prepare a night time snack. Those are all great, practical uses, but the reason we think you need this lantern is in case of emergencies. If it is raining and you can’t get a fire started, this would come in handy. It also could be used to mark your camp as you go off into the woods with your flashlight, or you could use it as a flashlight. Either way, the ability to quickly get light at night in the woods is very important.

View On Amazon (ad)