If you’re looking to add more adventure to your upcoming vacation, you can never go wrong with camping. In fact, with the right planning and gear you can base your entire weekend getaway around sleeping under the stars at a Caribbean campground or on the beach of a nearby U.S. island—so long as it’s allowed. And while it might sound like a lot to pack into your car or luggage, camping gear has come a long way and is all about saving space now.
Some resorts even offer a night on the beach for stargazers and nature lovers, which can be fun for the whole family, so long as you’re willing to leave the comfort of your suite. Being able to rent tents also cuts down on the gear you’ll need, so it’s just a matter of what to pack.
Here are our picks for camping gear that will help add a little more fun to your family vacation.
Coleman 2-Person Pop-Up Tent
Have you seen tents these days? They’re huge. They’re like portable mansions that keep mosquitos away from us while we sleep. Coleman’s 2-person pop-up tent is not one of those tents. Instead, this is the ideal tent for people looking to conserve space and waste little to no time getting set up. In fact, Coleman says this tent sets up in 10 seconds, so make sure to time yourself.
The other benefit of this pop-up tent is that it folds up into a circular case that is roughly 2.5-ft. in diameter. This makes it especially convenient for packing into a car or even larger luggage.
CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent
If you want a large tent for a trip to Amelia Island’s Fort Clinch State Park or a private island campout in New York’s Saranac Lake, the CORE 9-person instant cabin tent is, well, like having a portable cabin. Best of all, the pop-up feature allows for setup to be done in under a minute, so have your digital stopwatch ready for this tent, too.
Once it’s raised, this tent features enough room for two queen air mattresses and the mesh ceiling panels allow for late night stargazing.
Sansbug 1-Person Free-Standing Pop-Up Mosquito-Net
If you’re traveling alone through one of Costa Rica’s many lush forests or simply trying to appreciate a Caribbean sunrise, Sansbug’s one-person pop-up tent is convenient both for sleep and protecting you from the elements. At 26-inches in diameter, it won’t fit in basic luggage, but its flat, circular storage case is a space-saver, and it only weighs 2.5-pounds.
Coleman Palmetto Cool Weather Adult Sleeping Bag
Like tents, sleeping bags have come a long way. Coleman’s Palmetto Cool Weather sleeping bag keeps the concept simple while adding several little features to make the experience easier without sacrificing comfort. In fact, one feature is the comfort cuff, which adds plush material to the bag’s edge so it feels like you’re right at home with your comfy blanket.
The roll control feature makes it easier to roll your sleeping bag back up in the morning, and the cord also locks so that one person can do the job alone.
Vont 2 Pack LED Camping Lantern
We’d love to cap off a day of exploring and zip lining by gathering around a campfire for s’mores and story time, but sometimes that’s not allowed. Vont’s LED camping lanterns provide an exceptional amount of light from just three AA batteries, and battery life can last up to 30 hours, which also makes these lanterns great at home in case of power outages.
Anker PowerCore 20100 Battery Charger
There’s a very good reason as to why we include the Anker PowerCore 20100mAh Portable Charger in multiple gear guides: It is as important as your toothbrush. With enough juice to charge an iPhone or Galaxy at least five times, this small device provides as much comfort as your child’s favorite stuffed animal.
Outdoorwares Insulated Cooler Bag
You could bring a propane-fueled mini-burner with you to the campsite, or even a bag of charcoal for cooking burgers and dogs on a state park grill. But that can get messy. Cut down on supplies by preparing your meals and drinks in advance, and take advantage of the Outdoorwares Insulated Cooler Bag‘s ability to keep cold things cold and hot things hot.
CamelBak Chute Mag Water Bottle
Available in five sizes and more than a dozen colors, the CamelBak Chute Mag Water Bottle is crucial for keeping you hydrated on long hikes or hot days under the Caribbean sun. The design features a magnetic cap for easy refills and to keep liquids from spilling, so every drop of water that you pour into this bottle will be used to keep you cool and free of thirst.
Stanley Cook + Brew Set
For many people, coffee is just as important as a tent, and there’s something about brewing a cup at a campsite that makes it taste even better. Stanley’s Cook + Brew Set is compact and easy to pack and clean, and its design (stainless steel with a melt-resistant nylon lid) makes it safe for both a campfire and your dishwasher. You can brew up to 32-oz. of your favorite coffee, or you can even make soup for a light snack.
Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
Really, you’ll want to bring insect repellent almost anywhere you go, especially if you’re traveling with kids. At 4-oz. Repel’s Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent fits right into your toiletries bag or backpack, and a thorough spraying should last up to six hours. It’s also DEET-free, which means you won’t smell like you’re covered in bug spray.
Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock
Bring poolside relaxation to the beach camping experience with the Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock, which is designed from parachute fabric to be durable enough for any environment. Available in a wide variety of colors, this hammock is especially beneficial to campers because it stretches out to 9-ft. in length but can roll up into a bag that’s a little bigger than a softball. Wise Owl also offers a two-person hammock for romantic camping excursions.
G4Free Lightweight 40L Travel Hiking Backpack
With as much gear as you’ll want to pack, you’ll prefer a lightweight backpack that doesn’t add to the burden. In addition to being affordable, the G4Free Lightweight 40L Travel Hiking Backpack weighs just 12-oz. and also folds up into a convenient pouch so you can use it as your main piece of luggage or pack it into another bag.
One main compartment, two top pouches and one front spandex pouch will handle your camping and hiking essentials, while two holders will keep your water bottles readily available.
INNO STAGE Lunch Tote
Sure, the tent, sleeping bag and bug spray are probably the most important items for your camping trip, but don’t forget about a simple blanket and this INNO STAGE Lunch Tote.