My family just returned from a camping trip this past weekend and we really enjoyed it.

If you’ve never gone camping and want to start, there are obviously some basics that you will require. While borrowing equipment is an option for some, it’s not always a possibility.

A great way to save money on equipment (and food) for camping is by searching for any of these items (and others I may not have thought about) in the app to find the best price available before making your purchase.

Again, different people camp differently, so I’m listing gear that our family uses - if you don’t feel you need an air mattress, more power to you! (Just please don’t judge our ways ;) )

The Must Haves:

Tent: We prefer a tent that is built to hold more people than we are, because we like a little space, more ‘air’ and because we use air mattresses.
Ours is a 3-room, 10-person tent (for the 6 of us) that we bought years ago. We absolutely love it.

Sleeping Bags: If you don’t have some already, they will come in handy for the kids’ slumber parties as well.

Lantern or Flashlight: You can get away with just a headlamp, but you will need some form of battery-operated light source. FYI- Our headlamps were invaluable for night-time trips to the washroom as well as food prep & marshmallow done-ness inspection LOL – I highly recommend them!

Cooler & Ice: To keep your food For camping trips I recommend hard plastic coolers as opposed to the soft-pack coolers. I feel they keep the ice colder for longer.

Camping Stove or Portable BBQ or both : While you can definitely find a way to cook on an open fire, we take the easier route and actually own both of these. If it’s your first time, maybe you’d rather invest in just one and see how it goes…


Foldable / Camping /Soccer chairs: Whatever you call them, you’ll have to have seating of some kind.

“Changing Room Tent” – (not a ‘basic’) This is completely optional but works well for our family. We have another, smaller tent that pops up in a snap and we use it to store all of the clothing and as a changing room. It avoids conflict between the kids and makes it easier to find clothing (in the ‘main’ tent, things often get lost between air mattresses, under sleeping bags, etc.)

Gazebo: While not a ‘basic’, our pop-up gazebo absolutely makes our experience more pleasurable by providing shade and a mesh to keep the bugs away (that is when we remember to bring the mesh along with us…last weekend we forgot it LOL!)

Air mattresses: Optional for some, but not for us!

DON’T Leave The House Without:

  1. Protection from the elements (these are the things you usually remember when you realize you need them NOW, but often don’t think about in advance) :
  1. The things that keep you functional:
  • Eyeglasses (If you are wearing contacts when you leave the house)
  • Sunglasses (Often left in your spouse’s car)
  • Contact Lenses
  • Contact Lens Solution
  • Medication (just because who’s thinking about it?)
  1. The things that make you tolerable
  1. The things that make your food consumable:
  • Dishes, flatware, utensils, cups/mugs
  • Pots & pans (if you’re cooking)
  • Corkscrew / bottle opener
  • Can opener
  • Tablecloth
  • Marshmallow sticks (yes you can actually buy them- alternatively- use a branch!)
  • Propane
  • Camp soap (For washing dishes )
  • Lighter or matches
  1. The things that enhance your experience:
  • Camera
  • Hammock
  • Deck of Cards
  • Ball
  • Reading material
  1. The things that just make life easier:
  • Clothes line (or cord)
  • Clothespins
  • Extra batteries
  • Pocket knife
  • Mallet, to pound in the tent spikes

Of course you will also need FOOD. I leave that list to you – but be savvy & plan ahead to make sure you’re not missing out on any potential deals near you!

Happy Camping!

Montreal Mom