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47 essentials to pack for your next camping trip, starting at $5

What every happy camper needs.
AleksandarNakic / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Because it takes place in the great outdoors — where Mother Nature can be awfully unforgiving —there's an added pressure of packing when going on a camping trip. What you bring, or forget to bring, really does determine whether or not you'll ever want to sleep under the stars again.

Shop TODAY rounded up some great camping gear that you'll definitely want by your side as you rough it during your next trip. From a cooler that floats (and keeps your favorite drinks cold for 24 hours) to a two-second tent that comes pre-assembled to kid-friendly water toys, here's what you should consider packing if you plan on camping this summer.

Bedding | Tents | Cooking essentials | Lighting | Water fun | Good for kids | Other camping essentials

Bedding camping essentials

Sleepingo Camping Sleeping Pad

Rough it (without really roughing it) by crashing on this camping pad. Two inches of support may not seem like much, but when you're sleeping on the ground it makes a massive difference. This pad weighs less than a pound and packs down so it takes up about as much space as a water bottle. You also don't need to worry about leaks since it's made of a tear-resistant, waterproof nylon fabric.

Sea To Summit Adaptor Coolmax Liner

The brand says this "Coolmax" sleeping bag is designed to be moisture-wicking, which keeps you comfortable and from over-heating in warm and humid temperatures.

"For summer camping, this liner takes the place of a sleeping bag. It’s all you need," said Men's Journal contributor Clint Carter during a previous TODAY Show segment. If you're camping in cooler temperatures, he recommends pairing it with a light sleeping bag.

Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket

This bestselling machine-washable blanket is made for the outdoors. Thanks to its durable water repellent coating, the fabric is water- and stain-resistant, the brand says. Simply put, spills can't soak in. Amazon users love that it has a clip so it can be worn like a cape for hands-free warmth. It comes in 90 different colors and styles including national park and NFL motifs. When packed down in its stuff sack, it easily fits in a tote bag.

Alpcour Folding Camping Cot

If you don't like the idea of sleeping on the ground, try sleeping on a folding camping cot for more comfortability.

"A cot will let air circulate below you, which will keep you cooler on summer nights," says Carter. Coming with a support pillow, side storage pocket and carrying case, this cot can hold up to 300 pounds.

Tent camping essentials

Quechua Waterproof Pop Up Camping Tent

If your goal is to set up camp as soon as possible so you can fully relax or go explore, this is the perfect tent for you. It comes pre-assembled and pops up in a matter of seconds. In other words, there's no need to untangle and unfold a stack of poles. All you have to do is stake it to the ground and add the waterproof flysheet. It's able to withstand winds up to 30 miles per hour, according to the brand. But perhaps the coolest feature is the blackout fabric allowing you to nap during the day in total darkness. It weighs a little more than nine pounds and comes with a three-year warranty.

Coleman Sundome Camping Tent

If you prefer a more traditional tent design and need more room, invest in this TODAY-approved tent. The bestseller comes with a waterproof rainfly and is designed for spring, summer and fall camping. The frame is built to survive winds of up to 35 miles per hour. Inside, there are storage pockets and a handy hook for hanging a lantern or flashlight. It comes in three colors and four sizes: 2-person, 3-person, 4-person and 6-person.

Abco Tech Pop Up Privacy Tent

It can be helpful when camping to have a dedicated private area to shower or change your clothes. This tent, which reviewers have called "very handy," is designed to be extremely lightweight and requires no installation and measures 75 inches tall.

Coleman Pop-Up Tent

Carter likes this pop-up tent because it can be assembled in just 10 seconds,= and can hold up to two people. (If you're camping with the whole family, there's also an option to fit four.) According to the brand, this tent is made from fire- and water-resistant polyester, keeping you dry even when the ground is wet.

Zomake Pop-Up Tent

Another quick-to-assemble find is this windproof and UPF 50+ tent, which comes in an option to fit two or four people. Not only is it perfect for the great outdoors, but many reviewers say they love bringing it to the beach.

Cooking camping essentials

Omnia Oven

If you can't live without baking — even when camping — the Omnia Oven comes in handy. You can use it to bake everything from cakes to potatoes to quiche. It's designed to bake on any type of burner and can even be used over a grill, according to the brand. Thanks to its unique Swedish design, the oven bakes with heat coming from both the top and bottom of the oven.

LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle

Access to fresh and clean water is arguably the most important thing to have on any camping trip. The filter water bottle from LifeStraw is designed to protect against small particles of plastic, chlorine, sand, dirt and more. On top of all that, it also improves the taste of the water, according to the brand.

Chill-O-Matic Instant Beverage Cooler

Forgot to drop your canned beverages into the cooler? With this genius gadget, you don't have to sip on a lukewarm soda or wait for beer to get cold. Just drop your beverage of choice into the Chill-O-Matic and watch it spin to a perfect drinking temperature. According to the brand, it can chill liquids in just 60 seconds (240 times faster than a refrigerator) and won't cause any frizz or messy explosions.

Stanley Adventure Camp Cook Set

Camp cooking is easy with this stainless steel cooker that comes with two 10-ounce insulated nesting tumblers. It has an impressive near-perfect average rating with 18,000+ verified five-star ratings and is currently ranked No. 1 on Amazon's list of Bestsellers in Open Fire Cookware. Use it to prepare hot chocolate, soups, chili, dehydrated meals and more. Vents on the top make it easy to strain liquids let out steam. It's also lightweight — weighing less than a pound — and dishwasher-safe, according to the brand.

Ozark Trail Clear Collapsible 5-Gallon Camping Water Storage

One option to hold your water is this five-gallon collapsible water storage. The brand says it's not only easy to carry, but also is leakproof and dent-resistant.

GSI Outdoors Water Cube

Storing clean water is made easier with this collapsible water cube. According to the brand, this container holds up to 20 liters and is perfect for serving drinking water or for cooking and cleaning.

RTIC Soft Cooler

This leak-free, sweat-free cooler with a cult-like following is to camping what the mini fridge is to hotel rooms. It's guaranteed to keep food and beverages cold for up to 24 hours (with some reviewers reporting it keeps ice frozen for 48 hours). It comes in over a dozen colors and a range of sizes. It even floats so you can take it with you on the river or in the lake.

Decathlon Camping Folding Table with 4 Stools

Carter likes this convenient folding table with four stools as a great place to dine, play cards or food prep. The chairs easily fold up and hide underneath the table, making it extremely easy to carry and transport to and from your camp site.

GSI Outdoors Gourmet Kitchen Set

The brand says you'll be fine dining in the woods with this gourmet kitchen set. Carter loves it because the 11-piece set has everything you need in "one neat package," including a cutting board, spatula, serving spoon and whisk.

Eureka! Sprk Portable Camp Stove

Carter says this stove will not only save you money since butane is cheaper than propane, but also it is perfect for warm weather camping with its simmer-control feature.

GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station

Show off your culinary barbecuing skills with this full-sized kitchen counter. This cook station will hold your portable grill, with spots to store your pots, tableware, utensils trash bags and more. The company says the aluminum counter top holds up to 48 pounds, while the side tables hold up to 30 pounds.

Lighting camping essentials

LuminAID Solar Inflatable Lantern

As seen on "Shark Tank," the LuminAID Solar Inflatable Lantern is a lightweight, collapsible solar lantern that can emit light for up to 24 hours when the battery is fully charged. It's also waterproof and is designed to be shatter-proof, so you don't need to worry about having it around kids. With multiple settings, you can choose your brightness level depending the activity or time of day. You also have the choice of recharging the battery via solar or USB.

Comlife Camping Fan and LED Light

"It’s a battery-powered fan and light, which will illuminate your tent and keep you cool all night long. It's clutch for summer camping," said Carter.

This multifunctional fan and light is also to perfect to keep on hand when cooking; it will illuminate your food table while keeping the flies away. Plus, according to the brand, it has three brightness levels and will stay charged for up to 20 hours.

Eveready LED Flashlight

A product that's nice to have it just in case, this LED flashlight is battery-operated and lasts for about 140 hours, according to the brand. This flashlight is also good for night games, late night walks to the bathroom and making sure the fire's out before hitting the hay.

Round Tiki Torch

For mosquito relief that you can pack and take with you virtually anywhere — next to your folding chairs, the picnic table or next to the door of your camper — this tiki torch features a round glass look so you can see when the citronella candle needs replacing.

Target Citronella Candle

Citronella candles, but make it cute! Enjoy protection from nature's worst nightmare (mosquitoes) with this terracotta candle.

Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller Lantern XL

Mosquitos can be the peskiest part of camping, so keep them at bay with this mosquito repellent lantern. According to the brand, this lantern acts as a dim light, has up to a 15-foot zone of protection and each fuel cartilage lasts for 12 hours.

Princeton Tec Snap Kit

"This headlamp has a magnetic mount that makes it super versatile," said Carter. With up to 155 hours of light usage, he says you can use it as a handheld flashlight, stick to a metal grill, attach it to bikes or a hiking pole and even hang it up in your tent.

Mpowerd Luci Solar String Lights

"Flashlights create harsh light on small areas, [but] this creates a soft glow over everything," said Carter.

Decorate your outdoor space with ambient lighting with these useful solar string lights. Coming with an 18-foot cord, the brand says the lights will last up to 20 hours in a single charge. Hang them around the tent, on your cooking table or under an umbrella!

Water fun camping essentials

Blueelf Rechargeable Electric Air Pump

Whether you're bringing floats for the lake or an air mattress to sleep on, this electric air pump comes with three different nozzles that will inflate your items within two minutes, says the brand.

Intex Splash N' Chill Inflatable Island

Camping near a lake? This inflatable island is fun for the whole family — it holds up to seven people! Coming with six cup holders, the brand says it is easy to board with two inflatable platforms and durable enough to float on a river, lake or pool.

Other camping essentials

Bug Bite Thing Suction Tool

This TODAY-approved "venom vacuum" with more than 44,000 verified five-star ratings is an Amazon No. 1 bestseller. It works by sucking out venom and other irritants that can cause reactions like itching, redness and swelling, according to the brand. It can even be used to remove splinters. It is designed to be pain-free and easy to use.

Atomic Bear Paracord Bracelet

This bracelet has five survival essentials so you can travel light without sacrificing any of your emergency supplies. It includes a compass, fire starter, emergency whistle, ferro rod striker and 12 feet of military-grade paracord, the brand says, and comes in a set of two. It also has an adjustable fit so you don't have to worry about ordering the perfect size.

Evolvetogether Mosquito Repellent Patches

If you're prone to mosquito bites but not a big fan of bug spray, these repellent patches are definitely worth a try. They contain essential oils that can repel mosquitos up to three feet for six to eight hours, and are safe to use for all, according to the brand.

Sawyer Permethrin Pump Spray

Sometimes, the best defense is a strong offense. Before you let yourself become a buffet for bloodthirsty mosquitos, this popular repellent designed for clothes can help. Spray it directly on your clothes (outdoors) before putting them on. It protects you from mosquitoes, mites, chiggers and disease-carrying ticks for up to six washings or six weeks, according to the brand.

Suokeni Quick Drying Slip-On Water Shoes

If you're an avid hiker, these anti-slip sneakers are a must-have. They have over 5,000 verified five-star ratings, with many people saying how comfortable they are. The strong traction is also designed to help in bad weather conditions.

Ivation Portable Outdoor Shower

Turn a sink or bucket of water into your own personal outdoor shower. This shower head sticks to any flat surface, according to the brand, and can be used continuously for up to an hour. It also conveniently charges through your laptop, car adapter or anywhere with a USB port.

Yivandi Rechargeable Foldable Fan

Depending on what setting you use, this rechargeable fan can last anywhere from six to 24 hours. The adjustable height reaches a little over three feet, and can be completely folded away when you're done for easy storage. The front frame can also be detached for easy cleaning, the brand says, which is especially important if you're taking it on a long camping trip.

Coleman Camping Chair

No camp experience is complete without sitting around the campfire. This chair is the perfect seat thanks to its comfortable cushioning, back support and armrests — one of which has an insulated pouch that keeps up to four cans of your favorite drinks cold for hours. The other armrest has a built-in cupholder and a convenient side pocket for stashing your phone, snacks and reading material.

GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker with Side Table

Upgrade your folding chair with this smooth rocking chair, which features a foldable side table that holds your beverages, phone and more. It also features an easy-to-carry handle allowing you to easily move it to and from your camp site.

Camping gear must-haves with kids

Cees and Madison Hofman are full-time travelers, hitting the open road with their camper van nicknamed 'Vie,' that holds their three children and cat, Vladimir.

Camping and enjoying the great outdoors with three young children requires lots of gear — and patience. From bicycles to burn off energy before bedtime to sleeping bags that help them stay warm while asleep, investing in durable, kid-friendly gear will make everyone a happy camper.

Camp Daze Mad Libs Activity Book

The Hofmans recommend filling long car rides to the campground with activities that keep children entertained and mostly screen-free. "Having car entertainment plan is key," they said.

With over 40 prompts and stories to fill out, they'll lose track of time with this camp-themed activity book.

CamelBak Kids Eddy Plastic Water Bottle

Ensure that they're hitting their daily water intake, especially if they're remaining active while at the campground. This 14 ounce water bottle comes in fun, kid-friendly designs, and is also kid-resistant, meaning it can withstand scratches, bumps and drops.

Kids Outdoor Folding Chair

Hofman's children love feeling like they're also helping set up camp, and they can easily do so by picking out and setting up their own chair. With three different designs to choose from, they can easily feel part of the whole process. Reviewers love this high-quality chair due to its sturdiness.

Teva Children's Hurricane Drift Sandal

Thanks to the backstrap, you won't have to worry about them losing a shoe while playing. The rubber sole makes it easy to hose off mud and dirt, and even makes them easy-to-wear when it comes to water activities. "They're comfortable, easy to clean, lightweight," said one reviewer, who has purchased these for her daughter three summers in a row.

Patagonia Trim Brim Hat

Elastic backing makes this bucket hat breathable, while the chin straps keep the hat in place during their most rambunctious adventures. Made with recycled materials, this hat keeps their scalp and face protected without even trying.

Totes Toddler Charley Rain Boots

Ideal for stomping around in the mud, dirt, puddles and whatever else they find, the Hofmans recommend rainboots as the go-to camping shoe because they're "easy on, easy to clean." This lightweight pair from Target is available in two colors and four sizes, fitting both your little and big kids.

Morrison Outdoors Synthetic Baby Sleeping Bag

One of the Hofman's first steps when it comes to taking children camping is making sure they're "comfortable, safe and happy." This sleeping bag ensures they'll be all three. With arms that "helps them stay warm even when they are squirming around all over" to the cold temps it can withstand, this sleeping bag will leave parents and children alike happy.

Woom 1 Bicycle

Woom perfectly lays out the age and height ranges that each bike is designed for, making it easy to select the bike that suits your child best. Cees Hofman noted a bike is one of the basic must-haves for children at a campsite, but more specifically Woom bicycles, because they're "great for all ages." Perfect for passing down from sibling to sibling.