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National Park Trip Essentials

The best gear for your next national park trip hand-picked by the pros at More Than Just Parks. From camping to backpacking we’ve got you covered.

as recommended by your favorite National Park experts (that’s us)






We’ve been camping in the National Parks, a lot. Through those nights (and we’re talking hundreds of nights) in all sorts of weather, from scorching deserts to snowy mountain tops to the tropics, the forests, and beyond, we’ve come up with an essential list of our favorite camping gear. Here you’ll find everything you need to have the perfect camping trip no matter where you’re going.

CAmping & Hiking Essentials


We’ve compiled a list of camping essentials that we swear by here. From tents to sleeping bags to backpacks and everything in between, we’ve got you covered. So go ahead and have a look and see what you might be missing for your next camping trip.

best camping tent

Big Agnes Cooper Spur Tent

We’ve been using this tent for years and see no reason to stop now. Lightweight enough for backpacking and 5 minutes to setup.

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best camping water bottle

Hydroflask Water Bottle

Keeps ice cold and coffee hot. Durable, lightweight, and easy to clip on to things. Comes in lots of colors. What more can you ask for.

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best outdoor backpack

Patagonia Arbor Backpack

This is a great casual backpack we use all the time. Always stocked in photogenic colors to boot. The canvas exterior is tough and durable against the elements.

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best camping hammock

ENO Doublenest Hammock

We’ve had our ENO hammocks for nearly a decade and they’re still going strong. Lightweight and cozy these are great for sleeping & lounging.

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best camping stove

Coleman Camping Stove

We love this easy to pack, fast setup stove. Runs on standard propane (& butane) found at every Walmart across the country. Cheap and easy is the way to go.

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best camping flashlight

Fenix Flashlight

This is a bit of a spendy flashlight but we feel it’s justified. This sucker packs a powerful punch making for great night shots and illumination.

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Jetboil Flash Cooking System

There’s still no beating Jetboil when you want to boil water in a hurry anywhere. This compact, versatile, cooking system deserves its high rank among campers and backpackers all over the country.

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best camping chair

Coleman Portable Camping Chair with 4-Can Cooler

Coleman is perhaps the most trusted brand in camping so why wouldn’t you trust them with your camp chair. This one even comes with a cooler sleeve built in to keep up to 4 cold drinks on standby!

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best camping pillow

TETON Sports Camp Pillow

We like this camp pillow because it’s not inflatable. We find the inflatable ones tend to become hard as a rock or have your head sliding off all the time. This camp pillow has all of the characteristics you want in a pillow on your bed at home in a lightweight compact size.

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best camp stove

Coleman Classic 2 Burner Gas Camping Stove

This is the classic camping stove. If you can spare the room and are cooking for more than 2 people this one is the way to go. Plus it blocks the pesky wind from weakening your flames.

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best camping coffee solution

GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip

This thing is absolutely ingenious. For $10 this simple, ultralight, easy to use, coffee making solution is a camping must. Put your coffee grounds in, clip it onto your cup, pour hot water over it, rinse and repeat.

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best backpack for backpacking

Gregory Mountain Products Zulu 65L Overnight Hiking Backpack

Gregory makes some seriously good backpacks and the Zulu is out favorite. The Zulu comes in different sizes depending on how much gear you need to pack. They’re all great. This one is for overnight backpacking, but you can find all of them easily on Amazon.

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best sleeping bag

TETON Sports Polara 3-in-1 Sleeping Bag

Searching for the right sleeping bag is a bit like getting sucked into a black hole, or at least that’s how I imagine it. There’s endless options and so much confusion. Let’s just simplify things. You want a sleeping bag for regular camping that will keep you warm all year and won’t break the bank. Here it is, you’re welcome.

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best headlamp

Energizer High-Powered LED Headlamp

These are fun gadgets aren’t they? There’s a lot of options out there when it comes to headlamps, but we find that simple is better here. This thing is lightweight, affordable, long lasting, and does everything you need it to.

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best tent light

FengChi LED Camping Lantern

If you’ve been camping enough you know how annoying it can be trying to prop up a flashlight or phone light in the tent at night so you can see. Get yourself this three pack of multi-functional LED lights and watch the camping stress melt away.

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best camping multitool

Gerber Multi-Tool

A multi-tool is one of those things you forget about until you need it – and you inevitably always do. We like this one for the price, durability, and ease of use.

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best camping cookware

Stanley Base Camp Cook Set for 4

Sure you could buy individual plates, flatware, pans, pots, and accessories and maybe even save a buck. Or you could buy this nesting 21pc all in one set from Stanley – the same company that’s been making indestructible food & beverage gear for over a century.

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best camping cooler

Polar Bear Coolers Original Nylon Soft Cooler

Coolers are another opportunity to get lost searching for the right one. We like soft coolers as they’re much more versatile than hard ones and can be used for any occasion. Polar Bear is the trusted brand here, they don’t leak or sweat, and keep things ice cold for at least 24hrs.

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best camping sleeping pad

POWERLIX Ultralight Inflatable Sleeping Pad

There’s a lot of sleeping pads out there and we’ve tried several over the years. This one is the one we’re still using and hasn’t failed us. It’s lightweight, packable, easy to inflate, and provides enough support – all for far less money than a lot of comparable sleeping pads you’ll find.

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best portable charger

Anker PowerCore 10000mAh Portable Charger

Lets face it, phone batteries are annoyingly unreliable and almost seem designed to keep you near an outlet at all times. Free yourself from battery anxiety with this small, lightweight, portable charger. We love it.

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national parks playing cards

National Parks Playing Card Deck

Before you say anything, yes, a deck of cards is a camping essential. This handsome deck of cards is done by our friends at Fifty-Nine Parks and features their very cool artwork of our national parks. Also check out our co-founder Jim Pattiz fireside chat with them.

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Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent

20% Picaridin is proven to be just as effective at repelling insects as DEET without any of the drawbacks. (DEET can tend to be oily, damage clothing, and have an odor to it). We like this particular kind because of it’s compact size and more effective spraying.

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Better Wood Products Fatwood Firestarter

No you don’t need firestarter if there’s wood available at your campsite, but boy is it great to have. We like fatwood the best as it’s simply wood from pine stumps, no chemicals or additives of any kind. If you’ve never used fatwood, welcome to a whole new world of fire making.

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best camping spices

Coghlan’s Multi-Spice

We love this convenient multi-spice container. No more forgetting salt and pepper and whatever else you might need for your camp meal. With garlic salt, paprika, curry, cayenne, and black pepper this little thing has you covered in one convenient container. Did we mention it’s under $5?

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Jim Pattiz

Co-Founder of More Than Just Parks. Filmmaker, Conservationist, Public Lands Enthusiast

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