Camping is one of the most popular ways to enjoy the great outdoors. All that clean, fresh air, and natural beauty to wash away the stresses of everyday life. Sleeping out under the stars and waking to the sound of birds chirping and trees creaking around you. Nights spent sitting around a campfire, listening to the snap, crackle and pop of the burning wood while you’re transfixed by the flames. And, that’s not even to mention all the great activities associated with a good camping trip, such as hiking and fishing.

However, before you even take one step out into Mother Nature’s backyard, you need to be well prepared to endure the elements and spend your time in the great outdoors in comfort. So, here are seven things to consider before going camping.

1. What kind of tent should I bring camping?

Your tent is your home-away-from-home when you are out camping, protecting you from the weather, and keeping your gear safe and dry. So, having the right tent for your needs is pretty much one of the most important choices you have to make. And, there are options galore.

Size is an important factor to consider. Not only do you need a tent that can comfortably fit the number of people in your group, but it also needs to have space to store gear, unless you plan to stow everything in your vehicle. A good option is to choose a tent that is suited to a larger number of people than in your group. If you are three people camping and staying in the same tent, choose a four or five-man tent for the trip, such as the Rockwater Designs Kwick Set 4 Person Tent, which is super easy to erect, and ideal for kids and casual or experienced campers. It sounds like overly simple advice, however most people will think “We are four people, so I’ll buy a four-man tent” without considering how much gear will be packed in with them. So, choose wisely.

You may also want to consider where your tent will be sitting. If you have a pickup truck, you can get something like the Napier Backroadz 72″-80″ Full Size Short Box 2-Person Truck Tent, which is a great choice for people, like my wife, who really enjoy camping but don’t necessarily love sleeping on the ground.

2. How to Choose the Right Sleeping Bag

The next most important part of your camping gear is your sleeping bag. For the right sleeping bag, choose one that is of course of the appropriate size, such as the Outsunny 86x60inch Double Wide Two-Person Sleeping Bag for couples. But, the real thing to look for in a sleeping bag is its thermal rating. This lets you know basically how good the sleeping bag is at keeping you warm. Something like the Rockwater Designs Rectangular Heat Zone Sleeping Bag is rated for -20 degrees, so it is sure to keep you warm under the stars even when you are camping in December.

3. How to Have Drinkable Water When Camping

When you’re outdoors recreating, you definitely need to keep hydrated. But, lugging around a huge jug of water or, worse yet, a bazillion plastic bottles of water isn’t very practical for camping. Instead, opt for a single water bottle that can filter out impurities, such as the ÖKO OKOPURE Filtration Water Bottle. Each bottle features a miniature pulverized carbon filter made of a natural coconut shell to deliver 40 refills of high-quality, filtered water. The bottles are also made of recycled material that’s free of toxins, phthalates, and BPA.

4. Do I need a Lantern or Headlamp for Camping?

It tends to get pretty dark at night in the woods when you’re camping. So, you certainly need some sort of illumination in the backcountry to keep you from stepping on a racoon or walking into a tree at the edge of your campsite. But, do you opt for a simple flashlight, headlamp or a lantern for your camping excursion? Personally, I would take all three, because it’s best to be prepared for anything. A headlamp such as the Rockwater Designs CREE XML T6 LED Headlamp is ideal for the campsite, as it leaves your hands free to gather firewood, or pitch that tent if you’ve arrived late at the site. But, to keep your tent or a larger area lit up, you should opt for something like the Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern & 4,400mAh USB Portable Charger Hub. In addition to providing adjustable, dimmable light, it’s also a USB power hub, so you can charge up your smartphone or digital camera on the fly.

5. Camping Cooking Options

You need to eat when you are out enjoying the great outdoors, so a cooking stove is also an essential piece of camping gear. Sure, cooking over an open fire is always a great and memorable camping activity, but often there are bans during the year on making fires, plus its infinitely easier to boil water or whip something up quick using something such as the World Famous 2-Burner Propane Camping Stove. It is a lightweight and portable camping stove that offers propane cylinders with 10,000 BTUs per burner, which is plenty of heat to cook up a piping hot meal at the campsite in a pinch.

6. Keeping Camping Provisions Cool

You’ll need to keep your provisions cool during your trip, so a cooler of some kind is always a good idea. You could go for a regular insulated cooler, which are effective at keeping your foodstuffs cool as long as you have enough ice on hand, or go for something a little more efficient, such as the Koolatron Thermoelectric Hard Sided Cooler. 31L cooler plugs into a vehicle’s lighter and uses thermoelectric technology to keep its inside cool without any ice. It can also keep your hot meals warm with the simple flip of a switch. Plus, it can be switched from a horizontal cooler-looking configuration to a vertical fridge-like position, depending on your needs.

7. Pack it Up in a Backpack

Finally, you are going to need a good solid backpack to lug your gear around. As weather is often fickle when you’re out camping, you need to ensure your backpack, like your tent and sleeping bag, is element-appropriate, and water-resistant. It also needs to be roomy enough to fit all the gear you need for your adventure, but lightweight enough for you to carry into the bush, or on an extended hike. Something like the ObusForme Explorer Internal Frame 75L Travel Backpack is highly recommended, as it offers all those qualities, plus it has lots of extra pockets, a rain cover and tons of comfort support with tension air back.

Camping can indeed be one of the best ways to enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer, and with the right gear, you just have to worry about the quality time you’re spending with your family. Check out all of the camping gear and equipment available online at Bestbuy.ca.