Find your gear listed by category of interest
Occasionally I will recommend a product that we personally like and use to improve the camping experience. Those items will be arranged by category with a clickable link to read the reviews and see the products.
Just so you know, this blog site includes affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only share what I believe will be truly helpful.
Cooking gear – items to make your camp cooking simpler
Click the Cooking gear link for reviews of our favorite items for meal preparation.
Guide Books and maps – to make trip planning easy and to find your way on the road
- Atlas Benchmark state maps –
These book style maps have detailed info of each state in the U.S.A. A “real” map is great when you have no cell reception or internet! Here is a link to a map of California to get you started.
- Big Sur –
Maps: Los Padres National Forest Monterey & Santa Lucia Ranger Districts. You can buy a map or follow the links to download the map to use offline. I prefer a hard copy.
- Death Valley –
Maps: Tom Harrison map; National Geographic map. Our “go-to” maps for 4×4 roads. Both maps are printed on waterproof and tear-resistant plastic.
Guide books: The Explorer’s Guide to Death Valley National Park by Bryan ; Death Valley SUV Trails by Roger Mitchell
Sample itinerary and menu to camp in Death Valley
Handy tips of what “to know before you go” camping in the desert wilderness of Death Valley.
- National Parks –
This is a comprehensive guide to all of the National Parks in the United States with gorgeous color photography for which the National Geographic is famous.
- Star chart –
Camping under the stars with a star chart will help you to learn the names of the constellations and planets. No batteries or cell reception is needed for this manual star wheel. I have the Celestron Sky Master binoculars to enjoy a closer look at the moon and planets. They can double as regular binoculars but are heavier to hold. Read my post for more about stargazing while camping that includes my favorite app.
- Hiking poles-
These puppies make all the difference for hiking the backcountry, giving me stability while reducing fatigue on my knees and feet. I like to use poles with built-in shock absorbers, as over the duration of the hike this lessens the impact on my hands. Hiking poles also are great for testing the depth of a stream crossing or poking debris or brush for snakes if you have to walk through an area where you can’t see your feet. You can change the length for hiking uphill quick and easy with the twisting adjustments on the pole.
- Shower tent-
This is a roomy, tall privacy tent that pops up and later folds up compactly like your windshield sunshades. It has stakes, pockets to fill with sand or rocks to stand up to the wind. I like the inside mesh bags for holding soap and shampoo, as well as a hook and towel strap. Read our review.
- Sleeping bag –
Our favorite is a double size bag for two people, rated for zero degrees by Teton Sports Mammoth. This cozy bag has 3 zippers (both sides and across the bottom) with drawstrings, baffles in the head section and a comfy flannel lining. This bag served us well sleeping on an air mattress in the back of our pickup truck. Most recently it fits perfectly on our mattress pad in the cab-over section of our Alaskan camper. This bag has kept us warm while camping in the snow (rated at zero degrees). The best part is not having to make your bed in the morning. It comes with a roomy stuff bag for storage. Read our review.
- Toilet tissue –
Basic but a must-have. Using toilet tissue that is bio-degradable can make all the difference, especially in a truck camper using a toilet cassette like ours. Prevent clogs and be kind to nature when using a hole dug in the wilderness, without sacrificing softness for your tush. Check out my post on squatting hazards in the backcountry for what NOT to do when answering the call of nature!
- Sunglasses –
I really enjoy the invisible “cheaters” in this pair of polarized bifocal sunglasses. The 1.50 readers really make a difference to see to tie a fishing lure, take out a cactus sticker, or to see the details of a desert flower. You can choose which magnification strength best works for you. I wear the tortoiseshell color. I prefer glasses without the nose pieces that like to tangle in my hair when pushed back on top of my head.
- Hair –
I am a Stylist for Lilla Rose and their patented Flexi hair clip. I love these clips for practical, easy-care of my hair while camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, bicycle, and horseback riding.
Pleasure reading books:
No camping trip is complete without a good book to read!
- Western adventure –
One of my favorite authors is Louis L’Amour with his historical fiction of the old west, often describing areas where we have camped out. Here is a favorite title to get you started, “The Shadow Riders.” Later you can watch the movie.
- Camping humor –
A fun read of witty cautionary tales of outdoor life is, “A Fine And Pleasant Misery“ by Patrick McManus.
- Spiritual inspiration –
While relishing being in the wilderness I feel closer to the Creator in “Encountering Our Wild God“ by award-winning author Kim Meeder.
Where tragedy confronts eternity in a wilderness setting is the story of “The Shack.” I also enjoyed this story as a thought-provoking movie which is now available on DVD.
- Kindle reader offer –
- For truck camper reviews: truckcampermagazine.com. This is a great online resource to compare brands and find reviews by other real-life campers.
- The telescoping Alaskan camper: alaskancampers.com. After years of research, we decided on the Alaskan camper for giving us the creature comforts we want while camping in the backcountry. Here is our story of our quest for a truck camper.