15 Must-Have Items to Elevate Your Campsite Experience

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From the very first time that I very first visited a campground, I have been a bit obsessed with checking out how other campers are setting up their campsites! From decorative accents like flags and string lights to modern comforts like comfy chairs and fire pits, there are so many great items that you can bring to elevate your campsite experience!

We brainstormed up a list of not only the items that we personally love to bring to our campsites, but also things that we see fellow campers using and enjoying. We picked out 15 popular items that will add comfort and a touch of home to any campsite.

For the most part, the items on our list are all compact, easy-to-pack and store objects. Campers will have different storage options available, depending on how they are camping. For example, RV campers are more likely to have ample cargo storage while tent campers in a compact car have very limited space.

Here are our top picks!

Portable Fire Pit

Believe it or not, not all campgrounds allow campfires. Some allow campfires but do not provide campfire rings. For example, Disney’s Fort Wilderness does not permit open burns, but you CAN bring a fully-enclosed fire pit for campfires.

We love the warmth and ambience of enjoying a campfire right at our site and a portable fire pit is a great way to have that experience even when your location has fire restrictions.

Solo Stove is a popular fire pit brand and they offer a variety of stove sizes.

Comfy Camping Chairs

You will need the perfect place to relax around the campsite. There are SO many different options available these days when it comes to camping chairs. You can grab simple, standard chairs that literally provide a seat and nothing more.

OR! You can go all out: get a chair with a sunshade, or a chair with a side table, or a rocking chair, or even a chair built for 2! We have a couple zero gravity loungers that we keep in our camper. They are so nice for kicking back and chilling out.

Outdoor Rugs

We have talked about how great outdoor rugs are for years! No matter how you camp – tent or RV – a outdoor rug (or rugs) at your campsite makes such a difference! Not only will a rug transform the outdoor living space making it look cozier, it will also help cut down on dirt dragged into your living and sleeping areas.

You can find outdoor rugs in all kinds of colors and designs/patterns, and in a variety of sizes.


Hammocks are another fun idea for your campsite must-haves. If you are camping in a wooded area, you are more than likely going to be able to find 2 healthy, strong trees to string a hammock to. Hammocks are the perfect place to relax or even stargaze. They are so easy to set up and very affordable.

Portable Table

Much like the rugs and chairs, there are a variety of portable tables that you can choose for your campsite! You can go with a full-size folding picnic table or pick up a smaller folding accent table. We have a smaller folding table and I use it everywhere from camping to the beach to horse shows! It’s perfect to use as a table OR to prop my feet up on like an ottoman.

Portable Grill

One of the very very first things that we bought for our new camper was a grill. We went with a propane tailgate grill, but there are many different options available. You can choose a grill based on your cook style, and storage space. Propane grills are popular because you can use them anywhere, as they do not use electricity.

Propane griddles are also incredibly popular camping grill options, for example the Blackstone brand.

Outdoor Lanterns

Outdoor lanterns are an affordable way to not only provide some ambient lighting to your campsite, but to add some style as well!

Lanterns come in all shapes and sizes. They come in all sorts of colors and patterns and you can find a variety of power options including: candles, batteries, and solar-powered. We always have a couple battery-operated lanterns packed in the camper. They give off plenty of light and are a quick portable light source. This makes them great for anything from lighting up the picnic table to illuminating the path to the bathhouse.

Solar Charger

Solar chargers are a MUST for your camping supplies. As you might imagine, campers are more dependent that every before on electronics. Even if you love to unplug from screen time and other tech during your camping trips, chances are good that you rely on your phone for communication, GPS, photography, etc.

Packing a solar charger ensures that you can keep your phone and other small devices charged and at-the-ready.

Insect Repellent Devices

We love almost every aspect of nature when we’re camping.. but those buzzing, biting bugs are most definitely a drawback. Make sure you keep a citronella candle or an electronic device like a Thermocell product in your camping tote.

You will find that certain geographic locations are more prone to biting bugs than others, and certain times of day (and year) are worse than others. There’s nothing worse than trying to fall asleep when you’re covered in itchy bug bites, so make sure you are proactive and pack some bug-fighting tools!

Pop Up Trash Can

I actually recommend getting a couple of pop up trash cans for your camping trip! Grab a large pop up trash can for the campsite and then also pick up a small pop up trash can for your camper or tent. We use a small trash can in the bathroom and I love how it collapses for easy storage while we are driving. Having a trash can outside is helpful for collecting food trash from outdoor dining, etc.

Always make sure you secure trash (or better yet, empty it and take it to the dumpster) overnight. Trash cans are a prime target for all sorts of campground pests.

RV Collapsible Bathroom Trash Can

Weather-Resistant Deck of Cards

I picked a no-tech and a total-tech (see below) entertainment option to include in this list! One great idea for a no-electricity-required activity is a simple deck of cards. Regular cards will of course work fine, but if you can, pick up a deck or two of water-resistant playing cards! These cards can withstand the humidity and moisture present in outdoor environments. They will stay sturdy and not rip!

Outdoor Movie Projector and Screen

And now for our total-tech suggestion – grab a movie projector and screen for the ultimate “drive-in” movie night! Most consumer projectors offer HDMI and/or USB hookups and can play movies from your computer or DVD player. Some projects have built-in Wifi and can stream from your favorite apps. JUST BE AWARE that you will need to have decent cell service or Wifi for that option and, understandably, many campgrounds lack superior wireless and cell coverage.

Backyard Movie Night

Telescoping Roasting Sticks

Okay, we have probably included these telescoping roasting sticks on at LEAST 10 different round up posts and gift guides over the years, but they are an absolute MUST. We first picked these sticks up for the kids to use for roasting marshmallows over the campfire, but these are great for all ages. The sticks expand to allow ample space between your body and the campfire.

They are reusable and clean up easily with hand washing. I can’t recommend these enough for anyone who plans to roast any snacks over their campfire or fire pit.

Marshmallows and Telescoping Skewers

Portable Power Station

While the solar phone charger I mentioned above is great for phones and small electronics, I highly recommend adding a portable power station to your camping gear. These units are smaller than a generator but still have the ability to be a reliable power source for various electronic needs. For example, power a coffee maker!

You can shop from an array of different sizes and capacities based on your unique camping needs.

Outdoor String Lights

And what’s a campsite without some string lights? We LOVE stringing lights from our RV awning and sometimes we incorporate other parts of the campsite into the lightning scheme as well. String lights come in different colors, sizes and lengths and add such a magical and inviting tone to a campsite’s atmosphere.

I recommend using lights meant for outdoor use. If power is an issue, you can find battery-operated and solar string light options.

I hope that this list has given you some great ideas for enhancing your camping experience! I know how overwhelming it is when you first start camping – it’s so hard to know what to buy and what you will actually use! Don’t be afraid to get out there and camp with fairly minimal supplies to begin with. Each time you camp, you will figure out more of your must-have essentials and grab them for the next camping adventure.

Do you have any must-haves that are not on this list? Drop a comment below and tell us about them!! Let us know why those items should be on the list!


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