Sure, there’s plenty of junk at big box stores, but spend some time sifting through the clutter and you’ll find a handful of solid, dependable products to round out your adventure kits. Here are nine pieces of gear I regularly use that you can find on the shelves at Walmart and other mainstream retailers.
Mainstays Comforter ($21, Queen)
My wife and I regularly use this comforter when car camping on warm nights. We like it because it’s better for snuggling than a backpacking sleeping bag, goes great with the plush mattresses you find in rooftop tents, and is machine washable.
Mainstays Extra Firm Pillow ($6)
The wrong pillow will ruin a night in the woods, so bring a set of these whenever you go car camping. They’re inexpensive and almost as plush as the ones you have at home.
Coleman Hyperflame Camp Stove ($105)
I’ve been testing a Hyperflame for nine months and love how the top can be set up as a grill or as traditional burners. I’m also impressed with how fast the 11,000 BTU burners boil water.
Coleman One-Burner Stove and Lantern Bundle ($50)
It might seem ridiculous to buy another stove if you already have something like the Hyperflame, but hear me out: I like the one-burner as an add-on because it’s perfect for making coffee while my bacon and eggs take up the two other burners. And at night, the 810-lumen lantern that pops on top is so bright that it’ll light up an entire campsite.
Coleman Nonstick Griddle ($18)
Inedible camp pancakes? Blame your manky old pan. For better pancakes (and bacon and hashbrowns), I use this nonstick griddle that spans two burners and holds a nice even heat. Just make sure to let it warm up properly.
Rubbermaid Roughneck 14-Gallon Storage Box ($18)
Buy a set of these to store all your camping gear and I guarantee you’ll get out of the house faster on Friday afternoon and will go camping more often.
Rothco 3-Piece Chow Kit Utensils for Backpacking, Camping ($4)
You can stock your car camping kitchen with old utensils from home, but I like the Rothco 3-Piece Chow Kit because the interlocking pieces help you stay organized. Bonus: The knife has a bottle opener.
Texsport Heavy-Duty Swivel Grill ($40)
I’ve made plenty of grills from refrigerator shelves, but they’re wobbly and do a poor job of controlling the heat. That’s why I like this hearty, stable steel grill on a pole. It rotates, and the height is adjustable so you can sear and then slow-cook the perfect steak.
Coghlan’s Camp Stove Toaster ($4)
I laughed at these camping toasters for years before I finally used one on a Baja surf trip. Let me tell you, perfectly toasted bagels on a secluded beach are heaven.