Are you looking to get in touch with nature on your next vacation? Camping may be the adventure you’re looking for! More and more people are opting to skip the hotel and instead get some fresh air. A 2017 study estimates that 13 million U.S. households plan to camp more in 2017, and more than 1 million new households have started camping each year since 2014. If you want to join their ranks, you’ll need the right gear first.

  1. A place to rest your head at night

Unsurprisingly, a tent and sleeping bag are number one on the list. When picking a tent, consider if you’ll be sharing with a partner, kids, pets or if you feel uncomfortable in tight places, and when you’ll be camping—tents come in 3-Season, 3-4 Season and 4-Season varieties. Sleeping bags follow the same reasoning: summer bags are lightweight and ideal for temperatures of 30 degrees and higher, 3-Season bags are for spring and fall, when temperatures are 20 degrees or higher, and winter bags have more insulation for those 20 degrees and lower nights. Don’t forget an air mattress (or inflatable pool toy if you’re on a budget!) to avoid sleeping directly on the ground.

  1. Comfy camping chairs 

It’s all in the name on this one. Consider how you’d feel spending extended periods of time at a wooden picnic table all vacation, and that’s assuming your camp site would even provide one. A quality chair with cup holders and side pockets (some even have built-in coolers!) is a small price to pay for comfort.

  1. A way to light up your life

You’d be surprised how quickly the night turns dark when there are no street lights or house lights emanating a soft glow. Everyone in your camping party should have durable, high-quality flashlights (plus batteries to spare) and battery-powered lanterns for their tents. When you’re trying to find the campground bathroom or hear a strange noise outside your tent, you’ll want all the light you can get!

  1. Portable propane grill

I know, you probably scoff at the idea of bringing a grill when there will be a perfectly good fire to cook your meals over! Consider the limitations of a fire, though, especially if you don’t have your boy/girl scout’s fire badge. Not only can wet firewood, strong winds, poor kindling, rain and inexperience make building a fire challenging, it also severely limits the food you can easily make without buying a camping-specific cookware set. A propane grill frees you to make hot dogs, burgers, grilled cheese, eggs, bacon, spaghetti and more, all with just one pot and pan. You can even boil water for that much-needed first cup of coffee or tea!

  1. A fridge away from home

Don’t forget a few high-quality coolers to store all your perishables. You’ll need to replace the ice bags every day, so make sure yours have spouts for draining. Pack your raw meats and drinks separately—limiting the possibility of contamination and frequency of opening the cooler with the other food—and pack all food in leak-proof containers. Remember, cold food stays cool longer, so don’t put anything you bought off-the-shelf in your cooler, try to only add things that have already been refrigerated. Just make sure to put the cooler in the car each night, or bring rope to hang it from a high tree branch so you don’t attract any unwanted, wild visitors!

  1. First aid kit

Even if you’re going “glamping,” you should always have a first aid kit at your site. Make sure you have plenty of band aids, bacitracin, aspirin, antiseptic wipes, blister cream, allergy medicine, gauze, tape, scissors, tweezers and, of course, bug spray and sunscreen.

Once you’ve braved the wilderness—or at least a family-friendly campground—you’ll need somewhere to store all of your essential camping gear. Check out our blog on camping storage tips to learn how to store your equipment correctly. No garage or attic? No problem. Contact the experts at Gotham Mini Storage, the leader in Manhattan mini storage, and move your belongings into a secure, climate-controlled storage unit today!