Camping Gear For Beginners: Tips on Tents, Sleeping Bags & Pads That Won’t Break the Bank
Are you new to camping, or have tagged along with mates once or twice, but now feel ready to make the leap and start purchasing your own camping gear? Like most people wading into a new hobby, you don’t want to overspend and spend an outrageous amount of money on something you still don’t know if you’ll enjoy forever.
That’s where we want to help. Here are some suggestions on how to go about picking camping gear that won’t break the bank
Most important: The Tent
When camping you need somewhere to lay down at night that will keep you dry and bug free. So we suggest spending the most on your tent and sleeping bag (see the next entry). And don’t worry, we won’t recommend anything crazy, just one that does the job.
If you go too cheap, then you risk not having good quality and you might end up ditching it after a bad night’s sleep. Then you’ll end up paying for another one.
How about this one? The Alps Mountaineering Taurus 2 costs less than US$100 (AUD$130) and can be ordered on Amazon. The quality you’ll receive from this particular tent is higher than you would normally get at this price point, and if you take good care of it, then this tent should provide plenty of great, dry nights of camping. Something that can definitely help you decide if you want to spend more of your free time camping, right?
Second: The Sleeping Bag
No one wants to put up with uncomfortable sleep conditions every night of a holiday. It’s supposed to be relaxing, so make sure you do your homework when it comes to picking a sleeping bag. Sure, you don’t have to shell out the big bucks to achieve a decent night’s sleep, but you don’t want to have buyer’s remorse.
We recommend the Kelty Cosmic Down 20, which costs about US$160 (AUD$205) and can be shipped internationally from REI. This particular sleeping bag will not only keep you warm but should resist moisture with its water-resistant DriDown. (However, some reviewers note that you shouldn’t get it super wet as it will lose some insulation quality.)
The temperature rating is such that it will certainly keep you nice and toasty in almost any season—the manufacturer says it is good for three seasons, but here in Byron Bay you won’t have an issue any time of the year!
For other options in a range of prices, take a read through our blog post on the Top 10 Excellent Sleeping Bags for Campers.
Third: The Sleeping Pad
OK, you got yourself a decent sleeping bag, but adding in a camping bed (or sleeping pad) will ensure that your sleep is almost as comfortable as your bed at home. And who doesn’t want that when you’re on holiday?
When it comes to the sleeping pad, yes, we have some recommendations that are less than the one we’re highlighting, but we are going for something that is both lightweight but provides maximum comfort for a reasonable price. That’s why we choose the Nemo Astro Lite Sleeping Pad, which retails for US$130 (AUD$170).
The Nemo features a built-in pillow, a nice bonus if you don’t want to take one more thing along. The layer of foam provides that desired space between you and the ground, keeping you warm and comfortable.
Again, if you’re looking for more options, we’ve made a list of the best inflatable camping beds on the market. Yes, there’s a range of prices again, so read it carefully as we’ve noted the pros and cons of each one.
The Rest: Don’t Overdo It
Once you get past purchasing these three items, we suggest you stop at least until you have a chance to take a few short camping holidays and try it out. Borrow anything else you might need from friends, and use what you have on hand—for example, use whatever esky you already own; unless you’re doing some major hiking, then just whatever backpack you have or borrow one from a friend; and just bring along your sneakers for walks and thongs for the beach.
If you find you love sleeping in the great outdoors (and we bet you will), then you can start slowing accumulating the better, long-lasting camping gear you can use for years to come. And before you start your camping adventures, do yourself a favour and read through our tips for camping newbies.
Bring Your Reasonably Priced Gear and Camp at Broken Head
Located in the gorgeous surrounds of Byron Bay, Broken Head Holiday Park is an excellent campsite to get your camping legs. Our property has excellent upgraded facilities, including BBQs and a camp kitchen. We also have a camp kiosk that is stocked with necessities in case you forget anything. So, book your camping site, pack up your gear and bring your mate or special someone and enjoy your first of, hopefully many more, camping holidays!