camper under pile of gear

Shoes, shelter and supper — the camping staples

Need to refresh your camping gear, but feeling buried in options?

We chatted with our friends at MEC about outdoor gear priorities. We found a lot of neat options and gadgets for every adventuring style, but, at the end of the day, we settled on three staples.

Shelter. Supper. Shoes.


woman in tent with book

Choose a tent that keeps the rain out and the climate comfy (whether you need ventilation or insulation).

From there, fine-tune your shelter according to your priorities. Built-in lights? Quick setup? Extra storage space? You name it, there’s probably a tent that’s got it.

Don’t forget to take the same care when selecting your sleeping bag. Research how to choose the right bag, and pay special attention to the temperature rating.


cooler amid stacks of gear

Spoiled or spilled food puts a real damper on your trip.

Find a cooler that’s airtight and well-insulated. Think about how easy it is to carry and what type of trip it needs to tackle.


shoes in a pile

Warm, dry feet can make the difference between a bucket list dream and a blister-filled nightmare.

Keep safety in mind when packing footwear. Flipflops might be nice for the beach, but they’re a recipe for injury on a scramble-y trail.

Instead, invest in a solid pair of hiking boots or shoes — your feet will thank you!

Other camping staples

pouring coffee into cup on picnic table

With the basics covered, other gear depends on personality and destination.

The campground gourmet can’t leave without his multi-burner campstove, while the backcountry hiker prefers her light-weight trail stove.

For some campers, dishes are a must. Others won’t head out without their trusty hatchetSafety gear — from First Aid supplies to tick removal kits to sunscreen — is a great choice for any outdoor adventure.

And, of course, some of us simply can’t forego our morning cuppa.

What are your camping must-haves?

Ontario Parks would like to thank corporate partners like MEC for their support.