Camping gear can just be an essential item one can buy or it could be a collection for one who considered camping as a hobby. As camping and outdoor exploration become more popular, there are now a lot of gears out in the wild to the point it is confusing which one to really buy.
Which gear is best to invest in? Which gear can I just cheap out? If you’re starting with camping we recommend reading our article, Camping Essentials, for you to have a general list of items you basically need for camping. And to help you make decisions on which of those items are actually worth investing in, check out this article as we list down our picks.
Where to Invest
Tents, or car camping setups, is easily a necessity when you go sleep in the outdoors. Choosing the proper tent that is well built and was made out of quality materials should last for many future trips. One of us owns a 20-year-old Coleman Tent and still uses it at camp. Because it was well built and the materials used for his tent were of quality, it survived the different weather conditions that mother earth gave all those years. Consider buying from well-known brands and check each before purchasing. At least buying from the known brands gives you peace of mind so you can just think of which type of tent you actually need. Here’s a guide on which tent you should buy.
Coolers are in conjunction with food safety. Camping requires you to bring raw ingredients that need to be kept frozen for long periods. Thus, a well-built cooler should be on your worth spending list. Rotomolded coolers are like the iPhone Pros for coolers. These coolers can hold frozen items longer than the coolers we normally use at home during parties. Again, having the peace of mind that your meat or seafood won’t go bad during your camping trips is what is valuable and is the reason why you should invest in a rotomolded cooler. Which brand of Rotomolded cooler to buy? The answer is any. The design of rotomolded coolers is, by nature, better than our regular coolers. We have tested and reviewed a SubZ Rotomoled cooler and we were impressed by its performance.
Another type of food storage that is well worth buying, only if you will be camping for more than 3 days is a fridge/freezer cooler. These coolers function the same exact way as a fridge. Since it is electronically powered through your car’s 12v socket, it will continue to keep your food frozen until you ran out of battery. However, this is also the downside of these coolers. You have to consider your power consumption and will have to spend extra money on investing in an external power source (and maybe a solar setup). Skipping this will raise the risk of emptying your car’s battery, which might get you stuck when it happens. Another downside of these coolers is it’s price. These coolers are normally priced the same, and even more, as home fridges. So if you think you’ll be going on a 7day Overlanding trip for multiple trips, then it is worth buying. If not, then a Rotomolded cooler is more than enough for you.
Chairs are time and time the one thing we’ve all cheaped out and ended up buying another. Trust us, buying the 400 peso camping chair will only last you a couple of trips up until one arm bends or the seams tear. Invest well on your chairs and it should last a lifetime (unless it rusts). Even the 1,000 peso camping chair from Decathlon will stand up to our trips and we still use it today. Price per value, these camping chairs aren’t that expensive if you compare it to the two items abovementioned. In short, one of the essential items you should buy and is worth spending on is a quality camping chair.
While there are very expensive camping cooking stoves and cooking pans well-known brands sell, some of these are well worth investing in. Specifically, invest in your pots and pans as these are the most used when in camp. Considering purchasing a small cast iron pan and dutch oven, or a nonstick pan and pot combo from Decathlon, these pieces of equipment will stand up to the abuse at camp. The majority of us use Decathlon Camping Cooking Sets and it is worth checking and buying. Expensive camping stoves are a luxury but quality camping cooking sets are essential and worth splurging on. We’ve compared the cheap cooking sets available online to our Decathlon Cooking Sets, and they are miles apart when it comes to efficiency, convenience, and safety. To add on, having cast iron cookware is versatile enough for cooking on stoves and on campfires. Not to mention that these do last a lifetime to the point that you can pass it on to the next generation.
Where to Save
Abovementioned, we’ve discussed the value of cooking sets and why it is worth spending on. However, buying a cooking stove shouldn’t be expensive. I personally started with the 250 peso cooking burner that uses a butane canister as its source of fuel, and it worked great! Just spend the extra 150 pesos on the wind guard to prevent the wind from blowing the flame when you use it. If you happen to have a portable stove that you use for your home Samgyeopsal night, that would also work perfectly. The only downside of these burners is that you need to bring multiple cans if you’re planning on cooking for long periods or if you are cooking for a lot of people. Nevertheless, you don’t need to spend a big amount on a burner. Heck, countless times, we have used our campfire as our cooking method and it has been effective for us.
Most of us only camp through the night and head home the following day. And at these times, you would definitely need camping lights to get by after the sunsets. Purchasing multiple LED lights that would cost you around 150 pesos online is more than enough. These lights are rechargeable with the use of power banks and would last around 3 hours on their lowest setting. You might want to consider spending a little more for quality LED camping lights because these tend to have better battery quality and life, but if you just want to cheap out on these, it will do just fine. We at MotoKampo started out with these cheap lights and have just considered purchasing more quality lights when we started to consider camping as a serious hobby. If you would like to know more about camping led lights, check our article: Camping LED Lights.
Getting comfortable at night when you sleep at camp isn’t that expensive. Especially in tropical countries, you can get away with a mattress and a couple of pillows. One of the popular options when buying a bed to sleep on is an airbed. Airbeds in the Philippines would cost you less than a thousand pesos. It keeps you separated from the ground and it’s easy to pack and store. You can opt for a foldable mattress and that would also be a good option. For pillows, you can either buy an infant pillow for easy carry or if you’re less picky, an inflatable pillow will do. For blankets, I usually bring an old blanket I have at home. Another option is hammocks. Hammocks nowadays will range from 800 pesos to around 1,500 pesos which is quite affordable. The only downside of the cheaper ones is the carabiners that come with them. A more durable one is always easy to buy at your local sports house.