How to Pack for a Camping Trip: Tents and Accessories

2 man tent next to a lake surounded with trees

There are many must-have items that you need when you’re heading off on an outdoor adventure. From sun protection to hydration, having the right gear can make the difference between turning your hike into a fun experience or a disaster. Keep in mind that it’s always best to pack light, as every ounce you carry with you will multiply throughout your trip. You don’t need to pack everything and the kitchen sink for your next camping trip, but some essentials belong in every hiker’s backpack.

2 Man Tents

Two-man tents are the most popular size of tent for backpacking. As a general rule, two people fit comfortably in a two-person tent and three people fit comfortably in a three-person tent.

Lightweight Backpacking Tents

Lightweight backpacking tents are designed to be carried long distances. Many backpackers prefer lightweight double-wall tents. The fly provides an additional layer of weather protection and ventilation. The fly can be removed when conditions are mild to allow more airflow through the mesh body. An internal pole structure makes the setup fast and simple. Ultralight backpacking tents are made with lighter materials to reduce overall weight. A single wall construction reduces weight, but can be less breathable than a double-wall design.

Couple sitting in 2 man tent on the top of mountain

Car Camping Tents

Car camping tents are often large enough for 2 or more people plus all their gear! They’re perfect as family camping tents, since they’re so easy to set up and take down. A lot of car camping tents feature a single door, but some have multiple doors for easy entrance and exit. Most car camping tents can be set up in under 10 minutes, making them the perfect choice for quick set-up and tear-down times.

Car camping 2 man tent next to a lake

What to Look For in a 2 Person Tent

Before you begin shopping for 2 man tents, identify several features that are important to you. While all tents may look similar, some differences can make a huge difference in whether or not your camping trip is enjoyable.

For starters, you will want to consider the seasonality of the tent. Seasonality refers to how many seasons the tent is rated for. It is typically broken down into three or four-season tents. A three-season tent is good for spring, summer and fall. It may not hold up well in extreme weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall or high winds. A four-season tent is designed to withstand any weather conditions that nature throws at it. This type of tent also tends to be heavier and more expensive than a three-season tent. Because of this, many people opt for a three-season tent that they can use most of the year, with just a few exceptions.

Couple sitting at night in 2 man tent with a led light

The second thing you will want to consider is the material from which the tent body is made. There are two main choices: nylon or polyester. Nylon may be lighter, but it wears much easier over time than polyester does. If you plan on using your 2-person tent frequently and expect that it will last a long time, then a polyester tent would be a better choice. On the other hand, if you only plan on using it once in a while then a nylon tent would be a better choice since it will be less expensive and lighter in weight.

The third thing you will want to consider is where your tent will be placed while out camping. You can either place it in an area that has good drainage or one that does not have good drainage.

Sun Protection

The sun is one of the biggest threats to campers and hikers, because it can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion and even sunburn on cloudy days. Make sure you apply sunscreen regularly and bring along a hat with a wide brim to help protect your face from harmful UV rays. It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water each hour during hot weather.

Blonde woman wearing hat while hiking

Navigation Tools

Before getting started on that hiking or camping trip, it’s essential to study your route carefully, so you know what terrain lies ahead. OpenStreetMap offers online maps that are available offline for those who don’t want to use up their mobile data plan while hiking through

Navigation tools - map, phone, navigation and compass

Water Bottles

You have a lot of choices when it comes to drinking water when hiking. The most popular options are hydration bladders and water bottles. Water bottles are more convenient at camp because the bottle can work as your cup. You can put hot water or soup in a bottle, and it’s easier to drink from than a bladder. If you want cold water, fill the bottle with ice beforehand and then add water.

Hiker holding blue water bottle for hiking

You don’t need to carry an extra bladder for camp use like you would with a hydration system. This is also convenient if you want to share your water supply with others without having to let them sip from your hose. Bottles are easier to clean, especially if they have a wide mouth as many do. You can often just toss them into the dishwasher. Generally speaking, it’s also easier to treat water with chemicals like iodine or chlorine in bottles than bladders.