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Budget Solo Camping Gear Guide

Solo camping is a remarkably effective way of relieving stress, connecting with nature and finding one's center. It's especially great how accessible it is; with a strong list of budget gear, it's a past-time that just about anyone can enjoy. Here we aim to provide that list for you, to hopefully open up the joys of solo adventuring to any who seek it out. Without further ado, let's dive into the gear list:

Tent



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Our pick for best budget tent is the Camppal MT051. It's a 4-season tent, so even though it's relatively cheap in the tent market, you're also getting the most bang for your buck. We're specifically talking about the green variant here, as it boasts a higher waterproof rating than the slightly cheaper orange version. The orange version is fine if you know you won't encounter much rain, but be warned: you never know for sure. Our favorite feature of this tent, however, is the extendable flap. This allows you to keep a small area outside your tent dry and accessible. Perfect for light cooking, storing your bag and boots, or just giving you more room during light rain. Quite a bit of luxury for such a small price point. Now, put all this in a bag that packs down to 62cm x 12cm x 12cm (24.4in x 4.7in x 4.7in) and you've got something really special.

Day Pack



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Here we chose the Teton Scout 3400 backpack as our favorite budget camping backpack. For camping, a backpack with an internal frame will help your haul to the campsite tremendously. (You'll need to save your back for all of the campsite prep when you arrive). There are a lot of backpacks that could have gone here, especially even other backpacks from Teton, but the its capacity and its 600D PU/600D ripstop material put it at the top of our list. Having multiple external pockets can really help, especially when a lot of your gear packs down to about that size (we'll get there in a sec, I promise).

Multitool



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We couldn't possibly come up with a camping gear list and not include a multitool. While packing light, having 12 tools on your belt is a godsend. Gerber's Suspension multitool is an excellent, budget-friendly take on the tried-and-true formula. The tool includes: a locking knife, spring-loaded needle nose pliers, a wire cutter, a plain edge knife, a serrated edge knife, a small saw, spring-loaded scissors, a phillips head screwdriver, a small and a medium flat driver, a can opener, a bottle opener, and a lanyard hole.

Collapsible cookware



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Cooking outdoors is one of my favorite parts of camping in general - doing it solo means you need to pack light. Getting some cookware that can pack down with your other gear will help keep weight, bulk, and disorganization to a minimum. For this, we recommend the MalloMe mess kit. Although these pots do have an issue with being placed directly over a flame (the handles can melt), they work perfectly fine with a canister camping stove, which we'd recommend for cooking anyway. The kit has a pot with a lid, a pan, a wooden stirring spoon, a metal spork, two bowls, a ladle, a sponge for cleaning, and a carrying bag. All of these pieces pack into the pots nicely, forming a compact load that's very easy to lug around.

Camp Stove



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Next is the AOTU portable camping stove. As I mentioned earlier, I'd recommend relying on one of these for cooking most of the time, as their flames are wind resistant, and they can be used under the tent flap discussed earlier as well - even in inclement weather. Although you do have to bring a canister along, it beats possibly going without fire by a whole lot. This camp stove is really lightweight and cheap among its competitors, making it an ideal choice for this list.

Wash Basin



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While not strictly a necessity, foldable wash basins are so cheap and can pack down so small, that it's almost criminal not to take one. On short outings, you may not be too concerned with washing things, but always having clean cookware ready (or having the option of a foot bath) really adds to the relaxing side of solo camping. They're also great for lugging water from a nearby stream We chose the GKSELLING basin for its durability, small pack size, and similarly small price.

Inflatable pillow



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Anyone who has been camping without one will be quick to tell you to bring an inflatable pillow along. Seriously. Especially if you plan on hiking or other activities during your stay, you'll want to stay well rested and keep your neck in good shape. Trekology boasts that their Ultralight Inflatable Camping Pillow packs down smaller and lighter than a can of soda - and they're right. That's pretty impressive, even for a pillow.

Inflatable sleeping pad



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Just as important as the pillow - the sleeping pad. Inflatable sleeping pads save an incredible amount of room compared to their foam counterparts, and are often more comfortable too. The Sleepingo ultralight sleeping pad is no exception, and is made of 20D ripstop to boot. Though it has a waffle pattern, at its thickest it gets to about 2 inches thick, which is pretty luxurious as far as the great outdoors are concerned. Like most of our other entries on this list, it comes with its own carrying bag, however it does stand out with a lifetime, no-return guarantee. With all of that considered, it was a pretty easy pick for this list.

Sleeping Bag



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You thought we were going to tell you to sleep in the cold, didn't you? The Coleman 0°F mummy bag rounds off our list nicely. There are definitely cheaper sleeping bags out there, but the zero degree rating is important here. It's often hard to tell what the nighttime temperature will be, and it can be very easy to end up uncomfortable when you guess wrong. But much more important than that is ensuring your safety. You likely won't end up in 0°F temperatures accidentally. But you certainly could find yourself in 20°F weather accidentally, and without ample protection, you could be in danger. Even though we're sticking to a budget here, we're not about to tell you to sacrifice your safety. Although this bag is not particularly light, Coleman bags have been around forever and do the job nicely.