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Best Camping Gear Under $20

When it comes to camping gear, you only need a few trusty items to be comfortable in the outdoors.  We all know that big-ticket items like tents and sleeping bags are expensive.  But there are plenty of less expensive items that can still make a big difference around camp.  These are some of our favorites that we own personally and have sustained our adventures for years.  They would make great gifts if you are looking for the best camping gear under $20.

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Luci Solar Powered Lantern

Having some light around camp at night can help with tasks after dark, or for playing games or reading in your tent.  And by harnessing solar power, you’ll save money on batteries.

Camp Chair

Needs no explanation, simple, cheap, and reliable.

Water Jug

Large 7-gallon reusable water jug to keep you well-hydrated.  It has a great spigot that allows you to control the flow of water.


Another cheap item that has infinite uses.  Clip gear on the outside of a pack, hang tarps for shade, hang clothes out to dry, the possibilities are endless.

Black Diamond MiniWire Carabiner | REI Co-op

4-in-1 Survival Multitool 

This survival multitool has a compass, emergency whistle, thermometer, and fire starter all packed into a small package.  Easy to clip onto your gear, and always have these tools handy.

Jake with Sun Company's Outsider 4-in-1 Survival Multi-tool on his backpack

Waterproof Dry Bag

Keep your valuables safe and dry on any adventure.  Features a large roll-top enclosure, see-through material, and a handy shoulder strap for carrying or securing to your pack, kayak, boat, etc.  You can bring your camera, extra clothes, and snacks, knowing they will stay dry on any water adventure.

Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Bag - 3 L | REI Co-op

Stuff Sacks

It can be easy to get disorganized when camping, therefore stuff sacks are the best option to keep your belongings in order. 

Camp Towel

More absorbent and compact than a household towel.  And it’s fast-drying, so after use, it’s ready to be packed up again in no time.

Work Gloves

Great for handling firewood, these gloves will protect your hands from splinters.  Also great for handling hot cooking items or keeping your hands clean during messy tasks.


You’re going to want something to eat your camp meals off of. So having a dinnerware set you always bring along on camping trips will be great for those nice campfire meals.

Coffee Mug

This is not only for coffee and hot chocolate but can be used for all the beverages you indulge in around the campfire. It’s super nice to have a lid around the campfire to keep out debris, and bugs and to avoid any spillage. Plus this cup is insulated to keep your drinks hot or cold for longer!

emily enjoying her travel coffee mug which is awesome camping gear under $20

Campfire Grill

Having a campfire grill makes grilling much easier. Just place the portable grill over a hot fire and start cooking! You might need to use some rocks to level out the grill.  And it folds up flat for storage in your vehicle.

Campfire grill which is a great piece of camping gear under $20
Photo by Myles Tan on Unsplash

Cast Iron Skillet

A cast iron skillet is a great item for camping because they are indestructible. They actually prefer to be cleaned with just some water and light abrasion. No soap needed. And it will even form a non-stick coated if cared for properly. Cast iron can put a nice sear on meats, crisp up some veggies, and handle the bacon and eggs in the morning. 


Always something good to have around. We use paracord for everything, such as tying a tarp over our hammocks on a rainy day, tying bundles of unused wood together or holding our bags onto our canoe on a canoe trip. Paracord is multi-functional and a great thing to always have on hand when camping! 

Solar Shower

Personally, one of the best pieces of camping gear under $20 is a solar shower. These portable showers are super easy to use and heat from the sun. So fill up the bag and you will have hot water in an hour or two.

Check out our review for the Advanced Elements Summer Shower.

Emily showering outside our van with a solar shower

Hygiene Wipes

Hygiene wipes are great camping gifts. It’s a nice way to stay fresh when showers are less accessible. These can also be especially great when going #2 in the great outdoors. (But be sure to pack these wipes out).

Good Wipes are one of the bests way to stay clean between finding showers on the road
Emily cleaning her feet with Good Wipes


A cooler is the perfect gift idea for campers. Everyone needs one to keep their stuff cold.

We love RTIC products. You can find their 6-can cooler for around $20. Or you can always opt for a more hard shell cooler.

Jake sitting on the beach with an rtic cooler which is the perfect piece of camping gear under $20

Citronella Candle

A great item to have around camp is a citronella candle. It not only smells great but it keeps many of those pesky bugs away from camp.

All Natural Bug Spray

Or of course you can always opt to put on some bug spray. Personally, we try to refrain from deet bug sprays, but sometimes the bugs can be so bad that you need deet.

One of our favorite natural bug sprays is Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent Spray.

Also, check out our post about the best bug sprays for camping to find one that works best for you.

Thermacell Portable Mosquito Repeller

Another great option to keep the bugs away is with the Thermacell MR300 Portable Mosquito Repeller. This product sets up a shield to keep pesky insects out of your “bubble”.

Mosquito Head Net Mesh

Lastly, when it comes to bug protection, sometimes you need a mesh net to keep the bugs away.

Emily wearing a bug net which is great camping gear under $20

Cast Iron Camp Cooker

A cast iron camp cooker (or what I like to call it is a Pudgie Pie Maker) is the best addition to anyone’s camping setup. It’s super easy to use and doesn’t require clean up time.

You can make just about anything between two slices of bread or wraps. One of my personal favorites is making a pizza pie. Just add oil or butter to each side of the cast iron, then place two slices of bread on each side. Add pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni, and whatever else you please! Squish the two irons together and place them into the fire. In about 10 minutes you will have a perfectly toasted pizza pie!

Tip: Don’t overstuff the iron skillets, and you should monitor it to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Photo by Bjarke Rosenbeck on Unsplash

Folding Camp Stove Toaster

A camp stove toaster can be one of the best gift ideas to add to a camp kitchen. It works with most camp stoves and can perfectly toast some bread, bagels, buns, etc.

Emergency Poncho

A great stocking stuffer idea for a camper is an emergency poncho. Plus you can find ones with a price point as little as 99 cents. This can be great to always have in your camping bin in case a rain storm rolls through and you are unprepared.

This can also be great if you are an avid hiker, because it’s the perfect size to throw in your hiking pack. They are light weight and very packable.

First Aid Kit

Every camper should have a first aid kit handy. Accidents happen and it’s important to be prepared. Often times when dispersed camping, you are far from a hospital or a long ride from an ambulance.

Sun Shade

A great piece of camping gear under $20 is a sun shade. While there are a few sun shades under $20, it might be worth spending a little more on a quality sun shade.

We love our Moonshade, which easily attaches to the outside of our campervan.

But if you are strictly looking for a sun shade for under $20, then consider the MGHH Party Tent.

Hand & Toe Warmers

Sometimes the weather forecast is warm and sunny. But if you have ever camped in the mountains, then you know the weather can change on a dime. So having hand and toe warmers is the best camping gear under $20 to always have with you. You will be thanking me on those cool nights!

Reusable Insulated Water Bottles

A helpful way to reduce single-use plastic is to use a reusable water bottle. We are huge fans of insulated water bottles so you water can stay cold for hours. Personally, we are fans of Hyrdroflask and Larq, but there are still plenty of quality insulated water bottles for under $20.

Biodegradable Soap

Biodegradable soap is the perfect gift idea for campers. This soap can safely be disposed of on the ground versus other harsh soaps that have chemicals.

Sea to Summit also has a shampoo that I like which can also safely be disposed on the ground and won’t affect the water sources close by.

Fire Starters

One of the best outdoor gifts for an outdoor enthusiast are fire starters. These can especially be helpful when the wood you have is wet or there is little to no kindling.

Takeaway For Best Camping Gear Under $20

These are our top picks for best camping gear under $20. And just because they are inexpensive, doesn’t mean they are cheap trinkets.  Most of these items have been trusty companions for our camping outdoor adventures for years.

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