I’m excited to share with you a dedicated blog post all about my Camping and Road Trip Essentials. For hiking gears, specifically, scroll to the bottom of the post for my blog post link! There will be links to shop and a brief review of each product I recommend.

Note that I don’t always have or bring everything, and I don’t judge if you don’t. Outdoorsy gears are expensive, hence it’s taken me this long to have enough things to share with you. If you’re just starting out, all you need are really just a few essentials to keep yourself comfortable and safe. Often time, you probably already have them. Make sure to do some research before heading out. Be safe and have fun!


Your ID, Credit Cards, Cash, Phone, Camera, Laptop

for the car

Before you hit the road, it’s worth it to have everything checked, especially on long-haul road trips. Get an oil change, top off fluids, and check the brake pads, rotors, headlights, signals, and tire pressure. Make sure you have the spare tire. It maybe is time to learn car maintenance basics, how to replace a flat tire, and what to do in a snow emergency, etc. Let someone you trust know your whereabouts.

Car Insurance

Travel Pillow – CASPER nap pillow (discontinued). I have it placed behind my back to support my lower back as it’s especially helpful for long car rides.

Hard Cooler – PELICAN 20QT Elite Cooler in White/Gray. It fits in the car perfectly, and I can easily open it to get things inside easily. Our car is a Honda Hybrid Sedan.

Ice Pack

Soft Cooler (great for picnics, store cool lunches, drink cans, and small things) – I don’t have one yet.

Sunglasses – I don’t wear sunglasses when hiking, but for driving and traveling purposes, I’d always pack my regular sunglasses with me.

Sunscreen – I have one for the face, one for the body, and a spray bottle that applies super fast for when I go to the beach.

Hand Sanitizer – Must have in the car at all time.

Moisturizer – For when I need to moisturize my arms and legs!

Water Bottles – I have a case bought from Costco, and they come in handy for long hikes and road trips. I know it’s bad to take bottles hiking like this, but they’re lightweight and convenient for us.

Reusable Water Bottle – I love my Glossier x Seattle and Kinto water bottle.

Tumblers – Great to have since they keep iced water cold for a long time.


for Protection & Safety

Multi-tool – LEATHERMAN Rebar Multitool

Map – Some parks sell waterproof maps. I just use my Google Maps and directions straight from my Alltrails app for trails that are confusing.

GPS – I don’t currently have one but will look into this when I have a backpacking trip planned.

Power Bank & Extra Batteries – AUKEY Power Bank – to charge phones, laptops, headlamps, etc.

First Aid Kit

Sun: Hat, Sunscreen, Sunglasses

Bandanas or Head Scarf – people tie them around their heads to trap sweat from running down their face. It’s also an optional fashion thing.

Bugs: Bug Net, Bug Repellant, Cortizone

Ear Plugs – help when you have to catch some sleep in loud places

Spare Tire & Jack, Jumper Cables, Tire Pressure Gauge

Winter: Winter Tires, Tire Chain

Cash – $20, $10, $5, and $1 bills.

Coins – I reused an old Altoid tin can and stored quarters in there. They come in handy for air pumping, hot showers, or any coin-operated services.

Spare Parts to repair tent, sleeping pad, and pillow – They come with when you first purchase the items, so keep them around just in case.

Small Hammer, Rubber Mallet, or Tent Stake Hammer – to pound tent stakes into the ground since regular metal hammer would damage the stakes.

Duffel Bag

Learn about bear safety – You might need a Bear Vault depending on where you’re camping.

Bass Harbor Light House Maine Acadia National Park An Trieu Salomon

for Cooking & Eating

Food – REI has a large selection of brands for many diet options. We usually stick to fresh produce we can get at local grocery stores like stuff to make sandwiches, snacks, fruits, protein, or energy bars. We love stopping by gas stations to pick up snacks for the drive (and to pee, of course).

Tea, Portable Coffee Maker, Coffee Grind, and Your Favorite MugAEROPRESS Coffee Maker is great to take on the go! Just make sure you have coffee grind, not beans. If you fancy and would like to grind your beans fresh, there’s a manual grinder option from Hario.

Large Water Jug – I always pack along 1 gallon of water and use it to wash the dishes or brush my teeth on nights when I don’t have access to water.

Camp Grill

Camp Wood – usually sourced near the campground (please follow local guidelines!)

Camp Stove & Fuel – I have this portable stove, mostly for hot pot nights at home, but I also take it camping with me before.

Matches or Lighter

Pans and Pots – I have this STANLEY Cookset gifted by our friends.

Cooking Utensils – Chopsticks, a Large Spoon, or just a Spork

Knife and Cutting BoardSNOW PEAK Knife & Chopping Board Set in Medium

Plates and BowlsSNOW PEAK Tableware Set

Eating UtensilsSNOW PEAK Fork & Spoon Set

Napkins, Kitchen Towels, Wet Wipes

Biodegradable Soap


Camp Table

Camp Chair – We have 2 REI Flexlite Air Chairs (in Asphalt and Muted Sage) and do think they’re the best and lightest compared to most chairs on the market.

Cushion for Inside Tent (I have it in my living room and use it every day!) – SNOW PEAK Cushion

Lastly, we try to pick up groceries ahead of time with a bag of ice to keep our food cold inside the cooler. We’d avoid having leftovers when eating out at restaurants or buy food that’s spoiled too fast.


for Sleeping

TentNEMO Dagger 3P Tent. It’s so quick and easy to put together and put away. It’s so spacious, and honestly, it can sleep up to 4 people!

Tarp – A standard all-purpose tarp. I got it from REI. It’s optional, but this will give your tent a layer of protection against dirt and rocky ground.

Sleeping Bag – NEMO Disco 15 Sleeping Bag – NEMO makes this model, one for women and one for men, and they can be zipped to make one big happy cuddle bag.

Sleeping Pad – Air: SLEEPINGO Sleeping Pad. Foam: NEMO Switchback Sleeping Pad

Camp PillowSEA TO SUMMIT Aeros Premium Pillow size Large

Camp BlanketRUMPL NanoLoft Puffy Blanket – I have two in Patina Pixel Fade and Playa Fade.

*affiliate link to shop RUMPL

HammockWISE OWL Hammock

Headlamp – Petzl ACTIK CORE Headlamp


Sleepwear – clean and comfy

Socks & Jacket for warmth if needed in case it gets cold in the morning.

Style & Senses-An Trieu_Nemo Acadia National Park Rumpl Sand Beach
Style & Senses-An Trieu_Nemo Acadia National Park Rumpl Sand Beach
Style & Senses-An Trieu_Nemo Acadia National Park Rumpl Sand Beach

for Going to the Beach or Having a Picnic at a Park or by the Lake

Beach Towel – made from cotton or breathable fabric for you to lay on

Bikini/Swim Trunks


Beach Umbrella

Beach Chair

Picnic BlanketRUMPL Everywhere Mat in Ocean Fade. This doubles up as our Beach Blanket, too, since it’s waterproof and also repels sands.

Reusable Towel (worn in the photo below) – I have two regular sizes in Ocean Fade and an Olukai collab Shammy towel, and a mini towel in Newport Swell.

*my affiliate link to shop RUMPL

Style & Senses-An Trieu_Nemo Acadia National Park Rumpl Sand Beach

for Going to the Bathroom & Shower – Toiletry

Toilet Paper

Wet Wipe

Pee Cloth

Pee Tunnel – Freshette Urinary Device. Yes, this exists! I don’t have one, but I’d imagine you’d need it if you’re car camping, kayaking, or fishing.

Ziploc Bags – Small ones with some toilet paper are great for backpacking trips since you’re required to pack out your toilet paper. Big ones are handy to have if you need to store leftover camp food.

Backcountry TrowelThe Tent Lab Trowel – This is particularly useful for long hikes and when you’re in the backcountry. Dig a hole, do the deed, and cover it up making sure you’re away from the trail and water sources.

Reusable Quick-dry Face Towel

Reusable Quick-dry Body TowelRUMPL Everywhere Towel. We have 2, and they’re the best things ever!

*my affiliate link to shop RUMPL

Tooth Paste

Tooth Brush


MoisturizerEMBRYOLISSE Laite-creme Concentrate, KIEHL’S Facial Cream. I change things up, but I’d recommend going with something you know and love already to avoid breakouts or skin reactions.


Lip Balm

Face WashCERAVE Hydrating Cleanser

Makeup Remover

Reusable Cloth/Pads


Pads, Tampons, Wipes

Dry Shampoo

Jordan Pond Maine Acadia National Park An Trieu Salomon


Moisture-wicking T-shirts


Sports Bras

DressOUTDOOR VOICES Exercise Dress

Long-sleeved Shirts – for sun, bugs, and sleep on cold nights – LULULEMON Swiftly Tech. PATAGONIA Logo Shirt Men’s.

Flannels – I mostly thrift these from the men’s section.


Light-weight Packable Shell JacketARC’TERYX Gamma SL Hoody in Black

PantsARC’TERYX Gamma LT Pants in Black

LeggingsLULULEMON Align Pants

WindbreakerCOTOPAXI Teca Windbreaker

Fleece Hoodie, Jacket, and Pants – ARITZIA makes great fleecy stuff!

Rain Jacket

Hiking Boots – My 3 pairs for different terrains and occasions: KEEN Targhee III, SALOMON XT-6 in India Ink/Safari/Red Orange & DANNER Mountain 600 in Yellow Suede

Adventure Water SandalsLUNA Mono SandalsKEEN Astoria West

In-camp sandals or booties

SocksDarntough Vermont Crew Socks. SmartWool Crew Socks.

Insulated Jacket or VestPATAGONIA Pack-in Jacket

Gloves – Great to have for rocky or parts of the trail where there are ropes you need to grab on to.

Mittens – for winter hiking

BeanieAcne Studios Beanie. Uniqlo Ribbed Beanie.


for Fun & Entertainment


Board Games

Marshmallow/Hot Dog Roasting Forks

Binoculars – to watch wild animals (Yellowstone National Park is a great place where you’d need one to view the wild animals from a safe distance)

Books/ Reading Material/ Audio Book/ Podcast (pre-downloaded of course)

Notebook & Pen – to journal

Portable Speaker – We have the SONOS Roam in Lunar White.


Car Rental and Hotel Booking – We book via Expedia (offer points/reward) or Kayak since they have pretty good customer service. We do Airbnb when there’s a group of friends to stay with and split the cost. For two people, we mostly just do hotels and sometimes car camp when we don’t have enough time out of our schedule. Lots of gas stations have spots for cars and trucks to park overnight. We’ve slept at Walmarts’ parking lot many times. Check BLM for free camping on public lands.

  • HotellTonight – last-minute hotel booking, good deals.

  • The Dyrt app – Tent & RV Camping with reviews and photos.

  • Recreation.gov – Campsite booking, parking reservation, and more.

  • iOverlander app – I’ve used this a couple of times to help find local boondocking spots, mostly for car camping.

  • SpotHero app – to find affordable parking garages in big cities at affordable rates! If we can, we always pick a hotel that’s not downtown (cities nearby) and opt for a parking garage if it’s cheaper or if the hotel doesn’t offer free day parking or parking overnight.

  • Alltrails app – I have the PRO version which allows downloading trail maps, saving trails for future hikes, and leaving reviews for other hikers.

  • Hopper app – I use it to find and book cheap flights every once in a while.

  • Kayak app – to browse for flights obviously.


  • America the Beautiful – Access to National Parks and Federal Lands. $80 annual pass. I got mine from REI.

  • Campsite reservation confirmation (usually in email, but printed version might be needed)