Unfortunately it is expensive and takes a while to try out different kinds of camping gear; to see which one works best for you. Each year as my budget would allow, I've tried to improve on things and not just keep "borrowing" things from my kitchen (although that's been a good resource too
I did a lot of research beforehand and for my personal needs I'm very pleased with how the following items have preformed so far. Here is some of the gear I used on my recent camping trip:
1). I had a smaller Kelty
tent last year and hated it. It blew down in the first strong wind and I vowed I'd get something stronger and large enough to stand up in this year. The Marmot Limestone 6P
is a great tent! It's held up in some fairly strong winds and has ample room for two people and all the gear one might need to bring inside during a storm. http://marmot.com/products/limestone_6p
2). Last year I tried sleeping on just a "Dream Time" Thermarest
mattress alone.http://cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest/ ... es/categor
It was okay, but still not enough comfort for my old bones. As extravagant as this might seem, the addition of a lightweight aluminium cot from Roll-a-Co
with the Dreamtime mattress on top was just the ticket I needed to get a good night's sleep.
3). Hanging from the top of my tent is this very cool LED flashlight from Black Diamond http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en ... er-lantern
It was the only light I needed inside the tent.
4). I decided to replace my old single burner butane stove with this propane stove from Texsport
. http://www.texsport.net/stoves-grills/s ... p-429.html
I found that the butane tanks didn't last very long, were harder to find and more expensive. The folding wind screen and propane tank stand I made really helped. I like this stove much better.
This year I tried a different method for keeping my food cool. I had a separate inexpensive Styrofoam cooler that was filled with just Dri-Ice. Twice a day I exchanged the plastic freezer pac's from my regular food cooler into the Dri-Ice cooler - back and forth. This method worked really well and nothing spoiled.
It's about being organized, and each year it gets easier. I use my Check Lists to help remind me what gets packed and into which duffel bag and a Daily Menu so I don't have to think about what to make; it's just simpler that way and I have a a lot of fun doing it