Backpacking, Camping, Family, Gear, Top Lists

Must-Have Camping Gear Under $20 – Top 10

Camping is one thing, but camping on a budget is another thing entirely. When you’re camping on a budget, you’re trying to have the best experience you can while not spending too much money. This is difficult when camping equipment can be quite pricey. Having a go-to list of must-have camping gear under $20 is key to saving money.

However, to help with that mission, today I’m going to share ten things you need to have on your camping trip. The good news is that you can purchase all of this gear for under $20. This will save you money. You know what that means! You can use it on gear that does not sell for low costs.


Save even more money with our must-have camping gear under $10!


#1 – All-In-One Soap

When camping lighter is better. The fewer things you have to pack for camping the lighter you will be, right? So all-in-one soap can be really helpful. No soap isn’t heavy, per see. However, all in one plays multiple roles and every ounce counts. In this case, the soap will allow you to stay clean outdoors, but you don’t have to pack different soap for every use.

Our suggestion is Dr. Bronner’s soap. This soap comes in at about $15 for 16 ounces. It can perform as a body wash, dish soap, makeshift toothpaste, and much more. It has eighteen different uses in all! And it’s also vegan and non-GMO. I love the fact that Dr. Bronner’s has so many uses and makes it a great deal for must-have camping gear under $20.

must-have camping gear under $20
Credit: Dr. Bronner’s Soap

#2 – Matches

Honestly, matches aren’t even optional when you go camping. They’re a complete must-have. Thankfully, they’re very cost-efficient! Even if you get a more “expensive” or quality type.

For instance, the matches that we’d suggest you get are the Coghlan 940BP Waterproof Matches 4 Pack and they’re only about $11! That’s not a lot of money when you think about how many matches you’re getting! Not to mention the fact that they’re waterproof.


Use your new matches to practice becoming an expert in building a campfire!


#3 – A Pocket Knife

Remember how we’re looking for items that will serve diverse purposes? Our goal is to not only pack less but also spend less? Well, a pocket knife is another one of those items! It serves a lot of purposes while camping like preparing food, cutting rope, cutting down hanging vines and other things in your way, etc.


Want to see our go-to list of multi-tools under $25?


The best part is that you can find a good pocket knife for well under your budget. For instance, the Grand Way Tactical Folding Knife for only $14. This knife also includes some extra features that could come in handy as well such as a fire starter handle and a whistle. Just make sure you know how to take care of your tool!

#4 – First Aid Kit

There is nothing more essential than a first aid kit. Unfortunately, these can often be on the pricey side of things. I have you covered though with these must-have camping gear under $20 options. I have found you a kit that still has everything you need but is budget-friendly.

The TrekProof Compact First Aid Kit is a great option for campers on a budget as it is only $18 and it contains 100 different pieces. These include antiseptic wipes, scissors, bandages, disposable gloves, and more. It also comes in a durable nylon case that is hardy enough to withstand your camping journey.

#5 – Duct Tape

Another versatile item that you need in your camping arsenal is duct tape. It can be so easily overlooked or forgotten when packing. However, it can also be used to mark trails, make shoes, plug holes in kayaks, and it can do many other things. Being a jack of all trades is quite handy when in the outdoors and this is the case for duct tape. Need more uses for duct tape, then check out this list of 25 uses for Duct Tape in the Outdoors.

And you can’t beat The Original Duck Tape Brand when it comes to duct tape. This roll is only $12 and it contains 45 yards worth of duct tape. This means it is a solid contender on the must-have camping gear under $25 dollar list. It is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. So, take it camping even though it isn’t marketed as a camping item. Below is another extra wide option as well for bigger repairs.

#6 – Tarp

A tarp is something that you’d definitely regret not bringing on your trip. It can shelter you from unpleasant weather if you can’t get to a proper shelter in time. Not to mention block out wind or go underneath your tent for extra protection. The uses don’t stop there!

This B-Air tarp is great for all the situations listed above. The good news is it is only $16. It’s durable, waterproof, and made out of polyethylene and aluminum. It’s also reinforced around the edges to prevent tears.


Find out how to pick the best campsite to use your new tarp at now!


#7 – Some Cooking Supplies

Even while camping you need to have a way to cook your food. That is unless you want to eat cold food all the time. However, packing a bunch of cooking supplies can be a hassle. Not to mention that a lot of camping cooking sets are expensive. Having cooking supplies is a necessity though. So here is an affordable option that is a must-have camping gear under $20 contender.

This OuterEQ Camping Cookware Kit is an even $20 and worth every penny. This kit includes a pot, frying pan, and soup spoon all of which are non-stick. They also have foldable handles that make for compact storage. Now that you have a solid camp cook set, check out all of our camping recipes.

#8 – A Headlamp

You’re going to need some source of light while camping. I personally suggest that you invest in a headlamp over flashlights for the simple reason that you can have both of your hands free to carry other necessary items.

The Vont LED Headlamp is perfect for budget campers, coming in at only $16, and being suitable for adults as well as children. Furthermore, it’s waterproof which anyone who spends time outdoors will know can be a life-saver if a storm pops up.

#9 – Rope

Just because you can use the duct tape we mentioned earlier as a makeshift rope doesn’t mean that you should. If you can help it, that is. So I suggest that you pack a durable rope with you when you head out to go camping. You can use it to act as a makeshift tent rope, a clothesline, and much more.

Paracord has so many uses. It is probably one of the most versatile items that you can have with you when in the outdoors. It is so light and easy to carry around that it just makes sense to have some with you when it is time to head into the outdoors.

This Gear Aid utility cord should do the trick and it’s budget-friendly as it only costs about $7. For this amount, you’ll get 50 feet worth of this 325 paracord made out of 100% nylon! 

#10 – A Pillow

This is probably the last thing you expected to be on this list but contrary to what you may think, it is a camping must-have. Getting a good night’s sleep while you’re camping can make the difference between enjoying your trip and being as grumpy as a grizzly bear, and a good pillow can give you better rest if nothing else can!

This TETON sports camping pillow is only $15, but it can provide you with similar amounts of comfort that you’d get in your bed at home. There’s no inflating necessary, and this cotton pillow is made to be durable so that it can travel with you anywhere.

Must-Have Camping Gear Under $20

These are the must-have camping gear under $20. If you pack your stuff up with at least one of each of these you are sure to have a more enjoyable and comfortable camping trip. Without taking up too much space or adding too much weight you will be set to handle many situations. From emergency response to repairs, each item can help you in one way or another. Additionally, since this camping gear is under $20 you will not be breaking the bank.

What things do you bring with you that didn’t make our list but are must-have camping gear under $20? We would like to hear about them in the comments, on our Facebook, or on Reddit!

**All prices shown are at time of writing and are subject to change.**

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