Guidelines for preparing for a camping trip:

– Research and plan. Know the conditions, weather and terrain typical of your destination. Leave word with a trusted friend or family member about your route, destination and when you expect to be back. This way if anything goes awry, someone will know where to start looking for you.

– Get appropriate camping gear for your adventure. Backpacking? You’ll want lightweight, compact gear, such as an inflatable sleeping pad. Car camping? You have more room to carry more gear and heavier gear, such as a sleeping cot. See our blog post about building a gear checklist so you don’t forget any of the essentials.

– When purchasing camping gear, consider trips in the future as well as the trip just ahead. For example, you may do most of your camping in Florida, so you’re eyeing a lightweight sleeping bag rated for 45 degrees. But you’re also planning to hike the Appalachian Trail some day, so you may want to consider having a sleeping bag rated for lower temperatures or consider purchasing an insulating liner.

– Try it out. When shopping for camping gear, be sure to examine demo setups, test products out or ask for instruction. Get inside that sleeping bag and lay on that sleeping pad. See how that fuel canister nests into the cook pot with the folding stove. Reputable retailers will work with you and let you explore the options.

– Ask about warranties. Some manufacturers have outstanding warranties and return policies, so ask the retailer.

Getting into the Great Outdoors remains one of the most popular pastimes for millions of Americans. Some people enjoy blazing new paths to adventure and visiting new places, some enjoy relaxing in a more tranquil environment and others like connecting with nature.

Whether you’re preparing for an epic, bucket-list adventure or just gathering with family at a campground, Bill Jackson’s knowledgeable staff is ready to help make your camping gear checklist complete. We can navigate you through all the choices in camping gear, such as shelter, sleeping systems, lighting, cookware, water treatment and more. The type of camping you wish to experience, and the camping gear you choose to take, is purely up to you. Some pack just the bare essentials and try their hand at “roughing it,” while others prefer to surround themselves with many of the comforts of home. And there’s everything in-between.

The associates at Bill Jackson’s want to hear about your upcoming adventures and are ready to assist you in determining what will best fit your needs. Brands that we recommend and carry in our store include:

Deuter • Eagle Creek • Gregory • Osprey

Footwear (hiking shoes, hiking boots, water shoes, sandals):
• Astral • Chaco • Keen • Oboz • Olukai • Salewa • Salomon • Vasque

Darn Tough • SmartWool • Wigwam

Tents and hammocks:
Big Agnes • ENO (Eagles Nest Outfitters) • Eureka • Grand Trunk • MSR • Marmot • Mountain Hardware

Sleeping bags:
Big Agnes • Eureka • Marmot • Mountain Hardwear • Nemo Equipment

Travel clothing:
ExOfficio • Kuhl • Marmot • Mountain Hardwear • Outdoor Research

Luggage and accessories:
Deuter • Eagle Creek • Gregory • Osprey

Water treatment:
Aquamira • Grayl • Katadyn • MSR • Sawyer • Steripen

Sun protective hats:
Outdoor Research • Sunday Afternoons • Kuhl

Cookware, stoves and accessories:
Cascade Designs • Coghlan’s • GSI • Jet Boil • LEKI • Lodge Cast Iron • MSR • Nalgene • Optimus • Snow Peak • ThermaRest • Goal Zero • Treva fans • Brunton

We have a wide selection of books, guides and maps, including Appalachian Trail guides, data books and Trails Illustrated maps.