Rope1 of 11
This simple camping item is more valuable than you may think. With a variety of uses around the campsite, as a clothesline, towing line and substitute for tent ropes, it's a necessary item. This nylon rope is a top contender, with 4.5 out of five stars on Amazon.com.
Duct Tape2 of 11
If you don't have duct tape at the campsite, you're missing an important camping item that's not only cheap but also incredibly versatile. You can use duct tape to fix rips in your tent, camping chairs and sleeping bag, or rig a makeshift rope, among other things. Purchase a 50-yard roll of duct tape for just over $7.
All-in-one-Soap3 of 11
Soap that has a variety of uses is a valuable camping item to have. A 16-ounce bottle of Dr. Bronner's is just less than $10 and has at least 18 uses ranging from shampoo and toothpaste to face wash and dish soap.
Matches4 of 11
Starting a fire without matches can be tricky. Though it can be done, stay on the safe side and always have a box of matches with you. Better yet, purchase a pack of matches in a waterproof container. Rain or shine, you'll always have a means to start your fire.
Headlamp5 of 11
Both a flashlight and headlamp can each be purchased for less than $10, but if you have to choose just one, buy a headlamp. Unlike a flashlight, this camping item allows you to have full use of your hands and provides the light you need. You can find a basic headlamp for just over $7 at Amazon.com.
Tarp6 of 11
It goes under your tent, can be used for an emergency shelter and blocks wind on a blustery day. Coming in at just less than $9 for a 5-foot x 7-foot tarp, it's a purchase you won't regret.
First-Aid Kit7 of 11
Some first-aid kits can be upwards of $50, but this essential camping item doesn't need to be expensive to be effective. Medique Pocket First Aid Kit is just under $10, and comes with bandages, butterfly closures, gauze, antibiotic ointment and more.
Fire Starters8 of 11
You can buy fire starters, but make them at home and save some cash. Here's how to do it for less than $5:
1. Purchase round cotton pads; you can find these for less than $3 at your local drug store.
2. If you don't already have a candle to melt, purchase one from the Dollar Store. Unscented is best.
3. Melt your candle in a hot pan, slow and low, until you have close to a 1/4-inch of liquid wax.
4. Use tweezers to place a single layer of pads on the bottom of pan, and leave them in for 5 to 10 seconds; this is all it takes for the pad to soak up the wax and coat the outside.
5. Pull the pads out of the pan, and let them cool on a sheet of wax paper.
Knife9 of 11
A simple 7-inch blade is an essential camping item and handy to have while hiking or hanging at the site. You can use a small knife to cut rope, food or packaging. It can also substitute for a screwdriver or be used to prep your fresh caught fish, among other things. This folding-style knife by Imperial Schrade is a good option.
Cooking Set10 of 11
Purchase a basic cooking set for less than $10 and get five important pieces of cookware, including a frying pan, pot and lids. Though you can get a 10-inch cast iron skillet for just over $15, the set will give you more cooking options.