Getting good camping gear can be harder than finding a needle in a haystack. Everyone that sells sporting equipment has the basics, but few have personnel on staff that can help you find what you need at a price you can afford. Looking online can be just as tricky – you can’t see what you are getting until it’s too late. The best way to get what you need is to know just what that is BEFORE you start the hunt.
There is a tent for all seasons, but not all tents will handle all seasons. In other words, you need to know when you will be camping before you buy your tent. You need to buy a tent in preparations for the worst weather you could possibly face.
Summer Tents are typically light-weight with good ventilation. It is specifically for the hot weather camping.
3-season tents are more open with zipper mesh panels for ventilation in the warmer weather. They are designed for use in the spring, summer, and fall in temperate areas. Although they can do a good job protecting against wind and rain, they are not designed to hold up the weight of snow.
4-season tents are for the serious winter camper. They are stronger and hold up to strong winds and the weight of snow. They do not offer as much mesh for ventilation (a HUGE factor when it comes to hot weather camping) and they are typically the more expensive of the tent varieties.
The way that you are going to cook will probably depend on whether you are hiking to your camp destination or driving up to it. A camp stove can be rough if you are hiking in. Cooking over the open fire does not have to be that difficult if you have the right cookware for the job.
Opening flame cooking is usually done with a grate or grill (to give you a surface to set your cookware on). The very best cookware is cast iron. It’s not light weight, so if you have to hike in to the site then you need to carry as few pieces as possible. This cookware can hold up to what ever you throw at it. Be sure you season it properly before you use it.
When it comes to a warm and comfortable nights sleep, down offers the best for weight ratio. The downfall is that if it gets wet, it will take forever to dry and will weigh a ton until it does. Synthetic fill (or waterproof down) is the best choice if you think you might encounter water (condensation or dew). Get a bag rated for 10 degrees COLDER than what you expect to encounter.
This is only beginning, but it will help you get started. The more camping you do, the more time you will want to invest in finding the best gear for your going (and the more money you will probably also invest). Keep in mind that you will probably use your gear the most if it is comfortable and easy to use.