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I've trekked and camped all over the world — these are my 10 outdoor essentials

lifestraw, hammock, axe
Whether you're a bonafide globetrotter or simply love the great outdoors, this gear will make all your travels comfier, smarter and safer. (Amazon)

Here's a fun fact: I've camped in multiple countries all over the world, including Canada, Mexico, Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines. I've seen a lot of strange things (and had rocks thrown at me by a monkey!). I wasn't always prepared for the conditions I encountered (and some of these trips were years ago, before all these fun gadgets existed). But now, if I could build my dream camping bag? It would hold all of these items.

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Sleeping on the ground is never as comfortable as sleeping in a hammock, especially if the ground is wet or damp. This hammock packs up small and can easily fit in a backpack — plus, it's currently 40% off in some colors. In humid conditions, sleeping in a hammock is preferable to sleeping on the ground, too — you get a lot better airflow and stay cooler. 

Save $17 with Prime
$23 at Amazon

When the time comes that you do have to sleep on the ground, a quality pad is essential for protecting you from the cold. There was one night in Japan when I had to sleep under a gazebo and, boy, one of these would've been a godsend. This ultralight, inflatable sleeping pad has everything you need for a satisfying night's slumber while on the trail. It even includes a patch kit and is available in loads of colors (though the orange option — currently 45% off — is the best deal). 

Save $26 with Prime
$34 at Amazon

Not to get all dramatic, but the LifeStraw is so well known because it could literally save your life. Whether you're trekking in your local nature preserve or abroad in a country with less than trustworthy water-purifying standards, just stick it into a stream, river or lake and out comes filtered, clean, potable water. I don't travel without it. 

$16 at Amazon

Anyone who tells you that you can't cook delicious food while camping just hasn't been shaken out of their granola-overdose delusions. You can whip up any number of delicious entrees over a campfire, especially if you've got one of these. This 10-piece kit includes a pot, pan, covers, utensils and several other accessories that will help you crank out gourmet-worthy eats, even in the middle of nowhere. 

$20 at Amazon

I visited both Vietnam and Japan during some of the warmest months of the year, so suffice it to say, I drank a lot of water. At the same time, carrying an empty water bottle around is a waste of space, which is why these collapsible ones are so ingenious. You can smush them down and store them in a side pocket of your backpack, rather than hauling them around and feeling them swing up against your back with every step. 

Save $3 with coupon
$15 at Amazon

Ever tried to set up a tent in the dark? Let me tell you, it's a pain. That's why a headlamp is important, and a better option than a flashlight — you can stay hands-free and still see. This two-pack is just $11. It's a small investment that will go a long way. This headlamp is especially cool because it has a red-light option, which I recommend for late-night tent-pitching sessions. You'll be able to see clearly and it won't mess with your night vision as much. 

Save $6 with coupon
$11 at Amazon

When I camp, I try to avoid electronics — but I still carry my phone with me in case of emergencies. So I like to have a backup power source on hand, and these Loveledi chargers provide 15,000mAh of charge and are just $10 each — nearly 80% off.

Save $70 with coupon
$20 at Amazon

Do us a favor: Please don't think you can secure firewood by snapping branches apart with your hand or foot — you're the one who'll end up with a broken limb. Conversely, a few strikes with this handy hatchet will cut them down to size lickety-split.

$15 at Amazon

Once you settle into camp, you might not be ready for bed yet. Maybe the sounds of wildlife are keeping you up, maybe you want to play cards for a while, or maybe you just want to read a Stephen King story in the middle of nowhere (not that we recommend that). Whatever the reason, you can't go wrong with this collapsible, solar-powered camp lantern, especially when it's just $20. When it's time to load up and move on, just fold it up, it'll take up next to no space. 

Save $5 with coupon
$20 at Amazon

Camping is no excuse not to have great coffee. I can't start the day without it, and the Aeropress actually IS one item I carried across multiple countries. It made it easy to brew up a pot of joe first thing in the morning and made even the cheapest coffee grounds taste delicious. If you're a java junkie who's planning a journey, add this to your kit. 

$40 at Amazon

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