Taking Camping Gear on an International Trip

International Trip 1

By Shazia Chiu

Preparing for an international trip is often a lengthy process. Packing, making sure you have all the proper travel documents, finding someone to watch your pets or home, and making arrangements at your destination takes time and effort.

If you anticipate camping at all during your trip, you’ve probably thought about renting or buying camping gear in-country. However, a bit of extra effort before your trip can save you a lot of money and help you avoid the stress of dealing with unfamiliar gear.

International Trip to where?

Before you whip out your camping supplies, do a bit of research to make sure that the country you’re visiting is camper-friendly. Some places, especially third-world countries, don’t have the facilities for safe and comfortable outdoor living. Other areas such as some Scandinavian countries have free camping, which means that you can your pitch tent wherever you want with few exceptions.

Once you’ve done your homework, it’s time to start gathering your gear!

Backpack

Finding the right backpack for your camping supplies is a crucial first step. As you choose a backpack, be sure to think about the size of your gear, the length of your international trip, and the luggage policies of your airline. If you have compact, high-end gear, a pack between 50 and 70 liters should suffice. If your packing list includes specialized items for particular sports or you’re embarking on an extended adventure, look into packs with a higher capacity.

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You’ll want a sturdy, reliable pack to help ensure that your valuables stay safe. If you have specific questions about picking a backpack, outdoor sporting stores usually have representatives who can give you helpful pointers.

Now that you’ve got your pack, you can begin thinking about some other camping fundamentals: tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, clothing, and cooking equipment.

Tent

Packing a tent can be a bit of a hassle, but in countries with campsites you’ll be able to save yourself a lot of money on accommodations by being prepared. If you’re concerned about a tent being too heavy to pack, don’t fret–there are tents on the market that, when stowed, are slightly larger than a 20-ounce waterbottle! These tents can easily slide into a backpack between clothing and gear, or they can be secured to the outside of a pack.

International Trip 3

Check the weather conditions of the country you’re visiting to get an idea of how strong of a tent you’ll need. In windy areas, it’s not uncommon for tent poles to snap if they are poorly made. No one enjoys waking up with their roof on their head instead of over their head! A sturdy tent that is easy to set up and pack away is well worth the extra cost.

Camping somewhere dry and warm? Ditch the tent and opt for a hammock instead! Most hammocks are easy to transport because of their size and durability.

Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags come in a range of shapes and sizes. Each bag has a temperature rating that explains the optimal conditions for its use. Above all, make sure that you bring a bag that will keep you cozy and warm. Keep an eye on the weather in your destination. Be sure to look beyond the major cities and towns since you’ll likely be staying off the beaten path as a camper.

Small sleeping bags with down feather filling are a great choice for most environments. If you’re worried about getting cold, pack some thermal underwear and pick up a liner that fits inside your sleeping bag. These items will keep you toasty regardless of the weather.

Pack your sleeping bag toward the bottom of your backpack so that its weight is supported by your hips. As a general rule, heavier items are best at the base of your pack.

Sleeping Pad

Your sleeping pad should be small enough to fit next to your sleeping bag in your pack. It is important to find a pad that can be easily rolled or folded up since it is an item that you’ll use each day you camp. During your international trip, your sleeping pad may get holes or tears. It’s helpful to bring along a small patching kit or some heavy-duty tape so that you don’t end up sleeping directly on the floor.

Lightweight Clothing

Bring lightweight clothing that can easily fit at the top of your bag, or in between gear, if necessary. If you anticipate camping for multiple days in a row, you might want to think about getting dirt-proof and water-proof items that are meant for extended outdoor use. Although these items often cost a pretty penny, they can last for years in all sorts of terrain. If your travels take you to a cold environment, don’t forget to pack easily-overlooked essentials, like socks, gloves, and a hat.

Camp Stove

Camp stoves are among the trickiest pieces of equipment to travel with. Restrictions vary depending on your origin and destination, but as a general rule, it’s extremely important to remove all traces of fuel from your stove before attempting to take it with you on a plane. Fuel cannisters generally can’t come with you in checked or carry-on baggage. Plan to buy fuel once you arrive, or ship cannisters to your destination in advance, if possible.

Many countries have incredible spots for camping. Taking your own camping gear on an international trip allows you to take advantage of every possible camping opportunity that comes your way!

Blogger & Multiple Contributor at | Website

Shazia Chiu is a freelance writer and a recent public relations graduate. As a Utah native, outdoor adventure and travel are central parts of her life. She and her husband are in the midst of a year-long trip that includes stops in South America, Oceania, Southeast Asia and Europe.

Shazia is passionate about inspiring women of all ages to explore the world and to embrace foreign cultures and languages. Shazia also loves to camp, whether that involves sleeping in a campervan on the edge of a lake, a tent in the middle of the desert, or a hammock high in the trees. Her other outdoor interests include rock climbing, horseback riding, canyoneering, whitewater rafting, and SCUBA diving.

33 thoughts on “Taking Camping Gear on an International Trip

  • March 7, 2019 at 5:49 am
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    My husband and I used to go camping for years and years, but we never went camping internationally. It seemed difficult to carry all your gear with you. You have some great advice here. It’s not as hard as I thought to carry all your camping equipment, even if you have to hop on a plane with it.

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  • December 20, 2018 at 7:19 pm
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    Great advice here. We do a lot of camping in our own country of NZ and have had to fly domestically with all our camping gear. It’s quite a mission! Haven’t tried going international with it though. A good backpack is key! Because you’ll be taking that wherever you go so it needs to be properly fitted, big enough to fit everything but not so big it’ll break your back! We have had friends from the US come to NZ to hike the length of the country (yep, that’s right) and so it was interesting to see how organised they were for 5-6 months of hiking and camping!

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  • December 19, 2018 at 1:44 pm
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    This is a great piece of advice coming from coming expert like you. I have camped only once and that was in a sleeping bag. Didn’t expect it to be so comfortable. I like the idea of camping on international trips. Would love to camp in Europe

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  • December 19, 2018 at 10:57 am
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    When I travel overseas, I prefer to travel light to save from baggage fee (and accidental baggage loss). Thanks for sharing your ideas about travelling with camping gear. But you can always opt to rent for a camping gear upon arrival on your destination, right?

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  • December 18, 2018 at 11:49 am
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    I had no idea you could get a tent just larger than a 20-ounce water bottle. That would be a convenient item to throw in the trunk for road trips as well as for backpacking. By camping internationally, I imagine you’ve experienced waking up in the most scenic of places just by the few photos you’ve shared. How amazing! (Plus, I was wondering how you would travel with the fuel for the stove… thanks for the insight.)

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  • December 18, 2018 at 3:07 am
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    This is a great preparation guide before a big camping trip! I just did a jungle trek a couple weeks ago and struggled with what to pack and whether I should buy it there, as you mentioned! The camping stove seems like definitely the hardest to make room for!

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  • December 18, 2018 at 2:41 am
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    That’s a great list of camping equipment for international travel. I’ve only ever camped in the US and usually drove, so I’ve never had to be really judicious about the packing. I wonder if you can rent equipment in some countries. The good news is that clothing and bedding are designed to be lightweight so I even like them for regular travel.

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  • December 18, 2018 at 2:18 am
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    I must say that we travel heavy so after reading this post I may change that. Like you said camping gear is not easily available in all countries so you need to carry it if you are doing so. I have never gone camping so these are great tips for a novise like myself. The camp and sleeping bags would be my key priority I must say. It’s tricky when you travelling on international flights with limited baggage options. Done great tips learnt here.

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  • December 17, 2018 at 6:43 pm
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    This is an excellent guide to packing camping gear for an international trip. I have to say, I’d never think about the badly made tent poles, but as you say, you don’t want to have to carry them over your head, rather than having them fulfill its purpose of providing a roof! Great advice too about the gas cannister – I’d never think about this had I not read your post!

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  • December 17, 2018 at 3:59 pm
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    I am not really that much of a camper but this list will be completely useful for when I plan to camp internationally. You have covered all the important things you need to camp, that also luxuriously. Thanks.

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  • December 17, 2018 at 5:55 am
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    What a great post! I am not a camper so stuff like this go way over my head but I learnt a thing or two! I invested in a sleep liner for travelling in countries where cleanliness was not great i.e. I was on an overnight sleeper train so I used that on the bed. I have to say I got quite hot so it would be a great investment if its going to get cold overnight. Love that tip about a sewing kit of some kind so patch up unexpected rips. Great idea!

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  • May 4, 2017 at 3:16 am
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    Hi, I’m glad to hear that you found the list to be useful 🙂 Ah Australia, I’m totally jealous, it’s so beautiful there! I’d love to do more camping down under. Thanks for your comments!

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  • April 28, 2017 at 2:53 pm
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    I have not tried camping internationally yet but these are all great tips. There is so much involved in bringing gear abroad and arranging everything in a foreign country, so I’m glad you made such a comprehensive guide for all the newbies out there. Hope I get to try it one day and saving this for when I do!

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    • May 4, 2017 at 3:06 am
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      Hi Diana, thanks so much for your nice comments. I’m glad to hear that the guide is helpful! Let me know once you’ve had your first international camping experience; I hope that it’ll be great whenever it happens 🙂

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  • April 28, 2017 at 3:36 am
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    I have not tried camping internationally. These are great tips especially in choosing a tent. I did not know that you can find a tent that is ‘slightly larger than a 20-ounce water bottle’. That would be awesome! I would probably plan camping internationally with a friend so we can share some stuff and gear.

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    • May 4, 2017 at 3:04 am
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      Hi Iza! Camping internationally can be a really cool experience. If you Google “small tents” or “tiny tents” you should be able to find some options that are really compact. Camping with a friend could be a great idea since you could share a tent! Thanks for your feedback on the article!

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  • April 27, 2017 at 4:29 pm
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    The most I’ve planned for an international camping trip is driving in an RV from Canada to the U.S., so this post is definitely an eyeopener! I didn’t know that Scandanavia had lax rules about pitching tents where ever! That’s a fantastic way to save on accommodation! Great post!

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    • May 4, 2017 at 3:07 am
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      Hi, thanks for your comments on the post! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. Driving an RV from Canada to the US would be awesome; my husband and I have talked about trying to visit all of the national parks in Canada while traveling by RV 🙂 The camping rules in Scandinavia are so awesome! I wish the US had similar regulations

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  • April 27, 2017 at 3:04 pm
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    For me traveling lightweight is essential. Therefore I pack according to the 80/20 rule. Only 20% of the stuff we intend to pack we will actually use 80% of the time. So I just take the 20% I really need and in case something is missing I improvise. And I pack my sleeping bag at the very top, since it’s the only thing I really need every night. 😉

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    • May 4, 2017 at 3:09 am
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      The 80/20 rule is an awesome standard to follow! I have to fight with myself sometimes about what things I ought to pack…it can be hard to set aside things that I like having, even if I know I won’t use them, haha 🙂 Thanks for your comments!

      Reply
  • April 27, 2017 at 8:27 am
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    Such a useful list! I like the picture of the van under the sky at night as well. I am going to save this list for my future trip!

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    • May 4, 2017 at 3:09 am
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      Thanks for your comments; I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the post! 🙂

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  • April 27, 2017 at 3:30 am
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    I never appreciated how so much planning was required for camping, and even more so for international camping. Picking the correct size backpack is a must, it amazes me how small a tent can become for carrying! That’s a good tip about packing the sleeping bag at the bottom of the backpack to balance the weight.

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    • May 4, 2017 at 3:10 am
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      It can be a ton of planning; I’m amazed by people who travel long-term with camping gear! Even getting camping gear together for my Iceland trip was a big chore. I need to invest in one of those tiny tents; I’d love to have one 🙂 thanks for your comments on the post!

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  • April 27, 2017 at 2:51 am
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    We’ve never camped internationally, although it sounds like fun! We love camping and also carry all of our gear on our back when we are doing backcountry hiking trips. This is a great list of the gear needed.

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    • May 4, 2017 at 3:13 am
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      Hi, I’m glad to hear that you found the post to be useful! Camping is so much fun, especially in the backcountry. I need to spend more time in the backcountry myself 🙂 Thanks for your comments!

      Reply
  • April 27, 2017 at 1:46 am
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    This is a great list for packing light for camping! I’ve always wanted to camp in other parts of the world, but didn’t want to carry all the gear. It’s great to know, with a little planning, it isn’t much of a hassle at all!

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    • May 4, 2017 at 3:14 am
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      Hi Jennifer, thanks for your comment on the story 🙂 it’s true that camping internationally can be simple if you plan in advance. Sometimes it can be a bit expensive to transport all that gear, but you can save SO much by camping instead of staying in hostels, hotels, etc. Happy travels!

      Reply
  • April 27, 2017 at 1:02 am
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    Definitely a useful list. i’ve been thinking of getting a lightweight tent but never a stove. Still in that urban frame of mind where i think I can survive on cold food. and yes, lightweight clothes too! that is such a lifesaver.

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    • May 4, 2017 at 3:15 am
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      Haha, you can definitely survive for awhile on cold oatmeal, granola bars and trail mix! But it’s nice to have warm food every once in awhile too 🙂 Thanks for your feedback on the post!

      Reply
  • April 26, 2017 at 12:39 pm
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    The only thing I’ve taken on an international flight from this list is light clothing. I absolutely love camping when I’m at home in Australia, especially in the summertime! These tips will help me packing my car more lightly too! I think I need to invest in a smaller lightweight tent! Thanks!
    Kristie- you.theworld.wandering

    Reply

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