Welcome to our camping gear glossary page. If you want to get a solid understanding of outdoor gear terminology, you’re in the right place. We’ve all been there – getting tripped up by the technical terms, acronyms, and jargon in the camping world. But that’s what this glossary is for. This is your guide to understanding the language of camping and outdoor adventure. No fluff, just straightforward explanations. Consider this the ultimate camping and outdoor gear dictionary.

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A-Frame Tent: A classic tent design shaped like the letter “A,” featuring sloping walls that meet at a ridge. Known for its stability and ability to shed rain and snow effectively.

Air Mattress: An inflatable mattress used for camping, providing a comfortable sleeping surface off the ground. It can be inflated using a manual or electric pump.

My favorite tent (at the moment):

Coleman Sundome Camping 6 Person Dome Tent

Glossary | 71aihd5lpvl. Ac sl1500 | camping canopy
My favorite tent (at the moment):

Coleman Sundome Camping 6 Person Dome Tent

I really like the Coleman Sundome Tent. Its weatherproofing and has strong wind resistance. The excellent ventilation and handy E-port enhance my camping experience.


Backpacking: A form of camping that involves carrying all your gear in a backpack while hiking to a remote campsite. It emphasizes minimalism and self-sufficiency in the wilderness.

Bear Canister: A sturdy, bear-resistant container used to store food and scented items while camping in bear country. It helps prevent bears from accessing human food and minimizes wildlife encounters.

Bivy Sack: Short for “bivouac sack,” it’s a lightweight, waterproof shelter designed to fit over a sleeping bag, providing an additional layer of protection from the elements.

Bug Spray: An insect repellent used to deter mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects while camping. It can be applied to skin or clothing for protection.


Campfire: A controlled outdoor fire used for warmth, light, cooking, and socializing at a campsite. It’s often the centerpiece of a camping experience, fostering a sense of community.

Camping Pillow: A small, compact pillow designed for use while camping. It can be inflatable or filled with foam or other materials for comfort and support.

Camping Saw: A folding or packable saw used for cutting firewood or clearing campsite debris. It’s a handy tool for backcountry camping and wilderness survival.

Campground: A designated area where people can camp, usually equipped with amenities like toilets, water, and sometimes electricity. Campgrounds can range from rustic to highly developed.

Camping Stove: A portable stove used for cooking and boiling water while camping. It can be fueled by propane, butane, or other sources, providing a convenient way to prepare meals outdoors.

Campsite: The specific area within a campground or backcountry location where a camper sets up their tent, park their vehicle, and spends the night. It’s the base camp for all camping activities.

Carabiner: A metal loop with a spring-loaded gate, commonly used in camping for clipping and securing gear. It’s useful for attaching items to backpacks, setting up tarps, or hanging food bags.


Dry Bag: A waterproof bag used to keep gear and clothing dry during water activities like kayaking or canoeing. It’s also useful for protecting essentials in wet weather conditions.

Dry Sack: Similar to a dry bag, a dry sack is a lightweight, waterproof bag used to organize and protect gear within a backpack. It helps compartmentalize items and keep them dry.

Duck Down: A type of insulation used in high-end sleeping bags and jackets, made from the undercoating of ducks. It’s known for its warmth-to-weight ratio and compressibility.


Ecocamp: A type of campground or camping experience that focuses on minimizing environmental impact and promoting sustainable practices, such as using renewable energy and reducing waste.

Emergency Blanket: A lightweight, compact blanket made from heat-reflective material, designed to retain body heat in emergency situations. It’s a vital item in a camping first-aid kit.

Embers: The glowing, hot coals that remain after a campfire has burned down. They can be used for cooking or starting a new fire.


Footprint: A ground cloth designed to be placed under a tent to protect its floor from wear and tear, as well as moisture. It helps extend the life of the tent and keeps campers dry.

Fire Ring: A designated area at a campsite for building a campfire, usually consisting of a metal or stone ring to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading.

Fire Starter: A tool or material used to ignite a campfire, such as matches, a lighter, or a ferrocerium rod. Some natural fire starters include dry grass, leaves, or small twigs.

Flannel Sleeping Bag Liner: A soft, flannel fabric liner used inside a sleeping bag to add warmth and comfort. It also helps keep the sleeping bag clean and extends its lifespan.

Fly Sheet: Another term for a rainfly, a waterproof cover that fits over a tent to provide additional protection from rain and moisture.

Fuel Canister: A pressurized container that holds fuel, such as propane or butane, for use with a camping stove. It provides a convenient and portable fuel source for cooking outdoors.


Guy Line: A cord attached to a tent or tarp used to secure it to the ground or other anchors, providing stability in windy conditions. Proper guy line setup is essential for a sturdy shelter.

Groundsheet: A waterproof or water-resistant sheet placed under a tent or sleeping bag to provide an additional layer of protection from moisture and ground debris.

Glamping: A glamorous form of camping that combines the comforts of home with the beauty of the outdoors. It often involves luxury accommodations like yurts, cabins, or furnished tents.


Hammock Camping: A camping style that involves sleeping in a suspended hammock instead of a tent. It offers a unique and comfortable way to sleep outdoors, especially in forested areas.

Headlamp: A hands-free flashlight worn on the head, allowing campers to illuminate their surroundings while keeping their hands free for tasks like setting up camp or cooking.

Hiking Boots: Sturdy footwear designed for walking on trails and uneven terrain. They provide support, stability, and protection for the feet and ankles during hiking and camping trips.


Insulation: Materials used in camping gear, such as sleeping bags and clothing, to trap heat and keep campers warm. Common insulation types include down, synthetic fill, and fleece.

Inflatable Tent: A tent that uses air-filled beams instead of traditional poles for structure and support. It offers quick setup and takedown, as well as reduced pack weight.

Insect Net: A fine mesh net used to cover sleeping areas or food to protect against insects. It can be integrated into a tent or used as a standalone shelter.


Jungle Camping: Camping in a tropical or heavily forested environment, often characterized by high humidity, dense vegetation, and diverse wildlife. It requires specialized gear and techniques.

Jackery: A brand of portable power stations and solar generators popular among campers for charging electronic devices and powering small appliances off-grid.

Jet Boil: A brand of compact, efficient camping stoves known for their quick boiling times and all-in-one cooking systems. They are popular among backpackers and minimalist campers.


Kindling: Small, easily flammable material used to start a campfire, such as dry twigs, leaves, or paper. It helps ignite larger firewood and establish a strong, sustainable fire.

Kelty: A well-known brand of camping gear, including tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags. They are known for their quality, durability, and innovative designs.

Kerosene Lantern: A traditional camping lantern that uses kerosene fuel to produce light. It offers a warm, ambient glow and can also provide some heat in cold weather conditions.

Kayak Camping: A camping style that involves traveling by kayak and camping along the shoreline or on islands. It allows for exploration of waterways and access to remote campsites.

Knot Tying: The skill of tying various knots for camping purposes, such as securing tarps, hanging bear bags, or creating makeshift shelters. Knowledge of basic knots like the bowline, clove hitch, and trucker’s hitch is essential for campers.


Lantern: A portable light source used for illuminating a campsite or tent. Lanterns can be powered by various means, such as batteries, propane, or solar power.

Leave No Trace: A set of principles that promote responsible outdoor practices, minimizing human impact on the environment. It includes guidelines for campsite selection, waste disposal, and respecting wildlife.

Loft: The temperature rating of a sleeping bag, indicating the lowest temperature at which the bag will keep the average sleeper warm. A higher loft rating means better insulation.


Mummy Bag: A type of sleeping bag designed to conform to the body’s shape, tapering from the shoulders to the feet. It minimizes air space and maximizes warmth, making it ideal for colder temperatures.

Multi-Tool: A compact tool that combines multiple functions, such as pliers, knife blades, can openers, and screwdrivers. It’s a versatile and convenient item for various camping tasks and repairs.

Mess Kit: A compact set of camping cookware and eating utensils, typically including a pot, pan, plate, cup, and silverware. It allows for easy meal preparation and dining in the outdoors.


Nalgene: A brand of durable, reusable water bottles popular among campers and hikers. Made from BPA-free plastic, they are known for their durability and leak-proof design.

No-See-Um Mesh: A very fine mesh material used in tents and bug nets to keep out tiny biting insects called no-see-ums. It provides ventilation while preventing insect intrusion.

Nesting Pots: A set of camping pots that fit inside each other for compact storage. They are designed to maximize space efficiency in a backpack or camp kitchen.


Orienteering: The skill of using a map and compass to navigate through unfamiliar terrain. It’s a valuable ability for backcountry camping and wilderness exploration.

Outsmart Tent: A term used to describe a tent with features designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, such as reinforced seams, sturdy poles, and waterproof materials.

Overhand Knot: A simple knot used as a stopper knot or as a basis for more complex knots in camping. It’s an essential knot for securing ropes or cords.


Pitch: The process of setting up a tent or shelter at a campsite. It involves selecting a suitable location, assembling the tent poles, and securing the tent with stakes and guylines.

Pole Sleeves: Fabric tunnels sewn into a tent through which the tent poles are inserted for support and structure. They help distribute the tension evenly and make tent setup easier.

Paracord: A lightweight, durable, and versatile nylon rope originally used in parachutes. It has numerous camping applications, such as hanging bear bags, making repairs, or creating makeshift shelters.


Quilt (Camping): An alternative to traditional sleeping bags, camping quilts are lightweight, versatile blankets that can be used as a top layer or attached to a sleeping pad for insulation.

Quick-Dry Towel: A lightweight, absorbent towel made from synthetic materials that dry quickly, making them ideal for camping and backpacking. They are compact and easy to pack.

Quiet Area: A designated section of a campground or camping area where noise and disturbances are kept to a minimum, allowing for a more peaceful and relaxing experience.


Rainfly: A waterproof cover that fits over a tent to provide additional protection from rain and moisture. It helps keep the tent interior dry and can also offer shade and privacy.

Rip-Stop Fabric: A type of fabric used in camping gear, characterized by a reinforcing grid pattern that prevents tears from spreading. It’s commonly used in tents, backpacks, and clothing for added durability.

Rooftop Tent: A tent designed to be mounted on the roof of a vehicle, providing an elevated and comfortable sleeping space. It’s popular among car campers and overlanders.


Sleeping Pad: An insulated mat placed underneath a sleeping bag to provide comfort and thermal insulation from the ground. It can be inflatable or made from foam materials.

Sleeping Bag: An insulated bag designed for sleeping in the outdoors. It comes in various temperature ratings, shapes, and materials to suit different camping needs and preferences.

S’mores: A classic campfire treat consisting of a roasted marshmallow and a piece of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers. It’s a beloved tradition among campers of all ages.

Stuff Sack: A small, drawstring bag used to compress and store sleeping bags, clothing, or other camping gear. It helps save space and keep items organized in a backpack.


Tarp: A versatile, waterproof sheet used for various purposes while camping, such as creating a shelter, groundsheet, or shade. Tarps can be set up using poles, trees, or other supports.

Tent: A portable shelter made from fabric and poles, designed to provide protection from the elements while sleeping outdoors. Tents come in various sizes, shapes, and designs for different camping needs.

Tent Footprint: A groundsheet specifically designed to fit under a tent, protecting its floor from wear, tear, and moisture. It helps extend the life of the tent and keeps campers dry.

Tent Stakes: Pegs or pins used to secure a tent to the ground, providing stability and preventing it from blowing away in windy conditions. They are usually made of metal or plastic.

Thermal Underwear: Lightweight, insulating base layers worn next to the skin to help regulate body temperature in cold weather conditions. They are made from materials like merino wool or synthetic fabrics.


Ultralight Camping: A minimalist camping style that focuses on reducing pack weight by using lightweight, compact gear. It allows for greater mobility and easier long-distance hiking.

Underquilt: An insulation layer designed to be suspended underneath a hammock, providing warmth and comfort in cold weather. It eliminates the need for a sleeping pad in hammock camping.

Utensil Set: A compact set of eating utensils, typically including a spork (spoon-fork combo), knife, and sometimes chopsticks. They are lightweight and packable for easy carrying while camping.


Vestibule: A covered area outside the main body of a tent, typically created by an extended rainfly. It provides a space to store gear, cook, or shelter from the elements while entering or exiting the tent.

Ventilation: The process of allowing fresh air to circulate within a tent or camping shelter to reduce condensation and improve air quality. Tents often have mesh panels or vents to promote ventilation.

Volt Lighter: A rechargeable, electric lighter used for starting campfires or lighting stoves. It eliminates the need for disposable lighters or matches and is windproof and waterproof.

Vortex Stove: A type of camping stove that uses a unique, swirling flame design to maximize heat efficiency and minimize fuel consumption. It’s known for its fast boiling times and compact size.

Velcro Straps: Adjustable straps with hook-and-loop fasteners, often used in camping gear for securing items, organizing cords, or making quick attachments. They are versatile and easy to use.


Water Purification: The process of treating water from natural sources to make it safe for drinking. Methods include boiling, filtering, and using chemical treatments like iodine or chlorine dioxide.

Weather Resistance: The ability of camping gear, such as tents or clothing, to withstand and protect against adverse weather conditions like rain, wind, or snow. It’s an essential feature for comfortable and safe camping.

Windbreak: A natural or artificial barrier used to reduce the impact of wind on a campsite. It can be created using trees, rocks, or purpose-built wind screens to provide shelter and improve comfort.

Wool Socks: Socks made from merino wool or other wool blends, known for their moisture-wicking, insulating, and odor-resistant properties. They are popular among campers and hikers for their comfort and durability.


Xenon Arc Lamp: A type of high-intensity electric lamp used in some high-end camping lanterns. It produces a bright, white light and is known for its efficiency and durability.

X-Shaped Tent: A tent design characterized by intersecting pole structures that create an X-shape when viewed from above. This design provides increased headroom and stability in windy conditions.


Yurt Camping: A unique camping experience that involves staying in a circular, semi-permanent tent structure called a yurt. Yurts offer more space and amenities than traditional tents.

Yakima: A well-known brand of car racks, roof boxes, and other vehicle accessories designed for outdoor enthusiasts. Their products are popular among car campers and road trippers.

Yard Sale: A term used to describe the act of unpacking and spreading out all of one’s camping gear to dry, organize, or take inventory after a trip. It’s often done in a campsite or backyard.


Zero-Degree Sleeping Bag: A sleeping bag designed for cold weather conditions, typically rated to keep the user warm in temperatures down to 0°F (-18°C). It’s essential for winter camping and mountaineering.

Zipper Pull: A small attachment or extension added to a zipper to make it easier to grip and operate, especially while wearing gloves. It can be made from cord, fabric, or rubber.

Z-Lite Sleeping Pad: A specific model of closed-cell foam sleeping pad made by Therm-a-Rest, known for its lightweight, compact design and excellent insulation properties. It’s a popular choice among minimalist and ultralight campers.

Ziploc Bags: Resealable plastic bags used for various purposes in camping, such as storing food, organizing small items, or keeping gear dry. They are lightweight, versatile, and help with organization in a backpack.

ZPacks: A brand of ultralight camping gear, known for their high-quality, minimalist designs. They specialize in lightweight tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags for backpacking and thru-hiking.


1P Tent: A tent designed to accommodate one person, also known as a solo tent. It’s compact and lightweight, making it ideal for solo backpacking and camping trips.

2P Tent: A tent designed for two people, providing enough space for two sleeping bags and some gear storage. It’s a popular choice for couples or friends camping together.

3-Season Tent: A tent designed to withstand mild to moderate weather conditions in spring, summer, and fall. It offers good ventilation and protection from rain and wind.

4-Season Tent: A tent built to handle harsh weather conditions, including heavy snow and strong winds. It’s typically used for winter camping, mountaineering, and high-altitude expeditions.

550 Paracord: A type of versatile, strong cord originally used in parachute suspension lines. It has a breaking strength of 550 pounds and is commonly used in camping for various purposes, such as hanging bear bags, making repairs, or creating makeshift shelters.

8-Person Tent: A large tent designed to accommodate up to eight people, often featuring multiple rooms or dividers for privacy. It’s suitable for family camping or group outings.

9V Battery: A common battery size used in some camping electronics, such as headlamps or lanterns. It’s named for its nominal voltage of 9 volts.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Camping Canopy is a hiking and backpacking website that offers a treasure trove of resources for trail adventurers, outdoor lovers, and backpacking beginners. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive.

For a hiking trip, you should pack the ten essentials: navigation tools, sun protection, insulation (extra clothing), illumination (headlamp/flashlight), first-aid supplies, fire-starting tools, repair kit and tools, nutrition (extra food), hydration (extra water), and emergency shelter.

When choosing a backpack, consider the duration of your trip, the volume of gear you need to carry, the fit (torso length and hip size), and features like ventilation, pockets, and hydration compatibility.

To stay safe, always plan your route and inform someone about your itinerary, check the weather forecast, stay on marked trails, be aware of wildlife, carry a map and compass or GPS device, and have a basic knowledge of first aid.

Practice Leave No Trace principles, which include planning ahead and preparing, traveling and camping on durable surfaces, disposing of waste properly, leaving what you find, minimizing campfire impacts, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other visitors.