Following are some key pieces of outdoor equipment you won't want to be without:
The kind of tent you choose should depend on where you are camping, how long you'll be camping, and how many people will be in the tent. Some of the instant, easy-to-assembly tents are fine for a couple of days in a state park. They come as small as 2-person and go up to 8 or 10-person sizes. If you want a more durable solution, look at the tents that are made specifically for camping trips. They are usually more durable and made with a sturdier fabric and frame. They are made to perform better under stormy conditions.
There are also tents that attach to a truck bed, and ones with front or back canopies for added shelter. If your tent doesn't have one of these, you may want to consider a separate canopy for eating or just as an additional shelter on your campsite.
Cots - Maybe you would rather not sleep directly on the ground. If there is a chance of wet weather or you're camping in a rocky area, you may need a cot just to get a good night's sleep. They are easy to fold up and put away, so you just need to make sure they fit inside your tent when they're flat and opened up.
Air mattresses - If you want to sleep on an air mattress, make sure it is not made of a material that is easily punctured. They are available in single or double sizes, and they come in varying heights. Just be sure your tent capacity will allow for the air mattress you have in mind.
Sleeping Bags - You can find a sleeping bag in just about any size, shape, or material. If you're going to be in very cold conditions, you want to look for ones that are insulated and made for extreme temperatures.
Portable grills - If you're going to be camping for several days, you may want a small portable propane grill to do some cooking. If you don't want the hassle of a big grill, you can also purchase portable camp grills or stoves that work well on a campfire.
Cookware - Regardless of what you'll cook, you will likely need pots, pans, kettles and other equipment to cook the food in. Also, make sure you have the plates, cups, and utensils needed for the meals.
Coolers - Even if it's cold outside, a cooler is a good idea for item storage. This is a reliable way to protect your food from the elements and animals. Make sure it can be secured and is large enough to store all you need for the trip.
Shoes/Boots - More than likely, regular athletic shoes won't be enough for hills and rugged terrain. Invest in some good hiking shoes or boots that are made for the conditions.
Backpacks - Besides transporting items to the camping site, you'll want a good backpack to take with you when you are exploring the area.
Everyone on your trip should have access to a flashlight. In addition, you may want some additional portable lighting for the general campsite needs.
You may need other outdoor equipment specific to your trip, such as a portable heater for extremely cold areas or chairs for everyone. Take the time to ask questions about the campsite and weather conditions for your trip so you can make sure you have the things you need for a great experience.