Top Washington DC Outdoor and Camping Stores

Top Washington DC Outdoor and Camping Stores

Are you planning a camping adventure in the heart of Washington DC? Look no further than the best outdoor stores in the city to fulfill all your camping essentials. From top-notch gear and equipment to trendy apparel and accessories, these outdoor shops will ensure that you’re well-prepared and stylishly equipped for your outdoor endeavors. Whether you’re a seasoned explorer or a novice adventurer, this ultimate guide to the best outdoor shops in DC will take you on a thrilling journey to find the perfect gear for your next camping escapade. So pack your bags, lace up your boots, and get ready to explore Washington DC in style with the help of these top outdoor and camping stores.

What to bring camping: essential items

Campsite and sleeping gear

  • Tent: Make sure you have a good-quality, waterproof tent that is big enough for everyone in your group. Consider weather conditions and ease of setup when choosing a tent.
  • Sleeping bags: Choose sleeping bags that are appropriate for the climate you will be camping in. Don’t forget to bring pillows or use rolled-up clothes as substitutes.
  • Sleeping mats/air mattresses: These will provide extra comfort and insulation from the ground.
  • Headlamps/flashlights: Make sure everyone in your group has a headlamp or flashlight to navigate around the campsite at night.
  • Camp chairs: Bring foldable, lightweight camp chairs for comfortable seating around the fire.
  • Tablecloth: If your campsite doesn’t have a picnic table, bring a tablecloth to lay your food on while eating.
  • Camping stove and fuel: If you plan on cooking meals at the campsite, make sure to bring a camping stove and enough fuel for your stay.
  • Cookware and utensils: Don’t forget pots, pans, plates, cups, cutlery, and any other cooking utensils you might need.
  • Cooler: Keep your food cold and safe from animals by bringing a cooler with ice.
  • Garbage bags: Bring garbage bags to keep your campsite clean and dispose of any waste properly.

Campsite and sleeping gear

Clothing and personal items

  • Clothes for layering: Pack clothes that you can layer depending on the weather. This will help you stay warm or cool as needed.
  • Rain gear: Be prepared for unexpected rain by bringing a waterproof jacket and pants.
  • Hat and sunglasses: Protect yourself from the sun during the day with a hat and sunglasses.
  • Hiking shoes/boots: If you plan on hiking, make sure to bring comfortable and sturdy shoes or boots.
  • Swimwear: Don’t forget your swimsuit if there’s a lake or river nearby!
  • Toiletries: Bring essentials such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and toilet paper.
  • First aid kit: Be prepared for any minor injuries by bringing a first aid kit with bandages, pain relievers, and other necessary items.
  • Insect repellent: Keep bugs at bay by bringing insect repellent.

Health and hygiene

  • Medications: It’s crucial not to forget any necessary medications, especially prescription drugs. Make sure you have an ample supply to last throughout your trip, and consider packing them in a secure and easily accessible container.
  • Sunscreen: Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is essential for a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience. Remember to bring sunscreen with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) to shield your skin effectively. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen that offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Don’t forget to apply it generously and reapply as needed throughout the day.
  • Hand sanitizer: Keeping your hands clean is vital, especially when water is not readily available. Pack a travel-sized hand sanitizer to maintain good hygiene and prevent the spread of germs. Look for one with at least 60% alcohol content for maximum effectiveness.
  • Biodegradable soap: If you plan on bathing or washing dishes in a nearby body of water, it’s important to minimize your environmental impact. Choose a biodegradable soap specifically designed for outdoor use, as it will break down naturally and prevent harm to aquatic life. Opting for biodegradable soap shows your commitment to preserving the environment and respecting nature.

Health and hygiene

Fun camping gear

  • Outdoor games: Keep everyone entertained at the campsite with a variety of outdoor games like Frisbee, cornhole, or a deck of cards. Challenge your friends and family to a friendly competition or simply enjoy some leisurely fun under the sun. Whichever game you choose, it’s sure to add an extra dose of excitement to your camping experience.
  • Books/magazines: Unwind and immerse yourself in a captivating story or indulge in some enlightening articles by bringing along your favorite books or magazines. Whether you prefer a thrilling novel, a thought-provoking non-fiction book, or a magazine that caters to your interests, taking some time to read amidst the serene surroundings of nature can be a truly rejuvenating experience.
  • Musical instruments: If you or someone in your camping group has a musical inclination, why not bring along a guitar, ukulele, or any other instrument of choice? Gather around the campfire and let the melodies fill the air as you enjoy some campfire sing-alongs. It’s a wonderful way to create lasting memories and share the joy of music with your fellow campers.
  • Camera: Preserve the precious moments and breathtaking landscapes of your camping trip by bringing a camera along. Capture the stunning beauty of nature, the spontaneous laughter of your companions, and the unforgettable experiences you encounter along the way. Every click of the shutter will serve as a timeless reminder of the remarkable adventures you had during your camping getaway.
  • Binoculars: Enhance your wildlife spotting or immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of the surrounding scenery with a pair of binoculars. Whether you’re observing birds soaring in the sky, wildlife roaming in their natural habitat, or simply enjoying the panoramic view of the great outdoors, binoculars provide a closer look and allow you to appreciate the finer details that might otherwise go unnoticed. Embark on a visual exploration and let the wonders of nature unfold before your eyes.

Other important items

  • Maps and compass: Don’t rely on technology in case of poor cell phone reception. Bring physical maps and a compass to navigate.
  • Identification and emergency contacts: Make sure to bring identification and emergency contact information in case of an emergency.
  • Cash: Bring some cash for unexpected expenses or if you need to purchase items at a nearby store.
  • Firewood and matches/lighter: Check with the campsite beforehand to see if they allow campfires. If so, bring firewood and a way to start a fire.
  • Water bottles/hydration pack: Stay hydrated by bringing reusable water bottles or a hydration pack.
  • Emergency whistle: In case of an emergency, bring an emergency whistle to signal for help.
  • Multi-tool: A multi-tool can come in handy for various tasks at the campsite [1].

Other important items

Top 5 Washington DC Outdoor and Camping Stores

Casual Adventure Outfitters

Casual Adventure Outfitters is a popular outdoor and camping store located in Arlington, Virginia. This store has been around since 1955 and offers a wide range of gear for outdoor enthusiasts. They have everything from tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks to hiking boots, fishing gear, and kayaks.

In addition to their extensive selection of products, Casual Adventure Outfitters also offers services like gear rentals and repairs, as well as classes and events. They even have their own in-house brand called “Casual Adventure Gear” which is known for its durability and affordability.

Whether you’re a seasoned camper or just starting out, Casual Adventure Outfitters has everything you need to make your outdoor adventures a success.


REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) is a well-known outdoor and camping store with locations all over the country, including one in Washington DC. This store is known for its high-quality gear and exceptional customer service.

At REI, you’ll find everything from hiking gear and climbing equipment to cycling accessories and camping essentials. They also offer classes and workshops on various outdoor activities, as well as gear rentals and repairs.

One of the best things about REI is their commitment to sustainability. They have a program called “REI Co-op Brands” which focuses on using sustainable materials and reducing waste in their products. So not only can you find top-notch gear at REI, but you can also feel good about supporting a company that cares about the environment.

Hudson Trail Outfitters

Hudson Trail Outfitters is another popular outdoor and camping store with a location in Washington DC. They have been serving customers since 1971 and offer a wide range of products for various outdoor activities.

From hiking and camping gear to winter sports equipment and water sports gear, Hudson Trail Outfitters has it all. They also have a knowledgeable and friendly staff who are always willing to help customers find the right gear for their needs.

In addition to their products, Hudson Trail Outfitters also offers services like bike rentals and fittings, pack fitting, and shoe fitting. They even have an outdoor adventure club where members can participate in group trips and activities.

Hudson Trail Outfitters


Sierra is an outdoor and camping store that offers great deals on top-quality products. They have a location in Washington DC and are known for their wide selection of gear at discounted prices.

At Sierra, you’ll find everything from clothing and footwear to camping and hiking gear. They also have a section specifically for kids’ outdoor gear, making it a great place to shop for the whole family.

One unique thing about Sierra is their “DealFlyer” program, where customers can sign up to receive weekly emails with exclusive deals and discounts. This makes it possible to snag some amazing gear at even lower prices.

Eastern Mountain Sports

Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts in Washington DC. They have a store located in the trendy Georgetown neighborhood and offer a variety of products for all types of outdoor activities.

At EMS, you can find gear for hiking, camping, kayaking, and more. They also have their own line of products called “Eastern Mountain Sports” which is known for its durability and affordability.

In addition to their products, EMS offers classes and clinics on topics like rock climbing and backpacking, as well as gear rentals and repairs. They also have a rewards program where customers can earn points for every purchase and redeem them for discounts on future purchases.


Orvis is a unique outdoor and camping store that specializes in fly fishing equipment and apparel. They have a location in Washington DC and are known for their high-quality products and exceptional customer service.

At Orvis, you’ll find everything from fly fishing rods and reels to clothing, accessories, and even dog gear. They also offer classes and guided trips for those interested in learning how to fly fish or improving their skills.

One notable thing about Orvis is their commitment to conservation and protecting the environment. They have a program called “Commitment to Nature” where they donate 5% of pre-tax profits each year to organizations that work towards environmental conservation.


Patagonia is an outdoor and camping store that is known for its commitment to sustainability and ethical practices. They have a location in Washington DC and offer a variety of products for all types of outdoor activities.

At Patagonia, you’ll find clothing, gear, and accessories for hiking, climbing, camping, snow sports, water sports, and more. They are also known for their durable and environmentally-friendly products, which are made with materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester.

In addition to their products, Patagonia is also involved in various environmental initiatives and donates 1% of their sales to organizations that work towards protecting the planet. So not only can you find top-notch gear at Patagonia, but you can also feel good about supporting a company that cares about the environment [2].


What shouldn’t you take with you for camping?

When packing for a camping trip, it’s important to carefully consider what items to bring with you. While there are many things that are essential for a successful camping experience, there are also some things that you should leave behind.

Here are a few examples of items you shouldn’t take with you for camping:

  • Expensive jewelry or valuables: Camping is all about getting back to nature and disconnecting from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Bringing expensive jewelry or valuables can not only be a distraction, but it also puts your belongings at risk of getting lost or damaged.
  • Unnecessary electronics: While it may be tempting to bring your phone, laptop, or other electronic devices with you for entertainment purposes, it’s best to leave them at home. Camping is a great opportunity to unplug and enjoy the outdoors without constant distractions.
  • Non-biodegradable items: It’s important to leave nature as pristine as we found it. That means avoiding bringing any non-biodegradable items, such as plastic bags, straws, or bottles. These items can harm wildlife and pollute the environment.
  • Excessive amounts of clothing: While it’s important to pack enough clothes for your camping trip, it’s also important not to overpack. Bringing too many articles of clothing can take up valuable space and make it difficult to stay organized in your campsite.
  • Heavy or bulky gear: When packing for a camping trip, it’s important to consider the weight and size of your gear. Bringing heavy or bulky gear can make it difficult to transport and set up at your campsite. Consider investing in lightweight and compact equipment for a more enjoyable camping experience.
  • Non-essential kitchen items: While having some basic cooking supplies is important for camping, there’s no need to bring along every kitchen gadget you own. Stick to essential items like a pot, pan, and utensils to avoid overpacking.
  • Strongly scented items: Bringing strongly scented items, such as perfumes, colognes, or heavily fragranced toiletries, can attract unwanted visitors like bugs and wildlife. Stick to unscented products for a more pleasant camping experience.

Remember, when it comes to packing for a camping trip, less is often more. Stick to the essentials and leave behind any non-essential or potentially harmful items to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in nature.


What is camping outdoor activity?

Camping is an outdoor activity that involves temporarily living outdoors in a tent, camper van, or other portable shelter. It typically takes place in natural areas such as forests, mountains, or beaches and allows people to disconnect from their daily routines and immerse themselves in nature.

What are the benefits of camping?

There are many benefits to camping, both physical and mental. Physically, camping often involves outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, or biking that can improve overall fitness and health. Mentally, camping allows people to disconnect from technology and the stresses of daily life, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety.

What are the benefits of camping?

What do I need to bring on a camping trip?

The specific items you will need for a camping trip will vary depending on the type of camping and location. However, some essential items to bring include a tent, sleeping bag, food and water, cooking supplies, appropriate clothing for the weather, and any necessary gear such as hiking boots or a fishing rod.

Some popular types of camping include car camping (where you drive to your campsite), backpacking (where you carry all your gear on your back), and glamping (where you stay in luxurious tents or cabins). Other types include RV camping, beach camping, and wilderness camping.

What equipment should you buy in outdoor and camping stores?

Outdoor and camping stores offer a wide range of equipment for all types of camping. Some essential items to consider purchasing include a high-quality tent, sleeping bag, and backpack for backpacking trips. Other useful gear may include a camp stove, portable water filter or purifier, camp chairs, and a first aid kit. It is also important to invest in proper clothing and footwear for the type of camping you plan to do.  Additionally, purchasing a good quality map and navigation tools is essential for wilderness camping. It’s important to prioritize buying durable and reliable equipment that will last for multiple trips rather than opting for cheaper, lower-quality items.

What safety precautions should I take when camping?

When camping, it is crucial to prioritize safety to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Some safety precautions to take include informing someone of your camping plans, checking the weather forecast before heading out, bringing a first aid kit, knowing how to properly store food to prevent attracting animals, and being aware of any potential hazards in the area such as poisonous plants or steep cliffs. It is also important to follow Leave No Trace principles and respect the natural environment.

How can I make my camping trip more environmentally friendly?

There are several ways to make your camping trip more environmentally friendly. Some tips include using reusable dishes and utensils, packing out all trash, using biodegradable soap for washing dishes and yourself, choosing a campsite at least 200 feet away from water sources, and only building fires in designated fire rings. It is also important to avoid disturbing wildlife and to leave the area as you found it. By practicing Leave No Trace principles, you can help protect and preserve the natural environment for future generations to enjoy.  Overall, camping is a great way to connect with nature and reap physical, mental, and emotional benefits.

How do you pack everything for camping?

Packing for camping can seem like a daunting task, especially if you are new to the activity. However, with proper planning and organization, it can be a straightforward process. Start by making a checklist of all the essential items you will need for your trip. This should include camping gear such as a tent, sleeping bag, and cooking supplies, as well as personal items like clothing and toiletries. Once you have your list, gather all the items together and pack them efficiently in a backpack or car trunk. Be sure to distribute weight evenly and secure any loose items to prevent them from falling out during transportation. It may also be helpful to invest in packing cubes or compression bags to save space and keep your belongings organized.

Useful Video: Outdoor Adventures You’ll Find Near D.C. – The Best Reasons to Leave the City

Conclusion Paragraph

So, don’t ignore the assortment of outdoor and camping stores in Washington DC, if you want to go camping successfully. These stores offer a variety of equipment, tools and gear that you will need while camping. They also provide valuable advice and tips for beginners or experienced campers alike. Moreover, these stores are a great source for discounted camping gear and supplies, making it possible to save money while still getting top quality products.