Camping List

Checklist for Essential Things to Bring Along When Camping

If you are packing for your first camping trip, there is a list of essential items that you will need. Keep in mind that when going on a typical trip, if you have left something behind, you can usually buy it at a store along the way. When taking a trip into the wilderness, you won't be able to buy that essential item you forgot at home.

For example, if you have already arrived at your campsite and you realize that you have left your backpack behind, or something important like a water filtration device, you would either need to turn back or learn how to do without it. So before heading out on your next camping trip, here is a handy checklist you can use to ensure you have all the items that you will need to enjoy your trip out into the wilderness.


If your camping trip involves backpacking, each ounce will count. When choosing items of clothing for the trip, make sure they are moisture-wicking and lightweight, allowing you to reuse the bottoms and tops two to three times. Here is a list of other essential items to bring along:

  • Hat
  • Breathable and waterproof jacket
  • Wool socks
  • Trail Runners or Hiking Boots
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Long-sleeved shirts and long pants (even when camping in warm weather, the nights are still usually cold)
  • Sandals or water shoes with a sturdy grip
  • Swimsuit

Drinking and Eating Essentials

When you go on a camping trip, you will be preparing meals on your own. To ensure these experiences are as enjoyable and pleasant as possible, here is a list of items that you will need:

  • A camping stove along with fuel. Ensure that you have chosen one that is appropriate for car camping or backpacking
  • Cookware ( fire-resistant pot and pan)
  • Utensils to cook with and eat with
  • Dishwashing liquid and a lightweight towel
  • Cutting board
  • Food - pack a few pre-packaged snacks such as trail mix and bars along with freeze-dried camping meals especially if you are on a backpacking trip
  • If you are backpacking, you may want to take along a Bear Bin

Water Jug

Among the most critical items that should feature on your checklist will be your water-storage container. Water is vital on a camping trip. You will not only need water to drink but also to cook with and clean with.

This is even more important if you have chosen a location that does not offer clean, running water. Choose a water storage container that is reusable. To ensure you are prepared for your camping trip, contact the local state parks or gas stations along the way, to ensure they have stations where you can fill your water containers.

Life Straw

This may sound like an unusual item to pack for a camping trip, but a Life Straw is a water filter that will allow you to drink directly from any type of water source when you are out in the wilderness, and your water supply has run out. You might never need it, but carrying one with you will safeguard you if you are forced into drinking from a source of unknown water.

The LifeStraw is an essential item for those that like to go on hiking and backpacking trips where it is not always possible to carry enough water to sustain you for the entire trip.

Personal Items

Unless your camping plans involve "glamping", you should be selective when it comes to the personal-care items that you bring along to your next camping trip. When possible, stick to a few necessities. These typically include:

  • Toilet paper
  • Lip balm with an SPF
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Itch-relief ointments and bug spray
  • First-aid kit
  • If you are on any prescription medication, make sure you bring it along
  • Toiletry kit containing soap, hairbrush, toothpaste, toothbrush, and any other essentials you cannot live without
  • Painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen

Navigational Tools

If your camping trip involves traveling to more than one location, or you plan to hike in a group during the day, you need a device or the tools that can guide you along your way and prevent you from getting lost. Here is a list of essential items for your next camping adventure:

  • Portable, weather-proof GPS
  • Map and compass (this is back-up that you should always carry with you, in case your GPS device stops working)
  • Chargers (This will only apply to the camping trips that offer charging stations)

It is also crucial that you ensure that any electronic device that you are taking with you on your camping trip is fully-charged before you leave home.

  • A pencil or a pen
  • A guidebook or a map of the area
  • Two-way radios (These are handy devices if you plan to camp with a large group)
  • Flashlights
  • Travel lantern

Campsite Necessities

Here is a list of essential camping items that will ensure that you can sleep as comfortably and safely as possible:

  • Tent - make sure before you leave the home that you have packed all the necessary stakes and poles
  • Mallet - This is an essential tool to secure the stakes of the tent firmly into the ground
  • Tarp or a sunshade
  • Light air mattresses or sleeping pads
  • Sleeping bags
  • Travel pillows

Camping Hack: If you are looking to save a bit of space, leave those bulky pillows behind, and instead use the sack that you store your sleeping bag in as a pillow. You can stuff the bag with clothes and then cover it in one of your sweatshirts, offering you a multi-purpose way to use this gear.

  • If you are car camping, a sturdy fold-up table and chairs are essential items

Chairs are significant as they facilitate awesome conversations when sitting around a campfire. Chairs also make it easier to enjoy meals around a table or to eat from your lap.

  • A pocket knife which works well for a variety of different cutting needs


The soul and the heart of all great camping trips involve spending time around the fire, either cooking or spending quality time together. This is the best place where campers share stories, cook meals together, and enjoy the warmth of the crackling flames on a cold winter night. Make sure that you buy enough firewood before heading out to your campsite.


This is not an essential item, but it comes in handy when you want to navigate safely around at night. This could involve something as simple as making your way to the bathroom or comfort station back to your campsite, or perhaps you are only making your way back to your campsite once it is dark after a long hiking trip. You can also use a headlamp to make sure everything is organized around your campsite before going to sleep for the night.

Many people prefer a headlamp over a flashlight or lamp because it frees up your hands since you are wearing the light on your head. Today with the latest LED technology, these headlamps offer a way to light up large spaces, or you can switch to a pointed beam if you need to see something from far away.


Perhaps the highlight of most camping trips is to spend quality time with us uninterrupted with family or a group of friends, without the usual high-tech distractions. You can add to the relaxation and fun of camping out in the middle of nowhere when you bring along these items:

  • Binoculars - this is a great item for those that have an interest in birdlife
  • Camera to capture those special memories
  • Playing cards
  • Travel-sized board games (one set for the adults, one set for the kids)
  • If you are camping near a fishing spot, bring along your fishing gear ( tackle, lures, line, reels, and poles)
  • Kayaking gear - make sure you bring along a repair kit, paddles, and life-jackets (essential if you plan to kayak with kids)
  • Bikes (bring along locks and chains)

This list may seem a bit over the top for some, and you might not need all these items. For example, if your camping trip involves hiking every day and pitching your tent in a different location every night, you won't be taking a table and folding chairs with you. If you are staying in one place, bring along your bikes and board games to ensure a fun getaway for the entire family.

Deciding to head into the woods or a forest offers an excellent opportunity to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul. Making sure you are prepared with all the items that you are going to need will also ensure that your camping trip is more enjoyable. Before you decide on where you would like to go on your next camping adventure, make sure you research the best times of the year to go and about any restrictions that may apply to that area.