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Printable Family Camping Checklist

Updated on June 30, 2012


Our family campsite in northern Arizona
Our family campsite in northern Arizona

After years of camping I have compiled a comprehensive checklist for a family of 4. This is a reference article for all those families that love to camp. I have simplified all of our camping tools and necessities into 2 Rubbermaid tubs, that stay pack and are ready to go anytime we want to leave. This is for a family of 4 (2 Adults and 2 younger Children), obviously you can adjust to the size of your family, climate, and duration of trip.

Lets start off with the basics: you will need a tent large enough for your family, Sleeping bags for each person, Clothing, etc....

This list is for the necessities that stay packed just for our camping trips. Let’s start in the kitchen area:

  • 4 roasting sticks
  • a cast iron pan
  • a griddle pan
  • 2 dish towels
  • wash basin
  • a sponge
  • dish soap (put the bottle in a zip-top bag)
  • a cutting board
  • aluminum foil
  • 8 plates
  • 4 water cups
  • 4 bowls
  • 4 utensil sets (fork, knife and spoon)
  • salt and pepper shakers (again in a zip top bag)
  • a can opener
  • tongs, spatula, wooden spoon
  • mixing bowl
  • egg holder
  • cork screw
  • small pot
  • coffee percolator
  • table cloth and weights
  • kitchen knife
  • pot holder
  • large box of matches in a zip top bag (and/or a lighter)
  • an all important camp stove with fuel. (The stove just in case you are camping during a red flag day and cannot have a camp fire)
  • The all important cooler of food, and if you can I prefer to pack the non-perishable foods in cardboard boxes, which make great fire starters and can be recycled.

Moving on to just some more general camping basics, (and yes all of this is still fitting into the Rubbermaid)

  • a lantern (with extra batteries)
  • a flashlight or two for the late night bathroom runs
  • a hatchet, a hammer or mallet
  • bow saw, rope, Para-cord(clothes line)
  • folding shovel, A multi-screwdriver
  • trash bags to keep the area clean for all to enjoy
  • a dust pan and small whisk broom to clean out the tent
  • and a pair of thick leather work gloves to help when collecting firewood

Printable Camping Checklist

Printable Camping Checklist
Printable Camping Checklist

On to the things that people overlook:

  • maps of the area,
  • A GPS (handheld Garmin),
  • GMRS or FRS Radios,
  • towels for each person,
  • bug repellent,
  • toilet paper, paper towels,
  • a camera with extra batteries and media cards,
  • a deck of cards or 2, Frisbee, football, paper and pens, board games for the entire family to play. Remember this is a time to enjoy your family and the outdoors. Turn off the cell phones; don’t bring the iPods, Nintendo DS, or PSPs. Here is an article full of family camping games.

One big item that needs to be had in every camp is a good first aid kit. Which should include: gauze, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol for wound cleaning, bee sting relief, snake bite kit, anti-itch ointment, triple antibiotic ointment, cloth tape, aspirin, sun screen, and a good first aid handbook. Emergency Items: small emergency blanket and poncho per person, water purification system or tablets, and an emergency fire starter (magnesium and flint).

The last and final items that you must include to just make it a camping trip are, Chocolate, Graham Crackers and Marshmallows for those all important S'mores...

Obviously this is my checklist, so some things may or may not be useful or pertinent to you. Please feel free to use my checklist, modify it in any way to use for your family outings. My checklist is ever evolving. Here is my disclaimer just because I need to have one. This list is comprehensive but my not suit all your needs, it is meant as a guide to start your own checklist.

I bring an extra copy of it with us every time we go, so I can change (add or delete) anything. For example if we run out of aluminum foil I will mark it down and the next shopping trip after we get home, it will be replaced and put into the Rubbermaid so I know we will be set for our next trip, or find I have missed something I can add it for our next trip.

The reason I like the Rubbermaid tub idea is simple. Everything that I have listed, I keep in the tub specifically for camping. When we get home the next chance I get, I will go through the checklist and compare it to the tub itself. I have found over the years that this makes the day we leave so much easier and less stressful. I already know what is where. In all reality I have picked up much of our camping supplies at second-hand stores (i.e. Goodwill) for the pure fact that we only use it for camping. The 18 gallon Rubbermaid tub really takes up no space in the garage, and with the lid snapped on, no bugs or other surprising critters. The second reason I really like the Rubbermaid tubs is that, I actually figured out that I can fit 2 - 18 gallon tubs, and my cooler in my trailer hitch basket. While using the trailer hitch basket for most of the storage, this frees up the rear of our SUV for the dogs, and just more storage if needed. I am saving up for a new style of camping, I will still be out in the backwoods, but will have moreequipment with an Expedition Trailer.

Thank you for reading my article, I enjoy writting and sharing my ideas and thoughts. If you will please leave a comment and check out my other hub articles (Desert Armor). Again thanks for reading ;)


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    • Desertarmor profile image

      Desertarmor 5 years ago from Arizona

      Found a new addition to the list.... instant fire starter - rub petroleum jelly over a bunch of cotton balls; then store in a Ziplock bag. When you are ready to make a fire, pull a few cotton strands out and place under your wood then light the cotton ball...

    • Desertarmor profile image

      Desertarmor 5 years ago from Arizona

      Also made a hub about camping with your dog, the things I learned.... Some the hard way ;)