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List of What to Take When Camping

Updated on July 19, 2018
Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She lives happily in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.

An average campsite
An average campsite | Source

Before my family and I went camping for the very first time, my friend Denise, who was already an experienced camper, made a list of all the items I needed to take along. Over the years I have added to this list and kept it on the side of my refrigerator for each summer's camping experience. You won't need all these items if you are not bringing children along. Many of these items I would never have thought of it I hadn't had the list in advance.

  • Sleeping equipment: a sleeping bag and pillow for each person, or if cabin camping, you may want to bring sheets and blankets/quilts. A sleeping pad or air mattresses if desired for tent camping.
  • Towels: this includes bath towels, swimming towels, and dish towels to dry dishes.
  • Doormat: for the outside of your camper or cabin to wipe your feet before coming in and not tracking in all the dirt and mud on shoes.
  • Shower supplies: shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, comb, hairbrush, moisturizer, (make up if desired) washcloths (the previously mentioned towel), plastic bags to transport dirty clothes and wet towels back to the campsite from campground showers, quarters for the showers at the campground, water shoes or flip-flops to wear in the shower.
  • Cooking & eating supplies: pots and frying pan, pot holder, spatula, sharp knives for peeling, slicing, etc. paper plates/cups/bowls/plastic silverware, water bottles that can be refilled, coffee cups Styrofoam cups for hot liquids like coffee or hot chocolate, old tablecloth or plastic table cloth for picnic table, plastic wrap and aluminum foil, large pitcher to transport water if you don't have running water at the campsite, grill, charcoal, lighter fluid, matches, dryer lint/newspapers to use as kindling, firewood.
  • Swimming supplies: Bathing suits, swimming "wings" for young children or life jackets if required for small children, swim diapers for babies, a bathing cap if required or preferred, sunscreen, nose plugs, water toys, water shoes, pails and shovels, and water floats.
  • Cleaners: hand soap, cleaning wipes, Brillo pads, sponge, dishpan, dish soap, 409, broom and dustpan, paper towels if in a camper or cabin, toilet paper, port-a-potty for children who can't make it through the long walk to the nearest bathroom, diapers and wipes, laundry detergent and dryer sheets if washing machines and dryers are on the premises, quarters for the machines.
  • Food: Breakfast items such as cereal, milk, juice, instant oatmeal, eggs, pancake mix, syrup, lunch items such as bread for sandwiches, lunch meat, cheese, peanut butter and jelly, hot dogs, hamburgers, rolls, baked beans, canned soup, boxed macaroni and cheese, juice, juice boxes, powdered drink mixes, items for dinner which can also be hot dogs and hamburgers, or steaks, chicken, potatoes, bagged salad and salad dressings, salt, pepper, steak seasoning, condiments such as ketchup, mustard, relish, mayonnaise, and snacks for in between meals. Then of course marshmallows and if desired, items for S'mores which include graham crackers and chocolate bars.
  • Clothing: Depending on where you are going camping, you will need items for both warm and cold weather. Bring enough shorts and t-shirts for the hot days, but also sweatshirts and closed toed shoes for cool evenings, and cool early mornings in the woods.
  • Kids favorite items: Bikes, favorite sleeping items such as a baby blanket, pacifier, favorite stuffed animals, kids books to read before bed, games to play as a family, cards, etc.
  • Miscellaneous: Tent if you are tent camping, extra stakes, bug spray (include ant spray for around camper wheels as well as mosquito repellent, and I recommend Avon's Skin so Soft Bug Guard because it doesn't contain DEET and is also available with sunscreen, citronella candles, lawn chairs, clothespins, drying rack or clothesline, toilet paper, cooler, camera, battery-powered lantern, flashlight, radio, and things to keep busy if it rains such as books, knitting, etc.

Each family will not need all of these items. And whether or not you will need them will depend on if you are going tent, cabin or RV camping. But this is the most comprehensive list I have ever seen, and it has taken shape over a number of years. If there is anything else that should be added, please leave suggestions in the comment area below.

Each year when you go camping, if you decide to make it an annual event, make sure to keep adding to your own personal list when you find things that worked for you to bring along. Each individual family is different so you may really enjoy certain things that are not on my list but make your own camping experience more enjoyable.

Enjoy your outdoor experience, and I hope you and your family are always "happy campers!"

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© 2012 Karen Hellier


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