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Camping Checklist - A Complete Guide

Updated on August 23, 2017

A Camping Checklist Is Essential For Fun And Safety

A good camping checklist can ensure that you have more fun than frustration. While camping is already loads of fun, it can also be fraught with inconvenience and risks that are often avoidable with proper planning and preparation. Because of that a lot of people seek to compile a list of the items they'll need while camping to remind themselves not to forget something important. The best packing list is the list that you'll actually use. Any list is better than none, obviously, but surprisingly some people venture off to remote locations (often with their family) without applying some basic preparation. I hope this article will help you prepare and avoid that risky gamble.

While my family most often goes hiking and backpacking, we do occasionally car camp, meaning that our car is nearby and we can pack in almost anything we could need. The suggestions in this article are ideal for those who are planning to car camp, but will come in handy for other campers and hikers as well.

Image via Creative Commons - Rob Lee
Image via Creative Commons - Rob Lee | Source

How To Make A Camping Checklist In Easy Steps

Build a camping inventory draft in your mind, considering activities and needs

The items you'll be packing for your next camping adventure will fall into one of two categories... life safety essentials (think fire, food, water and shelter) and comfort items like flashlights, cooler, fishing poles, etc... In general we'll call this whole thing the "camping checklist," but I want you to be thinking in terms of what you must have and what you would like to have. Also, picture in your mind the location, weather and activities that you have planned; it'll help you recall the items you need.

First, I'm not a believer of taking everything but the kitchen sink even when car camping and space is not an issue... it just gets too involved and stressful if you let it spiral out of control. Always start with a list of essentials that you'll need, and gather and "prepare" those items first (we'll discuss

preparations like sealing your tent later). In this early stage your goal is to identify the items you'll need and then check to make sure you have them, and that they're in good working order. For example, leaving a prescription behind could be a spoiler, or worse, life threatening.

Secondly, start working on a list of comfort items that would make your camping more fun and enjoyable. Think about activities that you'll be engaged in and make a list of each one. So if you will be fishing you'll have a section dedicated to that activity and your checklist would involve checking your gear, making sure you have the right type of lures for the local fishing, locate ahead of time where you'll get your fishing licenses if needed, etc... If you're going to be day hiking then you'll have a section for that activity and be sure you've packed portable water containers, map, compass, first aid and basic essentials. You get the point.

Because everyone and every camping experience is different no one list is going to suit everyone. Because of that I may list items you wouldn't want to take, or omit items that you'll need. ALWAYS treat any list you get online like this as a starting point from which you build your own packing list. I will be discussing the essentials in much more detail for obvious reasons, but certainly give some thought to the fun activities that you have planned as well so that you and your family get the most enjoyment you possibly can from your camping experience.

According to Camp Safe, "On average, there are over 30,000 injuries treated in emergency rooms each year, and doctors treat an additional 75,000 camping-related injuries per year. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 79 fatalities from camping incidents in the year 2000, the latest year for which data is available."

Planning and preparing truly are essential parts of your trip. Never go on a camping trip without a First Aid kit... you absolutely never know when an accident can strike and having at least some basic supplies can be crucial. Even on my lightest of backpacking trips I make room for a first aid kit... always!

Do you use a checklist when you're planning a trip?

Any checklist at all?

How Do You Prepare For Camp?

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“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit”

~ William Abby

Step 1 - Camping Checklist Essentials

Water - Plan ahead for safe drinking water

Some people will offer their opinion of which single item is more important to your survival, but in all but the harshest conditions consider water the most important thing. Without water you will only be able to survive a few days before your body starts to suffer potentially life threatening and irreversible damage. So when planning for your camping trip don't assume that there will be plenty of water, plan ahead and ensure your family's safety. Survivalists use the rule of 3's - you can survive for 3 minutes without air, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.

I don't think you should take it literally because only in the harshest environments would I die in 3 days without water, but I think the point of those time estimates is that it's the point at which serious and permanent damage can begin and death becomes imminent without intervention. It all depends on environment, physical health and condition, and physical activity, which is why no standard time frame is the definitive time table for YOU. My camping checklist starts with water and water purification. And I map out where I can find water resupply points, every time.

So as in all things it comes down to common sense. Consider Water, Shelter and Food as camping essentials and plan accordingly. I always stress the importance of having redundant water purification methods anytime you're out in nature (of course in life and death situations almost any water will do). If you rely on a purification pump (the most popular primary purification system) and it gets damaged, clogged or otherwise fails you could be in trouble. Having a chemical or UV backup could prevent your trip from being totally ruined. See my in depth explanation and review of camp water purification systems. For camping the Katadyn Base Camp Water Filter, which is a gravity feed system, is probably the ideal solution because it's simple and can purify a larger quantity of water for more people.

Depending on your trip you may be able to take gallon sized water containers with you empty, and then fill them up near your camp at a ranger station or nearest town, or fill them from a lake or stream with your water purification pump which is what I do. You can also buy a collapsible water carrier in one gallon or even 5 gallon sizes that you fill at or near your camp. Be sure that you have opened and are familiar with any "essentials" BEFORE your leave for your trip. In the case of a water purification pump I always open mine and run it through the sink at home to ensure that it's pumping water and everything works; if not I have time to get another. Read the instructions. Whatever backup purification system you take, also get familiar with it. How many tablets or drops will you need, how long does the water have to sit before the chemicals have fully activated, if you're using a UV wand how long will the battery last you... answer these types of questions at home.

I always take powdered drink mixes because they add flavor and enjoyment at a lightweight cost, and in my experience having some taste luxuries while outdoors absolutely enhances the experience. And of course I include coffee, but for my filtered water when I want something extra I add one of two mixes. The first is a coconut and mango powder mix. I used to buy the pure coconut mixes, like from Purity, but they are so expensive and I've found that this tastes better. It's rich in electrolytes, vitamins, and fiber, and provides more potassium than a banana. Especially when you're away from home, nutrition is important.

The other powder I take religiously when hiking and backpacking (and yes even camping) is Emergen-C health and energy booster drink mix. This is a nicely flavored drink mix loaded with energy boosting vitamins and nutrients and it's my one a day drink in the field. I especially like having it handy for adding to filtered water that somehow manages to retain that unpleasant odor and taste. Emergen-C is a permanent part of my pack list.

Looking for an awesome new place to camp and hike? Check out this article on

Tuolumne Meadows Backpacking

and discover the best of Yosemite.

Step 2 - Camping Checklist Essentials

Food - Its camping, not survival, so meals should be easy and fun

I have tried virtually every meal made for hikers and backpackers and for the most part all of them serve their purpose well and taste good enough to keep you moving. But there are some that rise to the top and simply taste delicious and which I've found makes the time you spend outdoors much more enjoyable. One of the more affordable, great tasting meals is made by the the Wise Food Company.

But my all time personal favorite is the freeze dried meals made by Mountain House. On one camping trip my wife and I purposely took a variety of freeze dried brands so that we could test them and decide which we liked best in the field. It was not even close, the Mountain House meals tasted really good, had great texture and as a bonus they are packed with protein and fiber. And no matter where you go to find reviews about Mountain House freeze dried meals, they all say the same... they're awesome.

Here's what one reviewer wrote about the Spaghetti with Meat Sauce Mountain House meal (my favorite): "I have taken this on my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, and it takes everything I have to eat all of it. There have been a few occasions where I have given half to another hiker, knowing I wouldn't be able to consume the whole package. The other hikers, and myself, were really impressed with the taste, texture, and quantity of this. GOOD!!! 5 STARS!!!

If you camp or hike at all, See my review of the Flash Personal Cooking System below... it'll change the way you look at camp cooking.

When car camping our list of food items includes (in addition to our freeze dried meals) coffee and tea, Emergen-C health and energy booster drink mix as mentioned earlier, powdered milk, crackers, tortillas or pita, peanut butter, individual spam and tuna pouches (great for venturing out for a day hike... a couple of tortillas and a pouch of tuna is a great, lightweight meal). Yes, we mostly go light, but there are times when we plan for and pack regular food items. See my full article on camping food ideas.

Personal preference will play a huge role in what you pack, but always keep and refer to your camping checklist to stay on track. I never take fresh meats and cold drinks camping or hiking mainly because I don't like the hassle... when I'm outdoors I like to be on the go, hiking and fishing or whatever, and don't want to spend a lot of time cooking. But for others, fresh eggs and bacon, and maybe some pancakes, is the ideal morning breakfast in camp. If that's you, be sure and use a good cooler and load it with plenty ice. Use large gallon jugs or other means to freeze your own large chunks of ice to keep the food cold, longer. Here's a good camping tips page at the Camping Blogger about keeping cooler food cold, longer.

Of course you'll be planning your food needs based on the number of people and the days spent outdoors, but always pack extra food... you never know when a critter will help themselves or an accident causes you to lose some food. A stove and plenty of fuel will be on your list, too, if you plan on cooking.

If you'll be camping in the winter, check out this "Winter Camping Guide" from Princeton University.

Do you prefer to cook actual meals while camping (think pancakes and bacon), or do you stick to basics like freeze dried meals?

Camping and Cooking

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“Let us permit nature to have her way: she understands her business better than we do.”

~ Montaigne

Flash Personal Cooking System - The best of my camping tips... I ALWAYS have mine with me on the trail.

I love the Jetboil Flash. This thing brings water to a boil fast, and barely uses any fuel at all, meaning you have more time to do the things you love and don't have to worry about bulky gas canisters. I've used mine many times and I still can't get over how little fuel it uses... calling it a miser is putting it mildly.

See it here at Amazon.

The Jetboil is an all in one system that fits nicely into the 1 liter container... including the burner, small gas canister and tripod stand. I carry the slightly larger gas canisters that do not fit into the Jetboil container, but if your space is really limited then just go with the small gas canister (shown) and this will take up very little space. Unlike some other units I've read about, this one has never failed to light right up even at altitudes above 12,000 or in windy, cold conditions.

I use primarily freeze dried foods so this makes life REALLY easy... boil 1/2 liter of water in 2 minutes (yes, it's a Jetboil), add to my Mountain House meal, stir and let it sit, while I make a cup of coffee. Nice and simple. If you prefer to cook this system has you covered. Simply add the optional pot or pan, pot stabilizer and support bracket and you're set. Like the rest of the system, it all packs down nicely. I can't imagine life outdoors without my Jetboil, and I mean that sincerely.

Flash is designed to be one of the safest cooking solutions out there. The cooking cup clips onto the burner, preventing accidental spills, and the fuel canister tripod ensures overall stability. The insulating cozy has a color-changing heat indicator that signals when contents are hot.


- 1.0 Liter FluxRing® cooking cup with insulating cozy, featuring Flash color-change heat indicator

- Adjustable stainless steel burner with push-button "through-cup" igniter

- Drink-through lid and insulating bottom cover/measuring cup

- Tripod base for added stability

- Available in Gold (orange), Violet (purple), Sapphire (blue) and Carbon (black)

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”

~ John Muir

Step 3 - Camping Checklist Essentials

Shelter - A leaky tent will ruin your trip, fast!

Last year we upgraded our family tent to a newer, more roomy version and we found it to be a great tent. As I always do, as soon as it arrived I set it up in the back yard and began to seal the seams (I used McNett's Seam Sure Sealer) and then applied a light coat of Nikwax Tent and Gear Solar Proof... a spray on product that I love and use on most of my gear. If you've heard war stories of people complaining that their tent leaked, I bet you that they didn't seal the seams every couple of years (if at all). It takes a couple of hours to seal the seams on a large tent, but not getting wet while on vacation is worth every minute. A shelter must be on your camping checklist, and sealing it must be, too.

When it's just me and one one other person (my wife or son) on a backpacking trip then I pack in our very lightweight ALPS Mountaineering Zephyr 2. I've used it in virtually every condition (except the coldest of winter) and it's never leaked or failed me. I love it because it's affordable and packs small and light, and sets up easily in no time. If you backpack then you know that ultralight tents can be very expensive, almost prohibitive for some, but Alps Mountaineering provides serious quality at a really, really good price. I also own backpacks (Alps Mountaineering Denali pack in photo) and other gear from them.

When planning for your shelter take into consideration your trip. If you'll be on very rocky terrain then you may want to spend a little more to get a footprint for your tent. A footprint is essentially a thin layer of fabric that lies directly on the ground, and on which you then place your tent, helping to reduce the likelihood that you'll puncture the floor of your tent. Also consider how much room you'll need and be sure you have enough space for your gear, too. Different climates require different tents. If you're in a wet, rainy climate, be sure that your tent has plenty of ventilation or your sleeping bag, clothes and other gear will get really damp from condensation. Also, I've seen quite a few people pitch their tents with the rain fly staked down, almost draping the tent... it should be pulled snugly and stretching outward so that air can properly ventilate throughout the interior of the tent. If you'll be in an environment with snow be sure that your tent is rated to withstand any accumulation of snow or you may find, to your dismay, that it can't. Having lived through a few pitiful camping experiences I can tell you that a little preparation goes a long way.

Depending on where you'll be camping (but almost everywhere really) you will want to add food storage bags or containers to your checklist so that you can keep your food safely away from bears or other critters, and NOT in your tent or shelter. I also always take a bit of sealing tape with me (it doesn't take much) so in case there's a tear in the tent I can still keep my sleeping bag and gear dry. Finally, the other reason it's important to set up and seal your tent at home is that you'll be able to inspect to ensure that you have all of the stakes and tie downs you'll need, that there aren't any tears in the rain fly, etc... Some people have very specific checklists which includes such items. For me I know that when I have tent listed that includes setting it up and ensuring I have all of the components I need.

Packing For Camp... A Debate

Do you take everything but the kitchen sink when you're camping? Or do you take a minimalist approach?

Step 4 - Camping Checklist Other Essentials

What other items can make your trip safer or simpler?

You've thought about your water, food and shelter so... what other items constitute essentials on a good checklist? When considering these items think about the things which could keep your family and your camp safer. Of course you'll need a couple of flashlights, and I also take a

headlamp like the Petzl PS Tikka 2 Headlamp. I've used mine for two years in all kinds of conditions and really like this headlamp. The selling point for me was that one set of batteries will last up to 120 hours on economy mode (which is all I need around camp) and the thing is light, really light. It's an essential for me because it's so much easier and safer to move around camp at night or in low light conditions with a headlamp on your head and your hands free. Nothing ends a vacation quicker than a nasty fall or the discovery that your trip to the bushes last night was in Poison Ivy.

Consider among your essentials a map of the area you'll be camping and hiking in (you will study and familiarize yourself with the area... right?) and be certain to locate major identifiers and where your camp sits in relation to them. Also be sure to pack a fire starting kit as a backup to your lighters or whatever else you're taking. I always pack a ferrocerium rod (think flint and steel) as a backup and I have quite a few brands and models. The one I usually grab is the BlastMatch Fire Starter because if something happens and I'm injured I have a chance of starting a fire one handed. But really just take a backup, whatever you feel comfortable with.

And finally, one of the most important essential pieces of equipment you will ever have is... YOU. If you are new to camping or backpacking read and learn all you can about it. If you have new equipment learn to use it before you go out. Test and try everything from the safety and comfort of your home, and by doing so you're giving yourself the greatest chance at having a wonderful time. If you forgot an extra pair of socks, big deal, you can get by. But if you forgot your flashlight or to seal the seams of your tent... your trip could be in jeopardy.

Featured Articles You Might Enjoy

I write a lot about camping and any thing to do with the outdoors. Here are a few of my articles that I hope you'll also visit when you have the time.

Top 5 Paracord Bracelet Patterns
So many people are now learning to make paracord bracelets, and because of that people are looking for more patterns to make different types of knots and pro...

How To Make A Paracord Bracelet In Two Easy Steps
In this article you'll learn how to make a paracord bracelet in simple steps with the easy picture tutorial. Be making your first bracelet in minutes. Knowi...

Emergency Essentials Guide and Tutorial
This is a comprehensive guide to teach you all about doomsday prepping, and preparing your own cache of emergency essentials. You'll also...

How To Smoke Ribs - Step By Step Guide
Smoking ribs is an art, but an easy one to master. There isn't anything that comes close to smell of smoking meat or the taste and texture of good smoked rib...

Best Hiking Backpack - Buyer's Guide
Anyone looking to buy a new backpack knows how expensive they are, and that's why a review of the best backpack brands and models is helpful.

Respect and Protect Our Great Outdoors

It Ours To Enjoy, And To Care For

As more and more people take to camping to escape the crowded city streets and the stress associated with modern living, it serves us well to remember that we're only borrowing nature when we're out, and that we need to be good stewards and take care of the precious remaining wildlife and natural habitats that we have. It's important to love nature, but also to care for it so that others have the same opportunity you have. I truly hope you'll remember the words of a legend, John Muir, who was instrumental in the forming of the Sierra Club. He wrote:

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life."

Links To Camping Tips and Resources

Go Camping America - A great source for information on private parks and campgrounds nationwide

California Dept of Parks & Recreation - Camping Tips and ideas to make your trip safer and more fun.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Camping Health and Safety Tips and Packing Checklist

Boy Scout Trail - Winter Camping Tips

Quiet Journey - Simple Camping Recipes

KOA Community Camping Recipes and other camping resources - Info on sites for (RV) camping facilities to public campgrounds and walk-in tent camping sites. - Gateway to discovering the great outdoors

Step 5 - Camping Checklist ~ Comfort Items

What other items should you pack for this particular trip?

This is where individuality comes in to play... that is, your preferences and type of trip, location, etc... will have more to do with what you pack that anything else. Because of that, as stated earlier, the sample checklist that I've provided below should only serve as a guide to get you going and then you'll add and delete items as needed for you and your camping vacation. Here's some general things to consider when creating your own list.

Clothing - if you will be in an area prone to rain or cold, then be certain that rain and cold weather gear are on your list for every member of your party. In wet environments you will also need to plan for a few extra pairs of socks, perhaps a change of shoes, etc... I always wear Gore-Tex shoes/boots but even then my feet sometimes get wet and I need to change out socks more often.

Comfort foods - In my experience packing a few small things that are really tasty is a great way to enhance the experience. While hiking, for example, after a lot of miles and when the hunger builds, the thought of a special treat and good cup of coffee always livens it up for me. At home you drink juices, coffee and tea (maybe pop) and if you find yourself out at camp with nothing but water it could have an effect on your mood, even if only slightly. Because of that the Emergenc-C and Coconut Water drink powders I mentioned earlier are always with me when I need a little boost in energy and spirit.

Toiletries - Even while camping you'll be brushing, flossing, washing up, going to the restroom, etc... so be sure and pack the supplies you'll need for all of you (female necessities included). I truly hope everyone practices a Leave No Trace habit while in the outdoors. If you don't know what that is then please visit the website and learn more... we only have a small bit of natural habitat left (and many species of animals and insects are dying every year because of human activity) and it will take every effort we all have to ensure that our children have a chance to enjoy it, too.

Games and recreation - Whether you'll be fishing, hiking or playing Frisbee, think ahead and make a list so that you're sure to bring the things you'll need to keep the camp happy and entertained. I always take along a small deck of playing cards because they take up so little space and can be hours of fun if need be. If you will need a license, say for fishing, be sure to find out ahead of time where you can get it at so you don't spend half a day of your vacation tracking it down.

Miscellaneous items - camera, batteries, binoculars, maps, compass (map and compass are essentials if your hiking or trekking at all), salt and pepper, seasonings, towels, etc... Get started on your listed well ahead of time and you're less likely to forget to take something you wanted.

Beach Camping Is Fun!

Beach Camping Is Fun!
Beach Camping Is Fun!

Camping Tips

Things I've Learned Along The Way

Here is a list of camping tips that may help you as your prepare for and enjoy your next trip.

Camping Tip 1 - Wool clothing helps reduce body odor and more readily allows your body's perspiration to evaporate. Wool is also naturally fire retardant, dries more quickly and provides insulation even when wet.

Camping Tip 2 - Ice to keep food cold is best achieved with larger chunks or blocks of ice, so partially fill 1 gallon size milk jugs with water and freeze them at home (leave room for the ice to expand). A bonus is that you have cool, fresh water when the ice melts. You can use dry ice but be aware that it can freeze foods. Wrap the dry ice in newspapers and place "on top" on the inside of the cooler.

Camping Tip 3 - Leave travel plans and info with a family member or friend so in an emergency people have a better chance to locate you. Give them a map with your route, camp site and any hiking trails clearly marked. It's also nice to go ahead and list the name, address and phone number of the nearest Ranger or Police station to where you'll be camping... it makes it easier for you to be found quickly.

Camping Tip 4 - Camp pillows can take up a lot of space. Use a rolled up fleece jacket or other clothing instead. On cold nights, rolling up the fleece jacket that you just took off, and using it as a pillow, gives you a warm start to your night in the sleeping bag.

Camping Tip 5 - Keep supplies in well marked, durable, waterproof containers. Items like matches, medicine, maps, dry seasonings and food can be ruined if they get wet from condensation, rain or spills.

Camping Tip 6 - Revert to an old time favorite for lots of camping fun with your children. A Slingshot is small and can provide hours and hours of fun for the whole family as you vie for title of Camp Top Shot. Nearly every camp site will have plenty of stones nearby for lots of action.

Camping Tip 7 - Use a portable power supply like the Black & Decker Electromate which I use; every home should have one for emergencies, but they're also ideal for camping. With a pack like these you can power lights and recharge cell phones and other accessories right in your tent. You can also "re-charge" the pack in your car while driving from place to place.

DIY Power Bars - Easy Recipe

While I buy and prefer the Keen-Wah bars I mentioned above because they're much more nutritional and healthy, we also often bake these for our hikes or just because they're good! :) These power bars provide a load of protein and fiber, and of course much needed energy.


  • Oatmeal - 2 cups
  • Unsweetened Coconut - 1 cup
  • Dried fruit - 1/2 cup
  • Almonds (any nut) - 1/2 cup
  • Sesame Seeds - 1/2 cup
  • Sunflower Seeds - 1/2 cup
  • Cashes - 1/2 cup
  • Peanut Butter - 1 1/2 cup
  • Honey - 1 cup
  • Vanilla - 1 teaspoon


  1. Combine the dry ingredients: oats, coconut, dried fruit, nuts and seeds.
  2. In a separate bowl mix the peanut butter, honey and vanilla. When well mixed combine the dry and wet ingredients. Spread the dough onto a greased baking or cookie sheet and roll or press flat and cut into bar size portions. Bake at 350° F for 15 minutes.
Cast your vote for Camping Snacks ~ Quick Fix Power Bars

Camping Idea

When camping where there are no shower facilities, find a nearby town with a swimming pool and use their showers from time to time. Places like KOA charge $8 - $10 per shower, but you can go swimming for less AND get a shower.

Ozark Trail Provides Ideas For Preparing A List

Camping Checklist
Camping Checklist

Printable Camping Checklist

Make sure you don't leave home without these essential camping items and you'll be much more likely to enjoy your time and return home safely.


  1. Be sure to print this list and mark the items you already have, cross out the things you won't need and of course add any items you want which aren't listed. Then you'll have a working inventory and you can start to acquire the items you'll need and ensure that you don't find out on the first night that someone forgot a flashlight. You can highlight all of the text, right click on your mouse and select copy, and then right click in your document editor and select paste... the edit this to suit your needs.
  2. I acknowledge that this list is NOT comprehensive nor will everyone need everything listed. It's just a starting point for you, nothing more. Every trip and every person will require a unique list. But I do hope that this one helps you. If so, please let me know.
  3. Essential & Miscellaneous Camping ItemsFirst Aid Kit - Check before leaving, add needed items
  4. Water purification and storage containers for camp and while on the go
  5. Food items - think main meals, snacks and fun foods (Smores, etc.)
  6. Fire making kit
  7. Tent - checked and seam sealed before leaving home
  8. Sealing Tape - Small section for minor tent repairs
  9. Extra blankets
  10. Sleeping bags - check before leaving
  11. Sleeping pads - air mattress
  12. Pillows
  13. Pump for air mattresses - use portable power pack to plug in air pump
  14. Footprint for tent if needed
  15. Extra rope or twine (ALWAYS useful.. clothes line, etc.)
  16. Camp knife, saw and axe with blunt end for hammering tent stakes
  17. Small military style shovel
  18. Camp chairs
  19. Coffee pot
  20. Jet Boil Personal Cooking System for boiling FAST water
  21. Tablecloth and clips (or tape)
  22. Sticks or skewers for cooking and roasting
  23. Coolers and ice
  24. Thermos
  25. Stove and/or grill with extra fuel or charcoal
  26. Matches and lighter
  27. Charcoal and/or firewood if needed
  28. Fire starters/newspaper
  29. Plates, bowls, and eating utensils
  30. Drinking cups, mugs or bottles
  31. Heavy-duty aluminum foil if needed
  32. Paper towels
  33. Trash bags
  34. Dish soap
  35. Cooking oil
  36. Food storage containers
  37. Pots and pans if needed
  38. Pot grabber
  39. Cooking utensils
  40. Can opener/bottle opener
  41. Folding table
  42. Zip Lock bags
  43. Dish rag and towel
  44. Scrub pad
  45. Plastic dish pan if you'll be cooking a lot
  46. Salt, pepper, seasonings, sugar, condiments
  47. Hot chocolate mix, tea bags, coffee (instant if preferred)
  48. ID, Insurance Cards, Auto Club Information, etc.
  49. Bear spray if you're camping in Bear country
  50. Lantern with fuel and extra mantles (or extra battery if electric)
  51. Extra batteries and bulbs for devices
  52. Compass and/or GPS
  53. Bug repellant
  54. Whistle for each member of party to carry at all times
  55. Camera, battery, memory cards or film
  56. Maps and directions for all activities
  57. Multi-tool and small toolkit (already in vehicle?)
  58. Backpack or fanny pack for day hikes
  59. Fishing poles, lures, bait, extra line, licenses
  60. Radio with weather
  61. Sunglasses
  62. Flashlight (more than one) and extra batteries
  63. Headlamp
  64. Binoculars
  65. Cards and games, Frisbee, kites, slingshot, puzzles and puzzle books, etc.
  66. Duct tape - The do all backup
  67. Notebook and pen with list of reservations, dates and times, etc.
  68. Portable 12V battery pack with AC / DC outlets to inflate mattresses, etc.
  69. Cell phone and charger
  70. Safety pins
  71. Extra Money, bills and change
  72. Bikes, helmets and toolkit
  73. Alarm clock
  74. Work gloves for sawing wood, etc.
  75. Umbrella
  76. Hand wipes
  77. Book with scary stories for campfire story telling/reading (got headlamp?)
  78. Sewing kit - small
  79. Fire extinguisher
  80. Scissors (Multi-tool may have them?)
  81. Watch
  82. Art supplies - drawing or painting
  83. Pet food and supplies if taking animals
  84. Pet collars, leashes, bowls, toys
  85. Food bags or containers for storing / hanging food OUTSIDE of tent
  86. Leave destinations, travel routes and plans with friends and relatives
  87. Check local regulations - need a fire permit?
  88. Life jackets for lake swimming with childrenClothing ItemsHats
  89. Shoes or boots
  90. Water shoes if water sports involved or lake swimming
  91. Pants
  92. Shorts
  93. Swimming suits
  94. T-shirts
  95. Socks (take extras)
  96. Long sleeve shirts / Sweatshirts
  97. Jackets
  98. Underwear
  99. Rain gear
  100. Cold weather gear (Parka, gloves, scarves if needed)
  101. Laundry bagPersonal ItemsShower shoes or other flip flops
  102. Towels and wash cloth
  103. Soap and shampoo
  104. Tooth brush, tooth paste, dental floss
  105. Deodorant
  106. Hair brush
  107. Razor and shaving cream
  108. Feminine hygiene products
  109. Toilet paper and wet wipes
  110. Solar shower bag (unless you'll use shower facilities)
  111. Any medications, take enough in case your stay is extended
  112. Over The Counter Medicines like Anti-Diarrheal and kid items
  113. Vitamins or supplements
  114. Sunscreen
  115. Mirror
  116. Lip balm with sun screen
  117. Nail clippers
  118. Sunburn lotion
  119. Tweezers if not in first aid kit
  120. Snake bite kit only if in very remote location with risk
  121. Spare eye glasses or Contact Lenses and Solutions / Cleaners
  122. Q-Tips in Zip Lock bag

Please share your camping ideas or thoughts on this article. Thanks!

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love the camping lifestyle, be it a tent, camper, RV or a tip. :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I only camped as a girl scout. That was when I was in high school. This is a great resource though.

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 

      6 years ago

      This is a fantastic article! I've got my husband freezing partially filled water bottles as I write. Great ideas and info here.

    • teristazko profile image


      6 years ago

      Great tips...thanks for sharing.

    • Darla Dixon profile image

      Darla Dixon 

      6 years ago

      Your lenses are top-notch!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Your list is excellent. My only suggestion is to find ways to avoid Zip Lock bags. Even if you pack it out, Zip Locks ultimately end in the dump. And I've seen way too many people throw their used Zip Locks in the fire. I try to store everything I want to protect in waterproof dry bags. And on paddling trips, I put most of my food in the olive barrels I get from the local deli. My olive barrels have been around for 20 + years now and are still going strong. Just replace the gasket in the lid once in awhile. d

    • KateHonebrink profile image


      7 years ago

      Love your camping checklist ideas - very thorough! Great lens!!

    • MarcoG profile image


      7 years ago from Edinburgh

      Excellent Essentials list - very helpful indeed :)

    • TheWritingnag profile image

      Writing Nag 

      7 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Great ideas! Blessed.

    • dahlia369 profile image


      7 years ago

      Wonderful resource for campers, congrats! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Your lens made me want to go camping! It's been so long. My favourite place to go camping is the New Forest. Your checklist is wonderful - thank you!

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens. Nicely done. Blessed by a Squid Angel :)

    • pheonix76 profile image


      7 years ago from WNY

      Wow, your checklists are really quite extensive lol. I usually take a fraction of those supplies, since I typically backpack. :) Thanks for such a practical lens! Really enjoyed reading through this page.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great checklist, and I am interested in trying out your quick fix power bar recipe!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the printable camping checklist! Very informative lens!

    • digitaltree profile image


      7 years ago

      Great Lens, i see a few new items i will like to try on my next camping trip.

    • BuddyBink profile image


      7 years ago

      It has been a while since I was last camping. This has been a great reminder of what I have been missing. Thanks

    • BunnyFabulous profile image


      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Excellent list and suggestions for camping. I camped a bunch while I was growing up, but haven't been in years. So much has changed!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the list !! and the check list

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 

      7 years ago from Kansas

      You have some of the best informative lenses. Blessed.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing.

    • FalconFan LM profile image

      FalconFan LM 

      7 years ago

      Great lens for both new timers and old hands alike :) Thank you!

    • FalconFan LM profile image

      FalconFan LM 

      7 years ago

      Great lens for both new timers and old hands alike :) Thank you!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A very nice check list for camping, and this lens is excellent my dear! :D

    • neuromancer lm profile image

      neuromancer lm 

      7 years ago

      So much stuff.. I only get sleeping bag, lighter, few pieces of clothes, food and beer usually :)

    • lclchors profile image


      7 years ago

      I am writing a lens on camping with your horse and this is a definate backlink love it

    • Herman IV profile image

      Herman IV 

      7 years ago

      As one who loves to camp, I enjoyed this lens. Very useful and informational.

    • ReviewNook profile image


      7 years ago

      What an awesome layout, here. You thought of things I never would have!! Great job!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Enjoyed this, you put some heart felt items for your camping checklist along with polls and quiz's for your readers to participate in. *blessed by a squid angel*

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      7 years ago

      You have a great list of ideas, items, tips. I camped in 2 continents, in USA where camping facility offer a lot, in Europe where I usually camp in nature, so the planning list has been different fore each of them, but always I take with me only what I need. Thanks for a great lens. I send Angel dust in your way

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 

      7 years ago from Texas

      A lot of great information, and I really like the checklist. Thanks for sharing!

    • MissionBoundCre profile image


      7 years ago

      Checklist is Awesome

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Love the printable checklist! It's been way too long since our family has gone camping. It's perfect weather for it right now, too. Great tip and suggestions here - thanks!


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