The Only Camping Checklist You’ll Ever Need

Troy De Ville

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camping checklist

It’s late, but you’ve finally made it. After finishing work, loading the car, getting the kids into their seats, and driving for hours, you’ve arrived at the campsite. Needless to say, you’re ready for a relaxing weekend of fishing, walking, toasting marshmallows around a campfire, and spending quality time with your family.

But wait…where’s the tent? And the sleeping bags? And, come to think of it, who packed the cooler full of food?

If this unfortunate situation sounds all too familiar or you’re desperate to avoid it on your upcoming trip, having a camping checklist at your disposal should make a difference!

In this post, we’re going through all the camping essentials you should take on a trip to the great outdoors. Let’s dive in.

Camping Essentials: The Basics

No matter where you’re going or what type of trip it is, whether you’re going with friends or family, there are certain items you’ll always need on a camping checklist. Here’s a selection of the main camping basics to take along:

1. Tent

Top Choice: Coleman 4-Person Dome Tent

  • Rating: 4.6/5
  • Pros: Affordable, 1-year limited warranty, dark-room technology, simple setup
  • Cons: Unsuitable for seriously wet or windy weather

2. Tent Stakes and Mallet

Top Choice: Prime 1 Galvanized Steel Tent Stakes with Rubber Mallet

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Pros: Heavy-duty, non-rusting stakes with a sharp point
  • Cons: Rubber mallet is less durable when hammering stakes into hard ground

3. Tarp

Top Choice: Amazon Basics Waterproof Camping Tarp

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Pros: Rip-stop design, reinforced corners/edges, and multi-purpose design
  • Cons: Waterproofing might fail over time

4. Camping Pillows

Top Choice: Klymit Drift Camping Pillow

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Pros: Memory foam adds comfort, reversible shell, expands to full-size pillow
  • Cons: Costly versus other models

5. Sleeping Bags

Top Choice: Teton Sports Celsius 0 Degree Sleeping Bag

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Pros: Ideal for cold weather, roomy, compression sack included, anti-snag zipper
  • Cons: Quite bulky and heavy

6. Sleeping Pads or Inflatable Mattresses (Plus Pump)

Top Choice: Powerlix Sleeping Pad

  • Rating: 4.2/5
  • Pros: Best-selling inflatable sleeping pad, super small and lightweight, waterproof
  • Cons: Some past customers note durability issues

7. Blankets

Top Choice: Arcturus Military Wool Blanket

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Pros: Super soft and warm, fire-retardant, natural materials, machine washable
  • Cons: It may smell like chemicals out of the packet

8. Hot Water Bottle

Top Choice: Samply 2L Hot Water Bottle with Cover

  • Rating: 4.6/5
  • Pros: Budget-friendly, durable, transparent to see the water level, 1-year warranty
  • Cons: Unlikely to keep water hot throughout the night

9. Earplugs and Eye Mask

Top Choice: Wonderfoam Contoured Sleep Mask and Earplugs

  • Rating: 4.6/5
  • Pros: Cheap, memory foam mask for comfort, adjustable clasp
  • Cons: Memory foam can feel hot on your face when it’s warm

10. Headlamp

Top Choice: Energizer LED Headlamp (2-Pack)

  • Rating: 4.4/5
  • Pros: Lightweight, batteries included, IPX4 water resistance, very affordable
  • Cons: Basic headlamp; quality matches the price!

11. Lantern

Top Choice: MPOWERD Luci Solar Inflatable Light

  • Rating: 4.8/5
  • Pros: Highly popular, great reviews, super lightweight, no batteries required
  • Cons: A few reports of durability issues

12. All-Weather Matches or a Lighter

Top Choice: UCO Stormproof Match Kit

  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Pros: Waterproof and floating case, extended match length
  • Cons: Expensive versus ordinary matches

13. Campfire Supplies

– Top Choice: Eco-Stix Fatwood Fire Starters

  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Pros: 100% pure, natural, and sustainable; hand-chopped from damaged trees
  • Cons: Some sticks will have more resin than others

14. Cooler with Ice

Top Choice: Yeti Tundra 35 Cooler

  • Rating: 4.8/5
  • Pros: Good weight-to-capacity ratio, durable and sturdy, highly effective cooler
  • Cons: Expensive

Useful Tools to Take Camping

Whether an emergency strikes or you’re struggling to open a can of beans inside your campervan, a range of gadgets and tools will make life much easier when you’re camping. Here’s what we suggest you pack, just in case you need them:

15. Mobile Phone, Charger, and Power Bank

16. Penknife/Backpacking Knife

17. Backpacking Axe and Handsaw

18. Multi-Tool

19. Duct Tape

20. Paracord

21. Trowel

22. Portable Shower

23. Portable Toilet

Key Camping Furniture to Pack

No camp’s complete without a bunch of portable, durable, and weather-proof outdoor furniture. It makes your time away more comfortable and practical. Here are a few suggestions for what to take:

24. Camping Table

25. Camping Chairs

26. Marquee/Pop-Up Pavilion

27. Hammock

Camping Clothes and Shoes

We don’t have to tell you that packing clothes and shoes is somewhat essential for your camping trip. But you might need some tips on exactly what to take. Here are some particular clothing items that are always worth having (just remember to always take the weather forecast and local climate into account, too):

28. Moisture Wicking T-Shirts

29. Mid-Layers

30. Warm Layers

31. Raincoat

32. Merino Wool Socks

33. Moisture-Wicking Underwear

34. Shorts

35. Pajamas

36. Gloves and Hat

37. Hiking/Walking Shoes

38. Flipflops or Sandals

39. Rain Boots

40. Sunglasses

41. Sunhat

42. Swimsuit

43. Mosquito Net for Your Head

Must-Have Cooking/Kitchen Utensils for Camping

You can’t beat sitting around the campfire eating a nice warming meal in the evening. Or waking up early to fry up a storm! Hence why you need certain camp cooking utensils to call upon. Here are the main ones:

44. Grill or Camping Stove

45. Grill Set

46. Coffee Maker

47. Metal Grate for Campfire Cooking

48. Dutch Oven

49. Oven Mitts

50. Campfire Kettle

51. Cutting Board

52. Shatterproof Cups, Mugs, Plates, and Bowls

53. Cutlery

54. Frying Pan

55. Spatula and Wooden Spoon

56. Sharp Knives

57. Can and Bottle Openers

58. Kitchen Scissors

59. Bear-Proof Food Vault (If Necessary)

60. Tablecloth and clips

Awesome Food Items for Camping

What food should you cook/eat on your camping trip, though? In this section, we’re running through a number of tasty breakfast, lunch, and dinner options (plus some sauces and seasonings) to consider taking:

61. Salt, Pepper, and Other Seasonings

62. Cooking Oil

63. Ketchup, Mustard, Mayonnaise, and Other Condiments

64. Potatoes

65. Cans of Beans

66. Eggs

67. Pasta and Sauces

68. Dehydrated Meals

69. Sausages, Burgers, Steaks, and Other Meat

70. Sliced Cheese for Burgers

71. Beefy Jerky

72. Trail Mix

73. Energy/Protein Bars

74. Chips and Dips

75. Bread

76. Nut Butter

77. Jelly

78. Cereals and Milk

79. S’mores Kits (Chocolate, Graham Crackers, and Marshmallows)

80. Bottles of Water

81. Alcoholic Beverages

Bathroom Essentials for Camping

Staying clean on a camping trip isn’t always easy – especially when you’re in the backcountry instead of a serviced campsite. Nevertheless, having some basic toiletries will help you stay relatively clean and sweet-smelling:

82. Toothbrush

83. Toothpaste

84. Biodegradable Baby Wipes

85. Hand Soap

86. Body Soap

87. Shampoo and Conditioner

88. Deodorant

89. Hairbrush

90. Toilet Paper

91. Skincare Items

92. Hand Sanitizer

93. Razor and Shaving Cream

94. Menstrual Products

95. Towels

96. Toiletry Bag to Carry Everything

Key Cleaning Essentials for Camping

So, you’ve got what you need to keep yourselves clean. But what about the campsite and all your equipment? They’ll also need to be looked after and kept in good condition. With that goal in mind, here are some critical camp clean-up items to take:

97. Washing-Up Bowl

98. Dishcloths and Dishtowels

99. Eco-Friendly Dish Soap

100. Drying Rack for Wet Dishes

101. Trash Bags

102. Sponge for Doing Dishes

103. Disinfectant Wipes

104. Clothesline for Hanging Wet Clothes

105. Plastic Bags for Dirty Clothes

106. Dustpan and Brush

Recreational/Leisure Equipment to Take Camping

The best part of going camping is the fun activities you do on the trip. That’s why it pays to a) think about the recreational activities on offer where you’re going and b) take the equipment required to partake in them. Here are some suggestions:

107. Rifle and/or Bow for Hunting

108. Fishing Poles, Tackle, and Bait for Fishing

109. Canoes or Kayaks and Paddles (and Lifejackets)

110. Daypack for Hiking

111. Hiking Poles

112. Binoculars

113. Badminton Rackets

114. Frisbee

115. Volleyball Net and Ball

116. Playing Cards and Board Games

117. Wireless Speakers

118. Books/Kindle

119. Bikes, Scooters, and Rollerblades

120. Guitar, Harmonica, and Other Instruments to Play around the Campfire

Safety Items and Equipment for Camping

Some types of camping are more dangerous than others, and you’re unlikely to get seriously injured wherever you go – especially when you’re planning a casual family trip to a popular site. However, there’s always some potential to get hurt when you’re spending lots of time outdoors, so it pays to take some safety equipment, just in case the worst does happen:

121. Portable Fire Extinguisher

122. Water Filter or Water Treatment System

123. First-Aid Kit (Fully Stocked)

124. Painkillers

125. Water-Resistant Sunscreen (Preferably High SPF)

126. Map and Compass

127. GPS System

128. Emergency Blanket

129. Whistle

130. Bear Spray

Don’t Forget This Camping Checklist

Camping trips are hard to beat if you love spending time in nature, unplugging from the daily grind, and filling your days with fun, wholesome outdoor activities. However, they can also be a challenge to pack for. With so much to think about and plan, it’s easy to forget something important.

With any luck, this comprehensive camping checklist will stop that from happening. Keep this long list of camping essentials nearby to speed up the packing process and ensure you have everything you need.

Wondering where to go on your next camping trip? Check out these incredible beach camping destinations.

This article originally appeared on Savoteur.

Author: Danny Newman
Danny Newman is currently writing and traveling around the world to figure out exactly what he’s doing with his life. He’d love you to follow along with his journey over at What’s Danny Doing.

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