Are you getting ready to go camping?
Heading into the great outdoors is so much fun! And it’s a great stress reducer.
But it does require some planning. Especially if you’re planning to get down and dirty deep in the woods.
That means you’ll need to start compiling your camping packing list. And the sooner, the better.
Preparation is key in making your camping trip completely awesome. So we’re here to help.
We’ve Got Your Ultimate Camping Packing List
You may not need everything we’ve included on these lists. We tried to make it as comprehensive as possible, but depending on what kind of camping you’re planning to do, not all of these items will be appropriate.
Before you begin packing, be sure you’ve done your research on the area where you’ll be camping. Is it prone to rain or snow? Does it get very hot? What will nights be like?
The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be.
1. The Basics
If you’re brand new to camping, you may want to rent or borrow some of these items. And once again, you might not need them all.
- Tent footprint
- Tent-pole repair sleeve
- Mallet or hammer for tent stakes
- Campsite reservation confirmation
- Sunshade, screen house or tarp
- Air mattresses
- Pad/mattress repair kit
- Pump for air mattresses
- Sleeping bags – with or without liners
- Sleeping pads
- Folding chairs
- Folding table
- Multi-tool or knife
- Lantern fuel or batteries
- Water filter or treatment tablets
- Trekking poles
- Child carrier
- GPS receiver
- Bike trailers
- Inflatable boat with paddles and PFDs
- Fishing gear (don’t forget the license)
- Canoeing/kayaking gear
- Extra batteries and bulbs
If you’re planning to make camping a regular thing, you should strongly consider investing in a self-healing tent and backpacks from a company such as Imperial Motion.
You’ll save yourself the misery of a leaky tent or damaged goods in your bag.
2. The Eats
Camping is a great alternative to costly hotels and resorts. Especially when you can make your own food.
But remember, you will not need all of these items. Look through and cross off anything that seems superfluous. And once again, borrow what you can. Otherwise, you might be tallying up a bill that won’t leave you saving much money.
- Fuel bottle(s) with fuel funnel
- Charcoal (with fire starter)
- Firewood sourced near campsite
- Saw or ax for firewood
- Grill rack
- Frying pan
- Cook pots
- Pot grabber
- Dutch oven
- Plates, bowls, mixing bowls
- Portable coffee/espresso maker
- Hot-cold vacuum bottle
- Hand-crank blender
- Bottle opener/corkscrew
- Can opener
- Roasting sticks
- Food-storage containers
- Resealable storage bags
- Trash bags
- Tablecloth and clips (or tape)
- Water bottles
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Paring knife
- Kitchen organizer
- Cutting board or cutting surface
- Egg holder(s)
- Pot scrubber/sponge(s)
- Collapsible water container(s)
- Portable or standing camp sink
- Drying rack
- Quick-dry towels
And when it comes to food, there are even more options. Stick with mostly dried goods, things that aren’t perishable, or food in cans or jars. Some of the essentials are:
- Breakfast bars
- Meat jerky
- Soup mixes/bouillon cubes
- Prepared or freeze-dried meals
- Cooking oil/spray
- Drink mixes
- Bottled/canned beverages
- Energy food (bars, gels, trail mix)
- Dried fruit
- Spice kit
Things like fresh milk, butter, cheese, produce, meat (burgers and hot dogs) and fresh eggs could also be considered if you have proper refrigeration.
Batter mix and syrup will be musts if you’re planning on making pancakes.
And then there are the ultimate essentials:
- Graham crackers
After all, camping wouldn’t be the same without s’mores.
3. The Clothing & Footwear
If you’re planning to hike, it is ESSENTIAL you get appropriate boots. They may not be the most stylish boots, but they’re going to keep your feet warm, dry and free from blisters that can really put a damper on a camping trip.
That’s why we put them first on our list.
- Boots or shoes suited to the terrain
- Moisture-wicking T-shirts
- Moisture-wicking underwear
- Quick-drying slim sweatpants or shorts
- Long-sleeve shirts
- Hat with a brim or another sun-shielding element
- Bandanas or buffs
- Socks (synthetic or wool)
- Long underwear
- Woolen/thermal leggings
- Fleece jacket or vest
- Hoodie sweatshirt
- Insulated pants
- Gloves or mittens
- Rainwear (jacket and pants)
- Clothesline with clips
- Water sandals
- In-camp sandals or booties
Of course, you want to keep your packing to a minimum while still ensuring you have the necessary warmth. So here’s a good way to visualize which items you’ll need and when:
– Tops: T-shirt and/or Long sleeve top
– Bottoms: Slim sweatpants, woolen/thermal leggings
– Outerwear: Fleece jacket and/or sweatshirt with a hood
– Tops: Tank top and/or T-shirt
– Bottoms: Lightweight pants or shorts
– Outerwear: Long sleeve top, if needed
– Accessory: Hat with a brim
– Tops: Cotton long sleeve and/or thermal long sleeve
– Bottoms: Thermal leggings, wool leggings, lightweight pants
– Outerwear: Fleece jacket, sweatshirt with hood or heavier nylon jacket
Weather can be unpredictable, even in the summer. And the temperature can go from cool to warm, to hot, to cold to freezing – all in 24 hours! So it’s best to be prepared.
4. The Personal Items
Unless you’re “glamping” and will have access to showers, you won’t be able to freshen up the way you’re used to.
Hair can be managed with dry shampoo and by wearing hats, high buns, or braids.
As for make-up, think all natural. At best, maybe a little mascara and tinted chapstick with SPF.
Here’s what we’re thinking:
- Toilet paper
- Sunscreen with SPF
- Lip balm
- Toothbrush, toiletry kit
- Insect repellent
- Hand sanitizer
- Alcohol or antiseptic wipes
- Spare eyeglasses/contact lenses
- First-aid kit (see First-Aid Checklist)
- Prescription medications
- Menstrual products
- Mascara, if needed
- Eyeshades; earplugs
Once you’ve decided which items to bring, keep them easy to find by packing them all in a single duffel.
5. The Other Considerations
These are the inessentials. But they can certainly make the trip more enjoyable. And if you hit a string of bad weather, they could just save the day.
- Cell phone loaded with music
- Interpretive field guides (flowers, insects)
- Star chart/night-sky identifier
- Paperback books
- Notebook and pen/pencil
- Sketchpad with art supplies
- Radio or music player with headphones
- Two-way radios
- Travel alarm clock
- Water toys
You could include electronic toys on this list, but it’s really nice to take a break from the electronics and spend some time together in nature. Of course, that’s up to you.
Enjoy Your Trip!
Make it an even better time by getting that camping packing list ready today. It might seem like work now, but once you arrive at the site fully prepared, you’ll be so glad you took the time to do it.
And for more great tips on how to live a happier life, keep checking back with our Be Happy blog!