Camping Checklist: What to Bring Camping

You did it! You got all the family together, set the date, and the start of your camping trip is just a few days away. Camping trips are an incredible opportunity to spend time with friends and loved ones, whether you just want some time in nature or a much-needed vacation that won’t break the bank.

 Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a newbie to camping trips, you’re not alone if you’ve arrived at your campsite before, only to discover that you left something important back home. If you’re tired of trying to remember every little thing you need to go camping—this ultimate camping checklist is most certainly for you.

 From all the kitchen supplies you’ll need to stay prepared on the road to clothing essentials every camper needs, our camping packing list has you covered. 

Kitchen packing checklist

Getting together and packing up all the key supplies for your camping kitchen can be a challenge, particularly if you’re going away on a longer trip and will be in real trouble if you leave anything behind. You need to make sure you have your trusty pots and pans, utensils, and other equipment besides the camp stove itself so that preparing meals at your campsite is easy.

Here’s what to bring camping for your campsite kitchen:

  • Camp stove — Of course, you won’t be able to cook without your backpacking stove! Be sure to choose a lightweight model that won’t weigh down your pack. You can also opt for the standard car camping stove if you have sufficient room for it.
  • Plates, utensils, and cups Bring enough so that you have one of each for every person going on the camping trip. You could also bring paper plates, utensils, and cups if you prefer instead of a reusable kit.
  • Fuel — Remember to pack your camp stove fuel, and ensure it’s the correct type for the kind of backpacking stove you own. If you’re going camping for a longer period, we suggest bringing some backup fuel just in case.
  • A tub for washing dishes — The best tubs for dishwashing are designed from nylon or plastic. The tub should also be sealed and collapsible so you can easily pack it up and carry it on the go.
  • Tablecloth — No need to purchase a fancy, dining room tablecloth. A simple tablecloth from your local market or dollar store will do.
  • Supplies to wash dishes — Be sure to bring a sponge, dish soap, and paper towels or dishrags. 
  • Cooler
  • Ice
  • Matches
  • Fire starter
  • Cooking/serving utensils — An all-purpose knife, butter knife, tongs, spatula, serving ladle, can opener, and long skewers will all come in handy. Pack some pot holders, so you don’t burn yourself and tin foil to keep your meals covered.
  • Grill — A grill is definitely optional, as many campsites already have a grill over a fire pit for campers to use. If you have the room and want to bring your own though, it will serve you well for a weekend or lengthier camping excursions.
  • A table — A camp table is also optional, but it might be nice to stay organized and have a solid surface to prepare and eat your food on. 
  • Trash bags – remember to be responsible with your waste. 

Related: Check out our picks for the best camping cook sets

Campfire packing checklist

Next on your camping checklist are campfire supplies. To stay cozy and entertained around the campfire, here’s what you’ll need.

  • Matches and a fire starter — You should already have these with your kitchen supplies. Fire cubes or discs are great options. 
  • Firewood — You can buy firewood at the campsite if you like, or you could always purchase some at your local store to be more cost-effective. 
  • Chairs — While some camping areas feature benches, you’ll be more comfortable in  collapsible chairs that you can bring with ease on the go.
  • Hatchet or axe — These could be helpful to chop up firewood for your campfire. Be sure to keep any hatchet or axe clear of children who might be in the vicinity.
  • Board game or cards — Something fun to keep you and your family entertained on the road!
  • Tasty treats — Bring your favorite snacks on the road, or pull a classic and bring supplies to make s’mores around the campfire.
  • Lantern

Sleeping packing checklist

Here’s what you’ll need on your camping checklist to stay comfortable, warm, and dry when you turn in for the night.

  • Tent — Bring either a few smaller tents or a single, family tent. You’ll have more space with one large tent, but you’ll have an easier time securing the smaller tents at a tighter campsite area. 
  • Sleeping pads — If you are car camping, blow-up mattresses will do, or you could use backpacking pads that you can inflate in seconds.
  • Sleeping bags — You’ll stay nice and warm with bags rated at 20 degrees Fahrenheit unless you plan on being in very cold climates. In general, sleeping bags rated between 20 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit will do the trick. If you’re short on space, opt for down or down-alternative models that pack compactly.
  • Tarp — A ground trap will keep your tent floor and you warm and dry.
  • Towels and hygiene supplies — Each person on the trip should have their own towel and personal hygiene supplies. 
  • Flashlights  Each person camping should have a flashlight (or headlamp) to use for safety and midnight restroom trips.

Clothing packing checklist

If you’re wondering what clothes you ought to bring camping, here’s what you’ll want to include:

  • Sleeping apparel
  • Jeans and/or pants
  • Boots/shoes (make sure you bring

Important extras packing checklist

From supplies for a first aid kit to toiletries and fun extras, here are the camping checklist items you won’t want to hit the road without:

  •  Sunscreen 
  •  Insect repellent 
  • Shovel and toilet paper (if no bathroom is available)
  • Clothesline and clothespins to dry wet clothing
  • Hammock
  • Sheet to create walls in tent
  • Duct tape
  • Baby wipes
  • Water shoes
  • Camera
  • Toys for young children
  • Scooters or bikes for lengthier trips or extensive camp sits
  • Any medications you take regularly
  • Adhesive tape
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  •  Bandages 
  • Cotton pads or balls
  • Gauze pads
  • Safety Pins
  •  Scissors 
  • Tweezers
  • Tissues
  • Razor blades
  • Plastic bags
  •  Water bottles 
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Aspirin
  •  Antibacterial soap 
  • Nail clippers

FAQs About What to Bring Camping

What type of shelter should I bring camping?

Depending on the type of camping you plan to do, you may need to bring a tent, RV, or hammock for shelter.

Are there any items I need to bring for food preparation and storage?

You will want to bring items such as cooking utensils, pots and pans, plates and cutlery, food storage containers, coolers or ice chests for perishable foods, matches/lighters/fire starters and fuel for your camp stove.

What kind of clothing is best for camping trips?

When camping it is important to dress in layers so that you can easily adjust depending on the temperature and weather conditions. Additionally waterproof clothing is also recommended if there is a chance of rain during your trip.

What types of tools do I need to bring with me on a camping trip?

Tools such as hatchets or axes are helpful when building fires; shovels can be used for burying charcoal after grilling food or digging latrines away from campsites, rivers and trails if necessary; hand saws come in handy when cutting firewood into smaller pieces that fit into fire pits more easily than larger logs do.

How much water should I plan on bringing with me while camping?

It’s generally recommended that each person brings at least 1 gallon of water per day while camping – although this amount increases depending on how strenuous activities are planned throughout the stay.

Final tips for your camping checklist

If you have children along for the camping trip, it will be helpful to pack the camp rules along with some games to keep the little ones occupied once onsite. Kids love going on nature scavenger hunts on campgrounds and hunting down things like bark or leaves to make into personalized art projects.

It’s recommended to take a CPR and First Aid class and maintain current knowledge in the event an emergency ever occurs while camping. Store your supplies in waterproof tubs and keep everything well organized so you can access items quickly. Most important of all—have fun!


About the Author

Trey is a lifelong hunter and avid camper. He lives outside Denver, CO with his wife Kaci and their lab mix Ziggy. They spend as much time as possible outdoors - hunting, fishing, and camping.

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