Are you planning a camping trip for 2023? If so, make sure to check out this ultimate camping checklist!
This list will tell you everything that you need to bring with you on your next camping trip. From tents and sleeping bags to cookware and first-aid kits, we’ve got you covered. So don’t forget anything important – download our comprehensive list now!
Going camping? I know that feeling that you’re always forgetting something despite having checked a hundred times. It’s too much to pack! But, hey, you’ve come to the right spot because we’re going to help you pack the best way possible to have an unforgettable time.
Are you ready to make memories for a lifetime? Then read on, pack properly, and don’t let any of the road’s unexpected surprises take the smile off your face.
Some Questions to Answer Before Getting Started
Before we get started with the camping checklist, let’s address some of the questions you need to ask yourself. We’ll be coming back to them the entire piece, so if you want to write them down on a piece of paper, feel free to do it.
Are You Going to a Campsite or Into The Wild?
Campsites usually offer their guests some facilities that will save you room and effort. For example, does the campsite have a camp kitchen, fully-equipped bathrooms, electricity, fire pits, and, most importantly, water? If that’s the case you should omit all of that from the upcoming checklist.
In case you don’t know, it is a great moment to send them an email or a message to make sure.
How Luxurious Do You Want Your Camping Experience to Be?
Experiences in nature can be as rough, primitive, and basic or luxurious, comfortable, and glamorous as you want. So, if you are going for the first option and want to do a full-on minimalist approach, just aim for the bare minimum. The second will require a vehicle to take the extra glamour and comfort.
What Activities Have You Planned For Your Trip?
The outdoors offer many activities and it is important to be prepared to make the most out of them. For example, if you want to go hiking, you need proper shoes, for fishing you need specific gear, etcetera. On the other hand, if you just want to relax and enjoy, you need to pay attention to our fun & games subtitle down below.
Shared Camping Gear
Let’s get started with our camping list. The first thing we are going to tackle is the shared goods, what you need to take for the comfort of the couple, small group, or family. In case you’re going solo, this applies to you too.
Can The Place Be Accessed With A Vehicle Or Will You Carry Your Gear?
Finally, this is paramount to know before packing. If you’re planning a luxurious glamping campsite, you’ll need to carry many things like chairs, tables, and such. That is not compatible with reaching the place on foot, so make sure you know this beforehand.
Let's Talk Tents and Temperature
The first thing no camping can be enjoyed without is a proper tent. Tents, as you might know, are divided into categories that have to do with the weather you’ll be facing. Therefore, if you’re going to a cold place, make sure your tent will keep you warm the entire night. In the same vein, make sure it can stand the weather. As an inside tip, make sure you pack some strong duct tape to fix any holes.
Ultimate Camping Checklist
I’ve personally been camping for well over 40 years and have modified our camping packing list many, many times. It really depends on the time camping and where you are camping as to exactly how much you will need to take. If you are just heading away for the weekend, you may want just the basics, however, if you are taking an extended break, you’ll need to pack more.
To ensure you have the best outdoors camping fun you really want to ensure you cover the essentials. We’ve compiled our handy camping checklist with this in mind.
- Tent (matching the expected weather)
- Pegs / stakes
- Guy ropes
- Ground cover
- Outdoor rug
- Clear plastic bins
- Tent footprint
- Sunshade or tarp (optional)
- Mosquito net
- Duct tape (the strongest you can find; if it is waterproof, even better)
- Camping table / picnic tables
- Camping Chairs
- Camp kitchen
This is an entirely optional category. Moreover, those who love the minimalist feeling of going into the wild with the bare minimum can skip it to the next item. On the other hand, if you’re after a comfortable stay and want to take a nap under the trees or sit and admire nature while sipping your favourite drink, you need to take the proper gear for that.
- A hammock (with mosquito net preferably
- An outdoor rug (so you can leave the dirt out of your tent)
- Camping chairs (one per person preferably)
- A folding picnic table
Again, in this item, if you are taking your tent to a place that’s fully prepared to receive visitors with facilities or even a bar, this section might not apply to your adventure. On the other hand, if you’re going to go into the wild with the bare minimum to survive by cooking your own food, it is one of the most important sections of this article.
Let’s Talk Kitchen Supplies
To begin with, you need kitchen supplies to be able to properly cook whatever meals you need. But that’s not all, because when you are out of the city there are things like fuel to make the fire that you need to think about; it’s not as easy as opening a tap and getting water or turning a knob and getting gas.
- Storage Containers
- Camping stove
- Cooking utensils
- Washing Up Bowl
- Pots and Pans
- Dish washing liquid
- Tea towels
- Cutting board
- Water bottle
- Serving spoon
- Water filtration
- Coffee maker (for your morning brew)
- Can opener
- Portable stove
- Matches & lighter
- Utensils, dishes, and cookware
- Collapsible grill rack
- Cutting board and knife
- Soap (biodegradable, please) and sponge (vegetal, too)
- Travel mugs (thermic preferable)
- Bottle opener and corkscrew
- Food hanging bag
- Water purification or filtering gear
- Large water container
- Frying pan
- LED lights
- Camping table / picnic tables
- Camping Chairs
- Camp kitchen
Once you have all the gear to cook with, you need to have something to cook. So, this is the list of things that will make it to the campsite but will hopefully only come back in your belly and in a trash bag.
- Coffee / Tea
- Various types of canned food (your favourites!)
- Condiments, spices, sugar, salt, and cooking oil
- Beverages (other than water)
- Fresh fruits & vegetables
- Energy bars, cereal, granola, and protein-high food (especially if you’re planning to go on hikes).
- Beef jerky (or a proper replacement for vegetarians/vegans).
Campfires are always a lot of fun. If you or anyone in the group can play an instrument and/or sing, make sure that’s included in the gear.
- Roasting forks
- Marshmallows, chocolate, and crackers (optional)
- Firewood (if not available at the campsite)
Now that we’ve covered everything you need to take to make everyone have a great time, it is time to go for the list of things you need to take for yourself. These might vary from person to person and you can extend this list as much as you like with your personal perks. Nevertheless, we’ll cover the essentials that can’t go missing from your backpack.
Let’s Talk Footwear
Footwear is one of the essentials that can’t go missing. I mean, if you are planning a camping week at the shore of the Caribbean Sea you’ll very likely go there in a pair of flip-flops and not use them for the entire week. That being said, in most destinations having proper footwear can be the single difference between a lovely time and a disaster.
- Strap shoes/flip-flops (thongs) for warm weather/showers etc
- 1 pair of socks per day
- Comfortable shoes (can be your favourite running shoes)
- Waterproof shoes/boots
- Hiking shoes
Clothing plays a role that is as important as footwear. If you take the wrong clothes for the weather, your experience can change drastically. Therefore, always check the weather forecast before going out. That being said, these are the absolute bare basics that can’t go missing from your backpack.
- Weatherproof Jacket
- Raincoat / poncho
- Swimwear (and towel)
- Jacket (down or fleece)
- Windbreaker and/or raincoat
- Gloves (if needed)
- A t-shirt per day
- 1 Quick-dry underwear per day
- Long-sleeve sun-blocking shirts
- Hiking pants (better with detachable legs)
- Warm layers (sweaters, turtlenecks, etc)
- Bandana (No need to listen to Bon Jovi, though)
Personal care is another major item on this list but it is one that most people can fulfil by just going to their bathroom and taking what they normally use.
- Shampoo & conditioner (If you use a conditioner, you can use a 2-in-1 solution to save space)
- Toothpaste (calculate how much you will need and take that or more)
- Toiletries Bag
- Body wash / Shower gel
- Toilet paper
- Hand sanitizer
- Mosquito repellent
- Lip balm
- Prescription medication (if you take any)
- Wallet, ID, credit card
- Hat (one warm and one for the sun)
Sleeping is one of the most important sides of camping and needs proper attention. Several factors allow us to sleep comfortably when away from home. Let’s address the absolute essentials you can add your favourite pyjamas and additional perks to the list.
- Sleeping Bag (according to the weather you’ll encounter)
- Air Mattress (and air pump)
- Self inflating mattress/Inflatable mattress (with air pump)
- Bed Linen
- Sleeping bags liners
- Sleeping clothes (comfy and warm enough)
- Additional blankets (if the weather requires it)
We’ve covered the serious part so far, but going camping is all about having fun and sharing with the people we love the most. So, let’s see what the things we need to pack to have an amazing time are.
The Specifics & the Generals
We divided this item between specifics and generals; this is because while generals apply to most campers, some specifics will apply only to your passions and goals when camping. For example, if you like paragliding, kayaking, or rock climbing you’ll need the specifics for that.
- Reading material (books, Kindle, comics)
- Playing cards, dice etc
- Board games
- Musical instruments
- Star map (if you are in an open space)
- Snorkelling gear (if applicable)
- Hiking gear (if applicable)
- Fishing gear (if applicable)
In addition to the items above, think of the specifics you need to add for the sports or entertainment you love. It might be anything from a PSP or Nintendo Switch to scuba diving gear.
An item that can’t go missing in any serious camping backpack is a first aid kit. You can buy them in most places with a fancy box and everything you need or you can put one together yourself. If you opt for the second alternative, these are the things you need to include as a minimum.
- Antacid tablets, antihistamines, and pain relievers
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Snakebite treatment kit
- Sterile wipes
- After sun cream
- Band aids for blisters
- Adhesive tape
- Safety pins
- Laundry liquid
- Multi tool
- Dust pan
- Duct tape
- Repair kit
If a tree falls in an empty forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? Likewise, if you go camping but have no memories of it, did you really go camping? Well, electronics play an increasingly important role in our everyday lives. Therefore, it is important to bring all we need to keep them up and running. Finally, this item is directed to those who are camping outside campgrounds which usually have regular electricity sockets.
- Extension cord
- Phone charger
- Mobile phone
- Lantern and/or headlamp
- Extra batteries and bulbs
- Solar phone charger
- Solar power bank
- GPS and/or electronic compass
- Spare batteries
Now that we’ve covered all of the basics and the add-ons for fun purposes, we’ve been through what you need to pack on your way to camping. Now, on your way back from camping, you should bring back everything plus your own garbage.
This is paramount for our world to remain as beautiful, varied, and full of life as it is: you need to bring back with you every bit of garbage you’ve generated. Moreover, think of yourself and your companions as guests and leave the camping place as you found it.
Remember, garbage is your responsibility and should go back home with you.
- Portable toilet
- Toilet paper
- Plastic bins
- Paper towels
- Baby wipes
- Rubbish bags
No matter where or when you go camping, you should always have a camping essentials checklist. You can then have additional camping checklists that are more specific to the trip.
For example, you’ll want to pack differently if you are camping at the beach compared to if you are camping at national parks. No matter where you camp you’ll always want to pack items like a sleeping bag, camp chairs and first aid kit.
The same theory goes if you are just camping over night compared to camping for an extended break of a few weeks. If you are taking a longer trip you’ll need to consider things like extra batteries, a meal plan etc. So you are best to have a camping checklist that can be adaptable.
It can be a very good idea to create a meal plan so you don’t take too many things you don’t need and forget to take other items you will need.
Throughout our vast camping experience there have been a few items that we would like to note that you make sure you pack. Camping with out these items has made cooking while camping quite challenging.
These items we suggest you don’t forget for your camp kitchen are:
- can opener
- cutting board
- Sharp knife
Planning your Camping Trip
Many campgrounds have shower and toilet amenities. These days campers may want to visit a Hipcamp and they may not have the same facilities available.
You should check what facilities are available while you are planning your camping trip. You may find that you will need to take camp toilets and toilet paper.
Leave No Trace
It is vital to keep your campsite clean to preserve the nature you came to visit. You’ll need to ensure you take all rubbish away when you leave, but you should also consider a few things while you are camping.
You should ensure you store rubbish where wildlife cannot access it, especially at night. Packing some spare pegs can mean you can elevate your rubbish bag so native animals are unable to reach it.
The true essentials for your camping checklist will be the camping gear you take on any trip. Items to include here are camp chairs, sleeping bag, camp kitchen, food, repair kit and first aid kit.
The Best Camping Gear
We have reviewed many products so you can easily find the right camping gear for your trip. Our articles for camping gear cover many products such as camping chairs, camping tents, car awnings and many other essential camp gear.
Campgrounds and Campsite
We always recommend checking info about your camping destination. Check the site size (so you know your tent will fit). Also check other camping facilities like amenities and if they have an onsite camp kitchen. You can really cut down on your camp gear you need to pack for your trip if they have some of these facilities at the site.
Finally, let’s go through two important items that didn’t make it to our main list but are vital to the success of your camping trip.
Let's Talk Backpacks
In case you’re not going glamping and parking your car next to your tent, you’ll need a comfy, reliable backpack. Moreover, you should always bring two; one for day trips and hikes and another one to fit all of the above.
The one inside trip I can give you is to go to an actual shop to buy the backpack. It should fit your back perfectly and be comfortable; otherwise, it will be a burden. Furthermore, nowadays, ergonomics are so advanced that you’ll surely find one that fits you just perfectly.
Keep it Organized
Zip locks are the name of the game to keep things organized among little items. For large items, I can’t stress enough the benefits of using packing blocks. Moreover, bring some extra for dirty clothes and to collect your garbage. Investing in zip locks, bags, and packing blocks is something you’ll be grateful you’ve done once the camping is over.
The checklist above and the advice are all dedicated to covering the minimum needed to have an amazing time. Although not all of the items described will help all camping-goers, most of them apply to most situations.
So, take this checklist as a lighthouse in a vast ocean, and feel free to add the perks and treats you need to have an unforgettable time.
Remember, the most important ingredient for a great camping adventure is the desire to have fun.
Now that you know what to bring on your next camping trip, it’s time to start planning! Use our camping list as a guide and you’ll be sure to have everything you need for a fun and safe trip.