If you are prepping for a camping trip, a camping checklist will help you keep stock of the things you should pack but haven’t, and to avoid packing seemingly important but not critically necessary things. This leads to faster packing, leaving you ample time to think about other important issues like budgeting and booking tickets. Space and time are both of essence in this exercise. And, packing all the right items is the bottom line to any thrilling experience.
Because we understand how devastating it can be to scroll the internet all day long and not find a comprehensive camping checklist for your upcoming camping trip, we have prepared a quick and simple checklist for you. Which essential things do you need to have?
Read on for the ultimate camping checklist for both experienced and first-time campers
This goes without saying: You need a place to sleep within the campsite. Some people opt to sleep in their cars, but trust me; that would be the worst decision you have ever made. For optimal camping experience, you need to sleep deep in the wild where all you hear at night are the sounds of nature. Invest in the following:
It should be big enough for everyone and, as much as possible, have a modern cooling/heating system.
There are sleeping bags specially designed to keep you cool during winter and there are those made to keep out the heat during summer. Be sure to buy the right one depending on the time of year you will be camping. And if you want to save on space, leave the sleeping pillows behind and use sleeping bag sacks instead.
Backpacking chairs and a camping table
You will need chairs in the camp, but sometimes you lack the space to carry bulky chairs and tables. That is where backpacking and camping chairs come in. chairs like this fold away for effortless packing, they are comfortable and are lightweight for portability purposes. Also, you need to ensure that your camping chairs and tables are durable and can withstand the harsh outdoor weather.
You will need camping mats for everyone in order to keep the cold and damp of the ground at bay. Any waterproof mat is okay, but if your budget allows, a self-inflating mat is the better option.
Tools and repair kit
Repair work is almost inevitable when camping. That is why you need to pack some extra spare parts and all the relevant repair tools. Here are some ideas to start you off:
- Sewing kit – Contains things like threads, needles, and spare buttons, among others.
- Tent repair kit – Seam sealer, tent patching tape, and pole splicer, etc.
- Camp tools – Harmer, saw, ax, sharpening file, pliers, and screwdriver, etc.
- Stove kit – If you pack a liquid fuel stove and lanterns, you will need a stove/lantern generator, a stove/lantern pump, and some lantern mantles, etc.
- Others – Duct tape, mattress repair tools, fuel filter, and if you will be using a canoe or an outboard motor, pack all the appropriate repair tools for them.
Camping is supposed to be fun and merry, but sometimes your safety can be threatened by intruding animals or thieves roaming around the area. That is why you need to be prepared for the unexpected. These tools will help you protect your camping territory:
- Outdoor GPS tracking device gives you a complete solution of tracking, locating and off-grid communicating.
- Headlamps, lanterns, or flashlight. These will scare away wild animals and in the case of any unfamiliar sounds, you will easily check for any potential threats.
- A small radio to make it appear as if you are in your tent so that thieves cannot get in.
- Compass and GPS. to prevent you from getting lost.
- Night vision binoculars for night surveillance. Sometimes you will hear sounds in the woods at night or one of your fellow campers loses their way at night, so you will need good binoculars to boost your night vision.
- Solar and portable power. The last thing you want is to have to switch off your phone and lighting system because of power scarcity. A good solar panel will allow you to run all your security systems without any worries.
- Cell phones in case you are lost in the wild and you need to call out for help.
Cases of gas poisoning, malaria due to mosquitoes, and other safety threats are very common in the wild. For you and your family’s safety, pack the following:
- Personal medical prescription. Even if you don’t have any, it is good to seek advice from a travel doctor for any pre-trip prescriptions and self-treatment instructions, particularly if you will be camping far from your home country/state.
- Bandages, band-aid, cotton balls, elastic wipes, and medical tapes
- Cold compress in case of intense cuts
- Mosquito & other insect repellents and snake bite kit
- Aspirin and painkillers
- Antibacterial wipes and sterile gauze
- Antibiotic cream, anti-blister cream, sterile dressing, surgical cutting tools, and gloves.
- Hydrogen peroxide. It will help you treat insect bites and kill infections in case you are wounded.
What you pack for your camping kitchen depends on whether you will be car camping or backpacking. So, out of the list below, pick the items that you think will help you set up your perfect camping kitchen.
- Portable stove. A good camping stove should easily close up for easy storage. If your budget is tight, a fire pit and a grill on top of it will help you cook comfortably using a cast-iron pan.
- Hot-water heater. For your coffee making, bathing, drinking water, and dish cleaning needs, a hot-water heater will come in handy.
- A cooler. You will need a cooler to keep your groceries, fruits, and other foods cool. You can also use it to cool your sunscreen on hot days and when closed, as a temporary prep station when cooking.
- A refillable water carrier. You will need adequate water storage, especially if you will be camping deep in the woods where running water isn’t available. Of course, the importance of water in your camping life cannot be overemphasized.
- Cleaning apparatus. These include dishwashing soap, sponge, pot scrubber, and dish towel.
- Cooking apparatus. Pack anything that you will need to prepare and cook meals. We are talking pans, pots, pot holder, cooking spoon, roasting forks, a knife, and tongs, etc.
- Serving apparatus. Carry a serving spoon, spatula, paper towels, cups, paper plates, and bowls, etc.
- Openers for your bottles, cans, etc.
- Food, of course, and food containers. Your containers should be able to keep out moisture, insects, and rodents.
- Ice or a rolling ice maker
- Storage containers for the utensils
- Trash cans
Camping isn’t supposed to condemn you for days without a bath, greasy hair, and unpleasant body odor. For your own sake and for the sake of your camping buddies, don’t forget to carry the following camping hygiene items:
- At least 2 outfits so that you can wash and wear them alternatively. As for the underwear, socks, and bras, pack as many as possible. While at it, pack wicking clothes instead of cotton clothes because they don’t soak up sweat.
- A hand sanitizer
- A biodegradable soap
- If you will not be having a reliable water source, carry enough water at least for your face, underarms, and groin area.
- Baby wipes, tissue paper, or bio wipes for your nature calls.
- A microfiber towel. These towels dry faster.
- Unscented dry shampoo for your hair. Scented shampoos, hair sprays, and perfumes can easily attract wild animals and bugs
- A toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
- Brush, comb, and a small mirror
- Menstrual products
Hiking gear and equipment
Camping is more enjoyable when you participate in hiking, trekking, walking, and other physical activities. There is a wide range of possible weather scenarios out there, different types of terrain, and a host of safety challenges. As such, you need to get your hiking basics in order beforehand. Some of the hiking gear and equipment that you may need include:
- Hiking pants. They should be sturdy, weatherproof and lightweight so that you can hike all day without needing to change with the changing weather and terrain. They should also give you all the flexibility you need to lift or rotate your legs. Wicking underwear will also come in handy as they will protect your groin area from overheating.
- Hiking boots and socks. A good hiking boot should fit your foot perfectly, be breathable to avoid overheating and blisters, and have a good shock absorption mechanism. The boot should be spacious enough for the thick technical hiking socks.
- Hiking backpack. Forget about the huge backpack you brought to the campsite. You will need a smaller one for the purposes of carrying your hiking gear to and from the woods.
- A lightweight, waterproof rain jacket.
- A small first aid kit.
- A couple of hiking poles.
- A hiking torch, preferably two: One battery-operated and one heavy power torch.
- Warm mittens
If you wish to add a little more adventure to your camping trip, why not go fishing? This can even be a good source of your meat for the entire camping duration. You will need to apply for a fishing license beforehand, but if you already have one, go ahead and pack the following:
- A rod, reel, and line
- A waterproof backpack with a hard, formed bottom for carrying fish and fishing gear.
- Bait and hooks if necessary.
- Needle-nose pliers or scissors for removing hooks.
- Small bobbers for easy fish detection.
Sun and bug protection essentials
Because sun rays can damage skin cells, you will need to pack appropriate sun protective clothing. Your eyes, on the other hand, are one of the most fragile parts of your body and as such needs all the protection they can get. Here are some basic items for this purpose:
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Bug spray
- Long-sleeve, moisture-wicking shirt
These are things that you can survive without but if your budget and/or space allow, they can be great additions to your camping experience. They include:
- Portable clothesline. If you are going for an extended camping trip, hanging your clothes on railings and tree branches may not be feasible. Get a good portable clothesline that folds away easily, weighs less than 5kgs, and that can hold a weight of 20kgs or more. The frame material should also be able to resist bad weather.
- Candles for, well, romantic candle-lit dinners
- Table cloth
- All-weather pen and notebook. If you love writing down points and marking spots on the map as you hike, you will need an all-weather pen and a book because normal stationery may fail you under harsh weather conditions.
- Camp playing cards or board games.
- Camp rug
- A broom
- Cutting board for your kitchen
- Corkscrew for your wine.
- Portable coffee maker
- Music player and headphones
- Toys for your pets and kids
- Reading materials
- Portable camp shower
- Identification and credit cards
- A camera. If you are into outdoor photography, then a camera will be a great addition to your camping gear. For starters, a good camping camera should be water-resistant, have multiple memory card slots, have good image stabilization, and weigh 2lbs or less.
- A kayak and kayak carrier, canoe, and/or mountain bike. Remember to carry their repair tools and spare parts as well.
Lighting a campfire is the pinnacle of any unforgettable camping trip. The fire provides the right atmosphere for storytelling and bonding sessions. The amount of firewood to pack will depend on the type of wood (hardwoods burns for longer than softwoods), the size of the campfire, and the duration of the fire that you will be setting up. Always pack more than enough firewood to avoid running out of it in the middle of your camping trip. If you will be camping in a site filled with dead trees and dry firewood, you don’t need to carry your own. However, you will need to pack a pair of gloves and thick-clothed sleeves. These will protect your arms from thorns and sharp branches. And if you weren’t planning to pack hiking boots or to carry a compass, well, now you may have to.
With the 12 sets of essential camping items, your ideal outdoor adventure is easily attainable. Our list is comprehensive enough so, even without adding anything else, you will have a hassle-free, fun-filled camping experience. After all, the fundamental reasoning behind camping is enjoying life with minimal survival gear. But in case we have left out an item that you feel is essential (maybe your iPod is essential for you), don’t shy away from bringing it along if you have space.