Camping is a fun way toreconnect with nature and spend quality time with your family and friends. It’s also an opportunity to enjoy your company whileunplugging from the rest of the world for a while.
You can go camping at private campgrounds, state and national parks, backcountry, or in your backyard. Part of the excitement of camping is living off the grid with minimal gear and supplies while you’re outdoors.
Whether you’re a rookie camper or a seasoned outdoor explorer, ourultimate camping checklist has everything you need. We’re covering all the essentials—from the information you need to know beforehand to the must-have items in your packing list.
Prepare to spend a comfortable night under the stars with this comprehensive guide.
Preparation is key to ahappy camper (pun intended). That’s why knowing what you’re getting into is important, even before you start packing for your trip. This way, you’ll be adequately prepared to live outside the comforts of your home.
First, pick betweencar camping and tent camping. With car camping, you candrive your vehicle into the campsite, set up your tent nearby, and use your car as storage. This option is ideal if you want easy access to your car.
Tent camping requires a bit more effort as the parking spot is separate from the campsite. This means you’ll have to lug all your things to your camping location, so it’s best to bring what you can carry to avoid multiple trips.
Next, choose your camping location. You can go to a designated campground with amenities like clean water, pit toilets, tables, fire pits, and trash removal. Another option is dispersed camping. You’ll have to find your own site, be self-sufficient, and make sure to follow theLeave No Trace Principles.
Once you’ve chosen a location, find out if it’s a bear country area. If you’re camping in bear territory, follow these guidelines to discourage bears from visiting your camp:
It’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with your campground’s amenities and local regulations. This way, you can better prepare and bring camping gear and supplies allowed at the campsite.
Lastly, don’t forget to monitor the weather forecast for your camping trip. Always prepare for inclement weather or any type of condition you may encounter.
While having a comfortable campsite is great, camping teaches you to live minimally. Because, in reality, you don’t need a lot of gear to exist outdoors. If it’s your first time camping, borrowing or renting camping gear might be better. As you become a more experienced camper, you can customize your list of essential items.
The essentials vary depending on where you are staying.
Camping indoors (like in a cabin or RV) won’t require bringing your tent. It’s always good to check the furnishings available ahead of time, so you’ll know exactly what you need to bring. Everyday indoor items to consider for your camping list include:
The key to outdoor camping is to make your site as functional as possible without taking up too much space. For this reason, it’s best to bring multi-purpose, lightweight, and weather-safe items.
These practical tools will come in handy for repairs, setting up your tent, preparing your heat source, and ensuring your camp area is clean.
It’s also a great idea to bring portable power and navigation tools (e.g., compass, maps, and field guides) if getting reception and service in your camping location is difficult.
Plan your provisions accordingly. This is especially important if you’re staying somewhere far from grocery stores. Create a camp meal plan, prepare the ingredients, and organize them properly. Food prep will save you time.
Carefully check if your food items and supplies are enough for when you’re away. Make sure to pack extras!
Here are the must-have supplies in your camping checklist:
Most of the items in this list can be found in your home kitchen. Plus points if you can get your hands on multi-use kitchen items, saving you precious space and packing/unpacking time!
The food items will depend on your meal plan, but some nice-to-haves for camping trips are readily consumable snacks and drinks like trail mix and instant coffee. It’s also good to bring foods that don’t need refrigeration and don’t spoil quickly.
When it comes to clothes and shoes, it’s best to pack light, so make your wardrobe functional. Choose weather-appropriate inner and outerwear, and prepare the right attire for your planned activities.
If you’re expecting rainy or colder weather, prepare the following as well:
Don’t forget to add these items to your camping checklist! Bringing unscented products is best, so you don’t attract unwanted wildlife attention. Keep scented products in a bear canister—never leave odorous items unattended anywhere within your campsite.
Always keep your personal items on you or within sight. You don’t want to lose these things in the wilderness, so keep an eye on them.
For a memorable experience, bring along camping recreational gear. Many campgrounds offer outdoor activities for campers to enjoy. Here is another list to get you started:
If you’re camping with children and pets, don’t forget to bring what they need so they can have a fun and comfortable trip with the whole family.
Inexperienced campers often make the mistake of packing too much. Save valuable room while packing by leaving these items at home.
Immerse yourself in a peaceful environment while camping. Leave your gadgets behind and keep them from being damaged while on vacation. Spending time away from your devices will free up your hours for better activities like outdoor exploration and bonding with your people.
Prevent unnecessary waste and save space in your vehicle by packing reusable water bottles instead of single-use plastic bottles. You can refill your flask using potable water resources to stay hydrated while camping.
Wet wipes and flushable wipes have long-term environmental effects. They can significantly damage campground waste management and septic and sewer systems. So, it’s better to bring reusable towels for cleaning.
You’re out in the wild! It’s okay to get sweaty and dirty after a long day outdoors and simply enjoy a good bath sans the extra fragrances. You’ll also avoid drawing the attention of bugs and animals attracted by strong scents.
Glass items like bottles and containers are camping hazards as they can cause harm when they accidentally break. Not to mention they weigh heavy. Find alternative sustainable packaging options to ensure you don’t endanger anyone and the environment.
An electric heater can become a fire hazard as its heat can melt or ignite nearby objects and flammable products. This is especially risky if there isn’t enough space to maintain a safe distance from the heater or your campground doesn’t have the proper electrical outlet.
If you want to reserve a campsite on public lands, visitRecreation.gov. It’s an excellent resource for finding camping locations, day-use venues, and tours. You can also use it to apply for permits for different recreational activities.
Your camping experience won’t be complete without the cherry on top of our ultimate camping checklist. Don’t forget to pack your favoriteoutdoor apparel fromFamous In Real Life and tag us when you wear them on your next adventure!