Preparation is the key to a great camping trip. Spending time with family at a nearby campground? Roughing it on a backpacking trip? Wherever your adventure takes you, our camping essentials checklist can get you ready for the great outdoors.
CAMPING CLOTHES AND CARE
Whether your ideal camping trip involves setting up an elaborate outdoor oasis or roughing it under the stars, comfort is king. This starts with knowing what kind of clothes to pack. Be mindful of the temperature and pack layers of seasonal clothing. Lightweight t-shirts will be a must-have in the summer months. Meanwhile, chillier excursions will require long sleeves, vests and jackets.
Regardless of weather, a staple of camping attire is having the appropriate footwear. If you are hiking to your site, choosing the right hiking boots can make or break the trek. You may also want to look into a pair of water shoes if you’re going to be near wet terrain.
It’s important to keep in mind that any terrain can be “wet terrain” if rain is in the forecast. Ponchos and other raingear can help keep you dry when the weather takes a turn. Other apparel items that are useful include hats, gaiters, sunglasses and extra pairs of socks.
Clothing isn’t the only determining factor for your personal comfort. Bringing along camping hygiene products can help you stay well-kept in the wild. For multiple-day stays, you may want to bring a portable camp shower. Meanwhile, bathroom tissue, personal bath wipes, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes and microfiber towels are all small, portable items that can make a big difference no matter how long you’re camping.
Once you are comfortable with your clothes and hygiene, you can get comfortable with your surroundings. Brush up on how to set up a campsite and get ready to pack your gear. If you are opting out of sleeping in the open air, you will need to choose the right tent and tent accessories. These can include stakes, footprints and seam sealers.
For those nights you want to unwind around the fire pit, foldable chairs can help you relax. Features like padded headrests and arm rests can add comfort, while cup holders and attached side tables provide convenience. If you need more space, bring a few folding tables along.
If the light of the stars isn’t enough to guide your way at night, you can also look into outdoor lighting. Flashlights and headlamps can be good for individual use. You can also place lanterns around your site that can help illuminate the entire grounds. Don’t forget extra batteries. To learn more about what kind of outdoor lighting will be right for you, check out this Pro Tips guide on different types of outdoor lighting.
FUEL YOUR ADVENTURE
If you want to bring your kitchen skills to the campground, pack a camping or trail stove along with camping cookware and grill accessories. Dehydrated foods, trail mix and energy bars are great for low maintenance snacking. Don’t forget disposable plates, utensils and garbage bags for easy cleanup.
Insulated water bottles can help keep your water cool and hydration packs are great for hikes. It’s also helpful to learn about water purification and treatment tips for hiking (link).
A coffee press and single-serve coffee can help you get a jumpstart on your mornings. Meanwhile, a cooler can keep all of your beverages cool and ready.
When camping, you should prepare for any challenges that nature may provide. Packing tools and survival gear can help keep you ready. A multi-tool can help you fix small problems quickly, while a fixed blade knife can come in handy as you prepare your site by removing unwanted twigs and dirt.
Binoculars and a compass or GPS can help you navigate your surroundings. If you’re bringing any electronics, extra batteries and portable chargers can be a (battery) life saver.
You can assemble a survival kit ahead of time with an emergency whistle, emergency blanket, duct tape, a fire starter and a first-aid kit. Don’t forget to protect yourself from bugs and the sun with insect repellent and sunscreen.
Now that you know your camping essentials, learn how to pack your backpack to fit it all. Check out the full list of camp gear below.
*Click to enlarge and print checklist.