Camping Checklist – Pack These Camping Essentials Before Your Trip To Any Campsite

It’s hard to top camping as a bonding activity, whether it’s between kins or friends. It’s a given, people love camping, for tons of reasons. Some people do it for bonding purposes, many like a breath of fresh air, others want to teach their children survival skills. Everyone associates a different symbolic meaning to camping, but they adore it, nonetheless.

Camping Checklist

Image from Unsplash

But admittedly, camping could be a bit of a hassle, as it involves multiple processes. There’s a lot of preparation going in to make camping a truly great experience, and a camping checklist is almost a must. While most places offer the bare minimum, inexperienced campers are susceptible to an awful time, especially if they aren’t well-versed in the field of camping and don’t really know what they need to bring.

If you’re setting out on a camping trip, refer to our basic camping checklist below as we break down in detail any and every essential for a perfect camping trip you’ll ever need.

The Camping Checklist - Our Checklist for Everything You’ll Need at Campsites

It goes without saying that preparation is the key to success. Whether you’re a novice to the game of camping or you’re a seasoned veteran, you’d know that a camping checklist is vital to the camping experience.

In this guide we compile every possible thing that you should bring to ensure an ideal camping trip. Whether you’re making a festival camping checklist or a family camping checklist, our guide will meet your needs. Feel free to customize your very own camping list essentials to our own likings based on what we have suggested.

Shelter and Bedding for Camping

You have to stay somewhere, right? Besides, what’s the point of making it all the way to a far-flung camping site, only to sleep in your van? If you’ve made it this far, might as well make the most of it, and camp out in the open.

Tents, however, can be a dream or a nightmare. Even veteran campers struggle from time to time trying to properly set up a tent and everything inside. The interior arrangement, as well, can be a bit tricky. But everything will be rewarding when it’s all said and done.

  • Bandana
  • Beach towels
  • Belt
  • Dirty laundry bag
  • Flip flops
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Hat
  • In-camp sandals
  • Jeans, pants, shorts, trousers
  • Long-sleeve shirts (for sun, bugs)
  • Rainwear (jacket and pants)
  • Scarf, gloves, and warm socks
  • Shoes boots
  • Sleep clothes
  • Suitable footwear
  • Sun protection and sunglasses
  • Swimsuit, towel
  • T-shirts, polo shirt
  • Umbrella
  • Undies
  • Warm fleece, jacket, jumper, vest, sweatshirt
  • Water sandals
  • Wellington boot

Clothes for Camping

Clothing is as basic as it gets for any trip planning. Surely this will be the first that comes to mind when one gets round to packing their stuff but packing what kind of clothes and how many pieces are the big questions.

It really depends heavily on what kind of trip you’re going on. If it’s a sojourn at a camping centre nearby, then all you need is simple everyday clothing that you’d normally wear. If you’re heading up north, then you should be packing lots of thick clothing and socks, perhaps large in quantities to combat an unexpectedly chilling night.

  • Aluminium foil
  • Barbecue and charcoal for BBQ
  • Bin bags
  • Biodegradable washing up liquid
  • Camping cookbook
  • Any opener
  • Chopping board
  • Condiments
  • Cooking oil
  • Cooking utensils
  • Cool box and freeze blocks
  • Cutlery (forks, spoons, chopsticks)
  • Dish cloth, scrubbing sponge
  • Drinks, beer, wine, soda, etc. 
  • Fire starters (newspaper, straw)
  • Foldable table and chairs
  • Food
  • Frying pan, or saucepan
  • Marshmallows
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Milk
  • Mugs
  • Napkins
  • Paper towels
  • Plates
  • Potholder and oven gloves
  • Salt, pepper, spices
  • Sharp knife
  • Stove, or an oven
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Tea, coffee (preferably instant)
  • Thermos flask
  • Tin foil
  • Tupperware
  • Water container (jug, kettle, bucket, water bottle)
  • Water purification tablets

A quick note though, try to, if conditions allow, bring lighter and more durable, moisture-wicking, quick-drying clothing. Consider bringing a few extra pieces to spare in case your clothes are unexpectedly dirty.

Food for Camping

Next in line would be food. It’s a basic amenity after all, isn’t it?

Quite frankly, there are few that come close to the satisfaction when one watches the bickering campfire while toasting sweet-smelling marshmallows and surrounded by the joyous chattering from loved ones. On top of that campfire, you can grill the most amazing steak and vegetables for a smoky and unforgettable al fresco dinner.

Even if you don’t cook, a campfire is quite a spectacle by itself, isn’t it?

  • Aluminium foil
  • Barbecue and charcoal for BBQ
  • Bin bags
  • Biodegradable washing up liquid
  • Camping cookbook
  • Any opener
  • Chopping board
  • Condiments
  • Cooking oil
  • Cooking utensils
  • Cool box and freeze blocks
  • Cutlery (forks, spoons, chopsticks)
  • Dish cloth, scrubbing sponge
  • Drinks, beer, wine, soda, etc. 
  • Fire starters (newspaper, straw)
  • Foldable table and chairs
  • Food
  • Frying pan, or saucepan
  • Marshmallows
  • Matches or a lighter
  • Milk
  • Mugs
  • Napkins
  • Paper towels

Water shouldn’t be a concern as most camping sites offer access to water, you just need to bring some containers. If you aren’t travelling to a campsite, then consider bringing your own drinking water, and try to locate and use a water source nearby.

Toiletries for Camping

Hygiene is of utmost importance. Wherever you’re at, not just in a campsite exclusively, you must remain hygienic.

On top of that, as you’d most likely be camping in the wild, there’s a good chance that you’ll be bitten by pests. Although long-sleeved shirts might mitigate that from happening, there is still a chance that the pests make it to you, and God knows what kind of disease they could be transmitting. As such, you should also be bringing certain repellent lotion or cream.

You should also be wary of the environment. Many campers use one-time sachets of shampoo, then dispose of the packing inconsiderately, effectively littering hard-to-dispose-of items into the environment. You aren’t one of those people, are you? Then do remember to decant your shampoo or whatever from the original bottle to a smaller one (or bring it altogether), just don’t bring instant shampoo.

  • Bite and sting cream
  • Camping shower
  • Contact lenses, solution
  • Cosmetics
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • First-aid kit or first-aid supplies
  • Hair ties, clips
  • Hairbrush, comb
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Hanging toiletries bag
  • Insect repellent
  • Lip balm
  • Medication
  • Menstrual products
  • Prescription medications
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Shampoo, conditioner
  • Shower gel, soap
  • Small mirror
  • Sunscreen and after-sun
  • Tissues
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Towels
  • Wet wipes

Entertainment for Camping

Stories are the appurtenances of a campfire at night. Rightfully so. There are few occasions as soulful as camp nights for people to disclose their untold stories. But not everyone likes it cheesy, no? Some just like to engage in an out-in-the-wild shindig.

Image from Unsplash

Come to think of it, a campfire is truly a great opportunity for people to truly revel without a care in the world. No neighbours, no cops, no strangers, and they can just rest as is. Perfect isn't it?

Almost, you’d need something to stir up the moment. Whether it’s on-the-spot jamming, drinking games, or table games, a bit of planning goes a long way in making the camp night exciting and unforgettable.

  • Books or magazines
  • Local area guidebook
  • Bicycle
  • Bikes
  • Board game sets
  • Colouring-in books
  • Fishing rods, baits
  • Frisbee
  • Guitar, ukulele, cajon
  • Musical instruments
  • Pack of playing cards
  • Ping pong balls
  • Plastic cups
  • Puzzles
  • Spare liqueur
  • Sporting equipment
  • Toys for children
  • Werewolf pack, Exploding kittens

Electronic Items for Camping

Electronic devices wouldn’t, and shouldn’t to be honest, go anywhere near a camp zone. Ultimately, the essence of camping is to get away from the busy lifestyle and reconcile with nature, which is smothered in electronics.

That said, there are several indispensable items that are electronic. Smart phones, for instance, are inseparable to most people nowadays, with that come their partner-in-crime, the chargers. Laptop, iPads, tablets, … Moreover, while it’s a great idea to reconnect with nature, that isn’t necessarily synonymous with disconnecting with the rest of the world. Besides, there are valid, sensible reasons why us all should always keep in touch with people who are important to us.

On the other hand, electricity is fundamental for some activities. Imagine you’re holding a watch party around the campfire with everyone and then your projector just shuts down. That would be terrible, right?

  • Adapter
  • Amplifier
  • Batteries
  • Cable reels
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Disco light bulbs
  • Electric divider
  • Electric extension cable
  • Electric lantern
  • Extension cord
  • Flashlight
  • Laptop
  • MP3 player, tablet
  • Polaroid instant camera
  • Projector and screens
  • Router
  • Smartphones
  • Water purifier
  • Wireless karaoke microphones
  • Keyboard

Documents, Cash, and Credit cards

You shouldn’t let the fun take over you. Do remember to bring everyday essential items by your side, ideally in a locked compartment, just in case anything happens.

  • Accident insurance
  • Booking details, tickets
  • Breakdown cover details
  • Campsite reservation confirmation
  • Car insurance
  • Credit card, debit card
  • Driving license
  • Personal ID
  • Travel insurance
  • Vehicle ownership document

Step by Step for Camping Packing List - The Ultimate Checklist for Camping

If you’re still finding it difficult to really get going with all of this camping calamity, may us offer a hand here. We’ve put up a bit of a simple but concise guide to pack your camping trip essentials.

Step 1: Choosing Camping Bag

A camping bag is your best assistance in any trip, not just a camping trip. A suitable backpack helps relieve stress during travelling, keep your belongings intact, and organize them neatly for ease of use. Of all of the things you need to check for your journey, a good backpack is definitely at the top of the list.

Camping Packing List

Photo credit: @baratdaya_ on Instagram

The ADV Dry line from CabinZero is a heavyweight contender for the best camping backpack, especially at higher capacity. Its design leans towards endurance and organization, which is absolutely perfect for camping trips. CabinZero’s Military backpack or Classic backpack is another superb choice for camping backpacks. Huge storage capacity, multiple pocket sleeves for sorting your stuff, sturdy Ripstop fabric are pluses that elevate the Military backpack to the upper echelon of camping backpack.

Step 2: Listing Items for Your Camping Essential Checklists

It’s easy to say but deciding what you really need to bring considering all different factors like necessities, desires, agenda, storage capacity, etc is easier said than done.

We suggest you start out with the absolute must-have to you, so they could be your tents, your clothes, your food, and what-have-you. Once you jotted down everything necessary for survival, you can proceed to add extra items such as foldable chairs or tables, and finally leisure items like card packs or musical instruments.

Step 3: Organize Your Camping Stuffs

Once you’ve compiled a camping essentials list, proceed to sort them into categories like we have in this article. Remember to keep them somewhere easy to find and not easy to forget, so you can refer to them anytime you need. Feel free to use some apps like Google Sheet or Excel to help you streamline the process.

Things to Do AFTER Your Camping - Checklist for Things You Should Do Before Leaving The Campsite

Travelling is fun and all, but do remember to be a responsible traveller. After you’ve done partying, remember to do these:

  • Check the area for littering
  • Check tyres
  • Check your belongings
  • Clean up the spot
  • Fill up with fuel
  • Take care of all the waste

Khoa Pham

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