What To Take Camping

If you are planning to go camping with friends or family, any experienced camper will tell you that planning ahead is a must. A good checklist of what to take camping can mean the difference between an enjoyable experience and complete discomfort. While each checklist will be a little different, there are a few key things that are absolute essentials. Here is a list of what you need to bring camping in general, as well as a few specifics for certain camping situations. One thing you should always keep in mind is the best camping gear or outdoor sport equipment can make a huge difference on how your trip turns out. You don’t want to skimp on your tent and end up in a puddle because you didn’t want to spend a few extra dollars to get good equipment. Keep that in mind as you go through these lists.

Outdoor Camping Shelter

A good camping experience starts with a good shelter. If you are going the tent route, these are the things you will need to have with you:

  • Tent (If you are purchasing, know that it is always a good idea to buy one designed for larger groups than the number of people who are actually camping. A family of four in a tent designed to sleep four people will have little room for moving around, changing, or anything other than sleeping.)
  • Stakes, to secure the tent to the ground
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Ground cloth to protect the underside of the tent
  • Mat or pad for entrance to the tent
  • Small broom and dustpan

Sleeping Bags And Air Mattresses

Whether you are a sleeping bag or air mattress and blanket camper, you need to make sure that you have everything you need for a comfy night’s sleep on the trail.

  • Sleeping bags rated for the appropriate warmth level
  • Air mattress and pump
  • Sleeping bag pad, if you are sleeping on the ground
  • Pillows
  • Blankets and sheets, if desired

Foods To Take Camping

Cooking is one of the best things about camping, but it can require a lot of extra cargo. Here is a list that includes everything you need to cook in the great outdoors, but you may choose to bring a lot less than this.

  • Cooking stove with adequate propane
  • Aluminum foil
  • Gallon water bottle
  • Lighter or matches
  • Pots and pans
  • plastic utensils
  • Cooking utensils
  • Oven mitt
  • Dish soap
  • Cooking spray
  • Can Opener
  • Cups or mugs
  • Paper towels
  • Seasonings, including salt and pepper
  • Ketchup and mustard
  • Any food you are preparing, carried in a cooler full of ice
  • Beverages


Packing clothes for a camping trip can be tricky, so you need to prepare for whatever comes without going overboard. Here’s what to take camping to keep you comfortable, dry, and warm.

  • Jeans
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Jacket
  • Coat
  • Sweatshirt
  • Hat with light
  • Underwear
  • Pajamas
  • Boots
  • Rain gear
  • Swimming suit

Of course, if you are backpacking or camping alone at a hike in campsite, your list will be much more abbreviated. In this case, you may choose to forgo a tent in favor of a bivy sack, and your list of clothing and extras will be limited to what you can carry on your back. Remember that anything you take in needs to be brought back out. So it may be to your advantage to pack as light as possible without leaving necessities behind.

Any successful camping trip should begin with careful planning and organization. One idea that is very helpful is to keep a small, plastic organizer with drawers in your garage or storage area to keep supplies easy to access and organize ahead of time. You can even bring the drawer unit with you on your camp out to help you stay neat and tidy on the trail. This type of organizer will help you easily identify what you need to take camping, what you are out of, and what you can leave behind.

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