The Ultimate Camping Checklist: Don’t Forget These Essential Items!

Camping is one of my favorite activities. There’s something about being outside and away from technology that makes me feel so relaxed and peaceful. I know some people who love to camp, but they haven’t been able to find their perfect gear yet. 

For example, I have a friend who doesn’t have the right tent for his needs or the right sleeping bag for how cold or hot it gets at night. Luckily for you, this ultimate camping checklist has everything you need!

Must Have Essentials List | Camping Supplies Checklist
Don’t forget any camping essentials with the Ultimate Camping Checklist.
Make sure to prepare for camping with kids by reading our 10 essential tips.
Discover the most scenic camping spots in the US for a breathtaking adventure.
Prioritize safety on your camping trip – be prepared for wildlife encounters, weather hazards, and more.
Plan your camping trip season by season with our helpful guide.


Sunscreen is important! Not only do you want to protect yourself from sun damage and skin cancer, but you should also be prepared for the fact that your skin may burn easily. 

If you aren’t already familiar with how much sunscreen to apply and how often to reapply it, check out this guide from our friends at The Organic Prepper on how much sunscreen you should use.

In addition to some sunscreen (and lots of water), don’t forget to wear a hat and sunglasses so that you can avoid getting burned by UV rays.

When packing for your next camping trip, don’t forget to use our Ultimate Camping Checklist for a worry-free experience. Trust us, you’ll thank us later. Check out The Ultimate Camping Checklist to ensure you have everything you need.

First Aid Kit

You’ll want to make sure you have enough first aid supplies for all of your group. A good rule of thumb is that it should be one bandage per person, plus a roll of gauze and some antiseptic wipes. 

Make sure you include pain reliever and antihistamines, as well as antibiotic cream in case anyone gets bitten or stung by an animal.

Finally, don’t forget a first aid guide! This will help you identify what needs to be done in case someone gets hurt while camping (and also how to treat them).

Recommended First Aid Kits

Adventure Medical KitsOffers a wide selection of portable medical kits for all types of outdoor activities. From lightweight backpacking kits to family camping kits, they have you covered.
Johnson & JohnsonProvides a range of first aid kits suitable for home use, outdoor activities, and emergencies. Their compact, organized kits come with essential items to treat cuts, scrapes, and other minor injuries.
REI Co-opSells a variety of first aid kits designed specifically for camping, hiking, and backpacking. Their kits include supplies such as bandages, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.
ColemanOffers an extensive selection of outdoor gear and equipment, including first aid kits. Their first aid kits are designed for camping and other outdoor activities and include high-quality medical supplies in durable, organized cases.
SurvivewareProduces premium first aid kits with a focus on functionality and organization. Their kits are color-coded and labeled for easy identification and come with high-quality medical supplies for treating a range of injuries.

Camping Stove

Camp stoves are one of the most important pieces of camping equipment you can bring along. After all, it’s not exactly practical to bring a full kitchen along with you if you’re planning on roughing it for a few days out in nature. 

So make sure that before heading out for your first camping trip, or even your hundredth (yes, we said hundredth), that you have a camp stove and everything else needed to cook with.

You should be equipped with an assortment of pots and pans so that no matter what kind of meal needs to be cooked up or heated up, there will always be something available for the job. A pot is also essential because sometimes boiling water can get pretty slow going without one!

Camping with kids can be an adventure of a lifetime if you’re prepared. Our 10 tips for camping with kids will help you avoid meltdowns and make lasting family memories. Check out 10 Essential Tips for Camping with Kids in the USA to learn how to have a stress-free trip.

Bug Repellent

Mosquitoes, ticks and other insects can carry diseases that are harmful to humans. Mosquitoes are most common in the evening and at dawn, when they look for blood meals from humans. Ticks are most common in wooded areas where they sit quietly on tree trunks and wait for a passing animal or person to feed on.

Mosquitoes are a nuisance, but also cause irritation when they land on your skin or clothes; you can get rid of them with bug spray containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) or picaridin (KBR 3023). 

Ticks need to be removed by hand as soon as possible—you should do this carefully so you don’t accidentally leave any parts behind inside your body. If you’re not sure how to remove a tick safely and correctly, check out our guide here!

Recommended Bug Repellents

SawyerProvides effective and long-lasting insect repellents for different outdoor activities. Their products contain the active ingredient Picaridin or DEET and protect against a wide range of biting insects, including mosquitoes, ticks, and flies.
RepelOffers a variety of insect repellents in different forms, such as sprays, lotions, and wipes. Their products are designed to repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other flying and crawling insects for hours.
OFF!Produces a range of DEET-based products, including sprays, lotions, and clip-on devices. Their bug repellents are formulated to provide long-lasting protection against mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects.
Avon Skin-So-SoftKnown for its skin-soothing properties, Avon Skin-So-Soft also works as an effective insect repellent. Their Bug Guard repellents come in sprays, lotions, and towelettes, and offer protection against mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects.
ThermacellUses a repellent containing allethrin, a synthetic copy of a natural insecticide found in chrysanthemums, to repel mosquitoes and other flying insects. Their products include portable devices, lanterns, and torches and offer a 15 x 15-foot zone of protection.

Sun Protection Clothing

When you’re planning your trip, be sure to include the following sun protection clothing: lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that covers your arms and legs; long sleeves and pants; a wide-brimmed hat; sunglasses. 

When choosing which pieces are best for your trip, consider the level of sun exposure you expect to have as well as whether or not there will be shade in place at any point. If you don’t want to leave anything up for debate, simply pack everything!

If you want to take your camping experience to the next level, you need to explore the most scenic camping spots in the USA. From the mountains to the beach, we’ve got you covered. Check out The Most Scenic Camping Spots in the U.S. You Have to See to Believe to plan your next breathtaking camping adventure.

Water Purifier/Filter

When you’re camping, it’s important to purify any water you plan on drinking. There are several different ways to do this, but the most effective is by using a water purifier or filter. 

These allow you to take a dirty and potentially contaminated source of liquid and turn it into something safe enough for consumption (though some people will still prefer bottled water).

Water purifiers vary greatly in price, weight and ease-of-use. Some can even be used directly from lakes or rivers without having to scoop up an entire gallon at once! 

If you need help choosing one that works best for your needs and budget, consider consulting our guide on how much should cost? We also highly recommend taking along some kind of disinfectant like chlorine dioxide tablets as well; these are available online at sites like Amazon with just one click away!

If there’s no electricity around then boiling may be necessary – check out this guide we published yesterday called “What Is Boiling?” which talks about all things related boiling: how long does it take? Which containers work best? What temperature should they reach? We hope this helps

Recommended Water Purifiers and Filters

LifeStrawProduces lightweight and portable water filters for camping, hiking, and travel. Their products remove bacteria, parasites, and microplastics from contaminated water sources and provide safe and clean drinking water.
KatadynOffers a range of water filtration systems for different outdoor activities. Their products include portable filters, gravity filters, and hydration systems and provide efficient removal of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and other microorganisms from water.
MSRManufactures a variety of water purifiers and filters suitable for backpacking, camping, and global travel. Their products use advanced filtration technologies to remove bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and other impurities from water, producing safe and palatable drinking water.
PlatypusSpecializes in hydration solutions, including water bottles, hydration systems, and water filters. Their gravity filters are lightweight and easy to use and provide safe drinking water for outdoor activities.
SawyerProduces a range of portable water filters and purifiers that remove bacteria, protozoa, and other harmful contaminants from water. Their products can be used with a variety of water sources, including lakes, rivers, and streams, and offer a convenient and reliable water treatment option for outdoor activities.

Camping Tent

Camping tents are available in a wide range of sizes, from 2-person backpacking tents to 10-person cabin models. The size you choose will depend on how many people you plan on camping with, as well as how much space is available for your campground.

When deciding what type of tent you want, think about what sort of activities you will be doing while at the campsite. 

Do you need shelter from rain or bugs? Will there be plenty of trees providing shade? Is privacy important to your group? You might want a dome tent that offers privacy while still allowing light and air flow through its mesh walls. 

Or maybe a cabin style dome tent would suit your needs better; these offer more headroom and comfort than other styles but usually don’t have windows to let in natural light during the day time hours (but can still be useful for storing gear).

Regardless of whether it’s an inexpensive general purpose model or an expensive luxury option, any camper will tell you: there’s no better way to enjoy nature than under canvas!

Camping is a fun and exciting activity, but it’s essential to take safety seriously. From wildlife encounters to weather hazards, there are many factors to consider. Check out Camping Safety Essential Tips for a Safe and Fun Trip to learn how to stay safe while enjoying the great outdoors.

Sleeping Bag/Pillow

As you plan your camping trip, make sure to pack a sleeping bag. You can’t sleep on the ground without one! Your temperature will drop when you fall asleep and it gets darker, so it’s important to bring something warm and cozy with you. 

Sleeping bags come in many different shapes and sizes—some are designed for cold weather while others are warmer than others. 

You’ll want to choose the right type of sleeping bag based on where you’re going and what season of the year it is when you’re planning your trip!

If you have extra room in your backpack or car trunk, consider bringing along a pillow as well. Pillows add comfort during nap time but also offer support for long nights spent sleeping rough under the stars (and under some trees).


When you’re camping, a flashlight is more convenient than a lantern. Primarily because it’s hands-free and allows you to do other things while using it. This makes a flashlight/headlamp combination the ideal solution for most situations.

If you’re looking for an all-around best choice, go with a headlamp. They’re more comfortable and more durable than most flashlights, plus they provide better visibility due to their positioning on your forehead (not in your hand).

When it comes to planning a camping trip, timing is everything. Depending on the season and your destination, you may need to pack for different weather conditions and be prepared for seasonal challenges. Check out The Best Time to Plan Your Camping Trip: A Season-by-Season Guide to learn when to go and what to pack for your next camping adventure.

Fire Starter/Stove Fuel / Lighter / Matches

While you can always make a fire with just flint and steel, having the right kind of lighter will make things easier for you. For example, some lighters are windproof and waterproof—great if you’re camping in extreme weather conditions. 

Others can be used as a stove fuel for cooking food over the fire. And still others have features that allow them to burn even when it’s wet or windy out (not all lighters are created equal). If you plan on using a lighter to light your campfire, check out our guide here to learn how different lighters work and which ones we think are best.

You’ll also want matches or another type of flame-based ignition system that works well in adverse weather conditions; keep these dry so they don’t get ruined by rain or humidity. 

Matches should be kept in an airtight container so they don’t become damp from exposure to moisture before use it’s better for them not being kept inside your tent or backpack where they could get rained on! 

The easiest way is by buying waterproof match boxes from companies like 5 Minutes Fire Starter Kit Co., who sells their own branded matches plus other survival gear such as emergency blankets and whistles.

Extra Batteries

Has your flashlight ever died on you, just when you needed it most? If so, then you know the importance of having extra batteries. 

You can often buy them at any store. However, if there are no stores nearby or if they don’t have what you need in stock, check online and see whether they have a website that sells the right size and voltage for your device.

Biodegradable Soap and Shampoo

It’s not just about the environment biodegradable soap is good for you and your health, too. Whether you’re washing your hands or getting ready to take a shower, biodegradable soap is better for both your skin and hair. This is why we recommend bringing along some biodegradable shampoo as well.

If you don’t want to use harsh chemicals on yourself or the environment during camping trips, we recommend trying out Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap (which comes in several different scents). This all-natural product contains no synthetic preservatives, detergents, foaming agents or colorants, making it safe for use around campers of all ages including babies!


Remember, if you’ve got all these items, you’re ready to go camping! If you’re still not sure that you have everything, check out our infographic below which shows a visual list of the most important items.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you plan your next camping trip:

REI’s Family Camping Checklist: This comprehensive checklist covers all the essentials for a family camping trip, from clothing and food to first aid and gear.

Defiance Gear Co’s Ultimate Camping Checklist: This checklist includes a wide range of camping gear and equipment for different types of camping trips.

Coleman’s Ultimate Camping Checklist: This checklist covers everything you need for a camping trip, from tents and sleeping bags to cooking equipment and campfire essentials.


What should I pack for a camping trip?

You should pack essentials such as a tent, sleeping bag, cooking equipment, and clothes. Don’t forget to also pack food, water, and first aid supplies.

How do I choose a campsite?

When choosing a campsite, consider factors such as location, facilities, and terrain. Look for a spot with a flat, level surface, and check whether it has the amenities you need, such as water, toilets, and fire pits.

What should I wear when camping?

Wear comfortable, breathable clothing that allows for a range of movement. Dress in layers to accommodate temperature changes, and wear sturdy, waterproof shoes or boots.

How do I stay safe when camping?

To stay safe when camping, follow safety guidelines, practice good hygiene and food safety, and be aware of environmental hazards such as wildlife and weather.

How can I make my camping trip more eco-friendly?

To reduce your impact on the environment while camping, use eco-friendly products and avoid single-use plastics. Follow Leave No Trace principles and leave your campsite as you found it.