The Ultimate Camping Trip Checklist: What To Pack And When To Go

Camping is one of the best ways to get away from your busy life and relax. You can spend time with your friends or family, explore nature and have fun.

Camping is also a great way to reconnect with yourself and learn something new about yourself. If you’re thinking about taking a camping trip, check out this ultimate camping checklist!

What To Pack Camping (Weekend Checklist)
Plan ahead and make a checklist
Bring the right gear for your needs and budget
Choose a campsite that suits your preferences
Follow Leave No Trace principles
Prepare for emergencies and unexpected weather

Flashlight And Batteries

For safety reasons, you’ll want to pack a flashlight. I’d recommend bringing two lights. That way, if one stops working for whatever reason, you’ll still have another one to use. 

Also pack extra batteries; they can be expensive at outdoor stores when you need them most and it’s always nice to have extras on hand in case something happens while camping. 

You may also choose to bring a headlamp instead of a traditional handheld model they are more comfortable and much more convenient! If that’s the route you go down, solar-powered flashlights are an excellent option since they don’t rely on batteries which means no extra weight in your bag either!

When heading out for a camping trip, it’s important to have all the essentials packed. Don’t forget to check out our guide on the best camping gear items for your next trip and make sure you have everything you need for a successful outdoor adventure!

First Aid Kit

The first aid kit, in addition to being a must-have for hikers and campers, is also great for people who lead active lifestyles or are involved in outdoor activities. You should pack the following:

  • Bandages and gauze
  • Painkillers like aspirin or ibuprofen (depending on your age)
  • Antiseptic cream (for cuts)
  • Tweezers (in case you get splinters) – use tweezers to remove small objects stuck in your skin, like thorns or ticks — but only if you know how to use them! Don’t try this at home!
  • Scissors – use them to cut clothing so that it can be easily taken off if someone gets hurt while wearing it; also useful for cutting bandages into smaller pieces

Recommended First Aid Kits

BrandKit TypeContentsPrice
Adventure Medical KitsUltralight and WatertightBandages, medication, wound care, and instruments$34.99
SurvivewareSmall First Aid KitAdhesive bandages, gauze, emergency blanket, ice pack, shears$36.95
First Aid OnlyAll-PurposeBandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, scissors$19.64
MyMedicThe ReconBandages, medication, wound care, instruments, splint$189.95
ColemanFirst Aid TinBandages, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, sting relief, and more$7.99

This table provides a comparison of recommended first aid kits for camping and outdoor adventures. It includes information on brand, kit type, contents, and price to help campers choose the best kit for their needs and budget.

Bug Spray And Sunscreen

Bug spray is a must-have for any camping trip. Bugs like mosquitoes, ticks and flies are just some of the insects that can not only ruin your outdoor fun but also pose serious health risks.

There are many different types of insect repellent available in stores and online, so make sure to carefully read labels before buying one. 

Look for products that contain DEET or picaridin (Picardin) as they are often more effective than other ingredients. For example, Off! Clip On Mosquito Repellent contains both DEET and Picardin as active ingredients while Ultrathon Insect Repellent Gel contains just DEET.

When applying bug spray:Keep children away from sprayed surfaces until dry.Wash hands after use.Do not use near eyes or mouth.Reapply every two hours if outdoors for long periods

And when using sunscreen:Apply 30 minutes before going outside

Planning a camping trip can seem overwhelming, but our guide on how to plan a camping trip in 15 easy steps breaks down the process into manageable tasks. Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a beginner, our comprehensive guide can help ensure that you’re prepared for your next trip.

Sleeping Bags

A sleeping bag is a must-have for your camping trip. You need to make sure that the one you bring is appropriate for the season and weather, as this will affect how warm or cool you feel during the night. 

Most sleeping bags are rated by their temperature rating, which is based on the lowest temperature at which they can be used safely. 

The most common types of sleeping bags include mummy bags and rectangular designs mummy bags can be very snug but don’t allow much room for movement, while rectangular ones are more spacious but may not keep you as warm when temperatures dip below freezing.

If you’re planning on spending several nights out in nature without access to electricity and running water (or just want an excuse to stay indoors), consider picking up some new games from GameStop! 

A lot of people think board games are just a thing from their childhoods–but there’s plenty out there that will keep you entertained long after those days have passed too soon by.

Recommended Sleeping Bags

BrandModelTemperature RatingTypePrice
Therm-a-RestQuestar 2020°F/-6°CMummy$279.95
MarmotTrestles Elite Eco 2020°F/-6°CMummy$149
NEMO EquipmentDisco 1515°F/-9°CSpoon$259.95
REI Co-opTrail Pod 2925°F/-4°CRectangular$109
The North FaceEco Trail Bed 2020°F/-6°CRectangular$169

This table provides a comparison of recommended sleeping bags for camping and outdoor adventures. It includes information on brand, model, temperature rating, type, and price to help campers choose the best sleeping bag for their needs and budget.

Water Bottles

Be sure to bring a few bottles of water. If you’re taking any kind of trip in the wilderness, it’s important to stay hydrated. 

The best way to make sure you do this is by bringing along a couple pints per person per day, as well as some way to purify water if you don’t have access to clean sources throughout your trip.

In addition, it may be helpful to bring more than one bottle for each person on your trip—you can use them for cooking and cleaning up after meals, washing dishes and hands, or even doing laundry if there isn’t any running water nearby (if necessary).

If possible try using plastic bottles instead of glass ones—they’re lighter weight so easier for packing into your backpack or car trunk when heading out for an overnight hike through the mountainside trails! 

Plastics also don’t break easily so less chance of spilling something sticky all over yourself while hiking around trying not get bitten by snakes hiding under rocks.”

Choosing the right camping tent can make or break a camping trip. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best camping tents for every budget and adventure to help you find the perfect tent for your needs. Take a look at our guide before you make your next camping gear purchase.


There are many things to consider when purchasing a tent, but the most important is how many people will be sleeping in it. 

If you’re going on an overnight trip with your significant other, for example, you’ll want to get a two-person tent (or at least one that can fit two people). 

Similarly, if your camping party has three or four members who plan on sharing sleeping space under one roof, then opt for a three-person model instead of two smaller options.

When selecting your shelter’s size and shape, also keep in mind whether or not it needs to withstand rainstorms and heavy winds and whether or not its waterproofing material can handle those kinds of weather conditions without letting any water seep through the seams. 

If so: great! If not: make sure there’s an extra tarp lying around somewhere nearby before heading out into the wilderness with your new purchase strapped onto its back!

Recommended Tents

MSRHubba Hubba NX2-personBackpacking$449.95
ColemanCarlsbad Dark Room4-personFamily$199
Big AgnesCopper Spur HV UL44-personBackpacking$649.95
REI Co-opKingdom 66-personFamily$529
Teton SportsMesa Canvas Tent6-personCanvas$399.99

This table provides a comparison of recommended tents for camping and outdoor adventures. It includes information on brand, model, capacity, type, and price to help campers choose the best tent for their needs and budget.

Camping Stove, Fuel, Pots And Pans

If you’re going to cook anything while camping, you’ll need to bring a stove. I recommend bringing one that uses liquid fuels like kerosene or white gas because they burn longer and hotter than camp stoves that use propane canisters.

Also, be sure to pack plates, bowls and utensils because there’s no telling how long it will take your food to get cold while waiting for the water in your pot to boil. 

And if you decide against cooking altogether (which is totally fine) at least have something on hand with which to eat your freeze-dried meals out of!

Looking for some inspiration for your next camping trip? Check out our guide on the best camping spots in America for some of the most beautiful and scenic destinations in the United States. From national parks to state parks, our guide has something for everyone.

Firewood And Matches Or Lighter

You’ll need firewood and matches or a lighter to start your campfire. It’s best to find dead wood—the kind that has fallen off trees and is lying on the ground—because it burns cleaner and more easily than live wood. 

You can also collect dry, dead branches from your surroundings if you’re in an area with lots of trees (like a forest), but don’t be afraid to collect branches from other sources too: old fences, drafty windowsills at home, etc. Just make sure they’re not toxic!

To transport it back from wherever you’ve gathered it (and keep it dry), wrap the firewood up in trash bags or plastic grocery bags before putting them in a large plastic container like a bucket or cooler; this will keep them dry until you get back home again after your trip. 

Be careful how long you leave the firewood outside when storing for future use; ideally no longer than 24 hours if possible because rainwater could damage the structure of any exposed logs which would then burn less efficiently during use later on down the road! 

Also remember that tarps may help protect against rain damage but should never touch burning coals directly since they will cause sparks which could cause serious burns if touched without protective clothing being worn while working around hot embers.

Warm Clothes

You’ll be spending a lot of time outside, so it’s important to pack warm clothes. Pack a hat and gloves, as well as a warm sleeping bag and warm socks. If you’re traveling by car, make sure you have blankets in the backseat that can double as jackets when needed.

if you’re looking for some tips and tricks to make your next camping trip even better, take a look at our guide on 10 surprising camping trip hacks you need to know. From shortcuts to save time and money, to insider tips on how to make the most of your outdoor adventure, our guide has everything you need to know before your next trip.

Camping Chairs And Cooler

One of the best things you can bring with you on a camping trip is a chair. This is especially true if there are going to be long days spent sitting around the campfire or hanging out at your campsite. 

While most people think of folding chairs as something for tailgating, they actually make excellent additions to any camping experience. 

They’re lightweight and easy to store, so they don’t take up much space in your car or backpack. They also fold up easily, so you can set them up wherever you go without worrying about damaging your space by leaving the metal legs sticking out into it. 

Most importantly, though: when it gets dark and time for bed rolls around and after having spent all day hiking around looking at beautiful scenery you need somewhere comfortable to sit down before crawling onto your sleeping pad or tent mattress!

A cooler is another must-have item on any camping trip even if it’s just an overnight excursion! You’ll want something that can hold food safely while keeping ice frozen; otherwise everything will spoil before lunchtime tomorrow morning (or worse). 

Consider investing in one with wheels instead of carrying around an awkward heavy box all day long; this way it’ll be easier getting things into place once everyone arrives safely at their destination.

Boots (And An Extra Pair Of Walking Shoes)

Okay, boots. You’re going to want a pair of comfortable, waterproof hiking boots for your trip. These are absolutely essential you can’t go on a camping trip without them! 

But what if you don’t have hiking boots? Don’t worry! There are plenty of other types of footwear that will get the job done just as well:

Hiking shoes: These should be sturdy and supportive, with good grip on rough terrain. They should also be broken in before you go on your trip, so they won’t rub blisters on any tender spots (or even cause them).

Rain boots: For rainy days or after things start getting muddy outside, rain boots will keep your feet dry while keeping them protected from any water underneath the surface that might slip through crevices between toes or around the arch of your foot.

Tarps and garbage bags

Tarps and garbage bags are an invaluable part of your camping kit. Tents are definitely preferable when it comes to keeping dry, but they’re not always necessary or practical. 

If you’re in a place with frequent rain or wind, a tarp can provide you and your gear with shelter from the elements without taking up too much space in your pack and weighing down on you like a full tent would. 

Garbage bags are also essential because they’ll come in handy for many things: collecting trash around camp (though try to avoid bringing any plastic bags or bottles), using them as makeshift garbage bins and even as a makeshift tent if need be!


With so much to do and see, it can be hard to know where to start with packing for your next camping trip. 

The good news is that with a few key pieces of equipment, you’ll be able to make your time in the wilderness a lot more enjoyable and comfortable!

Further Reading

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

REI’s Family Camping Checklist: This comprehensive checklist from REI covers everything you need to bring for a family camping trip, including gear, clothing, and food.

CleverHiker’s Ultimate Camping Checklist: This list includes all the essential items you need to pack for a successful camping trip, plus some extra items that can enhance your experience.

Travel + Leisure’s Camping Trip Packing List: This article includes a handy packing list broken down into categories, plus tips from camping experts.


What should I pack for a camping trip?

When packing for a camping trip, it’s essential to bring the right gear, clothing, and food. Check out our further reading section for helpful checklists and packing guides.

How do I prepare for my first camping trip?

If you’re a beginner camper, it’s important to do some research before your first trip. Take a look at our guide on how to plan a camping trip in 15 easy steps for a comprehensive overview.

What are some essential camping gear items?

Some essential camping gear items include a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, camp stove, and headlamp. For a complete list of recommended gear, check out our guide on the best camping gear items for your next trip.

What are some good camping destinations in the United States?

There are countless beautiful camping destinations in the United States. Check out our guide on the best camping spots in America for inspiration.

How do I properly set up a campsite?

Setting up a campsite involves finding a flat, level spot for your tent, pitching your tent, and setting up your camp kitchen and other gear. Take a look at our guide on how to set up a campsite like a pro for step-by-step directions.