Camping Checklist

pen and paper checklist

We've all been there. All week you've looked forward to the weekend when you can get out and reunite with nature. Sometimes in your haste to leave the house, you have leave behind some essential items needed for the campsite. Maybe you weren't even sure what to bring camping. That's what this camping checklist is for: an easy way to ensure you have everything you need so you can actually relax while camping.

Food can be a little trickier to plan for. In fact, we have a whole article devoted to a 3 day menu plan to use for camping and on what food to pack. Read our Momma's Camping Meal Plans article to get your food items in order. When planning meals, take into account how long the trip is going to be and who is going. You should plan for snacks in between meals especially if children are part of the camping experience. Take recipes with you! If you're trying something new, it's best to have the recipe with you for a quick reference, even if you feel like you've got it down. You should review the recipes before you go shopping or just take them with you. This will act as another checklist.

Some items will vary depending on the duration of your camping trip and the planned activities. For example, if you're heading towards any body of water for swimming, you'll need towels and swimsuits. Maybe you're fishing and that is another set of equipment that's needed. However, there are common items used in almost every camping experience, which we've listed here:

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Camping Checklist
Item Additional Hints Check?
Rain guard
Ground tarp If your tent doesn't have something to protect against the rain, take another tarp.
Tent stakes (bring extra)
Small hammer You can also use the back of an axe or a rock to hammer in stakes.
Tent poles
Camp chairs
Small broom & duster Perfect for cleaning out your tent before take down.
Sleeping bags Depending on the temperature, consider bringing extra blankets.
Air Mattresses
Air mattress pump
Air mattress repair kit
Utility bags Keep the cases for your sleeping bags and air mattresses together.
Flashlights Any sort of lighting including head lamps and lanterns.
Extra batteries
Hand sanitizer
Water Especially important if the campsite doesn't have a pump.
Canteen and jugs Bring them filled with water, and use to re-fill up at the pump.
Kindling It's best to bring some in case it's rained recently making kindling in the area wet.
Axe or hatchet
Matches and lighter
First aid kit
Duct tape Because it's the most multi-purpose item on the planet.
Camp reservation info
ID/Money Most camps only accept cash.
Map/directions Even if you have a GPS, it's best to have this as a backup.
Cell phone/charger Look for a charger that can be plugged into your car.
Sturdy footwear Something that supports the foot well.
Comfortable sandals Especially if you're swimming/boating.
Long sleeve shirts Perfect for protection against the sun and bugs.
Socks Take extra socks just in case.
Rain gear
Laundry bag
Sleep wear
Bathing suit & towel
Personal items
Insect repellent
Feminine hygiene products
Biodegradable soap/shampoo You don't have to get biodegradable, but it's eco-friendly.
Towels & wash cloths
Lip balm
Personal medication This includes anything from allergies to prescription medication.
Toilet paper
Kitchen Supplies
Ice packs
Water bucket If you brought re-usable dishes, this is your wash basin. If it's metal, you can heat it on the fire.
Pots & pans It's best to go with two pots and two frying pans, but it mostly depends on what you plan to cook.
Aluminum foil
Garbage bags
Biodegradable dish soap
Cups, bowls, plates
Pot scrubbers
Measuring cups & spoons
Roasting sticks
Re-sealable bags
Rubber spatula This one is for mixing.
Spatula This one is for flipping.
Camping stove Remember to take fuel with you.
Cutting board & knives
Can opener
Miscellaneous Optional items to use for fun.
Playing cards
Camera Check the SD card is there (not full), and batteries are charged.
Camcorder Also check to see if it has enough memory for what you want to record. Take extra batteries.
Water toys