Whether you’re an experienced outdoorsman or a complete camping beginner, packing for a camping trip can be a daunting task.
There’s always a worry that you’ll forget something crucial – which could ruin your entire trip.
That’s why we compiled this list – it’s a brief overview of all the essentials you need for a basic camping trip.
You’ll notice this list is short and sweet, and that’s by design. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much gear as if you’re going to thru hike the Appalachian Trail.
Just think of this list as your starter pack – a quick overview of the things you’ll need for an easy and brief camping trip.
So where do you start?
Your shelter is arguably the most important part of your set-up. This is your “home away from home,” and it should be chosen with special care.
It goes without saying that you’ll need a tent, but you’ll also need tent accessories, like a sleeping bag, a tarp, and a set of stakes.
A fair warning: it’s easy to overpack these items. Think about what kind of trip you’re taking – a day hike or a whole camping weekend – and plan ahead. Campers may need all of these items, but a hiker probably won’t.
- Tent accessories (including the stakes, footprint, seam sealer, etc.)
- Sleeping bags
- Sleeping pads (or air mattresses)
- Air mattress pump
- Heater (for those cold, winter nights)
Now that shelter is taken care of, let’s talk about food.
While you can’t bring your entire kitchen with you, you can still make delicious meals IF you come prepared.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t take that much – you can build a fully functioning camp kitchen with just a few items.
- Food and water
- Stove & gas
- Camping chairs
- Camping table
- Pots & pans
- Utensils (for both cooking and eating)
- Plates & bowls
- Bottle/can openers
Kitchen supplies? Check.
Of course, none of that will help if you forget to pack clothes – which may take more work than you think.
The exact combination you choose will depend on the terrain and the season – so make sure you research your camping location – but here are a few staples you should always bring with you.
If you’re trying to become the next Bear Grylls, you can skip this part.
However, if you’re like the rest of us weekend warriors, then deciding which hygienic products to pack or leave at home can be a real dilemma.
You’re obviously going to pack your toothbrush. So think about the rest of your cosmetics in a similar way – necessary or just convenient?
Here are some necessary items I recommend:
- Toilet paper
- Hand sanitizers
- Insect repellents
- Prescription meds
Finally, we arrive at the last category – AKA everything else.
These are the items that are still super useful but don’t fit into the previous categories.
Whether it’s something to light the campfire, a compass for easy navigation, or duct tape to stop your friend from snoring (kidding!), here are a few items that are helpful to any camper.
- Matches (or a lighter)
- First aid kit
- Pocket knife
- Bear spray (if you’re in bear country)
- Cell phone
- Battery pack
- Duct tape
So there you have it – a list of essentials you shouldn’t go camping without.
Now is this absolutely everything you need to pack? Of course not! You can pack plenty more and still feel like you missed something. Or you can underpack and still have a great camping experience.
Just make sure you leave your house prepared, research your location, and bring fun company along. That’s a winning recipe for a good time in the great outdoors.