Camping and RV Articles > Camping Checklist

Camping Checklist

Updated for Camping Season 2017

Here is our list of items you should bring with you on your next camping or trip. This checklist is designed for all types of campers, from the beginner who is not quite sure what to bring camping to the seasoned veteran. If your idea of camping is a little more rustic, just double check the list for the essentials and basics. Whether packing a tent and sleeping bag for one or an RV for six; our checklist has got you covered.

We love to hear about new items to add to our camping pack list, so if you have a suggestion, email us at Have a great great camping trip!

Printable Version of Camping Checklist

Camping Checklist - Camping Gear

Tent Make sure you have all the stakes, ropes, poles, etc. Most tents come with lousy stakes that bend after the first few uses - I buy 'industrial strength' stakes at my local hardware store.
Ground Cloth or Tarp You should always have a two or more tarps to go with your tent.
Tent Carpet A piece of used or remnant carpet, cut to fit your tent floor, makes for a comfortable tent experience.
Sleeping Bags Make sure that you get sleeping bags that are designed for the climate that you normally will be camping in.
Fleece Sleeping Bag Liner Not only does this add warmth to a sleeping bag, it helps keep your sleeping bag clean. it's easier to wash a bag liner than it is to wash the whole sleeping bag.
Inflatable Cushions For under the sleeping bags.
Pillows Coats work great if you're in a pinch for space.
Camping Lanterns We use the battery operated kind. They are not as bright as gas lamps, but are much safer with a small child and can be used in the tent without fear. There are also very capable rechargeable and solar powered options now available.
Camp Stove Make sure to bring fuel.
Propane Grill  
Cast Iron Dutch Oven Perfect for Chili!
Charcoal and Starter Chimney or Lighter Fluid I recommend a starter chimney instead of using lighter fluid
Long Handle Pick Ax  
Backpacks Include ones for the kids - Why carry snacks for everyone? Let the kids pack and carry what they want to bring (they might want to bring less stuff next time).
Portable Radio Great for entertainment and severe weather bulletins!
Fishing License and fishing gear

Camping Checklist - Camping Basics

Flashlights with Batteries Solar powered and rechargeable options have really improved
Wooden Matches and a Lighter It is a good idea to put the matches in a plastic bag to keep them dry 
Basic Tools Phillips head and slot head screwdrivers, a hammer, and a camp knife are a must. If you know anything about car maintenance add to this basic list.
Fire Extinguisher It may sit in your trunk for years or you might find yourself putting out an engine fire like I did a few years ago.
First Aid Kit  
Sewing Kit Scissors, thread, a few needles and safety pins will do it.
Duct Tape No explanation necessary!
Dish Soap Please use an environmentally friendly soap. Especially if camping near water.
Sponge or Dishcloth  
Swiss Army Knife Or something comparable
Folding Multi-Purpose Tool  
1 Cup Per Camper  
Roll of Trash Bags Great for packing up wet gear, dirty laundry, dirty dishes, and trash.
5 Gallon Buckets Can be used for water, trash cans and they are great to sit on.

Camping Checklist - Toiletries

Many companies send out sample sizes of their products. I throw the stuff I get in a box and save it all up for camping trips.

Dental Floss  
Mouthwash or Breath Mints  
Hair Conditioner  
Metal Mirror For shaving, hair combing, or "What do I look like today?"
Toilet Paper and a Small Shovel Just in case you can't find a rest room!
Quarters for the Showers  
Hair Combs and/or Brushes  
Hand Soap I find the anti-bacterial soaps very reassuring on camping trips
Sun Screen  
Bug Repellent  
Skin Lotion  
Shaving Accessories Don't forget the power cord!
Tweezers Someone is always getting a wood or glass sliver.
Aspirin or Tylenol  
Children's Tylenol Some kid size fever reducer.
Forehead Thermometer  
Finger Nail Clippers or Nail File  
Lip Balm Some come with U.V. protection.
Prescription Medications Get spares of all you can; especially allergy and asthma medications as these conditions an be worsened by changing climate and vegetation.

Camping Checklist - Food Bin

Looking for recipe ideas for your camping trip? Take a look at our delicious camping recipes for great campfire and grill recipes!

Plastic Dish Pan This keeps stuff from rolling all over in the trunk and comes in handy for dish washing and bathing.
Paper Plates Twice as many as you think you need. Bring plenty, they burn very well for fire starting purposes.
Can Opener  
Granola Bars  
Silverware 2x everyone in your party. Bring some regular silverware and some plastic stuff.
Napkins or Paper Towels  
Coffee (Sugar / Cream) The makings for a good cup of coffee. Also, single serving coffee bags or tea bags
Beef Stew  
Corned Beef Hash Great with eggs!
Canned Pie Filling Excellent!
Bacon Great way to wake up sleepy campers bright and early!
Ravioli Even good cold and kids love it!
Macaroni and Cheese Very soupy but tasty.
Baked Beans  
Soups Pick the stuff your family likes best.
Canned Vegetables Green beans, peas, mushrooms, corn, carrots, etc.
Canned Fruits Pineapple, applesauce, peaches, pears, apricots, etc.
Bread Bring a good loaf of bread.
Cheese Cheddar or mozzarella
Sandwich Meat  
Condiments Almost all condiments will keep well - Just make them easy to get to.
Adult Beverages  
Kids Drinks  
Hot Dogs Excellent food.
Box of Cereal Cherrios, Chex's, any cereal that requires no sugar. Eat this out of a cup. It's a quick and easy breakfast.
S'more Fixings Marshmallows, Hershey chocolate bars, and graham crackers!
Zip-Lock Storage Bags Really handy if you hate seeing your butter floating around in the bottom of the cooler.
Aluminum Foil  
Cooking Utensils A serving spoon, a pitch fork, a pair of tongs, and a good knife.
Hot Pads  
Clothes Pin  
Frying Pan I use an old cast iron pan.

Camping Checklist - Rv or Car Glove Box

Car Registration  
Car Insurance Information  
Medical Insurance Bring everyone's cards; better safe than sorry.
Travelers Check Receipts  
Camera and Film Many cameras take strange batteries - bring a spare!
Cell Phone and Charger Make sure you turn your phone off if you do not have cell service at the campground. Most cell phones will burn through the battery quickly while searching for service. Turn the phone on as you approach a town or city.
Bring a Book If you read, bring something. You never know where you'll be waiting.
Your Wallet  
Your Drivers License Obvious, but please make sure!
Your AAA Card If you don't have one, I recommend you get one. Free tows in the U.S.A. are only the beginning. Your policy may say they only tow 7 miles - but that's not the full truth. AAA will tow you seven miles in town.
Your Checkbook Most self-service campgrounds accept checks.
Your Credit Cards and ATM Cards Yes, I have left my VISA at home accidentally- the only time I have needed it.
Money Don't bring hundreds please!
Water I use a large container for the bulk of the water and keep a soda bottle with water in reach for drinking in the car or on hikes.
Toys Let your kids pick out what they want.
Games A deck of cards for sure and small games such as Farkel are great!
Snacks Good distractions for the little ones.
Towels I use them as seat covers to protect from accidents for easy packing.

Camping Checklist - Clothing

Good Hat  
Rain Poncho  
Bug Head Net  
Multi-Pocket Vest A great piece of apparel. Keeps all your little items handy.
Sport Sandals  
Long Underwear  
Shorts, Pants, Short and Long Sleeve Shirts Bring a variety of clothes because temperatures and conditions can change quickly.
Filp-Flops Great for showering in as well as lake swimming.
Sunglasses Always protect your eyes!
Hiking boots or older shoes Shoes will get dirty and beat up especially when it rains!

E-mail us with any additional Camping Checklist items


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