The Ultimate Camping Checklist

Create your camping list

Whether you're looking for an adventurous trip with friends or peaceful nights around a campfire, camping trips are a great way to spend time with friends and family outside. If you're a first-timer or a veteran, it's great to create a camping checklist of what to pack for camping before loading up all your camping supplies in your vehicle. 

The main considerations in choosing your camping equipment will be what type of camping style you prefer and the climate and likely weather conditions at your campsite location. The length of your camping trip and what you like to do will also drive which things you should bring camping.

Whether you're pitching your tent at a campsite in the state park or venturing into more rugged conditions, use this camping packing list to make sure you remember all your camping essentials.

The Camping Essentials

Many of the camping items you'll need for your outdoor camping trip will be dependent on the type of camping you prefer plus the climate and conditions. Here are our lists for each category of camping must-haves and optional camping items that might make your camping trip a little more comfy:

Tent Icon

Camping Gear

Get the right camping gear to outfit your campsite and relax around the campfire. Here's the camping gear list to get you started:

Optional Camping Items:

Emergency Camping Gear:

Sleeping Bag Icon

Camping Sleep Setup

When it's time to sleep under the stars, here is some essential bedding for camping to keep you comfortable all night:

Camping Must-Haves:

Optional Camping Items:

Camping Kitchen & Cooking

Set up your camping kitchen with the right camping cooking gear. Prep what you can in advance to make your camping food as simply as possible. Here’s our cooking checklist:

Camping Must-Haves:

Optional Camping Items:

Outdoor Clothing & Footwear

Pack the proper outdoor clothing and footwear for your activities. Keep in mind that the temps can really drop at night when choosing your camping clothes and shoes. Here are some general guidelines:

Camping Must-Haves:

Optional Camping Items:

Camping Tools

Camping tools are helpful for setting up and breaking down your campsite. Here are items to keep in your camping tool set:

Camping Must-Haves:

Optional Camping Items:

Camping Toiletries & Camping Accessories

Don’t forget about camping hygiene—especially when camping with kids! Here are some camping toiletries and camping accessories that’ll help you be prepared:

Camping Must-Haves:

Optional Camping Items:

What Should You Not Bring Camping?

Be mindful not to pack anything that can be harmful to the environment or pose a safety risk to you and your group. Here are items to avoid packing for your trip:

Packing these on your camping trip is unnecessary at best and dangerous at worst. Leave them at home and focus on what camping is all about: spending time outside with friends and family.

What You Need For 3, 5, & 7+ Days of Camping

Depending on the number of days you spend camping and the number of people at your campsite, your camping list will vary.

If your trip is 3 days long, your camping food list should reflect how much you and your crew typically eat over a 3-day span. Choose easy-to-make camping meals like eggs or pancakes for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, trail mix or jerky for snacks, and canned foods or freshly caught fish for dinner. If you're wondering how to store food while camping for 3 days, bring a medium cooler to keep perishable foods and drinks cool.

For 5-day and 7-day camping trips, add more to your camping food list based on each person’s daily appetite. For 5 days of camping food storage, give a large cooler a try to make sure you have enough space for everyone’s camping food. Finally, on 7-day trips or longer, an extra-large cooler should do the job, so you can keep up your energy to keep up the adventure.

Finally, always be aware of changing weather conditions, and that hyper-activity outdoors may increase your appetites, so alter your camping list accordingly.

General Camping Tips

Once you finalize what to pack for camping, it's time to get ready for adventure. If this is your first time camping, it may be helpful to learn theseven principles of Leave No Trace. You'll want to plan to leave the campsite and places you explore just as you found them. Always store camp food in your cooler or in your car while camping to secure it from the elements and wildlife. Finally, if you reserve a campsite, don't forget to save your reservation info or confirmation code before you head out to the campsite. You'll also need your personal ID, and it doesn't hurt to bring cash or your credit card. Now it's time to get ready to go out and explore—The Outside Is Calling.

Tips & Guides