19 Essential Camping Packing List You Shouldn’t Forget (2023)

Are you bored with your daily life activities? Go camping. It is a nice way to spend a vacation with your family and friends far from the hustle and bustle of the city. Camping is not a usual vacation trip, but you can make it equally comfortable if you follow this essential camping packing list.

Whether you camp at a primitive campground, in any state or national park, in the backcountry, or on a beach, if you know where you’re going and what is your need, it’s not hard to shorten your camping checklist.

Camping packing list

This camping packing list is not only for first-time campers. Even experienced campers must use a list to double-check their camping essentials before starting the journey.

Most campsites provide picnic tables, firewoods, car parking place,s and a spot to pitch your tents. While you’re getting ready for your next camping trip, make sure to bring these camping essentials that cover every important thing to enjoy a holiday in a homey campsite.

Don’t forget to check these road trip essentials before hitting the road.

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#1 Tent

A good and weatherproof tent is the first thing to be added to the camping packing list for a fantastic camping experience. Depending upon your group size you can buy a high-quality tent that protects you from any extreme weather condition.

Coleman Tent is highly recommended. It is an affordable tent and has great ventilation with large windows. It can withstand 35+ mph winds and the best thing is you can set it up easily within 10 minutes. Whenever you pack tents, don’t forget to check the poles, stakes, and the fly.

Related Post: 7 Best Inflatable Camping Tents: Review Comparison & Buying Guide

Tent Camping Packing List
Tent Camping Packing List

#2 Sleeping Bags & Pillows

A sleeping bag should be on the top of the list of the best camping packing list for the family. Even if you camp during hot summer, the temperature can drastically fall at night. Sleeping not only keeps you warm but also protects you and your kids from insects.

You can buy Sleepingo Double Sleeping Bag for a warm and comfortable sleep at night. This portable sleeping bag is durable and can be used as two individual sleeping bags.

Whatever sleeping bag you buy, don’t forget to check the temperature specification of the sleeping bag. It should match with the campsite weather.

Your night’s sleep will be incomplete without a comfy pillow. Trekology Inflatable Camping Travel Pillow is ultra-light with an ergonomic design and enhanced neck support for a restful night’s sleep.

Camping packing list | Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Bags

#3 Sleeping Pads/ Air Mattress

You don’t want to ruin your camping trip with sleepless nights. Even if you use a sleeping bag, your night’s sleep can be difficult without a sleeping pad or air mattress on the hard, cold, and uneven ground.

If you are an experienced camper, you can still bear it. But when you are camping with your kids, you must bring an air mattress, cot, or sleeping pad, or bring something comfortable for your children to sleep on.

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KLYMIT Static V Sleeping Pad is one of the best air mattresses for camping. It is an affordable ultralight camping pad that is efficiently designed to limit air movement and heat loss for better comfort and support.

camping checklist
Air Mattress

Clothing & Footwear

Keep our clothes ready for all types of weather. Check the weather forecast before going for a camping trip, but don’t rely fully on the weather report. Climate can change at any time. Be prepared for hot or rainy days or a chilly night. Carry some full sleeve shirts, long pants, and a light jacket to keep your family warm and protected from nugs.

#4 Rainproof Jackets

One of the wisest things to add to your essential camping list is a rainproof jacket. Rain is very unpredictable in most places. A sunny day can turn into a cloudy day at a moment’s notice. A rain jacket can help you to withstand anything from drizzle to downpour. Else you may get a cold or any other serious illness during your trip.

Columbia Watertight Jacket is a top-quality waterproof jacket with a nylon shell. This comfortable lightweight rain jacket helps you to stay dry on a rainy day.

You shouldn’t forget to bring hiking shorts if you’re planning to explore the hiking trails. Check out our top 10 hiking shorts for both men and women.

camping essentials
Rainproof Jackets

#5 Hiking Shoes

A pair of sturdy hiking shoes must be included in the camping trip packing list for hikers. It not only helps the hikers but nonhikers can also buy waterproof hiking shoes to walk on all types of terrain in any weather.

I found Columbia Newton Ridge hiking boots very useful while hiking in Switzerland. It is a water-resistant, light, breathable, and comfortable hiking shoe that has an advanced traction rubber sole for slip-free movement on rough ground.

If you’re looking for some budget-friendly options, check out our ultimate list of top 15 Cheap Hiking Boots with Buying Guide.

Camping Gear

#6 Portable Power

Whether you are going for a road trip or an outdoor camping trip, a portable power station is a must-have thing in the camping items list. You can go to any remote area without any worry if you have a power backup.

Jackery Portable Power Station is a quiet and eco-friendly generator that helps you to charge laptops, drones, mini cooler, and other outdoor electronics. It has a Lithium battery, so you don’t need any fuel or gasoline. Een you can recharge it from the sun with any efficient solar panel.

Read Also: Top 10 Travel Laptops for Travelers for Remote Work

#7 Camping Chair

Although most campsites have picnic tables, you must carry a folding camping chair to relax your butt and back. You can also enjoy the campfire by sitting on this chair or just read a book or enjoy the surrounding view of the campsite with a glass of hot drink.

Coleman Portable Camping Quad Chair is a compact and light folding chair with a fully cushioned seat and back. It is light, takes small space, and allows you to experience some home comfort out into nature.

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Camping Chair
Camping Chair – PC: Flickr

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#8 Flashlights & Lanterns

Your mobile flashlight is not enough for all cases. Flashlights are great for any situation. It is compact and small enough to fit in your pocket and can be used on dog walking, night hiking, and camping. Bring extra batteries.

Lanterns are another camping staple. Just hang the lantern or stand on the ground, you will get light in all directions. It is perfect for camping while playing cards or board games.

Flashlights and lanterns attract moths and bugs. Don’t forget to turn off the light before entering into tent.

Kitchen Essentials

Cooking on the campsite is fun and a fantastic way to eat cheap while traveling. Kitchen items vary depending on how much you want to cook during your camping trip. Some people prefer to bring ready to eat food or cooked food, while others like to cook everything on the campsite.

We will recommend bringing some ready to eat food or frozen food along with some cooking ingredients to do some simple cooking on site. So you can have fun without spending too much time for cooking.

Kitchen Essentials for Camping
Kitchen Essentials for Camping

#9 Stove

We saw most campsites in Southern California provide a fire grill to cook, but you should have an alternative way to cook your gourmet meal. Coleman Gas Camping Stove performs well even in extreme conditions for its pressure regulator. It is lightweight, easy to set up, and made of premium quality materials.

#10 Matches/ Firestarter

Consider bringing a firestarter(one extra) for a campfire and to fire the gas stove. It is a very small thing but an urgent one. You can use a cigarette lighter or waterproof matches.

#11 Frying Pan & Cooking Utensils

If you plan to cook your gourmet meal, a frying pan and other cooking utensils must be in your camping checklist for families. You cannot 100% guarantee you can have a plate or forks at the campsite. So, better to pack all the cooking and eating utensils for excellent camping food.

#12 Cutting Board & Sharp Knife

A grippy cutting board protects your fingers while chopping vegetables. We recommend this lightweight plastic cutting board to prepare your cooking ingredients.

A sharp knife is a multi-useful thing in camping. While cooking, you will definitely be using a knife. From preparing your food to cutting a rope or a plastic packet, a knife is a vital addition to your camping essentials packing list.

Plastic Cutting Board & Knife
Plastic Cutting Board & Knife

Camping Checklist for Personal Care

#13 Hydro Flask Water Bottle

In addition to your personal care checklist, be sure to add a Hydro Flask Water Bottle to your backcountry camping packing list. It is one of the most important camping trip necessities that will keep you and your family hydrated on a camping trip.

This reusable bottle has a double-wall insulation system that keeps hot drinks piping hot and cold drinks icy cold at any time, and anywhere. A packaged drinking water bottle may not be available at every campsite.

I also like to use the LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle during hiking and camping time. It allows me to refill my bottle from the campground’s water spigots without worrying about the quality of the water as it removes 99.99% of the waterborne bacteria.

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If you are an avid traveler or love to do outdoor activities, a travel water bottle with a filter is a must-have item. Check out the ultimate buying guide for water filter bottles before purchasing this camping essential.

Tent Camping essentials  | Hydro Flask Water Bottle
Hydro Flask Water Bottle – PC: Flickr

#14 Toilet Paper

Most campgrounds have bathroom facilities with running water and flushing toilets. Unfortunately, we were in deep trouble in one of the best campgrounds in Florida where we did not get any toilet paper in the washroom. We had to borrow one from another camper.

It’s always safe to bring your own toilet paper. Also pack other necessary toiletries like toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, shampoo, razor, and other useful things that you’ll need.

#15 Sunscreen and Lip Balm

While camping you will be spending most time outdoors. If you go fishing, hiking, or biking, a nasty sunburn will surely affect your skin. To prevent the misery of tanned skin, bring this super effective sunscreen lotion with high SPF protection.

You won’t want cracked lips to bother you the entire camping vacation. Make sure to bring a lip balm as well to protect your lips from dry and cold weather.

#16 Insect Repellent

Bug bites can end your trip at any time. Why not add an insect repellent to your cabin camping packing list? Repel pump spray will keep mosquitoes, black flies, and other bugs away from your family for hours. It is a DEET-free insect repellent that won’t cause harm to your children. Also, keep an anti-itch cream.

#17 First Aid Kit

One item that must be added to your camping packing list is a first aid kit. Anything wrong can go on a camping vacation trip. So, you must be well prepared for any kind of unexpected injury like blisters, splinters, small cuts, and other blunders. It came with great help when my brother’s hand got scraped against the rock during our Solvang trip.

First Aid Kit
First Aid Kit

Fill your first aid box with some basic things like bandages, gauze, antiseptic, Neosporin (antibiotic), and pain killers(ie: Advil or Tylenol). Be it a road trip or a camping trip, I always prefer to carry Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose First Aid Kit. It is a compact(140 pieces) all-purpose first aid kit ideal for home, car, travel, and outdoor emergencies.

#18 Entertainment(Optional)

camping packing list
Camping on a Sunny Day is Awesome

#19 Miscellaneous Items in Camping Packing List

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