At HikerNest, we love to help people get outdoors, and we know how daunting packing for multi-day camping trips can be! That’s why we’ve put together our Ultimate Camping Checklist! We hope that packing for your next camping trip will be easy and stress-free with its help!
How To Choose The Right Gear
Before we jump into the specifics of our Camping Checklist, there’s a couple of things to consider. This will help you shape the perfect, stress-free trip, so it’s well worth taking a few minutes to ask yourself these questions
What will the campsite be like?
Will you be heading out into the wild, or are you opting for a trip to a more manicured campsite? This will influence aspects like whether you will have access to picnic tables, fire pits, bathroom facilities, water, and electricity. This can have a knock-on impact on how you cook, keep things sanitary, and various comfort aspects which you will need to plan for.
What kind of activities would you like to do while camping?
The point is to enjoy everything the outdoors has to offer! You’ll need to pad out your gear list with the items you need for activities you plan on trying out. Hiking, fishing, biking, equipment for games… even a comfy camping chair and some good books. If it will make the trip enjoyable, don’t forget to pack it!
Do you like life’s little luxuries?
Do you fancy camping or glamping? Everyone has different comfort levels, and just because you’re holidaying in a tent doesn’t mean you need to rough it. Whether you enjoy packing light, like a few creatures’ comfort, or want to go full-out luxury, just make sure you plan accordingly.
New to Camping?
See our best gear guides and make sure you spend your money smartly! You don’t have to be intimidated by a gear list- you’ve probably got most of these items at home already. What you don’t can easily be sourced in any style and budget that suits you. You can even borrow from friends or rent your gear if you need to. As your love of camping gets deeper, you’ll find you soon accumulate everything you need for yourself.
Now you know a little bit more about what you want from your camping experience, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty! Here’s our basic, all-in-one Ultimate Camping Checklist for you to enjoy.
- Water containers
- A means to filter water (if no on-site potable water)
- A poop shovel (where there aren’t facilities)
- Portable power (solar chargers and battery banks)
- Paracord and food hanging bag (if going to bear country)
- Folding saw for firewood
- Firewood (if unavailable at camp
- Camper tables (if none at site)
- Folding camp chairs
- Lantern (with extra power source)
- Insect repelling candles or devices
- Coolers (for food and drink)
- Water jug
- Stove and fuel (if no facilities on site)
- Suitable cooking pots/pans and cooking utensils
- Food storage containers/foil/bags
- Bowls/plates/cups and flatware
- Sharp knives
- Dishwashing basin, soap, and sponge
- Quick-dry dish towel
Food And Beverages
How much you need to pack will depend on the number of people, length of stay, and whether you will have shops available to you.
- Water and ice
- Beverages of your choice
- Coffee/tea (and creamer)
- Condiments and spices
- Cooking oil (we recommend the spray)
- Food of your choice
- Trail mix and snacks
Again, this will be dependent on the locale, so plan accordingly. Be sure to check the weather!
- Headlamp (and batteries)
- Hydration pack or water bottle
- Multi-Tool or knife
- GPS/Map and compass
- Phone with charger
- Cash/Credit Card
- ID and permits/reservations/licenses/fees
- Duffle Bag and stuff sacks
- Tent Footprint
- Portable Shower
- Additional travel blankets or sleeping bag liner
- Ground cloth and doormat
- Gazebo or sunshade (with stakes/lines)
- Small dustpan
- Camping pillow
- Tent Porch
- Camping Table
- Electric Hook-Up
- Hammock (and straps)
- Tablecloth (inc clips/weights)
- Outdoor Rug
- Drying line and clothes pegs
- Totes for storage
- Cutting board and paper towels
- Bottle opener/corkscrew
- French press/coffee pot
- Grill rack
- Roasting forks for s’mores and marshmallows
- Reading material
- Guides for the area
- Binoculars for birdwatching
- Dog gear (if Fido is coming with)
- Sports/fishing gear
Hygiene And First Aid
Pack a strong basic first aid kit geared to your destination. Bandages, blister tape or moleskin, antiseptic wipes and antibacterial ointment, headache tablets, antacid, antihistamine, insect repellent, sunscreen, and aloe (for sunburn) should be basic. Add any OTC or prescription medications or vitamins your party needs, tweezers, and scissors (or a multitool).
- Up to Date First Aid Kit
- Quick-dry towel
- Hand sanitizer
- Toothbrush, paste, etc.
- Lip balm
- Menstrual/urinary products
- Toiletries you desire
- Eye mask and earplugs
- Baby wipes
Your clothes will depend very much on the ambient temperature of where you are visiting. Remember that cotton and denim, which hold moisture, can lead to hypothermia in surprisingly clement conditions, so try to look for quick-dry, wicking fabrics instead.
- Quick-dry pants or shorts
- Wicking shirts/tanks
- Wicking underwear
- Wicking socks
- Light jacket or fleece
- Insulated jacket for cold
- Fleece/wool pants
- Hiking-suitable boots/shoes
- Sun hat or warm hat
- Long-sleeve shirt for bugs and weather
- Rain jacket/pants
- Swimsuit and quick-dry towel
- Camp-comfy shoes
- Sandals/Water shoes
Essential Camping Tips
Now you’ve got all your gear assembled, it’s time to run over some camping basics everyone should know. Remember, with the right attitude, even a rainy trip can be a fantastic family memory!
Camping and Food
This is where you will see your greatest variance in packing. If there is an on-site cafeteria and plenty of shops, you probably only need a few snacks. Even if you need to self-provide, maybe you’re happy with just a few cold meals. Others want a cooked meal every night. It’s up to you, just plan accordingly. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the camp kitchen’, then you can look too packed or prepared ingredients to keep this simple. Otherwise, go wild!
Our list probably looks a little overwhelming. That’s why we suggest clear toes to help people see what’s inside at a glance and to keep everything in one place. They’re also easy to pack in a car and provide protection from animals and pests. You can even leave the majority of your camping gear stored like this at home, ready to pull out and be topped up, ready to go!
Keeping Your Cooler Chilled
While a lot lies in the quality of your cooler, not even the best cooler in the world will keep ice iced for days in summer. To keep things cool as long or possible, make sure you pack the food and drink cold, and pack the cooler full- that means less warm air to heat things up. Consider a separate cooler for drinks, as that will inevitably get opened more often than the food. Cover the cooler with an insulated blanket, in the shade, when not being used.
Keep Campsite Clean
If you’re at a campsite, there will likely be bins. Keeping a camp clean, however, is critical- or the wildlife will soon move in! Try to leave no trace of your presence behind. Pack garbage bags up to dump in town. Remember that, in bear country, there’s a significant risk of campsite intrusion so use a bear locker, your car, or learn to hang food properly.