Outdoor excursions like camping and hiking are a great way to take a break from your busy life and just reset. Camping is a fun activity to undertake with family and friends – or alone if you are a lone wolf.
For most people, when camping is talked about, all that comes to mind is a tent and a sleeping bag. At least that’s all I thought I needed the first time I went out camping. You can only imagine how uncomfortable the experience was.
If you are going camping for the first time or you want to improve your camping experience, you have come to the right place! In this guide, I will be providing you with a comprehensive list of camping gear you should bring with you on your next camping trip. In this camping gear checklist, you can also check out some of the essential things to purchase a camping enthusiast as a camping gift.
Camping Gear Checklist
While you need to pack little as possible when you are going out on outdoor excursions, you also need to ensure you pack enough to make your adventure feel like home. It’s a delicate balance that you have to maintain.
If you want to carry so much, you may not have enough packing space. If you pack way too few things and forget some essentials, your camping experience may not be as good as you hoped. So, here is a must-have camping gear list to help you remember all of the stuff you actually need.
Sleeping and Campsite Setup
Being in the wild, close to nature, and with company is a lot of fun. You get to do a lot of fun activities during the day. But when you are packing for camping, you need to think of the night too, especially the sleeping situation.
You may not achieve the same comfort you get at home in your bed, but you have to try and make it as comfortable as possible. To do so, you will need to pack the following items.
This is the most obvious item when you’re packing for camping. If you are going to enjoy your nights in the wild at all, you need a proper tent for the job. This means a tent that will protect you from the elements.
While most people like to camp in summer, it’s hard to accurately predict what the weather will be like, so you should prepare for anything by getting yourself an all-weather tent. Some tents leak when it rains or snows, and if you are caught by snow or rain while you are on your adventure, you want to avoid this at all costs.
The number of people you are taking with you on the camping trip is another thing to keep in mind. Make sure you pack a tent that can handle the capacity of the group.
While tents always have an indicated capacity, sometimes you might want to leave some allowance in there, especially if you are all adults in the group. If you are a group of six, for instance, you might want to carry an 8-person tent. This ensures there is enough room for everybody and their gear without being too crowded.
Sleeping bag with a sleeping mat
Most people remember to pack a sleeping bag and forget to pack a sleeping mat. While a sleeping bag is okay to sleep in, it’s not as comfortable without a sleeping mat. What most people don’t realize is that manufacturers design sleeping bags to be warm enough only when being supplemented by a sleeping mat.
A sleeping mat helps cushion you against the hard ground beneath you by cushioning the sleeping bag. Some inflatable mats on the market will not take up a lot of your packing space, as all you need to do is deflate and roll them up.
If you don’t want to wake up with a stiff neck, then remember to pack a camping pillow. While conventional home pillows may take up a lot of packing space, a camping pillow will take up a lot less if you can get one.
There are inflatable pillows that will deflate to the size of a soda can on the market. These don’t take up much space or add up much weight to your camping gear but will give you a restful night of sleep.
If you are a light sleeper who finds it hard to sleep with noise in the background, you should remember to pack a pair of earplugs. You don’t want the sound of animals crawling about the campsite to keep you awake all night.
Having a table with you at the campsite will come in handy for activities like food preparation and also placing food on when you are serving.
Camping is a lot more fun with the evening bonfires. To sit around the bonfire, you will need to pack enough camping chairs for the group.
Most people forget that there is no power in the wild, and they will need an alternative light source. Relying on your cell phone’s flashlight will deplete the battery, and you just might need your phone later.
Before you head out, find out if the camping site where you are going has safe drinking water. Most do, but if the one you’re going to does not, you should make arrangements. Be sure you bring enough food for everyone too. In addition to food and water, here are some other kitchen must haves.
When you are going for an outdoor adventure, you need to find a way to keep your drinks cool and your food fresh. This is why you need to bring a camping cooler along with you, especially if you are planning to camp for a while.
You can find a camping cooler on the market that can keep ice frozen for several days: anywhere from three days to a whole week. You should buy one depending on how long you plan to stay in the wild. Make sure that the capacity of the cooler inclusive of ice can hold enough food and drinks for the whole group if you are going out as a large party.
Utensils and camping cooking gear
You may not have the luxury of cooking a 5-star meal when camping in the wild, but you don’t have to eat boring military-style canned food either. There are camping gadgets that will let you prepare a pretty decent meal away from your equipped kitchen without adding tons of weight to your luggage.
Here is some essential cooking gear you should pack.
You will need a stove to cook your food on. Depending on the kind of fuel you need, you can find a small compact stove to bring with you on your camping trip. Whatever kind of stove you decide to work with should be gentle on your pots.
While wood stoves are cheap and most compact, they may not be very good for your pots. A gas-fueled stove, on the other hand, is a lot kinder on your pots. You just have to look for a compact one that will not take up so much space.
A pair of pots should be plenty unless you have a lot of people you need to cook for on the trip.
You don’t have to pack fancy knives for the trip. A paring knife or a penknife can do most of the work.
Pot scrubbers and sponges
Most people forget to pack these for cleaning utensils after use. Don’t be one of those people.
Eating utensils and mugs
You need to pack at least one plate and one mug for each person going on the trip.
Forgetting to pack matches could mean going hungry, unless you know how to start a fire caveman-style.
You will need to carry water when you venture out of the camping site for an adventure. Remember to bring one or more water bottles to keep the group hydrated.
Camping trash bin
There is an unspoken rule at every campsite: try to leave the site cleaner than you found it. Don’t be one of those people who leaves a trash trail behind.
This is why you should bring a trash can with you. If possible, don’t bring single-use plastics with you when you go camping.
Optional Kitchen Gear
You don’t actually have to bring a grill with you on a camping trip, but grilling always makes camping trips a lot more fun. If you want to, you can get a small grill that will not take up a lot of space in your car.
An oven always makes cooking a lot easier. I know what you’re thinking: it sounds like it would be fun having an oven in the wild, but how do I bring my bulky oven on the trip? How would I operate it without a power source?
Well, there are innovative oven designs like this one here that are small and compact. This oven is solar-powered, so you don’t need a power source to use it. It’s also compact, which makes it ideal to bring with you on an adventure.
When you are planning a camping trip, you need to pack appropriate clothes. The clothing you pack will mostly depend on the weather you’re expecting, but some of the clothes are constants no matter where – or when – your trip is.
Here are some of the clothes you will need.
You need to carry appropriate shoes for the terrain. If you are planning to go hiking as part of camping, for instance, you will need some hiking boots. When you are camping during a rainy season or you know you might be hiking through wet terrain, bringing a pair of water shoes will save you from going home with blistered feet.
Most people will remember to pack all kinds of regular clothes and forget to pack something comfortable to sleep in. Don’t neglect pajamas or other bedtime clothes that can keep you warm. Trust me, you won’t want to go to sleep in wet clothes or clothes that you sweated in the whole day.
You might be camping in summer, but the evenings are often colder than you would expect. If you are camping in a high altitude area, especially, you might need warm clothes for camping survival. Make sure you bring warm pairs of socks and a waterproof jacket in case it rains when you are out in the wild.
Moisture-wicking underwear and T-shirts
Clothes made of a moisture-wicking fabric help make sure you are not covered in sweat. You may need these during your day activities.
Camping medical gear
When camping, accidents can occur, and rarely will you find a hospital in the woods. So, to be on the safe side, you need to carry camping medical gear along. Bringing a medical care kit alone is not enough – you also need to learn how to use the items and how to do basic first aid.
Here are some of the camping medical gear you will need.
You need to carry an antiseptic that is alcohol-based, whether it is in the form of wipes or gel or cream, whichever is convenient for you. In case of an accident or contact with microorganisms, you can use the antiseptic to stop or slow the growth of microorganisms.
Pain relief medication
As mentioned earlier, when camping you don’t have access to a hospital or a healthcare center. Don’t forget to carry along pain relief medication. You don’t want to spoil your camping experience just because you are having a headache or muscle cramps.
Different people are allergic to different things. When out in the woods, you might be exposed to some of the agents you are allergic to. With antihistamines, you are free to enjoy your camping without allergies ruining your day.
Minor accidents, cuts, or bruises might occur when camping. Carrying a rolled gauze along will help you dress minor wounds in case they occur. Along with the rolled gauze, you will need scissors or a razor blade to help you cut the gauze.
At the campsite, a lot might happen, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. Carrying a camping tool will help you be ready for whatever comes your way.
Some of the tools you might need include:
This is a gadget that has most of what you will need during your camping trip all in one place. You are camping out in the woods and there are no shops nearby, so a good multi-tool gadget will save you a lot of frustration.
When choosing a multi-tool, you may need to consider which one best suits your needs. For instance, in camping, you might want a tool that can help you cut, open, tighten, loosen, or twist stuff.
Saw or hatchet
If you are considering using firewood as fuel during camping or having a bonfire out at night, then you will need a hatchet or a saw for cutting the firewood. This will make your work much easier and also save on your time and energy.
Sun and Bug Protection
Most of us like going camping during summer. However, it’s surprising that we don’t remember to carry essential things that protect us from the sun. We also forget that apart from wild animals, there are lots of bugs in the wild. Some might even be dangerous or poisonous.
Below are some of the things that you can carry with you on your camping trip to protect you from the sun and keep the bugs away.
Sunscreen is not only for use when we are going to the beach. Even in the woods, you need to protect your skin. The woods might feel a bit chilled compared to the beach, but your skin is still exposed to the harmful sun rays. So, next time you go out camping, carry your sunscreen along.
Sun hat and sunglasses
You can also carry a sun hat and sunglasses to shield you from the sun, especially if you will be spending most of the time outdoors doing activities such as hiking. You need to protect your skin from sunburns and your eyes from too much UV light.
In the woods, bugs are everywhere. Some are perfectly harmless, but others are harmful. As you keep the wild animals away, you also need to make sure the bugs stay away. An insect repellent will help you avoid getting stung or bitten. Insect repellents come in different forms: creams you can apply on your skin, sprays, or powder form. You can choose what works best for you!
Fun things you can do during camping
When you are planning for a camping trip, your goal is to enjoy, have fun, and to relax away from the daily hustle and bustle of life. There are different fun activities you can do when camping – all you have to do is pick ones that make sense for where the campsite is located and for the kind of people you have gone camping with.
In this article, I have put together both outdoor and indoor activities that you can enjoy with your friends.
If you and your friends are outgoing and adventurous, you can go out hiking or challenge yourself and do mountain climbing. Hiking improves your general well being physically and mentally. Hiking with your friends, and sharing experiences will bring you closer to each other and strengthen your bond.
Fishing or swimming
If you are camping in a place where there is water nearby, you can try out fishing and swimming, as long as it’s safe. To make it more fun, you and your friends can go out fishing not just to have fun but also to get fish for cooking at the campsite.
Out in the woods, there is a lot to be explored. Don’t miss out on this opportunity when you go out camping. You can do bird watching with your friends, hunting, identifying different kinds of trees stargazing at night while sitting around the bonfire with your friends.
You can bring along different card and board games on your camping trip to play with your family and friends. This can be a perfect time for you to bond and get to learn each other while still having fun.
Read out loud or sing
If you are a book enthusiast, you can still have fun. You can read out loud to your family and friends or find yourself a spot where you can read your books while enjoying the quiet natural ambiance.
You can also carry along a guitar or any other musical instrument and play while singing along with your family. Trust me you will have so much fun.
When you go out camping, it is a great time to reconnect and bond with your family and friends. What a better way than to sit and tell stories. You can do this in the tent or outside around the bonfire while roasting marshmallows.
Learn a skill
You and your friends can spend time learning a skill or two while you are out there camping. Simple skills like lighting fire using sticks, practicing an instrument, or cooking can be fun and interesting.
Camping is a time to relax and have fun away from the daily stressors of life. However, if you don’t plan and prepare well for your camping trip, you might miss out on the fun and end up frustrated instead.
For you to have a great camping experience, prepare in advance. This is why I put together the checklist above. Check out what you will need and start preparing early, and you will have one of the best camping experiences you can!
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