Nothing beats a big camping trip when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors and spending quality time with friends and family. But nothing ruins a trip faster than realizing that you have forgotten one or more of your essential items at home.
The good news is that with this camping guide, you will have a checklist ready to make sure you don't forget anything!
This article will detail the most important things you should have for your big camping trip and why they are essential. Feel free to check off the list to ensure you do not forget anything!
Should I bring a backpack?
The answer to this question is always yes! You will need a sturdy backpack to carry your camping gear to hike to your campsite.
However, even if you are not backpacking, you will never regret bringing at least a small day pack to camp. If you choose to go on hikes during the day or explore around your campsite, you will have a way to carry your essentials with you.
Ensuring that your backpack is well-fitted and comfortable is important, especially if you are using it to carry all your camping gear.
What should I bring to the campsite?
- Rain fly
- Sleeping bag, pad, or hammock
- Flashlight, headlamp, or a lantern
This list makes up the bare essentials you will need for setting up your campsite. A tent and a rain fly are required to have a place to sleep that is protected from the elements.
Your sleeping bag and pad will cushion you from the hard ground and keep you warm. Even in the peak of summer, some popular camping spots can get very cold at night. The sleeping pad also serves to separate your body from the ground, cushioning you and helping insulate you as it keeps the heat from your sleeping bag inside.
You can bring a hammock instead of a sleeping bag and pad if you prefer. Your hammock can easily be suspended between any two trees, giving you a safe place to sleep off the ground. You can also purchase a separate rain fly that will fit over your hammock to keep you dry.
Furthermore, you can also bring a hammock in addition to your sleeping bag if you wish to use it for hanging out in the evenings or taking naps.
For a pillow, you should bring a compressible camping pillow. These are convenient because they can roll up into a super small size to allow for easy transportation, and they won’t take up too much space in your pack.
Lastly, it would help if you didn’t forget a headlamp or lantern for your campsite. Although the sight of the stars is beautiful, you may be surprised at just how dark it can get in the woods far away from civilization.
So, whether you are taking early-morning hikes, a midnight bathroom trip, or simply trying to read in your tent at night, a headlamp or lantern will provide all the illumination you need.
What clothing should I bring to camp?
- hiking boots
- quick-dry pants or shorts
- moisture-wicking t-shirts (long and short-sleeved)
- lightweight jacket
The number one item you do not want to head into the woods without is a sturdy, well-fitted pair of hiking boots. You probably want to make sure that they are waterproof as well. These will keep your feet warm, dry, and safe when hiking to your campsite or lounging around beside the fire.
What clothing you bring will depend on the weather and climate of where you are going camping and the time of year. For example, if it is the middle of winter, your packing list will look different than it would in July!
In general, you want to make sure you bring lots of layers. For example, long-sleeved moisture-wicking shirts will protect you from the sun and bugs even in the heat. In addition, a lightweight jacket will ensure that if you do get cold, or if the temperature plunges at night, you will stay warm.
Lastly, you never want to forget a few comfortable pairs of underwear!
The Clever Hiker has more great items for you to remember.
What Kitchen Supplies are Essential?
- Camp stove
- Water purifier
- Bear box
- Mess kit
- Cooking supplies
These five things are essentials you don’t want to forget for kitchen supplies.
Firstly, a camp stove and water purifier will make your life much easier on your camping trip. With a camp stove, you won’t have to worry about cooking over an open fire, which can be much more difficult than using a stove.
With a water purifier, you will not need to carry as much bottled water with you because you can use the purifier to ensure that any water you find in streams or pools is clean and drinkable. Never drink water you find in the wild without purifying it!
A bear box, or bear canister, is a locked container that will protect your food from bears and other wildlife. You want to have this because storing food in your car or on your campsite is a great way to invite wildlife to come and break into your things.
Lastly, a mess kit and cooking supplies will contain everything you need to cook and eat the food you bring camping.
Should I bring a first aid kit?
Yes, you should always bring a first aid kit while camping. You never know what injuries or other unexpected situations may arise on your trip. Whether this involves a severe injury or a simple bug bite or headache, it is always good to be prepared.
What should I include in my first aid kit?
At a minimum, you should include these in your first aid kit:
- Band-aids/large adhesive bandages
- Antiseptic wipes
- Gauze and tape
- Antibiotic cream
- Essential medications, including painkillers, antihistamines, etc.
You can buy preassembled first aid kits from most camping supply stores or put one together on your own. Make sure you also have a supply of any prescription medications that anyone on your camping trip may be taking.
What hygiene items should i bring?
- Toilet paper
- Hand sanitizer
- Toiletry kit
The most important things you should pack for hygiene are toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and a toiletry kit. Your toiletry kit may include a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb, a small towel, and menstrual products.
Ensure that you are correctly cleaning up the toilet paper, menstrual products, and other trash when you go camping.
Head over to Asher Fergusson’s blog for more camping advice.
How can i pack toilet paper in the woods?
If you are not using biodegradable toilet paper, the easiest way to pack out your soiled paper is by bringing a Ziplock dedicated to the task. First, place the used paper into a separate Ziplock bag and carry it. Secondly, when you leave your camping trip, bring it out with you as trash to be thrown away when you reach civilization.
The same applies to menstrual products and any other trash you accumulate while camping.
What personal items should i bring?
- Driver’s license or another form of ID
- Cell phone
- Cash or credit card
Make sure you never travel without these items. You never know what situations may arise where you will need them, and it is always better not to be caught without them.
What extras will make my campsite the coziest?
This largely depends on whether you are backpacking or traveling directly to a campsite by car.
If you are driving to your campsite, you will be able to carry a lot more with you. If this is the case, you may want to bring rugs, foldable camping chairs, a portable speaker, extra pillows and cushions, or even a small generator.
If you are backpacking, you will not be able to take as much with you since you have to carry everything you bring to your campsite physically. However, you can still bring a few small extras to make your camp as homey as possible!
For example, you could bring an extra blanket, a book or other reading material, a set of binoculars for looking at wildlife and scenery, a small portable music player, or a sketchbook.
In general, think about what items you can’t live without daily. Then, if it is feasible to bring it with you while camping, why not?
However, keep in mind that part of the charm of camping is being able to exist outdoors with as few distractions as possible. So, if it will make your life easier, don’t hesitate to bring it—but don’t forget to enjoy the whole experience.