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Camping Checklist and Gear
Camping is such a great way to unplug from the hustle and bustle of every day life and get outside. Spending time with friends and family while camping creates lasting memories that will bring a smile to your face. Especially if you remember to bring all the camping gear you need. State parks are just one of the many places you can go into the wild for your camping trip. Your get away can be in the Alaskan back country or even your backyard.
Depending on where you pitch your tent, or park your RV, many campsites will have a picnic table, parking for your vehicle, and sometimes a fire ring. Bathrooms and running water can be found at many of the campsites and campgrounds around State Parks.
When planning your camping trip, it’s a good idea to have a checklist. Our goal is to provide you with a complete checklist to help you think of things you may not have considered, especially if you haven’t done a lot of camping previously. We suggest you print off a copy of the checklist and use it as you are shopping and packing for your trip. Below is our complete checklist. We have also included a printable pdf camping checklist for ease of use. Just click on the link below for the pdf checklist.
Sleeping bag liner
Campsite Extras Checklist
book or reading material
dry bags, stuff sacks, clear plastic bins
field guide to flowers and insects
music player with headphones
Notebook or journal
Solar and portable power
star chart/night-sky identifier
Long sleeve shirt
sweatshirt / jacket
wool or synthetic socks
comb or brush
soap in plastic case
Survival Gear Checklist
emergency survival blanket
high quality survival knife
Camping Tools Checklist
Mallet or hammer
pad/mattress repair kit
Axe or hatchet
Tent pole repair sleeve
bottle opener, can opener, corkscrew
camp grill and fuel
camp sink or wash bin
large clear plastic bin to store kitchen gear
large water jugs
marshmellow hot dog roasting forks
portable coffee maker
small food storage containers bags foil
Stove and fuel
trash / recycling bags
Water Filtration Checklist
water treatment tables
Personal Items Checklist
campsite reservation confirmation
credit card and or cash
Emergency contact numbers
Rainy cold weather checklist
gloves or mittens
warm insulated jacket
Sun & Bug Checklist
insect repellent candles
Misc Items Checklist
2 way radios
basic sewing kit
deck of cards
fishing gear & license
travel alarm clock
First Aid Checklist
Anti-acids (Tums, Rolaides)
First aid manual
Misc. Band Aides/bandages
Mole skin for blisters
Poison ivy cream/cleansers
Sterile gauze pads
Want a printable copy of our checklist? Click the link here for our camping checklist in pdf format.
Things To Consider for Your Camping Checklist
Tents obviously come in different sizes from a two person tent to a 12 person tent. An important thing to remember is a two person tent is just that; a two person tent. That means there is usually enough room for two average sized people and maybe a little gear.
If you are looking to have a little extra room for your things inside the tent, you may want to consider a 3 or 4 person tent for two people instead.
The flip side of having extra room is a larger tent is heavier and takes up more room. If you are backpacking or hiking to a remote spot instead of driving your vehicle to the campsite, you may want to consider an ultra light, smaller tent build specifically for that.
Tent Foot Print or Tarp
It is usually worth it to get a tent footprint or small tarp to put underneath your tent when you are setting it up. Including this on your checklist will give you an extra water and moisture barrier if the weather turns bad and it will also help protect the bottom of your tent, extending the life of your tent.
Can you get away with not having a pillow when you go camping? Of course you can, but just won’t be as comfortable and you may wake up with a kink in your neck. The new inflatable camping pillows should be a steady item on your camping checklist. When deflated they are very compact so space is not an issue. Take one along and your neck will thank you.
There is something I just love about the old Coleman lanterns with the fuel and mantels. That being said, the new LED lanterns can give you great light and the batteries last for a considerable amount of time. Many of them are rechargeable which will work perfect with a solar charger. No matter which style of lantern you decide to go with, just make sure this on your checklist as an essential piece of gear.
Headlamp and Flashlight
Some gear on your camping checklist is essential that you can’t do without. Headlamps and flashlights fall into that category. A headlamp gives you freedom with your hands around the campsite to get things done in the dark.
Sleeping bags are rated based on their temperature range. Often times they are referenced based on the number of seasons such as 3 season or 4 season. Our pro tip is to use the temperature rating not the number of seasons. Winter camping in Maine is not the same as winter camping in Arizona. My experience has been that a sleeping bag rate for 30 degrees is only comfortable to 40 degrees. If you are in a colder climate or in a place with large temperature swings consider a mummy sleeping bag.
Weight and size may factor in if you are going to be hiking or backpacking. While they are more expensive ultra light sleep backs are compact and light, saving crucial space when packing.
Sleeping Pad or Cot
Cots are great to bring with you on your camping trip if you will driving to your campsite and have plenty of room for packing gear. They are not practical if you need to hike any distance to your campsite. A sleeping pad, especially compact ones, are easy to bring along when hiking and backpacking. They will make a difference in the quality of your sleep, giving you a little cushion and a barrier between you and the ground which will help keep you warmer. We highly recommend a sleeping pad on your checklist.
Dry Bags or Clear Plastic Bins
Let’s face it, if you are going camping there is a likely hood that you will experience some wet weather. Having a dry bag to store things in or a clear plastic bin that seals well will keep your stuff dry. Dry bags work well for clothes and electronics stored in your backpack. If you don’t have to hike to your spot plastic bins can come in handy.
I don’t know if it is from being a Boy Scout or my time in the military, but I always bring a compass with me in my gear. It is a must have on my checklist. If you have a gps they are great especially when you are venturing into the back country.
Notebook or Journal
I love being in nature and just having the opportunity to disconnect. I usually find myself in a contemplative mood when camping. Writing in a notebook or journal can help you clear your head, set goals and priorities.
Portable Solar Charger
Portable solar chargers can be a life safer to keep your electronics such as your cell phone charged. Many lanterns now come with rechargeable batteries that are charged through a micro usb. Having a portable solar charger will help keep your lanterns charged and ready while you are camping. Add it to your checklist, you’ll be glad you did.
An important thing to note about the checklist is many places will not allow you to bring firewood in from an outside source. There is concern with disease being spread so you will need to check ahead of time to see if outside firewood is approved for use. In areas where outside firewood is not permitted for use, the park staff will have firewood for purchase.
I love being in the outdoors and sharing space with nature. Having a set of binoculars is a great way to get a close up view of birds and other wild life while camping. If you enjoy bird watching or seeing other animals up close in their natural habitat, then make sure you add a set a binoculars to your camping checklist.
Our Camping Gear Checklist Picks
Looking for some suggestions for camping gear from our lists above? Having the right gear can make all the difference in the world for comfort and ease while camping. Having the right stuff will just make your trip more enjoyable and give you the freedom to enjoy the natural beauty around you. Here are some of our favorite picks for camping gear to help you out.
Camping Gear From The Checklist
- Dome tent with spacious interior allows you to move comfortably
- Easy setup in only 10 minutes
- WeatherTec system with patented welded floors and inverted seams to keep you dry
- Large windows and a ground vent for superior ventilation
- Measures 9 x 7 feet with 4 foot 11 inch center height
- 2″ Thick sleep support! You will love this sleeping pad!
- Want to sleep comfortably anywhere? This quality portable camping mat pad is perfect.
- Super sturdy and comfortable. Great for any sleep position.
- Weighs only 14.5 oz
- Packs down to the size of thin water bottle – perfect for a backpacking sleeping pad!
- SMALL in SIZE – BIG on COMFORT!
- This is the most compact & lightweight inflatable camp pillow on the market – folds down to 5×2 inches, smaller than a soda can!
- Inflates to a comfortable pillow for head or lumbar support.
- Deflating back down in only seconds.
- This backpacking pillow can easily be carried in your backpack or pocket for convenient access.
- Weighing a mere 2.75oz (78g), lighter than a can of soda!
- Lightweight and Waterproof for Warm & Cold Weather Comfort for 4 Seasons
- Of course seasons depends on where you are. Rated to 32 degrees.
- Good general purpose sleeping bag for camping.
- Comfortable and skin friendly. Polyester and hollow cotton as filler
- Measures 82.6″ x 31.5″
- Has zipper guard to help prevent the zipper from getting stuck.
- Durable to protect the bottom off your tent and provides a waterproof barrier
- Multi-purpose tent tarp can be used for tent, beach, picnics, camping, sporting events.
- Size options: 36″x83″ / 55″x83″/ 71″x83″ /82″x82″ / 95″x83
- Light weight and compact
- It comes with a drawstring pouch providing added convenience for carrying. Weighs only 0.8LB/370g
- Portable ultralight folding camp chair with carry bag
- Heavy duty 350 lbs capacity for outdoor camping, backpacking, hiking, BBQ
- These portable chairs can be folded into a small piece of 14.25″ x 5.25″ including the carry-on bag and still weights 2 lbs.
- It is extremely easy to carry during outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and backpacking
- LOW-Height: This chair’s height is 13.8″ with a back height of 26″. Perfect around camp fires.
- LED Brightest High 6000 Lumen Work Headlight
- IPX4 Waterproof
- 18650 Flashlight with Zoomable Work Light
- for Camping, Hiking, Outdoors, Fishing
- LIFE-TIME Free Replace Warranty
- Seats 4
- Compact storage: Aluminum slat top rolls up
- Portable snap together design sets up and breaks down easily
- Dimensions are 27.6 x 27.6 x 27.6 in.
- Has carry bag for easy storage
- Adult Sleep Sack And Camping Sheets
- Put a protective barrier between you and that germy sleeping bag with travel bedding
- Bring along a clean and comfortable camping sheet anywhere you go, while saving tons of space in your backpacking gear!
- lightweight and comes with its own simple-to-stuff sack (8.27” L x 3.35” D) for portable peace of mind.
- Enjoy extra warmth in cold weather, use it as a stand-alone sleeping sack in the summer
- Heavy Duty, 28″ – 33″ extra wide and sturdy
- Supports up to 500 lbs
- Easy setup and break down
- Colors include blue, grey, and green
- Measures 75″ x 28″ x 15″ when open, 1 inch wider than usual. Pack size 41″ x 9″ x 7″
- Weighes 17 pounds
- Ripstop Nylon – Ultralight Hammock Tent
- Bundle with Bug Netting, Straps, Carabiners
- SIMPLE & FAST: Suspension is knot-free, tree friendly, and can be set-up in 1-min
- SPACIOUS, yet compact & ultralight: Large = 2.1 lbs, 145 x 290 cm
- Rechargeable LED Lantern
- Hurricane lights with flashlight and magnet base
- Super bright with large area brightness
- 360 degree coverage provides high visibility
- 4 lighting modes including red warning light with strobe and SOS
- Long lasting rechargeable but can also use AA batteries
- 10 pc pack
- Non rust for tent or canopy
- Bonus 4 , 10ft ropes & green stopper
- Heavy-duty set of peg stakes，Approx. ¼”, ( 8 mm )
- Milled points prod easily into hard soil with large head for mallet driving
- Suitable for most of the tent
- PVC with Flannel Backing
- Easy-to-clean PVC with flannel backing
- Provides a clean surface for your picnic table
- Measures 82″L x 54″ W
- Fits standard picnic tables
- 12 x 10 / 10 x 10
- 22 piece, light weight perfect for back packing
- Convenient carry case
- Only takes a few minutes to set up
- Blocks rain and UV Rays for 2 person hammock
- Heavy duty but light
- Watertight yet breathable
- Shell: 100% Nylon; Lining: 100% Polyester
- Zipper closure
- nylon shell durable enough to withstand anything from drizzle to downpour
- rain jacket features an abrasion resistant chin guard, two zippered side pockets, elastic cuffs, and an elastic hem
- Water resistant and breathable
- Men’s, women’s and youth styles
- Jacket features an adjustable hood with cord locks and full front zipper with storm flap
- The jacket’s elastic cuffs help to keep moisture out
- The pant features an elastic waist and a straight-leg design
- Stuff sack is included for easy toting
- Lightweight Reusable Hiking Hooded Coat Jacket for Outdoor Activities
- Will keep you nice and dry, regardless of whether you are camping, walking or cycling
- Hooded with a cord adjuster to well protect your face
- Made of 210T ripstop nylon fabric + PVC coating, this rain poncho is PU3000MM waterproof
- This unisex rain poncho from Anyoo gives you maximum coverage when you need it, plus easily folds into a compact size of 9 x 3 x 3 in
- 1.88″ x 12 yd
- Heavy duty and double thick, Gorilla Tape offers over-the top results; It’s like duct tape on steroids
- Great for indoor or outdoor use and made to stick to rough, uneven, unforgiving surfaces like wood, stone, stucco, plaster, brick and more
- Tough, Reinforced Backing; The tight weave contributes to the heft, but Gorilla Tape can still be ripped by hand
- 103 FEET, 620 LB. TENSILE Strength | Exceeds MIL-SPEC Type III 550 Paracord Strength Standards
- THE PERFECT CORDAGE: Titan Paracord is the perfect utility cord for Home & Auto Emergency Kits, Camping, Hunting, Survival Kits, Disaster Prep, Bug-Out Bags, and Crafting projects
- EXTREMELY VERSATILE: 550 Paracord is specifically designed for rugged utility applications requiring Strength, Durability, and Compactness. From crafts, clothes lines, and outdoor tent guy lines, to an emergency rope substitute
- Made of the highest quality materials
- Camping Knives & Tools Shovels
- Another quality Coleman product
- Replaceable Wire Cutters and Saw, Stainless Steel with Leather Sheath
- Built with the strongest pliers they have produced
- 19 tools, including knives, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, an electrical crimper, a wire stripper, bottle and can openers, a file, a saw, an awl, and a ruler.
- heavy-duty yet portable size
- Fix rips and tears permanently on waders, wetsuits, PVC inflatables, muck boots, and more
- Waterproof and flexible/li>
- Apply this clear glue to neoprene, nylon, canvas, leather, rubber, and GORE-TEX fabric; creates a water-tight seal that won’t peel or crack over time
- Resists abrasions and scratches; unaffected by extreme temperatures
- 14″ Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction & Shock Reduction Grip
- Forged in one piece
- Perfect for chopping logs, small trees & branches or splitting firewood & kindling
- Includes ballistic nylon sheath to protect hand sharpened cutting edge.
- Cutting Edge-3.5 inch
- Don’t let a broken tent pole ruin your trip
- The 13mm (0.51 inch ) sleeve repairs most standard size 1-3 person tents
- The 16mm (0.63 inch ) splint repairs larger poles and fits most 2-4 person tents
- Sleeves are easily applied in the field
- Center splint over the break and tape on both ends
- 10 Inch Curved Blade
- 3 sided razor teeth for efficient cutting
- Ideal for cutting 5″-6″ diameter wood
- Ergonomic design
- Easy to latch blade to prevent injury
- coyote brown handle and fine edge, full tang 420HC steel blade
- Ceramic blade coating and rubberized diamond texture grip
- A striking pommel at the base of the handle breaks through hard surfaces
- Four mounting pieces and sheath can be used for mounting on MOLLE, belt, or in drop-leg fashion
- Mid waterproof hiking boot
- 100% waterproof nubuck leather
- Rubber sole
- Low profile upper with ghillie lacing for comfort and secure fit.
- Synthetic sole
- Easy hook and loop closure to get the fit just right
- EVA foam foot bed cushions and support for all day comfort