The Complete Camping Checklist

Camping is a timeless way to get away and spend quality time with yourself or with friends. It’s not only a fun adventure, but it’s highly beneficial for your physical and mental health. You’re getting exercise, stimulating your mind by setting up camp, and spending time in some fresh air. However, you can’t have a great camping experience without the proper preparation. Your trip will be drastically different and more enjoyable for everyone when you have the necessary supplies and equipment. Checklists come in handy to help with organization, which is why we came up with our own to help you pack for your next camping adventure.


The tools you will need for your shelter may vary depending on how primitive you plan on being. Regardless of your area, every camper needs a proper shelter to feel comfortable and reside in. Below are some tools nearly everyone uses and needs.

  • Tent
  • Extra stakes
  • Ax or hammer
  • Pillow
  • Sleeping bag
  • Ground tarp
  • Lantern/flashlight

For extra comfort, some choose to bring an inflatable mattress and pack a repair kit should any holes occur.


If you want to get in touch with your wild side, all you really need is some firewood and a match. However, not everyone is fit for an “all-natural” experience, so here are some essentials you may want to pack.

  • Large water jug
  • Cooler/ice
  • Lighter/matches
  • Bowls/plates/cups
  • Stove with propane tank
  • Firewood/charcoal
  • Silverware
  • Paper towels
  • Seasonings
  • Dish soap
  • Sharp knives
  • Trash bags
  • Frying pan/pots
  • Can opener

What ingredients you decide to pack for your meals is entirely up to you. With these basics, you should be able to whip up any delicious meal.

Clothes & Hygiene

This category is pretty self-explanatory and will change depending on the area you are camping. Everyone knows they need a variety of clothes, including long sleeves, pants, shirts, etc., but many campers forget about other less obvious essentials, so we put together some necessary year-round items.

  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen (yes, even in winter)
  • Bug repellent
  • Rain jacket
  • Swimsuit
  • Shampoo/body wash
  • Razor
  • Towel
  • Feminine products
  • Laundry bag

Personal Gear

You have everything you need to reside at the campsite peacefully, but how about when you go out exploring? Many campers tend to focus all their attention on having a comfortable campsite but forget to pack items for activities away from the tent. Take a look at the following items and consider what you will need.

  • Extra batteries
  • GPS
  • Compass
  • Books
  • Whistle
  • Backpack
  • Fishing gear
  • Hammock
  • First Aid gear
  • Credit card/cash
  • Pocket knife
  • Camera
  • Inflatable pool floaty
  • Deck of cards

First Aid Kit

While camping is relaxing, it can also be dangerous. After all, you are out in nature sharing space with wild animals. Not only that, but you’re constantly putting yourself in areas you’re generally not used to, like hiking, tubing, hunting, and so on. Minor injuries such as small cuts or scrapes may occur, but more harmful ones could also occur, such as a poison ivy rash, snake bites, or deep cuts. It is wise to prepare a kit that includes first aid items to cover numerous potential injuries.

  • Personal medications
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Tweezers
  • Bee sting kit
  • Roll bandages
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Band-Aids
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Thermometer
  • Burn ointment
  • Nail clippers
  • Heat/cold packs
  • Aspirin/ibuprofen/acetaminophen

When traveling, always remember to tell someone about your plans. Give details of where you are traveling, date of return, with whom you are going, plus phone numbers and vehicle descriptions. It is better to be safe than sorry; keeping others informed about your plans will provide an extra level of comfort on your trip.

Every camping trip is different, so necessities may vary depending on the people going and your destination. However, having a centralized checklist like this is great for big groups or families as a baseline reference. Relying on a list helps reduce unnecessary repeats of the same items and ensures no basic tools get left behind. Ease the stress of remembering what to pack and bask in all that the wilderness has to offer! There’s no worse feeling than being halfway to your destination and realizing you forgot something at home. If you need help locating certain items for your trip, Tropic Outdoors has plenty of outdoor equipment readily available for you.