The Essential Packing Guide for Your Next Camping Trip

Camping can be a great way to get away from fast-paced civilization and really relax in the outdoors, but the romantic image of throwing a few things in a bag and hitting the open road isn’t quite accurate. For a camping trip to run smoothly, a fair amount of preparation is necessary — including a good deal of packing.

We don’t want this to deter you from enjoying your time around the campfire, so we’ve created this essential packing guide with quick and easy packing in mind. Before your next camping trip, review this list to make sure you’ve included all the essentials.

The Basics

These items are so crucial to camping that you probably won’t forget them, but double-checking never hurts! The first things in the trunk should be your:

    Tent: Make sure you have all the poles, stakes, and a mallet for setup.
    Tarp: Put a tarp under your tent to protect its floor and keep it dry.
    Sleeping bag: Keep in mind that not all sleeping bags are the same. Read these five tips for choosing the right sleeping bag if you need some guidance.
    Camping chairs and a folding table: Some campsites may include picnic tables, so check before you go to avoid having to lug these around.

Kitchen Items

Fuel your camping trip with the following food and drink essentials:

    Camping stove and fuel
    Cookware and utensils
    Water bottles and an extra supply of water: Depending on where you’re camping and what water sources are available, you may need a water filtration system as well.
    Food: Pack a good mix of easy snacks, such as granola bars or dried fruit, as well as the ingredients for some easy meals. Don’t forget the s’mores!
    Cooler and ice
    Bear bin: If you’re camping in bear country, bear bins are recommended (and sometimes required).
    Supplies for washing dishes: Soap, a sponge, a towel, and a bucket or small tub should do. For more sanitary dishwashing, pack a mesh bag so that clean dishes can air dry off of the ground.
    Trash bags


This list will vary depending on the weather but packing the following tends to be a good idea:

    Practical shoes: We recommend hiking boots and sturdy sandals.
    Waterproof jacket
    Layers: Layers will allow you to adjust to any changes in the weather and stay warm at night.
    Wool socks

Personal Items

Keep your personal items to a minimum by only bringing what you really need:

    Bug spray
    Toilet paper
    First aid kit
    Hand sanitizer
    Medications and painkillers
    Toiletries: Soap, deodorant, toothpaste, a toothbrush, a hairbrush, and — if you’re camping for more than a few days — shampoo and conditioner should be in your bag.

Essential Tools

These tools are both essential and easy to overlook. Don’t forget to bring your:

    Flashlight and lantern: Include extra batteries!
    Fire starters
    Pocket knife
    Carabiner: A regular carabiner will work for some tasks, but for something much more versatile, we recommend bringing a Heroclip. Heroclips allows you to both hook and clip your gear to other items and surfaces, making them perfect for camping.
    Chargers: Whether or not you’ll be able to charge your devices during your trip, make sure they are fully charged before leaving.


You’re the best judge of what you need to make your camping trip fun, but we recommend the following to pass the time:

    Deck of cards
    Board games
    Fishing equipment
    Water gear: If you’re camping near a body of water, consider bringing an inflatable raft or kayaking, canoeing, or row boating gear. Life jackets are also a must.

Happy camping — and packing!


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