Camping Checklist for Beginners

Camping is about relaxation and being able to let go. And you know that in order to truly enjoy being in the moment you have to make sure you are completely prepared for any situation. This camping checklist is meant to guide you while your packing for your next outdoor trip to make sure you don’t forget anything. There’s items that are nice for a weekend getaway and there are items that will help those campers on longer trips. Whether you are the weekend or weeklong camper, the video below has some great tips you might not be using to improve your preparation. 

The Camping Checklist for Beginners

Remember to check these items off when you get the items into your car. The worst is using the checklist to gather all your materials at the home and then leaving something behind because you accidentally left it on the table.

icon of car Transportation


  • Valid car insurance/registration
  • Full tires
  • Working windshield wipers
  • Full tank of gas

icon of camping tent Sleep


  • Tent
  • Tarp
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Sleeping pillow
  • Blanket

Add these items for week+ camping trips:

  • Rain cover
  • Cot (optional)
  • Air mattress
  • Air pump
  • Blankets

icon of outside grill Cooking


  • Cooking stove
  • Dish towel
  • Bowl/plate
  • Silverware
  • Thermos
  • Marshmellows/graham crackers/Hershey bars
  • Bottle opener/can opener/corkscrew
  • Cooler

  • Food
  • Seasoning
  • Lighter
  • Lighter fluid
  • Mugs/cups
  • Bottled water
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife


Add these items for week+ camping trips:

  • Pot scrubber
  • Food storage containers
  • Paper towels/napkins
  • Portable coffee maker
  • Towel
  • Water purification
  • Cooking pan/skillet

icon of camping backpack Personal


  • ID
  • Backpack
  • Sunglasses
  • bandanna
  • watch
  • Toiletries
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Shampoo
    • Soap
    • T.P.
    • Deodorant
    • Feminine products
  • Cellphone
  • Cellphone charger
  • Clothes
    • Shirts (long/short sleeved)
    • Socks
    • Boots
    • Tennis shoes
    • Underwear
    • Rain jacket
    • Jeans/shorts/belt
    • Flipflops
    • Sleepwear
    • Swimsuit (optional)


Add these items for week+ camping trips:

  • Conditioner
  • Chapstick
  • Nail clippers
  • Hat
  • Sleep wear
  • Swim suit (optional)
  • Sweatshirt

icon of medical case Safety


You don’t want to pack short in this category. Chances are you’re going to have a great time but relaxation is about being prepared.

  • First aid kit
    • Roll bandages
    • Cotton swabs
    • Tweazers
    • Band aids/bandages
    • Aspirin/ibuprofen
    • Burn ointment
    • Eye drops
  • Bug repellant
  • Pocket knife
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Sunscreen
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Safety pins
  • flare

icon of camping lampMisc


Some of these items can be optional but bringing them all will set you up for a comfortable trip without being inconvenienced. 

  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Candles/lantern
  • Bags for storage
  • Hammer
  • Local emergency numbers
  • Firewood
  • Trash bags
  • Umbrella
  • Camping chairs
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Baby wipes
  • Tarp
  • Power bank


Add these items for week+ camping trips:

  • Whistle
  • Bungee cords
  • Scissors
  • Camping table
  • Axe/saw
  • Compass
  • Duct tape
  • Dust pan w/ broom
  • Rope
  •  Tent-pole repair sleeves
  • Pad/Mattress repair kit
  • Mirror

icon of guitarEntertainment (optional)


  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Board games
  • Musical instruments
  • Notebook w/ pen

Summary

I recommend using this checklist twice. Once when you get everything ready in your home and a second time when it gets packed into the car. The worst feeling is knowing you had it by the door and just forgot to put it in the car and now everyone is complaining because there are no chairs to sit on.

And tell a friend where you will be setting up camp and the trails you might be taking. Make sure they have essential info like your license plate number and vehicle make and model.

Everyone’s camping experience is unique and being considerate of the nuances of who you are going with and the environment you are surrounded by will bring you the most comfortable and memorable experience. Have fun and be safe!

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