You know that satisfying feeling you get when you completely reorganize your closet? When you’ve finally discarded your collection of flannel from the ’90s (“Been there, entertained that, Nirvana!”) and carefully organized and replaced the rest of your gear? We think that completing a checklist inspires the same type of nerdy, satisfying joy.
Furthermore, checking off a camping checklist inspires glee in almost anyone because camping gear is just, well, cool. It’s modular and miniaturized, like Legos. From tiny, lightweight stoves to collapsible cups and pocketknives with forks and spoons, camping gear is as delightful and full of potential for discovery as camping itself.
Checking off a list of essential camping do’s and don’ts could also potentially save your life. Like stepping onto the world’s biggest roller coaster with a weak stomach or driving a car on Interstate 95 for the first time, camping is one of those activities where it pays to be prepared.
- Packing Essentials
- Kitchen Essentials
- Emergency Gear
- Sleeping bags
- Backpacks (for hiking excursions)
- Matches and/or a butane lighter
- lantern, preferably battery-operated
- Map (GPS systems are great, but keep an old-fashioned paper map for emergencies!)
- Extra batteries
- Water bottles
- Bug spray (mosquito coils and portable insect repellant diffusers are also good to have)
- Toothpaste and toothbrushes
- Shaving supplies (razors, shaving cream)
- Small mirror
- Soap (liquid soap or bar soap in a plastic box or bag)
- Toilet paper
- Flip-flops or water shoes to wear in public shower facilities
- Hair care products such as shampoo and conditioner
Whether it’s the smell of open-pot coffee or the delight of toasting marshmallows over a campfire, the novelty of camp cooking is a big part of what makes camping so enjoyable. If you’re camping in an RV, certain camp kitchen essentials (a stove and sink, for instance) are already right at your fingertips.
Tent campers will want to consider packing a camp stove. Even if you enjoy cooking over a fire, portable, lightweight canister stoves are good to have handy in case conditions are wet. RV campers may also enjoy the versatility of these stoves; some are small enough to load into a backpack!
Here’s a checklist of camp kitchen essentials that both RV and tent campers will find useful:
- Canisters of fuel for your camp stove
- Plastic or metal tub for dishwashing
- Can opener
- Bottle opener /corkscrew
- Cooler (consider packing two coolers — one for cold items and one for storing dry goods)
- Dish towels and dishcloths
- Dish detergent
- Long, fire-resistant tongs and forks for cooking over a campfire
- Oven mitts
- Large utensils for cooking and serving
- Kitchen knife for chopping
- A pot for boiling water
- A cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan
- Cutting board
- Utensils (forks, knives, and spoons)
- Dishes (plates, cups)
- Aluminum foil
- Ziploc bags and/or storage containers for leftovers
- Dry goods (rice, oatmeal, pasta)
- Seasonings (salt, pepper, soy sauce)
If you’re filling coolers full of beer in preparation for your camping trip, it may occur to you to throw in a bottle of aspirin in case you happen to have one too many. However, it might never cross your mind that a silly little blister could derail an entire weekend of camping fun.
Luckily, you have this checklist to help you remember everything you’ll need for basic first aid and minor repairs:
- Duct tape
- A tool kit that includes a hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, and wrenches
- Nylon cord
- Razor blades
- Needle and thread
- Gauze pads
- Adhesive tape
- Ace bandages
- Latex gloves
- Antibiotic cream
- Body Glide or other anti-Chafe topical
- Anti-itch cream
- Pain relief (aspirin or similar)
- Hand sanitizer
Now, let’s review to see how much essential camping knowledge you’ve retained. Surprise a bear on the trail? Check — back away slowly and make a lot of noise. Creek’s rising fast? Check — climb to higher ground. Snakes on a Stick? Check — they’re not reptiles; they’re just refrigerator biscuits baked over an open fire! Do you need to pack a portable toilet? Well, it’s probably not strictly necessary, but plenty of campers prefer it to squat in the woods.
Abdul Rehman Asad is a freelancer, blogger, and digital marketing trainer with more than 4 years of experience. His expertise includes content marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and Social Media marketing. He wrote content for many affiliates, events, and local business sites and rank them successfully.