What to Pack for Your Camping Adventure

A camping trip in the summer has been a tradition for my family for the last couple of years. It’s a fantastic way to explore parks and become one with nature. While there are many ways to camp, including backpacking and backcountry, my family has always stuck with tents. With that in mind, I have created a basic car camping checklist that I hope you will find helpful.

Shelter & Sleeping

  • A tent, including poles, rain fly, and a hammer to drive the pegs into the ground. I have also found that having two large tarps to be very helpful. One for under the tent to keep the cold from getting through the bottom and one for the top to keep heat from escaping and it also adds extra protection in rain.
  • Folding chairs
  • Sleeping bags and extra blankets
  • Sleeping pads, cots, or air mattresses. I personally prefer air mattresses because they take up the least amount of space.
  • Pillows


  • Lightweight waterproof jacket with hood
  • A warmer layer (down vest or fleece jacket)
  • Hiking boots
  • Sandals or clogs for the campsite
  • Socks
  • Shorts and pants
  • Shirts (long and short sleeves)
  • Underwear
  • Pajamas
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat for sun protection
  • Swimsuit

First Aid & Safety

  • First-aid Kit
  • Sunblock
  • Bug repellant
  • Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen
  • Whistles
  • Calamine lotion for bug bites
  • Cell phone and solar charge
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Allergy medication
  • Duct tape
  • Multi-use tool/knife
  • Emergency  contact numbers
  • Cash (including quarters)
  • Bear spray (if where you are going has bears)

Cooking & Food

  • Camp stove and fuel
  • Firestarter (matches or lighter)
  • Pots and pans and utensils
  • Bucket for washing dishes
  • Empty plastic bags for collecting trash
  • Paper towels
  • Multipurpose tool to open bottles, use as a knife, etc
  • Cooler and ice packs
  • Drinking water
  • Aluminum foil
  • Snacks (granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix)
  • Seasonings (salt and pepper)
  • S’mores ingredients
  • Hot beverage mixes (instant coffee, tea bags)
  • Other beverages if desired
  • Recipes & ingredients for meals

Personal Items

  • Washcloths and towels
  • Toiletries (biodegradable soap,  shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, and toothpaste)
  • Toilet paper
  • Wet wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Digital Camera
  • Small packable games

While this list is not comprehensive, I have included many of the common suggestions in my list. Your list should reflect your own personal interests, preferences and comfort. Now you’re ready for your next camping adventure. Have fun! What’s your favorite camping destination? Leave a comment below letting me know!


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