Collection: The Camping Checklist

Camping is a timeless way to spend a weekend or vacation communing with nature, family, and friends. It’s good for the body, mind, and spirit to mix up our routines and get outside for some fun and relaxation. When backpacking isn’t practical due to time constraints, physical limitations, or young kids, we suggest packing up the car and finding a site at a nearby campground or in a National Forest. The beauty of car camping is that it’s inexpensive, accessible to almost everyone, and you can have a great time with only a day or two to spend.

At CleverHiker, we love to help people get outdoors, and we know how daunting packing for multi-day camping trips can be. That’s why we put together the Ultimate Camping Checklist, and we hope it makes packing for your next camping trip easy and stress-free! Did we miss anything? If so, leave us a comment below and we’ll update our list.


The Gear

To determine what gear you need to bring on your trip, consider these 3 questions:

  • Are you going to a campground or a primitive campsite?

    This will help you determine whether or not there will be picnic tables, fire pits, bathroom facilities, water, and electricity. You’ll obviously need to pack a bit differently for primitive camping.

  • What activities would you like to do?

    You get to decide how you want to spend your time in the outdoors. Complete your gear list with the items you need to make hiking, fishing, biking, playing games, or just relaxing in camp enjoyable.

  • How luxurious do you want your camp to be?

    Think of your campsite as a blank canvas where you can set up as much or as little as you’d like to make it your own. Some people take great pride in setting up elaborate, cushy camps, while others prefer to take a more minimalistic approach.

Starting from Scratch?

While this gear list may look intimidating at first, you’ll find that you already have a lot of these items around your house. Start by gathering the important basics like your shelter and bedding first, then expand from there. If you’re on a tight budget, consider renting or borrowing big-ticket items to get you started. Your camping supplies will upgrade and evolve as you go on more trips and grow to love camping.


The ultimate camping checklist


  • Camp table (if no picnic table)
  • Camp chairs
  • Lantern (w/ extra batteries)


    • Hammock + tree straps
    • Outdoor rug
    • Tablecloth (w/ clips)
    • Clothesline (w/ clips)
    • Clear plastic bins to store items
    • Insect-repellent (or Thermacell)
    • Sit pads for insulation on chairs


      • Water filter/purification
      • Potable water containers
      • Trowel/shovel (when outhouses aren’t available)


        • Portable power (battery bank or solar charger)
        • Paracord + food hanging bag (for bear country)
        • Portable camp shower


          • Tent (w/ stakes + guylines)
          • Sleeping bag or quilt
          • Sleeping pad or mattress
          • Camping pillow


            • Tent footprint/ground cloth (adds durability to tent floor)
            • Mallet (for tent stakes)
            • Door Mat
            • Sunshade, tarp, or screen house (w/ stakes + guylines)
            • Duct tape + Tenacious tape (repairs)
            • Small broom + dustpan
            • Tent lights
            • Cot
            • Sleeping bag liner
            • Extra blankets/sheets
            • Air pump for mattress


              • Water
              • Ice
              • Beverages (juice, milk, beer, wine)
              • Coffee/tea/creamer
              • Condiments
              • Spices (salt, pepper, etc.)
              • Cooking oil/spray
              • Food:
              • ___________________
              • ___________________
              • ___________________
              • ___________________

                CAMP KITCHEN

                • Coolers (1 for food + 1 for drinks)
                • Large water jug/dispenser
                • Stove + fuel
                • Lighter or matches
                • Cook pots w/ lids
                • Frying pan
                • Potholder
                • Food containers, bags + foil
                • Bowls/Plates/Cups
                • Eating utensils
                • Cooking utensils
                • Cutting board
                • Sharp knife(s)
                • Dish-washing basin (or plastic bin)
                • Biodegradable soap
                • Sponge
                • Quick-dry dish towel
                • Garbage + recycling bags

                  CLOTHING & FOOTWEAR

                  • Quick-dry pants/shorts
                  • Wicking shirts/tanks
                  • Wicking underwear
                  • Light fleece or jacket
                  • Hiking shoes/boots
                  • Wicking socks
                  • Hats (1 warm, 1 for sun)
                  • Sunglasses
                  • Long-sleeve shirt (for sun + bug protection)
                  • Rain jacket + rain pants
                  • Base layer top + bottom
                  • Warm insulated jacket (down or synthetic)
                  • Fleece or wool pants
                  • Gloves or mittens


                    • Swimsuit
                    • Sandals or water shoes
                    • Camp shoes/slip-ons
                    • Sleepwear
                    • Umbrella
                    • Bandana or Buff


                      • Paper towels
                      • Bottle opener/corkscrew
                      • Can opener
                      • Measuring cups/spoons
                      • Coffee pot or french press
                      • Griddle
                      • Grill rack (to cook over fire)
                      • Dutch oven

                        PERSONAL GEAR

                        • Headlamp (w/batteries)
                        • Daypack
                        • Water bottle(s) or hydration pack
                        • Lightweight knife or multi-tool
                        • Whistle
                        • Lighter
                        • Map + compass or GPS
                        • Phone (w/ charger + case)
                        • Camera
                        • Cash or credit card
                        • ID
                        • Permits/reservations/fees/licenses
                        • Check weather forecast
                        • Duffle bag + stuff sacks

                          FIRST AID KID

                          • Bandages
                          • Moleskin or tape (for blisters)
                          • Antiseptic wipes
                          • Antibacterial ointment
                          • OTC medicines + vitamins
                          • Ibuprofen (headache reliever)
                          • Antacids (stomachache)
                          • Antihistamine (allergic reactions)
                          • Insect repellent
                          • Sunscreen
                          • Aloe (for sunburn)
                          • Small multi-tool (w/ tweezers + scissors)

                            CAMPFIRE (OPTIONAL)

                            • Hatchet or folding saw
                            • Firestarter
                            • Matches or lighter
                            • Firewood (if unavailable near campsite)
                            • Tarp (to cover wood + protect car)
                            • Roasting forks for s’mores

                              HEALTH & HYGIENE

                              • Prescription Rx
                              • Toilet Paper
                              • Hand sanitizer
                              • Toothbrush, paste + floss
                              • Lip Balm
                              • Menstrual/urinary products
                              • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, etc)
                              • Quick-dry pack towel


                                • Cosmetics
                                • Quarters for showers
                                • Wash cloth
                                • Eye masks/ear plugs
                                • Baby wipes
                                • Comb/brush

                                  FUN & ENTERTAINMENT (OPTIONAL)

                                  • Games (dice, cards, etc)
                                  • Music player (w/ headphones or speaker)
                                  • Reading material, notebook, pen
                                  • Hiking guides/maps/field guides
                                  • Instruments
                                  • Binoculars
                                  • Dog gear (dishes, tether, pack, bed)
                                  • Sports/fishing gear