Camping Checklist Essentials – Must Have Items

Always good to have a checklist and a camping checklist essentials list is a must-have if you intend to plan a trip into the woods to the beach or any other camping destination.

Writing out a checklist is a great way to be organized. If you’re looking at going camping, take a look through this post.

In no particular order, I have written this checklist that hopefully may help you. I find it very easy to forget something most times.



It’s vital we have a good shelter so a tent of some description when camping and is a must if you are going out hiking always have a small lightweight shelter/tent even if your only day hiking.

If you are injured while outdoors or in the woods, having a simple tent may become the essential element in your survival.

Having shelter in emergency circumstances will give you a positive psychological mindset. Here is a nice tent that will surround you and your family with peace of mind, the Coleman Evanston check it out.

Do you already own a tent and how long has it been packed away in the garage? Maybe it’s time you pulled it out and inspected it to make sure it is serviceable and not rotting, or falling apart.

Is it missing any parts, always a good exercise to erect it in the yard before leaving on your trip, particularly if it been a while since the last outing?

A shelter will provide a barrier between you and the elements, and help prevent hypothermia, and will give you a shaded space on hot sunny days. Check out a tent on Wikipedia.

Sleeping gear.

Just because we are outdoors camping, we still like to have a good night’s sleep. If you don’t have a warm and comfortable sleeping-place you will not enjoy it, why would you want to go camping again?

So bedding is a very important item on our list of essentials. Most camping by individuals and families is done in fair weather, however, that can change quickly.

So it is important that you know the environment you are going to be camping in, the weather will determine the type of bedding and how much you will need.

Do you have a good camping sleeping pad how many in your group, do you have a camping cot or camp stretcher or are you sleeping on the ground, you will need to make sure you have the correct bedding for your trip.

Sleeping bags are good all-round items, they come in many shapes and sizes they can be used by one person or multiple people, and when used inside a tent in conjunction with a ground pad, this alone may be all you require.

I have put together a comprehensive list of the Best Sleeping Bags for you to check out, there is sure to be one in there that will solve your dilemma of staying warm while outdoors on cold nights.

If it turns really cold, warm blankets and a good quality sleeping bag will keep everybody in the group warm.

Food storage container.

I love my food, so one of the first things is the food container, I carry most of my essentials in the vehicle. I have a large plastic container which is in the back of the truck.

In it, I have my dry food, tin food, beans, and spaghetti, etc, packets rice pasta, sauce bottles, long-life milk, cereal, cordial anything that has a long use-by date.

This box is checked before each trip and stocked with all the essentials I feel I need, I will not go hungry.

Portable Gas Stove.

You will need to cook meals and boil water so you’ll want to make sure you check out our list of Best Camping Stoves a good gas stove that is clean, and in good working order is essential.

One important item you don’t want to forget is a gas canister or in the case of a larger stove maybe a 20lb bottle, make sure it is full.

And of course, it won’t work if you don’t have a hose and regulator, also make sure these are in good order with no damage to the hose or connection.

I have a small two-burner stove that is a very good piece of equipment, it is compact folds down to the size of a small briefcase, and weighs around 12 lb.

If your a little tight on space a great stove like the Camp Chef Everest can be discreetly stored in a small area. It is simple to keep clean, highly rated, and produces plenty of heat to cook a good steak, check one out here its one of my favorite pieces.

Personal hygiene.

Bathing cleaning and toileting don’t stop while we are away camping, so a fold up ensuite is another essential if we are camping with no facilities these come in many shapes and sizes are quite cheap they are very compact so take up very little room.

You can place your porta toilet inside or the outdoor shower and this allows you to enjoy the privacy that will enhance your camping experience and make it much more comfortable and enjoyable.


Keeping food and drink cool is essential, especially in a hot climate. A good quality premium cooler with ice is an excellent option for several days camping.

Today you can purchase very high-quality roto-molded coolers that are very strong, and produce an excellent level of performance with maximum ice retention, in some cases up to 10 days.

One of these super coolers should be at the top of your camping checklist essentials. Check out our favored list on the highlight above.

Another option that is hard to beat is a 12-volt portable fridge for convenience, if you are on the road constantly, or traveling long distances these systems are excellent and hard to beat.

With a fridge turn it on at home 24 hours before you leave and put any hot drinks in also to allow them to cool using electricity from home, that way you won’t drain your battery on the first days travel.


Lighting is another essential for safety and comfort around the campsite at night, you can acquire any amount of LED lighting that will suit any individual application.

2 or 3 well placed LED lights will light up your whole campsite so you can see and enjoy nighttime activities with the family or friends.

Above the dinner table have a light bar set up and you will think you in the kitchen at home. these are terrific lights very portable use very little power and will last a very long time.

If you are using a gas type light, once again make sure that they work and that you have the appropriate fuel for them.

How about a torch does it work and do you have good batteries to suit. One of the best forms of lighting when camping or hiking is a high-quality personal headlamp.

These are super bright, some are super lightweight reasonably cheap and sit on your head so you have both hands free to use.

Whether you are setting up camp, going for a night walk, rummaging around inside the tent, or cooking dinner, these items are money well spent. I highly recommend these items. Do yourself a big favor and check out our best headlamps review highlighted above.

Camp chair.

During your adventure you will want to stop during the days to rest if you’ve had a particularly active morning you may like to take a siesta, so do you have a good quality camp chair to sit and relax.

Be sure it is comfortable as you may want to spend a bit of time enjoying the lazy moments of the trip. I love my comfort and I’m sure you do too so a good quality comfortable fold-up camp chair is a must.

In all my equipment there are favorite items in every category whether it be a chair, a light, a tool of some description.

And in the category of chairs, we have done in-depth research of a list of very well designed and well-manufactured chairs that will provide you with a choice of the Best Camping Chairs currently available. In this list, there is sure to be one that suits your special requirements.


The Hammock is functional and practical can be erected in just a couple minutes on your own and gives you a safe location in that you are off the ground away from crawling and slithering animals.

They are available in very lightweight models and can be extremely useful when in the woods. They are also great for an afternoon siesta under a shady tree, with a cold drink beside you while camping near the beach.

Once again is it sturdy and in good condition, has it been used lately, check the end ropes for any damage, and check that all the ropes and hardware are serviceable. Be sure to read my list of Best Camping Hammocks.

First aid kit.

Accidents happen anywhere anytime so always a good idea to have good quality and serviceable first aid kit in your list of essentials.

A simple scratch can get infected quickly so if you’re not in town, you will be very grateful that you packed a first aid kit always go through the kit before leaving to reassure yourself it has not been emptied while sitting in the cupboard at home.

Be sure to add a couple of pressure immobilization bandages in case of snakebite. Having a basic knowledge of first aid techniques is always a benefit and knowing CPR can be a lifesaving ability.


After you have determined where the next campsite will be, do you know if there is fresh drinking water onsite or close by?

Is it readily available, is it easily accessed, or do you have to carry your own? Always check your water supplies and take with you a couple of 5-gallon drums to fill at every available opportunity.

If you are going into remote areas or hiking into an area with lake water or river water you should not be without a Life-straw Personal water filter.

This water filter has been the topic of many discussions on many survival and camping websites. The filter allows you to consume water from virtually any water source, dams, swamps or rivers.

This simple looking device has the ability to eliminate more than 99.9 percent of waterborne germs and bacteria from water. I have one in my equipment and I suggest you get one for yours, these are a tremendous tool. Check out Lifestraw on Wikipedia.

Insect Repellant.

Doesn’t matter if you are camped by a river or camping near the beach, the outdoors come with all sorts of bugs. However, the most annoying will be mosquitoes and sand flies.

The mosquito bite often causes an irritating rash that can be a serious nuisance. Much more serious though is the potential for extremely harmful infections such as malaria and yellow fever or dengue fever.

You really need to have some sort of insect repellent, otherwise, you may have a most unpleasant experience. A good 30plus sun protection is another essential.


It is really important that you take the appropriate clothing with you on any camping excursion, determined by the environment, and time of year.

In the mountains or the snow you will need the clothing that suits the place, and day. Shorts and t-shirt will certainly be all you need on a day at the beach like our image here.

But don’t forget the hat and sunscreen. Light summer clothes worn on a normal day, will not be much use in the mountains in the middle of winter. You probably don’t want to get caught out without the winter woollies and some sort of skin moisturizer.

So, determine where and when you are going, have a knowledge of the weather forecast, and make sure your clothing will give you the protection and comfort in that environment.

If you are hiking be prepared for all situations, a great start is to ensure you have a quality pair of shoes, this is important, and in your backpack maybe have a light-weight waterproof jacket in case the weather turns for the worst.

Camera.boy with camera

There are some truly amazing camping locations located around the country, we have an opportunity to capture some beautiful images every time we step outdoors.

If you have an interest in photography, or just want a few selfies with family, you will have abundant photo opportunities everywhere you go.

To not only experience the location, but to be able to keep the memories forever.

If you have any more questions about camping checklist essentials, I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the comments section below.

Remember! Leave it cleaner than you found it, only footprints not rubbish.



8 thoughts on “Camping Checklist Essentials – Must Have Items”

  1. What a good list! We also have a list similar to what you have here but thanks for also offering the explanations that come with them because you have given me great insight on what could happen if ever any of these were missing on our next camping trip.

    This has really helped! Thanks!

    • Hi Reyhana

      Thanks for your comment, I like to work with lists, they make sure my camping checklist essentials are always in the vehicle, It is very easy to forget the little things sometimes. I know this is only a few item that should be with us, and everybody has their own needs, but you have to start somewhere. I am glad i could help. 

      Thanks again, Shane.

  2. This is a good list to consider when camping and that additional of adding the gears even when going for a day hike is a good thought. I have been in a situation where we got stuck while hiking after a flash flood on the other side of the hills. This led us to find a sleeping area till the flood water subdued. The checklist is a must have at all times, am saving this link for my future camping adventures.

    • Hi Anita i am glad you found my list, you never know what the day holds so i always like to be prepared.

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. Hi
    We have been searching for some info on camping as we really would love to try it and reading your post has really helped, i think the checklist is a good idea at least you wouldn’t forget anything.
    We also like barbecues is there any small ones you could recommend? and will campsites allow them?
    What make of tent would you also recommend for 2 people oh and grandchildren i must not forget them so 2 adults and 2 children?
    Thanks great info.

  4. Hi Shadonna,

    This is a really good list, Normally when we go camping, we drive. This means weight isn’t much of a problem. Therefore we take an inflatable bed with us.

    However we want to do some wild camping, and the air bed is obviously very heavy. What you you recommend that is light weight, easy to carry and comfortable to sleep on?




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