Basic Camping Packing List

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This content was most recently updated on December 12th, 2019

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Going camping quite often as a child made me think I was a camping expert as an adult.  It wasn’t until I started camping on my own how little I realized I actually knew.  With that in mind, I figured I would put together our typical camping packing list.

Keep in mind that this is not for backcountry camping.  You need many other items for that and can obviously leave out some of these.  This list is just for your typical campground site.

Shelter & Bedding

Tent/Tent Footprint/Rainfly

We personally use the REI Arete ASL 2 Tent and love it!  It’s very lightweight, but plenty of space for both of us and our dog if he is coming along.  The footprint is what stakes to the ground (similar to a tarp) and the rainfly is obviously added protection from the weather.

Sleeping Bag

During the summer, I don’t tend to use a sleeping bag…I usually unzip it, lay it flat and just use a blanket.  However, I love the North Face Snow Leopard Sleeping Bag.


Not necessarily a necessity, but it’s nice to have.

Air Mattress/Pump

I don’t personally camp with an air mattress.  I prefer to the ground – personally I think it’s better for my back.  But, I’m a big camping advocate and if the only way you’re going to go is if there’s added comfort then please bring along the air mattress!



I hope when you’re camping that you’re taking advantage of the very nearby outdoors.  I use a good sized Camelbak as my daypack.  Therefore you have your hydration system and extra storage in one space.

Hiking Boots

Hiking boots or trekking shoes are definitely needed.  I also sometimes just use my trail running shoes.

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Water Bottle

Never go hiking without water.  If you don’t have a camelbak, take a water bottle.  Or, take both to be safe!

Camp Basics


Always bring along a good knife.  We actually usually have 5 different ones around.  They are good for just about anything – even making PB&J when someone (**cough, cough**) forgot the silverware.

Folding Chairs

For enjoying the fire and relaxing.


We take our hammocks with us that just attach to two trees.  Very nice for taking an afternoon nap or reading your book in.


Always, always have a flashlight.  Have more than one.  And, extra batteries!


Headlamps are great for getting in & out of the tent at night and for walking to the restrooms at night.

Cooler & Ice

Just make sure to lock up all your food tight at night so the animals don’t come scavenging!

Stove with Fuel


I usually bring both lighters and waterproof matches.

Lighter Fluid/Firestarters

Making fires isn’t the easiest thing in the world.  Some good firestarters are newspaper, toilet paper rolls with dryer lint stuffed inside and so on.


Wait to get the firewood until you get close to your campground.  There are specific laws about bringing and taking firewood into different areas and for good reason.  So, pay attention.  Also, most places you gather your own firewood as long as it’s already on the ground and dead.

Wire hangers

For roasting marshmallows, or hot dogs.  But, I hate hot dogs so yea…  Don’t buy the special roasting utensils.  Wire hangers do the trick.


Ziploc bags

Trash Bags

Quick Dry Towels

We love our quick dry towels.  They are super lightweight and take up so much less space than a regular towel.

First Aid Kit

Just have the basics with you – advil, tylenol, neosporin, alcohol wipes, bandaids, etc.

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Bug Spray

You’ll need it.

Antibacterial wipes


Playing Cards

Cornhole Boards/Horseshoes/Ladder Golf

Bluetooth Speaker

It’s pretty awesome having a wireless speaker to have music around the campfire.


Ashley Hubbard is a blogger and freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee focusing on sustainability, travel, veganism, mental health, and more. Passionate about animal rights, sustainable travel, and social impact, she seeks out ethical experiences whether at home or on the road. She shares these experiences on her website,


  1. Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats

    August 23, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    This is a timely list for me as we may end up hiking and potentially camping at Yosemite next weekend! I also need to share our Kili trek packing list on the blog before I completely forget it:)

  2. Annika - Live Laugh Explore

    August 23, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    Nice list, thank you! I’m planning a camping trip so perfect timing too 🙂 I try to be as minimalistic as possible because I hate carrying a lot of stuff with me, especially for longer hikes. Too bad you can’t really do camping with just a thing or two lol

  3. Brianna

    August 23, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    I’m more of a glamper but a few friends are trying to convince to try roughing it.

  4. Jacqueline

    August 24, 2014 at 12:01 AM

    Great list! The first time my husband and I went camping, it was a complete disaster. We forgot the most basic things like a flashlight and lighter and can opener. We did, however, remember all of the ingredients for S’mores so we felt pretty accomplished.

  5. Emma

    August 24, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Great list. We usually forget something. I would definitely add wine to my list though. I usually need that to sleep in a tent in the first place! 😀

  6. Corinne

    August 24, 2014 at 2:07 AM

    Ashley, I did not get to do as much camping this summer as I had planned. It seemed to rain and rain and rain everywhere we went. Great packing list!

  7. Sammi Wanderlustin'

    August 24, 2014 at 3:36 AM

    Awww you make camping sound so romantic!

  8. Amy @ Amy and the Great World

    August 24, 2014 at 6:00 AM

    I need to bookmark this list because I ALWAYS forget something when I camp! Although usually they are hygiene things…like a toothbrush. I always forget a toothbrush haha!

  9. jan

    August 24, 2014 at 6:36 AM

    It is a very good idea to have a check list. On the personal list I always include earplugs 🙂

  10. Mandie @ RamblingMandie

    August 24, 2014 at 6:45 AM

    “Never go hiking without water.” – you spelled wine wrong. 😉 Haha jk, great list, and yeah, I’m totally the kind of girl who has to have an air mattress!

  11. Daidri | Thee Getaway Gal

    August 24, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    Great tips Ashley! I wish my back would still handle the ground but I need a little something for buffer. They make so many light weight pads though that are much easier to haul around than an air mattress. I take a deck of playing cards with me everywhere!!!

  12. Marysia @ My Travel Affairs

    August 24, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    You actually do not need air mattress and the pump anymore, they have those amazing self inflating mattresses now. It take like 30 sec!

  13. Marissa

    August 24, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    Great list to getting started on an ultimate camping trip!

  14. Lauren

    August 24, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    What a fantastic list for going on an epic camping trip!

  15. Margherita @The Crowded Planet

    August 25, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Really good packing list! We don’t have a car and usually when we camp we have to carry the stuff, so we never take things like chairs, but I would so love one sometimes!

  16. Michela @ Rocky Travel Blog

    August 25, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    I am going camping for a few days soon and this checklist helps me creating my own packing list.

  17. Megan Claire

    August 25, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Great list! People underestimate needing to take water bottles with them – and also a knife; a knife can be used for pretty much any emergency situation!!!

    Great list! Might actually save this for the next time we go camping 😀

  18. Alli

    August 25, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    Great overall list! Although the kind of backpacking and camping my boyfriend and I do would not be able to support so much stuff! 😉

  19. Raphael Alexander Zoren

    August 26, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    I always bring a Machete in case I find bears or Mexicans 😮

  20. Ron | Active Planet Travels

    August 26, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    Great list…you never want to forget a tarp for the hammock, just in case! 😉 lol

  21. Beth

    August 26, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    Looks like a great list! I’ve only been camping once.. but it was barely camping and only for one night. Would love to try it for multiple nights though.

  22. Mike - Creatives in Transit

    September 5, 2014 at 2:14 AM

    That’s a pretty great list! One thing I actually picked up was a cast iron dutch oven – fill it with tasty things like eggs, veggies, cheese and spices, throw it in the fire and you’ll soon have one of the tastiest camp meals ever!

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