Basic Camping Packing List
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
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.
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.
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 or trekking shoes are definitely needed. I also sometimes just use my trail running shoes.
Never go hiking without water. If you don’t have a camelbak, take a water bottle. Or, take both to be safe!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You’ll need it.
Cornhole Boards/Horseshoes/Ladder Golf
It’s pretty awesome having a wireless speaker to have music around the campfire.