26 Items on the Ultimate Camping Checklist

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Summer is the absolute perfect time to go camping. But one of the least exciting parts of camping is packing for your trip. You need to pack gear for cooking, sleeping, hiking, shelter, food storage, safety, survival, exploration, and/or just relaxing. Here are the absolute basic necessities, adaptable for beginners and experienced campers alike that can help you plan for your time in the wilderness.


1. Permits

Make sure you’re not only camping safely, but legally as well. Make sure you have all of the right permits for everything you want to do — camping, fishing, hunting, whatever.

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2. First-Aid Kit

“Be Prepared” really hits home here. Do you really want to have to have to do the Survivorman thing? This is a no-brainer.

3. Flashlight/ Headlamp

You’ll appreciate having one around when you want to see what’s crawling in your tent or to safely make it out for a bathroom break once the fire has gone out. Don’t forget to pack extra batteries.

4. Lantern

Because you’re going to want to see after sunset. I recommend something that won’t start a fire.

5. Sleeping Bag

Make sure you have one for each member of your “expedition”.

6. Tent

It’s your protection from the elements. If it rains, you’ll appreciate a good, water-proofed tent that is properly erected.

7. Tarp / Ground Cover

While most tents today come with a ground cover, having an extra one will prevent the tent floor from being damaged. It is easier to replace a damaged tarp than a damaged tent.

8. Hatchet / Axe

To help complete many tasks around a campsite, such as making kindling, splitting large pieces of firewood, and planting your tent spikes.

9. Firewood

Especially if you don’t think there will be enough at your campsite to gather.

10. Rope

Rope is one of those things which seem to come in handy all the time.

11. Duct Tape

Like rope, duct tape will almost certainly be used multiple times during your trip.

12. Raingear

It’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

13. Insect Repellent

Nothing worse than having bugs continuously bugging you.

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14. Matches / Lighter

Unless you’re Bear Gylls, you need a way to start your campfire and stove.

15. Water

Either find a way to purify it yourself (boil it), stay at a campsite that has water spigots, or just bring it with you.

16. Camp Stove / Fuel

For cooking, obviously. Just remember to verify that it actually works before your leave.

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17. Food

Just make sure to pack plenty of it. Nothing is worse than running out.

18. Cooler

Not only are coolers excellent for storing and transporting food, but they can also double as seats for people who do not want to sit on the ground.

19. Plates

Avoid bringing reusable plates unless you plan to also bring your kitchen sink to wash them. Washing dishes while camping is a difficult procedure.

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20. Can Opener

Because nothing is worse than bringing cans of food that you’re not able to open.

21. Napkins / Paper Towels / Toilet Paper

All are useful in their own right. But if you can only bring one, paper towels are best since they can double as napkins and toilet paper.

22. Cookware / Cooking Utensils

To successfully cook, you will need a set of cooking utensils. Double check that you have all the necessary instruments for cooking your planned meals.

23. Wash / Dish Cloth

Bring two for each day you are camping. These will be useful for cleaning pots and pans.

24. Trash Bags

Very useful to help contain your trash that you’ve generated during your trip.

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25. Tools

A Leatherman for repair and other works.

26. Sunscreen

Wear it and wear it right. No excuses.

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