It is good to know you have decided to go camping. You will be sure to have an excellent time. The trees fall silent. The leaves rustle in anticipation. Mountains loom overhead like giants above. The stream sounds like a fountain. If you want to make sure you have a good time, then you need to ensure you have all the proper gear. In this article, A Printable Camping List Checklist for Beginners, you will find all the gear you need to make sure you have a smooth and enjoyable experience.
When it comes to the organization of this article, there are two important things to keep in mind. With certain items on this list, I give a few sentences of thoughts and tips. Also, you can find a PDF list of all the items at the end of this article. Let’s get started.
Campsite Gear is Essential for a Fun Trip
Essentials You Will Be Sure to Need on Your Outdoor Adventure
- Lantern (+mantles and fuel/batteries as needed)
- Camp table
- Headlamps and/or flashlights
- Tent, make sure you choose a tent that will fit all the people you need. A four person tent will fit four and a two person tent will fit two. You get the idea. When choosing a tent to bring along with you, make sure you get one that is appropriate to the weather. You do not want to be too chilly at night.
- Tent canopy, it may or may not rain when you are out there, but it is better safe than sorry.
- Tent footprint, one of these will really extend the life of your tent. Rocks and roots underneath can tear apart the bottom.
- Tent stakes
- Camp chairs
Optional/Extra Items You Might Want to Consider
- Camp rug
- Clothesline with clips, if you can, at the least, bring a clothesline. When you fall in the water like a klutz (I am not saying you are one but accidents do happen) or you take a swim in the lake, it helps to dry your clothes or swimsuit. A clothesline hung between two trees can help a lot.
Bedding – a Good Night’s Sleep Goes a Long Way
Sleep Well at Night with these Items
- Utility bags for storage
- Air pump
- Air mattress/sleeping pad/cot, you should bring a pad at the very least. It may seem cool and Bear Grylls like to sleep on the ground, but your back will take a pounding. If you want to do this again in the future, then you need to make your back last well into old age.
- Pillow, like the sleeping pad, a pillow goes a long way. For a time, I only used clothes stuffed together to make a pillow. Boy was I wrong! You need a pillow to make sure you do not get a kink in your neck. You spend a third of your life sleeping. You need to be comfortable.
- Sleeping bag
Extras/Optional Items You Might Want to Consider
- Sleeping bag liner
Health and Hygiene: You Don’t Want to Get Too Smelly
These Are Some Necessities You Will Be Sure to Need
- Biodegradable toilet paper
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Quick dry towel
- Toiletry kit
- Hand sanitizer, I used to not clean my hands before every meal, but I am a convert now. Food is one of the key points of infection and sickness. If you take a bit of extra time to clean your hands with sanitizer before jumping right on into your meal, it goes a long way.
- Menstrual products
- First aid kit and first aid supplies
- Prescription medications, just because you are camping does not mean you should not abstain from medicine.
Fend off the Sun and Keep Away the Bugs
- Sun hat
- Lip balm
- Insect repellent, I usually do not bring insect repellent with me, unless it is all natural like neem oil.
- Insect repellent candles, when I camped in Northern Turkana, there were a lot of bugs. They surrounded us when we settled down for dinner at night, chasing after all the lights. One option is get a light to attract all of them so can eat in peace and another option are candles. You do not want to find a half eaten moth in your soup.
- Sunscreen, even if you feel like your skin color protects you from the sun’s rays, it does not. No matter your skin color, you are affected by the sun. Personally, I have started putting on sunscreen every day before I head out. Right now we have sunny days in November in Santa Cruz! That is just wild. With increasing global temperatures, you can expect more sun, so you need to protect your skin. A bit each day can save you bundle down the road when you prevent that skin cancer.
Optional Health and Hygiene Items
- Urinary products
- Mirror, it is nature. No one expects you to look beautiful 24/7 when you are camping. When you do not have a mirror on you, you care less about your looks and focus your attention on others, relaxing your body and allowing you to really connect with others.
- Alcohol or antiseptic wipes
- Baby wipes, I wanted to put this in necessities, but most people do not qualify that way. For me at least, I do. When you wipe with regular old toilet paper, it spreads everything around and dries out until you get in the shower. On the other hand though, a baby wipe is heaven for your butt. It disinfects and gives a little moisture, but not too much. I put it by my toilet at home.
- Sanitation trowel
- Cosmetics, this is a camping trip. You do not need to look too pretty.
- Eyeshades, when I want to sleep in, eye shades can really help me sleep in. I am an early riser, so it can be difficult to sleep in late on the weekends. You extend your sleeping hours with eye shades.
- Portable camp shower, if you plan to camp for longer than a week, you might want to consider a portable camp shower to at least wash all the dirt off at the end of the day.
- Spare eyeglasses/contact lens supplies
Clothing and Footwear to Keep You Comfortable
The Clothes You Bring with You Will Vary Depending on the Weather
- Socks and extra socks
- Bandana, these are a splendid multi-tool. You can protect your neck from the sun, blow your nose, use it as a napkin, and wipe away your sweat.
- Rain jacket, you may think it is not going to rain, but it probably will rain. You cannot be the true judge of nature. Only time can do that. At one point or another, it will rain, so why risk being soggy and sad and instead play it safe?
- Underwear, I prefer briefs when camping to keep all the heat in and to prevent chaffing.
- Laundry bag
- Swim suit
- Quick drying towel
- Sleep clothes
Kitchen Supplies to Keep Your Belly Full
Consider Your Group Size when Meal Planning and Kitchen Prepping
- French press or portable coffee maker
- Stove fuel
- Matches or lighter
- Frying pan
- Biodegradable soap, spills happen. Your dish water needs to be able to be thrown into nature without any repercussions.
- Cups/mugs, my favorite mug type is the cut cone. You maximize the hot chocolate in the mug and minimize heat escape.
- Water bottles
- Paring knife
- Cooking spoon
- Roasting sticks
- Food-storage bags/containers
- Trash bags
- Aluminum foil, you can make a lot of ‘set it and forget about it’ meals with aluminum foil.
- Paper towels
- Extra bin for washing dishes
- Cutting board
Tools and Repair Items, Because Sometimes Things Break
You Do Not Need to Be the Jack of All Trades
- Multi-tool, when camping, you want to maximize versatility and minimize space. A multi tool goes a long way.
- Duct tape is an excellent example of a multi-tool.
- Pad/mattress repair kit
- Tent pole repair sleeve
- Extra cord
- Saw or axe
- Small broom
- Mallet or hammer
- Credit card and/or cash
- Cellphone, with some rare cases, I try to get rid of my cellphone during camping trips as much as possible. You want to be relaxing and recovering. A cellphone is a distraction. A good camping trip affords you the time to focus on nature and clear your head of any ills.
- Campsite reservation confirmation (if required)
- Maps, area information, your camping trip is a lot more fun when you have some options for the long days ahead.
If you want to know the benefits of hiking and outdoor adventure, then I suggest you check out my article on The Mental Health Benefits of Hiking: Stress Alleviation and Anxiety Relief. It is my most popular article and it will sure to help motivate you to make hiking a weekly outdoor adventure.
Extra Items to Give You Lots to Do
- Camera, if you want to take pictures and your phone is your only option right now, you might want to consider getting a camera. It lets you take awesome photos without being distracted by twitter.
- Pet supplies and food
- Bikes, toys
Are You Ready to Find a National Park Near You?
Alright, here it is, what you have been waiting for this whole time. If you click on the link below, you will find a PDF of all the items covered in this list. Cross off the items you do not need and check off the gear you bring with you.
Otherwise, great! You have set all your gear aside and you are almost ready to go. You might be wondering where you should head off to for your adventure. There are a lot of different options to choose among. Personally, I recommend you check out the link below. It will take you to the US National Park Service website where you can search for national parks by state. Each one of them is magical in its own way. Adventure awaits. Are you ready to find a national park near you?
If you have any thoughts, questions, or think I missed anything, do not hesitate to comment below and please share the article. Thank you so much and I hope you make it a great day!