Camping Packing List

Camping Packing List

Camping itself encompasses a lot!  I say this because what can be defined as camping has a very broad range to it. Some people have a more rugged and minimalist definition of camping, while others define camping as using an RV in an established camp ground.  Neither version of camping is wrong, and neither is right.  They are simply different and result in the same goal, which is getting away from home and enjoying some time in nature.  I have done a fairly broad range of camping over the years and have found pluses and minuses in the various types of camping I’ve done.  I cover this in detail in my article “The Joy of Camping.”  Packing lists for camping will vary based on the type of camping you are doing.  The list I have compiled here is a more comprehensive list based around driving to a camp site for a weekend trip, and can have items removed for more rugged and minimalist camping. 


When packing for a camping trip, I pack in layers so that I can be comfortable throughout the day and not overheat (which I can be prone to doing).  Also, I use the “plus one” rule when packing clothes so that I do not end up having to re-wear dirty clothes in the case of something happening to an article of clothing.  If I plan to be out for three days, I’ll bring enough clothes for four days just to be safe.  You don’t want to end up sort a pair of pants and end up having to re-wear that pair that you wore for a five-mile hike and hours next to the campfire.  That just isn’t fun for anyone!  I hope this clothing list helps you prepare for your next camping trip.

Underwear (Comfy, and I always pack a few extras)

Bras (Comfy, but I typically just use sports bras or tank tops with good support)

Socks (Spend the couple extra dollars on good quality hiking socks and pack a couple extras)

Shorts (Moisture wicking, comfortable, and durable)

Shirts (The same as with shorts)

Pants (Regardless of the season, I always pack a pair of durable hiking pants)

Long sleeve shirts as base layers (I always pack a thin and thick base layer)

Jacket (Light weight and water resistant for summer, and a warmer and water resistant one for spring/fall

Sweatshirt (It’s good for cold nights by the fire or chilly early mornings)

Bathing suit (something comfortable that is easy to move it without anything popping out or the suit falling off)

Pajamas (Cotton or Flannel because I like to be comfy when I crawl into my sleeping bag)

Hiking boots (always break them in first)

Durable flip flops

Water shoes (I use barefoot running shoes because they are very durable, but aren’t bulky or cumbersome while swimming)

Toiletries and Personal Items

I’m not including a toiletry bag because I dedicate one pocket in my backpack for these Items.  I find it keeps things more organized than having them in two places in a tent. 

Prescription medication

Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Naproxen (i.e. Tylenol, Motrin or Aleve kept in small zip lock style bags)


Anti-itch cream (I use Benadryl cream)

Daily Vitamins (If you take them)

Bar of Dove soap (Dove because it is environmentally friendly and save to use in lakes or streams)

Full pack of baby wipes (I’ll use them for a quick sponge bath if I can’t wash any other way)

Travel size shampoo, conditioner, and face soap (If you have access to shower facilities at your campground)

Facial cleaning wipes (removes dirt, sweat, and that “campfire” smell before I sleep)

Birth control (if you take it)

Tampons or hygienic pads

Travel sized toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss

Travel sized comb or hairbrush


Travel sized baby powder (good for preventing chaffing)

Body and face lotion (mountain air and camp fires can REALLY dry your skin out)

Sunblock (water proof)


Nail clippers or small file (I seem to break a nail every time I go camping even though I’ve been camping my entire life)

Tweezers (Great for pulling splinters out)

Small first aid kit (This is in addition to the first aid kit I keep in all vehicles, and it should include mole skin and blister specific adhesive bandages)

Wash cloth


Saline spray (for sinuses to get rid of dust, pollen, and campfire crud)

Eye drops (to moisturize your eyes)

I left off any makeup because I do not wear it when camping.  If you choose to wear makeup when camping, use the makeup section listed in the packing list for domestic travel.


What you pack on a camping trip will be slightly different from anyone else.  I hope this section of the list will help you prepare for your next outing.  No matter what, do what works for you and explore this amazing world of ours.

Headlamp (I put this little piece of equipment first because it is so useful during all phases of nighttime activities around the campsite)

Cooler (I use one larger cooler for storing food and beverages, but some people will separate the into multiple coolers)

Tent (I use a six-person tent because it has room for myself, my husband, our two dogs, and our gear)

Tarp (goes underneath the tent to prevent moisture from soaking through the tent floor if it rains)

Tent stakes (Tents come with them, but I purchased extra ones)

Door mat (Place outside the tent entrance to the tent a bit cleaner)

Air mattress or sleeping mat (I always use an air mattress whenever car camping)

Air mattress inflator and extra batteries (you’ll likely need to add extra air from time to time)

Sleeping bag(s)

Thick blanket for air mattress (In cold weather, the blanket insulates you from the cold air in the mattress)

Pillows (camping or regular, whatever is comfortable for you)

Small had broom and dust pan

Carabiners (Great for hanging lightweight items inside the tent or outside)

Small light (to hang inside the tent or use outside)

Day pack with hydration bladder (Great for day hikes or bike rides)

Parachute cord (Great for clothes lines and tie downs)

Clothes pins

 Small folding knife


Trash bags

Toilet Paper (The stuff in the outhouses isn’t very good)

Camp Kitchen

Okay… Cookware.  Just like there are several different ways to cook dinner at home, there are several ways to cook dinner while camping. Depending on the room in your vehicle, you can bring a variety of methods for cooking your camp meals. Propane stoves or small butane burners are very common and work well.  I’ve seen people use small charcoal barbeques to cook.  You can also use the charcoal grills provided at many camp sites.  I have even seen people set up Traeger pellet smokers at campsites by hooking them up to generators.  While I love the Traeger I have at home, bringing one to a campground seems a bit much to me.  But to each, their own.  But I digress.  Another method for cooking at a campground is by using a good old, cast iron, Dutch oven. I have fallen in love with using a Dutch Oven to cook breakfast, dinner and deserts, and they seem to all end up being amazing.  I’m not recommending a particular method for cooking meals while camping, because each depends on personal preference.  Like anything, do conduct your research, talk to other members, and come up with what works best for you.  Heck, you can always message me, and I’ll help you as best as I can. 

Now on to other camp kitchen items!

Melamine dinnerware set (I like melamine because they are extremely durable and seem to last forever)

Inexpensive silverware set

Cooking Utensils (I picked up a cheap set from Target about 4 years ago and they are still working well)

Two plastic bins (For washing and rinsing dishes)

Travel size liquid dish soap

Dish towels

Plastic table cloth (provides a clean surface for your picnic table)

Metal bucket (for warming water to wish plates and cooking utensils

Zip Lock style bags (sandwich and gallon size)

Paper towels