Be Prepared – A Camping Gear Checklist
My passion for camping began with the scouts, whose famous motto is “Be prepared.” You need to bring all the essential gear when you head for the wilderness because the convenience store isn't around the corner. Whether you're going on a family camp trip or a survivalist excursion, the right equipment means a successful, fun nature getaway.
Basic needs to cover include campground reservations, food, water, clothing, shelter, first aid, personal hygiene, cleaning, waste disposal and entertainment. This camping gear checklist will make it easy to prepare for your trip. As you pack the items, check them off the camping gear checklist.
__Campground reservations so you know you have a place to stay when you arrive.
__A copy of the campground rules so you are aware of important regulations including parking, garbage disposal, visitor rules and noise-free hours.
__Your drivers license, automobile insurance, RV paperwork, copies of prescriptions and medical insurance cards. Have your vehicle serviced before you leave to avoid breaking down. Join a road club in case you need assistance in a remote area. Bring a cell phone and charger in case of emergencies.
__Maps and a compass so you never get lost.
__Canned goods such as beef stew, fruit, vegetables, canned meat, tuna fish and soups that are easy to store and heat up for meals. Consider how many people are going and the number of days you are staying to determine how many cans to bring. Make sure to include a can opener.
__Dry goods such as pretzels, cereal, trail mix, bread, crackers, nuts, peanut butter, jelly, instant pancake mix and energy bars. Bring graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows to make irresistible s'mores over the campfire. Include beverage options such as coffee, tea, dried milk, juice, soda and wine as well as a bottle opener.
__Condiments and a few spices including ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, cooking oil, butter buds, sugar, salt, pepper and seasoning.
__Some fresh foods will add flavor to your camp trip, such as hot dogs, hamburgers and steaks. Use them during the first couple of days of your vacation and make sure to bring a secure cooler with ice. Find out where ice is sold in the area before your leave for your trip so you know where to get it. If you have a generator, you can also use a small refrigerator for fresh foods.
__A generator, if you have one, to run electrical items or recharge electronics. Follow all campsite regulations with regard to operation of a generator. Usually specific hours are posted so campers know when they can use their generators.
__A dutch oven to slowly cook a variety of campfire meals.
__A propane stove and/or barbecue grill for cooking. Some campgrounds have fire pits or barbecues available so you don't need to bring your own. A propane stove comes in handy to heat up quick meal combinations.
__Fuel for cooking, such as propane or coal, along with lighter fluid and safety matches. Include wood if you want to build campfires.
__Sturdy cookware including a fry pan, large pot, coffee percolator and utensils including tongs and a flipper. A utility knife serves a variety of purposes on a camp trip. Bring along disposable plates, cups, napkins, flatware, aluminum foil, paper towels and oven mitts for serving food.
__Folding chairs, a folding table and a tablecloth for fine dining anywhere.
__Dish detergent, rags, towels, scouring pads and scouring powder for cleaning up.
__Tools for setting up shelter and food areas including a pocket knife, multi purpose screwdriver, hammer and ax.
__Find out about the water supply at the campgrounds. Most camp sites have fresh water for drinking and recycled water for washing dishes or setting up camp. Bring along a bucket for transporting water. If the campgrounds do not have water, pack an adequate supply of bottled water. You should have at least one gallon of water for each person per day.
__Bring plenty of socks, underwear and t-shirts because you won't be doing laundry. Pack jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, rain gear, a jacket, comfortable sleepwear, two swimsuits (you always have one while the other dries), sneakers, sandals and hiking shoes. Include one dressy outfit in case you decide to visit local cultural events, restaurants or a house of worship. Include a rope to use as a laundry line for drying damp clothes.
__Shelter may be a tent, RV or pop up trailer. Make sure to set up the shelter in your backyard or other open space before go camping to ensure it is in good working order. Bring along all necessary ropes, ties, cranks and equipment related to setting up your camp shelter. Include a canopy, tarp, ground cover and umbrellas for added shelter in all conditions.
__Sleeping bags, blankets and pillows for a good night's sleep. Adding an air mattress will give you a soft place to lie.
__Make sure you have lighting, such as flashlights, camp lanterns and candles. You can bring along citronella candles to have light while you keep the bugs away.
__Bring along a radio so you know the latest weather and regional conditions.
__Pack a complete first aid kit with band aids, disinfectant, butterfly stitches, gauze, tape, bug repellent, medical antiseptic cream, moisturizing cream, petroleum jelly, rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.
__If you have children, include all the items they need based on their age such as diapers, diaper rash ointment, wipes, formula and baby food.
__Pack travel sized shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, towels, feminine products, combs or brushes and disposable razors. Try to use unscented products that won't attract bugs or wildlife. Make sure to bring prescription medications, vitamins and any other daily supplements you take.
__Include plenty of garbage bags for waste disposal. Find out the campground rules about waste disposal before you leave so you know where and how to get rid of trash. Throwing your garbage away in the right areas keeps wildlife and insects away from your campsite. Never keep food in your tent. Secure all food in an air-tight, large plastic container so it will not attract animals and bugs.
__Finally, bring along items for entertainment. A camera captures all those scenic moments along the way. Paper, pen, crayons, board games, books, pails, shovels, magnifying glasses and cards keep everyone entertained along the way. If you enjoy sports, bring along your fishing rod, inflatable boat, basketball and any other gear you need for a good time. Bring binoculars for spotting wildlife along the way.
After your first camping trip, you will discover other items that will add to your comfort and enjoyment. Put them on the list so you remember them on future excursions. If you lose or break something while you're away, you can simply add it to the master list so you don't forget it when you get home. Having a camping gear checklist keeps you well-organized so you can have a great time in the great outdoors.
Thank you to Stacey Doyle for this "Camping Gear Checklist" article.