This post may contain affiliate links.

Camping Gear Checklist

Super Durable Heavyweight Camping Tent

My wife has expressed a willingness, even a desire to go car camping with me. But we both get anxious when we have to pack up for a multi-day car camping trip, so I created this checklist of all the stuff we need to bring. It really helped minimize the stress of getting ready for our last trip which was a smashing success. I hope it helps you avoid divorce (or worse), as well!

Click Here to Download a PDF of the Camping Gear Checklist

Campsite Setup

  • Tent (w/stakes, poles, and guylines)
  •  Gear Loft
  •  Mallet or hammer for tent stakes
  •  Dust pan and brush to clean sand out of tent
  •  Sun shade, tarp, or screen house (w/ stakes, poles, and guylines)
  •  Lanterns (w/ extra batteries or candles)
  •  Headlamps (w/ extra batteries)
  •  Sleeping bags or quilts
  •  Sleeping pads
  •  Stuffed animals
  •  Pillows
  •  Folding chairs
  •  Folding table
  •  Sit pads for nighttime insulation (on chairs)
  •  Blankets or comforters for sitting outside in cool weather
  •  5 gallon collapsible water jug
  •  Water filters or chemical purification
  • Umbrellas
  • Drying rack or clothesline
  • Solar shower
  • Duct tape
  •  ________________________________
  •  ________________________________


Clothing and Footwear

  • Synthetic shirts (sleeve and long sleeve)
  •  Synthetic pants (shorts and long pants)
  • Wicking underwear
  • Wool or synthetic socks
  •  Sun hats
  •  Headnets or Insect Shield Buffs
  •  Sleepwear
  •  Swimsuits
  •  Sandals or water shoes
  •  Hiking shoes/boots
  •  Long underwear (mainly for sleeping)
  •  Camp shoes or insulated booties
  • Insulated jacket
  •  Insulated pants
  •  Fleece hats
  •  Fleece gloves or mittens
  •  Rain jacket and pants
  •  Rain gloves
  •  ________________________________
  •  ________________________________


Cooking and Cleaning

  • Stove
  • Stove fuel
  • Cookset including pots, frying pan, plates, cups, and utensils
  • Pot Holders
  • Trivets
  • Cooking knife
  • Spatula
  •  Tongs
  • Marshmallow forks
  • Grill
  • Coffee pot or French Press
  • Insulated drinking mugs
  • Water bottles
  • Thermos
  • Firewood or charcoal
  • Firestarter
  • Matches or butane lighter
  • Bottle opener/corkscrew
  • Cooler
  • Ice
  • Trash bags
  • Ziploc storage bags
  • Collapsible kitchen sink
  • Pot Scrubber
  • ________________________________
  • ________________________________


  • Milk (liquid or powdered)
  • Half & half or creamer
  • Juice
  • Coffee
  •  Sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cereal
  • Bread
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly or Jam
  •  Beer
  • Wine
  • Cheese
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Marshmallows
  • Chips, crackers, and snack mix
  • Candy
  • Cliff bars
  • Trail mix
  • Cooking oil
  •  ________________________________
  •  ________________________________


  • Towels
  • Washcloth
  • Bathrobe
  • Quarters for showers
  •  Soap
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  •  Toilet paper
  • Zinc oxide
  • First aid kit
  • Aloe for sunburn
  •  OTC medications
  • Prescription medications
  •  Earplugs
  • Hand sanitizer
  •  Sanitized wipes
  • Hair brush
  • Sunscreen
  •  Insect repellent
  •  Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • ________________________________
  • ________________________________

Entertainment and Electronics

  • Books
  •  Scrabble
  • Puzzles
  • iPads (w /rechargers)
  • Laptops (w /rechargers)
  • Wireless Router
  • Digital camera (w/ extra batteries)
  • Power pack
  • Paper and pencil/notebook
  •  Nature identification guides
  • Magnifying glass
  • Star chart
  • Hiking guidebook and maps
  •  ________________________________
  •  ________________________________


Personal Items

  • Glasses
  • Sunglasses
  • Travel money
  • Campsite reservation
  • Itinerary
  •  Keys
  • Wallet
  • Travel documents
  •  Driving maps
  • Highway toll transponder
  •  GPS
  •  ________________________________
  •  ________________________________


Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved.


  1. Wow – at first I thought you were inventoring an apartment – not camping. I belive checking in to a hotel would be easier. : )

  2. Just the other day I was packing for my next hike and I thought to myself that one of the great things about ultralight camping is there is so few items to pack it is hard to forget something.

  3. The key to good packing is good storage! If you keep all the car camping specific gear in one or two plastic tubs it can save a lot of hassle.

  4. The checklist looks like mine, when I talk my wife into going on her once a year camping trip with me. When I crossed checked your list against mine I found that I was missing the stuffed animals, but I didn’t see the kitchen sink on your checklist that I had on mine.

  5. Pretty good list..these following items are on my list but not yours: 10 inch Ozark battery Operated Fan a must for camping in the South or in mid summer. A Battery Operated Mosquito Racket, Looks like a Tennis Racket but has an electrical grid instead of gut. I always use it like a wand inside my tent before beddie bye. It really snaps crackles and pops when you scoop up a herd of Gnats. Sort of like small firecrackers going off.. A “Wash&Go Toilety Unit. Holds Toothbrushs, Paste, Razor, Comb, brush, Washclothe has a pump type water dispenser. Two 5 gallon buckets..Always come in handy. Two extra Tarps for blocking the rain from entering the Net House and the Front of the Tent, First Aid Kit, Small Tool Kit with extra screws nuts or bolts, buckels, snaps, etc. etc. depending on what your equipment uses.. For my Mondo Condo Tent and my 12×12 I bring a couple of surplus wool blankets to be used as rugs on the floor. Collaspable Rake for cleaning away forest duff and rocks from tent pad and keeping campsite clean. Dish Washing Liquid or “Camp Suds” I use it for bathing, washing dishs etc. etc. Two small plastic tubs, I keep one on the Camp table with water and camp suds in it and a towel nearby. Great for washing dishes. They sit together filled with other stuff in my Kitchen tool box, see next item.. Secure plastic boxes for Storing everything in which I use, keeps camp neat and orderly. I have 4 separate plastic locking tote boxes their 20×15 inches and fit perfectly in the back of my truck found them at Wally world. One for Camp and Kitchen Tools, one for Canned non-refrigerated foods, (I fabricated carboard separators for the food box, one side for Canned veggies,next section canned fruits, next section canned meats, or whatever you want) one is a Toy Box containing Games, Art supplies, Cards, and Projects like Moccasin kits, or Basket weaving kits, childrens outdoor exploration kits (found at Hobby Lobby), One box for extra fuel bottles, matches, tools, Campfire tools or collapsable Hot Dog Skewers which I roast meat on too and dirty cast iron pots. I keep these tote boxes fully packed at home and when I am ready to go, all I do is load them into the back of the truck, meaning I do not have to search or spend hours packing carboard boxes, I can be ready to go camping in less than 20 minutes from start to finish. I only have three other tote boxes, one for Hunting, one for my Boat stuff, and one for Archery and Shooting gear. I used to use one of the plastic boxes for my Clothes but decided that a small rolling suitcase works better for me..How about a couple of Cots. On the cots I attach two accessory items I obtained from Cabellas, The sleeve as I call it has places for Water Bottle, Glasses, wallet, keys, a rifle sleeve etc. etc and hangs like a drape onto the side of the Cot with hook&loop straps. I also have a metal clothes hanging set up also from Cabela’s which attaches to either end of the Cot where you can hang your hunting clothes, towels, hats, or to dry them out etc. etc. I also bring a small outdoor rug to be placed in front of the tent door, keeps the dirt down a bit, plus, I have a rule No Shoes or Boots or Flip Flops in the tent and rule number two, no food in the tent. Clothes Pins, I found these miniture Clothes pins at Hobby Lobby they are very useful not only for hanging clothes but holding cereal bags shut, etc. etc. a small box of Aluminum foil which I put into the Ktichen tools box. A flattened Roll of Paper towels also in the Kitchen tool box. Skewers for Kabobs, A Griddle for my Coleman Stove, flat on one side, grovved on the other, fits into Kitchen tool box, I no longer carry Collaspable Jugs but the 5 gallon with a spigot hard shell kind after the kids knocked two of the collaspable ones off the table and they split and broke upon hitting the ground. I can also store extra stuff in them for the trip to the campground. Extra Parachute Cord, I leave that plastic white line at home, in fact I do not buy it anymore..And if you cannot find Parachute Cord, I keep a roll of 300# test Catfish line / twine which comes in 200 ft rolls found in the fishing section at WalMart, works just as well as Parachute Cord. The Library Box. This is one of those wooden crates they sell at Hobby Lobby, In this box I keep a half dozen Peterson Field Guides covering the Region I will be camping in. WIld Foods, Flora, Fauna, Stars, First Aid Guidebook, etc. etc. also a couple of books by Patrick F. McManus which makes good reading and reading out loud to children. A Book of Poetry and a couple of Louis L’Amour Novels. I lay the crate on it’s side by my Reclining Chair which then acts as an end table. Snake Bite Medicine in 3 flasks, which I prefer sipping over other adult beverages. Hope this adds to your list…I always find it “Amazing” how many things we leave at home and do without when we go Backpacking isn’t it??? It is like having two separate lives or being truly bi-poklar!

  6. Awesome additions! Car camping has rewars that backpacking just can’t provide.

    Which reminds me. It might be good to keep a tub of water and diluted bleach around for when we cook for a mob and want to clean our dishes. We use it at a cabin I stay at to sterilize them after washing.

  7. I skip the hairbrush and just bring a hat instead. :)

  8. I recently made my own camping checklist a few weeks back because we tended to forget stuff. You included a few items I didn’t but it’s a good idea to do!

  9. Now that we are are retired we do a lot of car camping. This year alone we spent at least 3 months on the road. We like it more than RV or motel/hotel camping.

    We opted for a tall tent with a smaller footprint, 4 or 6 person, I think.
    A tall tent to stand up in. The smaller footprint allows us flexibility as to where we pitch.

    Make sure you stake and tie down for windy conditions though.

    After a month on the road, we ended up getting an Igloo brand electric cooler ( around $100).
    No more melted ice, dumping the water, wet food and we don’t have to buy ice anymore.
    It is cost effective if you travel as much as we do.

    It runs off of the 12V (cigarette lighter) and we can plug it into a AC outlet when available.

  10. Hey, at least the list is exhaustive and you didn’t forget anything! I’m just glad my backpacking list is nowhere near that extensive or I’d be broken!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Solve *