Tent Camping? What To Bring

Preparation is key to having any great outdoor adventure. Having the necessary supplies and equipment can make all the difference in your trip, and checklists are a great tool to help with your making sure you have everything that you need.

When tent camping, there’s more to bring, and unfortunately, more to forget. Make sure you’re well prepared with our list of what to bring for your tent camping trip.

 tent camping? what to bring

The Basics

  • Tent – Be sure to rent, buy or borrow a tent that will keep you dry and comfortable. Practice setting up the tent at home before your first camping trip. Need some tent buying advice?
  • Ground sheet/tarp – A groundsheet is a piece of fabric that you place under your tent to help protect your tent’s floor.
  • Sleeping bag and pillow – For extra comfort, bring a small pillow. If you prefer, stuff a sack with extra clothing for a makeshift camping pillow.
  • Sleeping mat/air mattress with pump – A sleeping pad or mat goes under your sleeping bag for extra comfort and warmth.
  • Campsite reservations/confirmations
  • Duct tape – Duct tape is strong, water resistant and can temporarily fix just about anything!
  • Rope or cord – Rope and cord can be used for many things including making clotheslines and hanging tarps.
  • Lantern – Use a battery-powered lantern inside your tent; gas or propane powered lanterns are fine outdoors but should never be used inside tents.
  • Flashlights or headlamps with extra batteries – A flashlight headlamp keeps your hands free while shining light on whatever you are doing. One headlamp per camper is the way to go.

Cooking and Related Equipment

  • Camping stove or BBQ grill – There are many types of camp stoves, so get advice to find a model that is ideal for you.
  • Waterproof Matches/lighter – If you don’t have waterproof matches or a lighter, keep your matches in a waterproof container or bag.
  • Propane or Gas for Camping Stove or Lantern
  • Firewood or charcoal (these are usually available to buy at the campground, but don’t assume)
  • Fire starting material (fire starters, newspaper, paper, etc.)
  • Plates, bowls, cups, mugs
  • Biodegradable Dish soap & a sponge – Be sure your dish soap is biodegradable, and dispose of it in sinks or drains not in lakes or on the ground.
  • Utensils for both cooking and eating (spatula, tongs, can opener/bottle opener, forks, knives,  etc.) – Consider which meals you are preparing and remember to pack the utensils you will need to cook them.
  • Cookware (pot and pan) – Bring pots and pans that are designed for fire cooking if you plan to cook on the fire.
  • Condiments (salt, pepper, sauces, etc.)
  • Dishtowel
  • Tablecloth – Bring a sturdy plastic, reusable tablecloth. It will be easy to wipe off after meals and it won’t be damaged by rain.
  • Paper towels and paper napkins – Just like at home, paper towels can be handy to help clean up spills and messes.
  • Garbage bags – A few garbage bags are handy for storing all your garbage. Don’t forget to store your garbage in your vehicle at night.
  • Containers for food storage/plastic wrap
  • Aluminum foil – Great for foil wrapped food pockets, or wrapping leftovers
  • Cooler
  • Thermos
  • Water Jug (large enough for drinking water for each person per day)

 Clothing/Apparel

  • Sturdy walking shoes or boots
  • Rain gear (raincoat, waterproof pants, etc.)
  • Hat or baseball cap
  • Pants, jeans and shorts
  • Tee shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters and jacket
  • Socks and underwear (pack extras)
  • Bathing suit – if water sports or a pool are available at your destination
  • Pajamas, sweats or other sleepwear
  • Shower shoes/flip flops

Personal Items

  • Towels and washcloth
  • Soap, shampoo and other toiletries – Biodegradable where possible
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Comb/hairbrush
  • Tweezers – Can be used to pull out things like splinters from fingers.
  • Toilet paper
  • Personal medications
  • Contact lenses and solution/glasses

Camping Essentials

  • First aid kit
  • Sunglasses
  • Swiss Army knife, multitool or pocketknife
  • Sunscreen – especially at higher altitudes where the sun’s rays are even stronger, and on the water, where the rays are multiplied through reflection.
  • Aloe gel – In case you forgot to reapply sunscreen, Aloe is soothing to skin that is sunburned.
  • Insect repellent and citronella candles
  • Flashlight/camping lantern, extra batteries and bulb – A great investment is in an LED flashlight. Bulbs and batteries both last for much longer.
  • Camera, batteries and film or memory card
  • Small broom and dustpan – sweep out any leaves, pines needles and dirt and to keep your tent clean and tidy.
  • Folding camping chairs
  • Canteen or water bottles
  • Quarters – sometimes needed for hot showers and laundry
  • Travel alarm clock (only if you need it)
  • Cell phone and charger – If you need to charge your cell phone, check ahead of time that outlets may be available
  • Compass (and know how to use it!)
  • Whistle – A good whistle can alert people within earshot if you are in trouble.
  • Maps / Road Atlas

Entertainment

  • Outdoor activity equipment (Frisbee, fishing gear, swimsuits, etc.)
  • Deck of Cards and/or board games
  • Radio – a solar powered or wind up one is particularly useful
  • Reading material
  • Guide books

Camping With Children

  • Diapers and wipes – Bring only enough diapers and wipes (plus a few extras) for the trip.
  • Extra clothing/ Footwear – Pack several extra sets of clothing and footwear to make sure children stay dry and warm. Children enjoy camping, but tend to get wet and dirty faster than at home.

Camping With Pets

  • Leash – Many national parks have regulations regarding pets and leashes – make sure you are familiar with them before you go.
  • Doggie bags – Remember to clean up after your pet at all times.
  • Pet food/ Treats – Just like your food, pet food should be stored properly at night and any time you are away from your campsite.
  • Brush – A brush will help get the dirt, bugs, or anything else out of your pet’s fur.

Obviously, your camping list will vary according to the type of camping and activities you have planned, the places you are going, the time of year and the length of your trip, so you can always add or remove items from this list as you see fit.

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