The Ultimate Camping Checklist
Camping has always been one of the most exciting outdoor adventures we organize to relax, have a breath of fresh air, socialize, improve our moods, and meet new challenges. This outdoor activity involves going on a vacation or overnight stay away from home using tents, campers, or recreational vehicles.
The types of camping may include canoe camping, car camping, RVing, and backpacking. Canoe camping is a combination of canoeing and camping and is done by camping via canoe or kayak. Car camping means going on a trip with your car to your campsite. While in backpacking, you enjoy an outdoor recreation wherein you carry your backpack. And RVing is camping using an RV, a recreational vehicle or trailer which has living quarters. Truck campers, motorhomes, campervans, and caravans are some examples of RVs.
While doing this outdoor activity, we’d like you to go prepared, have fun, and remain safe. Here’s your ultimate camping checklist.
It is important to find the perfect location for a campsite for you to have a quality rest while camping and ensure your safety at the same time. Look for flat places that are within convenient proximity of firewood and water. Ideally, it should be far from danger zones for natural hazards like avalanches, animal trails to avoid unwanted midnight visitors, and insect breeding grounds. Also, look for spots that are surrounded by trees as these will help block the wind from your campfire while cooking as well as chilly wind gusts.
- Lighting: Outdoor and campsite lighting may include battery and rechargeable lanterns, gas lanterns, dual fuel lanterns, hurricane lanterns, spotlights, headlamps, LED lights and torches. In choosing your lighting, you have to consider, not only the output but the light’s versatility as well, ensuring that you have light for the rest of your trip. Many campers make use of headlamps because of their hands-free functionality. Setting up a campfire can be a source of light but it should just be about six feet from any direction.
It’s a must that you include your navigation tool in your camp checklist to have a guide and ensure your safety on your adventure. You can pack a portable GPS, compass, and map to serve as back up. Likewise, chargers, a guidebook, whistle, signal mirror, pen or pencil, and two-way radios if you’ll be with a larger group. These survival tools will be able to help you overcome any crisis that may arise.
- Maps and Directions: Maps are essential in finding the right direction and location saving you time and effort. It is useful especially when your other navigation tools are malfunctioning or you don’t have them at all. This simple tool, being handy most often, will show you your way.
Know your direction especially when you are camping in an unfamiliar area. By locating the sunrise and sunset, you get to know where the east and the west as the sun moves from east to west. Face the hands of your watch towards the direction of the sun and check it after 30 minutes. The space between the moved hand of your watch and the fixed 12 scales on the plate will show you where south is.
- Compass: Aside from the map, never forget to bring your compass or GPS when camping in a remote area. Being lost or stranded in a wooded place with no food or water or getting confused due to constant changes in the sun’s position can cause danger to your life.
- Mobile Phone with Charger: Make sure that your mobile phone is fully-charged especially when you survey the surrounding area of the campsite. You have to be aware that not all areas have signals and your mobile phone can only keep you connected to your group when there’s a signal, it is not drained and it is working fine. Mobile phones, particularly smartphones, nowadays have special features like radio, flashlight, camera, and recorder which can also provide you a bit of comfort and safety.
Shelter & Bedding
Make a shelter under or next to trees, bushes, or large rocks to block wind and reduce radiant heat loss. Avoid wet ground as it is thermally conductive. To be able to sleep safely and comfortably as possible, you will need a tent, mallet, sunshade or tarp, folding chairs and tables, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, or a light air mattress and travel pillows.
- Tents: Even if you prefer sleeping under the moon and stars, it is still best that you have a shelter or an emergency shelter in case of snowfall, rain, or heavy dew. Being unprepared for these might drench you to hypothermia. A tent can also house your other gears from getting wet. Choosing your tent will depend on your kind of adventure, your surrounding, and the weather.
You could go with survival, a cold-weather or a canvas tent. Investing in a high-quality tent is essential especially if you are planning to make camping your regular hobby. If the weather is nice, you could try a hammock or invest in a survival hammock tent. You can also include the emergency survival blanket in your campsite checklist.
- Tarps: Tarps should protect you from the rain, the sun, and the wet ground. It should be breathable and lightweight making it easy to carry. Its fabric should be extra durable and waterproof to provide an extra layer between your tent and the wet ground. The sizes and shapes of tarps may vary depending on your needs.
- Sleeping Bags: Going camping without sleeping bags may lead to an uncomfortable sleep. Sleeping bags provide warmth and protection from chill winds and precipitation, cushioning effect, and even protect you from insects. They come in different sizes, shape, bag type, and temperature rating, and should function as insulated coverings that are lightweight and portable bedding.
What to wear while camping will depend on the weather and season. For autumn and winter, choose clothes that will keep you warm in the cold temperatures and should help you to stay as dry as possible when it either rains or snows.
The temperature may vary even in summer like it could be very warm during the day and the weather might give you chills at night. It is important to observe the weather for you to be able to bring the right clothes for your camping. It is better to bring lightweight, rainproof, waterproof, and breathable clothes as your top layer. Look for design details like armpit zips, mesh-pockets, and cinched hoods.
- Waterproofs: You need to wear a waterproof jacket, pants, and boots. Choose a lightweight waterproof rain jacket that can accommodate multiple layers of clothing. Carry a waterproof bag to protect your clothes and gears from getting wet
- Sleepwear: Before packing, make sure to check on the weather reports and any possible changes in temperature that may occur during your camping period. In picking your sleeping suit, make sure that it can stay dry and bring some extra layers as well. Avoid nude sleeping.
- Hat: A hat has many uses including ceremonial reasons, fashion accessories, and protection against weather conditions. It is very important for camping safety as it protects you from the sun and rain. It also protects against ticks. Always choose a hat that is created for outdoors.
Great camping food contributes a lot in enjoying this outdoor recreation. You must include campsite essentials especially kitchen equipment on your camping list. Must-have camp cooking essentials include a stove with fuel supply, pots, and pans with lids, cooking utensils, kettle, and more.
- Stove with Fuel Supply: A stove with fuel supply is essential especially when you are cooking in a rush or the weather won’t allow you to build a fire. It is important to always have an alternative way to cook your meal like using a propane camping stove. It is handy and uses widely available fuel.
- Pots and Pan with Lids: You need to use the right cookware like a frying pan and a dutch oven to enjoy your camping experience. Some must-have items include a cast iron skillet which is easy to use and lasts a lifetime. You can use it to cook eggs, meat, and even soup if the skillet is deep. You can also bring a camping percolator which is easy to use for you to still enjoy your coffee, especially in the morning.
- Cooking Utensils: Make sure to pack cups, bowls, plates, knives, and spoons. You may also need a high-quality survival knife to cut a rope, fillet a fish, dice bait, slice cheese, sharpen a stick, or even deal with tangled vines.
- Kettle: Hot water is essential for making hot drinks or sterilizing things. You can use a lightweight reusable water bottle or kettle. Your camping kettle should match your personal preference.
- Matches or a Lighter: A lighter will start a lot more fires than the few matches, however, it is still important to bring an alternative.
- Napkins: It is always a good idea to have a few napkins packed. You can also include a few rolls of toilet paper. Being without is less than ideal.
- Bin Bags: Organize, reduce, and recycle your waste while camping. Make sure to bring bin bags and segregate your biodegradable from non-biodegradable waste. As much as possible, do not leave any rubbish on your campsite and place them in proper bins or dumpsites. Biodegradable sanitary bin bags is recommended.
Make sure to pack all the essential food for camping. While it depends on your equipment and how long you plan to camp, the best options include:
- Bread, vegetables
- Oil and Butter
- Salt and Pepper
- Herbs and Spices
- Coffee or Tea
- Beef, Chicken or Turkey
- Trail Mix
Aluminum foil doesn’t burn and isn’t degradable and most of these foods are packed using it. Dairy products, meat, even vegetables need to be constantly cooled using small portable refrigerators or coolers with ice packs.
- Canned Goods: Canned goods are just some of those non-perishable foods. Bring items with a lot of flavors that you can build a meal around, like canned fish or meats. Canned foods include tuna, tinned meats, beans and pulses, and canned corn. And as a bonus, they don’t need to be heated up, so if the fire fails to light, you can still enjoy a campsite snack.
- Water: You need to know where to find the water area in your campsite, however, avoid drinking water from any source as you can never tell if it is safe or not. As much as possible, bring your water but if you don’t have any choice at all, you have to purify it before drinking. This can be done in several ways including boiling, chlorine or iodine tablets, UV light purification systems, and water filtration systems.
- Noodles: You can also bring ramen, instant mac n’ cheese, and cup noodles. They are easy to prepare.
- Cereal: Choose cereals that are practical, lightweight, and that doesn’t take up too much space to pack.
Health & Hygiene
Prepare for good personal hygiene by packing the right items like:
- Dry Shampoo
- Baby Wipes
- Hand Sanitizer
- Paper Soap
- Mouthwash or Toothpaste
- Clean Towel
Make sure to take a bath and don’t re-wear your clothes. Bring a small shovel as if there is no bathroom, you have to dig a latrine and cover it with dirt when finished.
- First Aid Kit: It is essential to have a first aid kit when camping as accidents happen. A well-stocked basic kit contains scissors, adhesive, gauze, soap, a CPR mouth barrier, and an emergency whistle, pain and anti-inflammatory medicine, hydrocortisone cream, anti-diarrhea medicine, an antihistamine for allergic reactions, eye drops, triple antibiotic ointment, antiseptic creams and ointments, and sterile wipes and rinses solutions. You should also bring toothpaste and brushes, toilet paper and sunscreen.
Besides your care items, you should also bring your proof of identifications like:
- Driver’s License
- Insurance Documents
There’s a lot of fun activities to do when camping including:
- Water Skiing
- Tree and Rock Climbing
You can also bring:
- Books and Magazines
- Coloring Books
- Musical Instruments
- Board Games
Essentials for camping with pets
Essentials for camping with pets will depend on the pet that you’ll bring. For instance, if you are to bring your dog, you have to find a dog-friendly campsite. You have to confirm that the site allows dogs and bring your dog tag, collar or harness, leash, and dog food.
Essentials for camping with kids
Camping with your kids will require extra care. You should make sure that your tent is big enough or better pick a family-style tent. Bring the right sleeping bag that matches the weather. Pack layers that you can use as the evening gets chillier.
- Create some ambient lighting to make the campsite a little less scary.
- Try to have tents or beds made up for them in time for their naps.
- Bring the security item of your kid.
- Make sure that they are protected from burns and bites.
- Facilitate a game to make the camping more fun, exciting, and memorable for your kid.
If you are camping with a baby, bring along:
- Travel Playpen
- Travel High-Chair or a Stroller
Ensure the health and safety of your little ones and bring their:
Camping is a fun way to bond with family and friends. It creates something that is precious and priceless—memories. Through the camping list, we have provided, you will be able to prepare all camping essentials and enjoy your adventure without worries and hassle.