Things to Take Camping

Mary Gormandy White
Family Camping Trip

Are you looking for a list of things to take camping? It's certainly important to plan ahead when you are getting ready to spend a few days - or longer - in the great outdoors. That last thing you want to have to deal with is finding that you've forgotten to pack important supplies after you get settled in at your campsite!

Wondering What Things to Take Camping?

The exact list of things to take camping that you will need has to be customized to your specific needs. Many factors impact what a person or group needs to pack for a camping trip. For example, how long you will be gone, what type of camping you intend to do, the ages of the people in your group and the types of activities that you enjoy are variables that impact what you need to pack. The list of supplies and equipment that someone going backcountry camping needs, for example, varies greatly from the needs of RV campers or those who will be pitching a tent in an improved campsite.

Examples of things to take camping that are included on most general supply lists include:

  • Bug spray - Pack a container of bug spray to help keep mosquitoes, flies and other insects at bay during your trip.
  • Cell phone - It's a good idea to take a cell phone when you go camping in case you need to call for help. If you are staying at a campground that has electricity, be sure to pack your battery charger as well.
  • Cleaning supplies - Take a small bottle of dishwashing liquid and paper towels to tackle any cleaning needs you are likely to have during your trip.
  • Clothing - Consider the climate, terrain and availability of washers and dryers when deciding what types of clothing to take. Take items that you can layer since you will be outdoors at various times of the day and night.
  • Compass - It's advisable for anyone who will be venturing into the backcountry to carry a compass.
  • Fire starter equipment - Waterproof matches are a must for any camper. You may also want to consider taking fire starter logs and bundles of firewood.
  • Food - Pack a sufficient quantity of food that can be safely stored and easily prepared at your campsite. See Camping Food List and Backpacking Meal Suggestions for specific ideas.
  • Hiking boots - Wear or take comfortable hiking boots that have been broken in.
  • Medicine - Remember to pack any prescription or over the counter medications that anyone in your party is likely to need.
  • Personal care items - Pack travel size containers of shampoo, soap, toothpaste and other items that you consider necessities.
  • Raingear - Be prepared with a slicker, poncho and/or umbrella in case the weather takes a turn for the worst during your trip.
  • Sleeping bag - Select a sleeping bag that is appropriate for the climate that you will be camping in.
  • Sleeping pad - If you will be sleeping in a tent or outdoors, you may want to consider taking a sleeping pad or inflatable air mattress.
  • Sunglasses - Take a pair of quality sunglasses that provide UV protection; polarized lenses are a plus if you plan to go fishing.
  • Sunscreen - It's important to be prepared to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun when you are camping.
  • Towels - Be sure to pack at least one towel per person.
  • Water - Ensure that you have a sufficient supply of potable water by packing bottled water and/or water purification tablets.
  • Additional items - Add any additional items that you and the people you will be traveling with are likely to need.

Use a Checklist to Prepare for Your Camping Trip

See Camping Supply List for a downloadable checklist that you can print and customize for your own needs. Use your checklist as you are packing for your trip and take it with you. That way, you can make adjustments to the list during your trip as you think of things that you wish that you had brought or if you notice items going unused. When you get home, make adjustments to the list based on your experiences so that you'll have a better checklist to work from the next time you are preparing to go on a camping adventure.

Things to Take Camping