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Below you will find a list of practical gear to bring on you next camping trip, along with some tips for specific items. Take a browse here and then you can a download a copy of the checklist to use as you pack.
Just remember – these are just suggestions. You don’t have to necessarily bring everything on the list, and you may want to bring things from home that are not on the list.
Download the file Camping Checklist (PDF, 94.5 KB) and print it at home.
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.
A groundsheet is a piece of fabric that you place under your tent to help protect your tent’s floor.
Bring a tarp and hang it above a picnic table so you can stay dry in case of rain.
If you don’t have a sleeping bag, bring a blanket and sheet from home.
For extra comfort, bring a small pillow. If you prefer, stuff a sack with extra clothing for a makeshift camping pillow.
Sleeping pad or air mattress
A sleeping pad or mat goes under your sleeping bag for extra comfort and warmth.
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 ideal.
Rope or cord
Rope and cord can be used for many things including making clotheslines and hanging tarps.
Mess kit (plate, mug, bowl, utensils)
Plastic or steel plates, mugs, bowls and utensils are best as they are sturdy, quite lightweight, and reusable.
There are many types of camp stoves, so get advice to find a model that is ideal for you.
Fuels come in many different shapes and forms so be sure that you have the right one for your stove or lantern.
A large bowl is useful for mixing ingredients while preparing meals at the campsite.
A cutting board will come in handy to chop ingredients while preparing snacks and meals.
Spatula, Wooden spoon, Strainer, Tongs
Consider which meals you are preparing and remember to pack the utensils you will need to cook them.
Pots, Frying pans
Bring pots and pans that are designed for fire cooking if you plan to cook on the fire.
A pot holder or oven mitt will keep your hands comfortable when you move your pots and pans to and from the stove or fire.
Bring a large plastic container or bin you can use to fill with water and wash your dishes in.
Biodegradable dishwashing soap
Be sure your dish soap is biodegradable, and dispose of it in sinks or drains not in lakes or on the ground. Check out the "Camping Basics" section to learn more.
Your cooler is not wildlife-proof so be sure to store it properly at night or anytime you are not at your campsite.
Waterproof matches/ lighter
If you don’t have waterproof matches or a lighter, keep your matches in a waterproof container or bag.
If you don’t have a can opener on your pocket knife a separate one will be handy.
Bring a sturdy plastic, reusable tablecloth. It will be easy to wipe off after meals and it won’t be damaged by rain.
Aluminum foil is handy around the campsite, especially for cooking on the fire and wrapping up leftovers.
A few garbage bags are handy for storing all your garbage. Don’t forget to store your garbage in your vehicle at night.
There many insect repellents available with different ingredients so make sure you find one that is right for you.
Sunscreen is essential – especially at higher altitudes where the sun’s rays are even stronger, and on the water, where the rays are multiplied through reflection.
Aloe is soothing to skin that is sunburned.
Biodegradable shampoo & soap
Look for shampoo and soap that are biodegradable. Remember - even biodegradable products need to be disposed of down a sink or drain, not in a lake.
Camping with children
Setting time aside to pack well and in an organized way for camping with young children will spare you the headaches at the campsite.
Crib / play pen
If your baby typically sleeps in their own crib at home consider trying to replicate something similar while camping. Some families have a large enough tent that they can simply bring a standard. Others have less space and opt to acquire a smaller version of a playpen (travel playpen).
Stroller / baby carrier / chariot
if a child has troubles falling asleep in the tent you can try taking a walk on a quiet trail with your child in a sling or stroller. This will also be useful for your daytime activities throughout your stay.
Booster seat (for meals)
You likely will want somewhere you can put your baby for their meals. Some options could be a perch chair (that clamps onto a picnic table), a baby portable camp chair with a tray, your highchair at home or even your stroller!
Diapers & wipes
Bring only enough diapers and wipes (plus a few extras) for the trip. No need to pack a whole package!
Extra clothing and 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
Many national parks have regulations regarding pets and leashes – make sure you are familiar with them before you go.
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.
A brush will come in handy to get the dirt and anything else out of your pet’s fur.
Bring a few clothespins to hang up wet items on the clothesline.
Small broom and dust pan
Use a small broom and dust pan to sweep out any leaves, pines needles and dirt and to keep your tent clean and tidy.
First Aid Kit
Make sure your first aid kit is complete and up to date.
Newspaper to start the fire
If you don’t have any newspaper, just about any other type of paper will do.
A good whistle can alert people within earshot if you are in trouble.
Multi-tool / Swiss knife
A small pocket knife with folding blades in the handle or a multi-purpose tool can be useful for different occasions during your stay: repairing equipment, open canned food, cutting almost anything, etc.
Duct tape is strong, water resistant and can temporarily fix just about anything!
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