Camping season has finally arrived! Perhaps you have spent the last few weeks or months planning and prepping for the upcoming summer and have every weekend and holiday scheduled and campsites reserved.
Out of habit, the mental checklist has been completed to make sure the tent or camper, sleeping bags, air mattresses, pillows, camping blankets, and coolers are good to go.
Whether this is your first time camping with your child or the twentieth time, more items will be added to the checklist, but what are they?
Continue reading for a comprehensive list to ensure you have everything you will need for a fun and relaxing camping trip.
1. Place to Sleep
Tent – Pack a large enough tarp to cover the ground where the tent(s) will be placed. This will keep moisture, bugs, and debris out of the tent. Double-check that all ties, tent stakes, a hammer or mallet, rain guards, and zippers are counted for and functional.
Camper – Ensure taillight and hitch connections are accessible and working. Before your first camping trip, allow enough time to clean and air out the internal area for a bug-free, dust-free, and non-stale air smell.
RV – Check all hookup connections, faucets, knobs, doors, gears, and extensions are working correctly. Schedule a mechanical checkup and oil change before the first trip. Take time to clean and air out the vehicle and replace the fitted bedsheets for a more pleasurable journey. Restock pots, pans, plates, eating and cooking utensils, cups, toiletries, and nonperishable foods for the season.
2. Sleeping Gear
Sleeping Bags – One of the most crucial parts of camping. It is vital to check the temperature rating of sleeping bags to ensure they will be warm enough for camping destinations. Sleeping bags rated for -1C to 30C or 30F to 86F are typically sufficient for general camping. Still, if you start the camping season early or extend it into the fall or winter, it is crucial to have a lower temperature-rated bag.
Air Mattress – If a sleeping pad doesn’t provide enough comfort while sleeping on the ground, an air mattress will be a worthwhile upgrade. Check for holes or punctures that may need repair before your first trip. Also, remember to ensure the air pump is working and that the correct inflate and deflate nozzles are packed.
Extra Sleeping Necessities – Pillows, blankets, and eye masks (useful for nights at shared campsites or areas with lots of lighting).
3. Kitchen Gear
Coolers and Ice Chests – Essential to keeping food cold, frozen, and safe to eat.
Dry Food Bin or Cooler – One location to keep all dry food safe and accessible. Great for kid snacks, bread, nuts, cereals, granola bars, cookies, crackers, chips, fruit cups, and any other nonperishable dry food.
Propane Camp Stoves – Propane stoves and propane tanks are a quick and easy way to get food cooking. They are easy to use, quick to set up, and don’t take long to clean when you’re done.
Lighters and Matches – Lighters and matches are essential to cooking gear since they will be used to start campfires for relaxing, cooking, and s’mores.
Cooking Tools – Depending on your camping menu, you will need any or all of these:
Pot with a Lid
Firepit Poker Sticks (hotdogs and s’mores)
Eating Utensils – Again, depending on your camping menu, you may need some or all of these:
Cups, Mugs, Bottles, and Sippy Cups
Tablecloth and Tape or Holders
Storage Bags/Containers and Tinfoil
Cleaning Supplies – It is always a good idea to have basic cleaning supplies for after meals, accidents, messes, and litter control.
Collapsible Dish Pan Sets (One to wash and one to rinse)
Dishcloths for Cleaning and Drying
4. Campsite Gear
Campsite gear consists of everything to promote comfort, relaxation, and enjoying the surroundings. Kids may not be as easygoing as adults in camping situations, but that does not mean they will be hard to keep entertained. Packing extra items and activities for them will help ease potentially stressful moments. Remember your essentials and throw in the extras that your kids will like.
Bug Spray or Insect Repellent Candles
Duct Tape for possible fixes
Flashlights and Headlamps
Lanterns with Solar Charging
Firewood and Fire Starter
Fully Stocked First Aid Kit, Tweezers, and Fingernail Clippers
Field Guides (plants, animals, insects)
Small Broom and Dustpan
Maps of the Area
Kid toys (stuffed animals, blocks, tinker toys, action figures, hot wheels, Barbies, etc.)
Portable Playpens for babies and toddlers
Kid Activities (coloring pages, crayons, scavenger hunts, books, paper, popsicle sticks, crafting materials, campsite games, etc.)
Pet Food if traveling with pets
5. Personal Items
Depending on the length of your camping trip, where you are going to be staying, and your personal preference, here is a list of must-haves and often-forgotten personal items:
Day Clothes (shorts, pants, long sleeves, short sleeves, undergarments, socks)
Swimsuits and Towels
Water Shoes and Hiking Boots
Hats and Sunglasses for Sun Protection
Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Shampoo, Conditioner, and Body Soap (if showers are available)
Prescription Glasses or Reading Glasses
Teething Pain Relievers
Pullups for Toddlers