The Ultimate Camping Gear Checklist

I have put together a Camping Gear Checklist to help you prepare for your next big trip.  I have been refining this camping checklist for over 20 years and have narrowed it down to the key essential items for typical camping trips.

Click on this Camping Gear Checklist link to view the PDF version of the list.

9 Camping Gear Checklist Categories

  1. General GearSurvival Blanket
  2. Emergency Kit
  3. Clothing
  4. Bathroom Kit
  5. Cooking/Dining
  6. Misc Items
  7. Grocery List
  8. Extra Items
  9. Before you leave

General Gear

This list includes all of the general camping items that are basic to most camping trips.  There are a few bonus items on the list such as the solar shower which aren’t necessities but are very nice to have.  These types of items would apply more to some of your extended camping trips.

We did a three week trip up to Canada one year that included 10 days into a cold river canyon.  A good friend on the trip dubbed it 10 days with stinky/hairy guys because there wasn’t much opportunity for showering.  So I really enjoy those trips where I can break out the solar shower and you should too.

Emergency Kit

This should always be a part of any camping trip or hiking excursion.  There are some very basic items that can literally save your life if you get into a difficult situation.  Think about what you might need if you were forced to stay the night in the woods.  Food, shelter and a fire to start off with are key.  I wrote a series of two articles about camping safety that can be found here in Part 1 and here in Part 2.

Always have a plan setup before you leave and let someone know where you are going and when you should be back.  Look into getting an EPIRB if going on more extreme trips.  Camping GearTake a look at this link if you need a super detailed emergency kit example.


Your clothing list will depend greatly on what type of environment you are going into.  My summer trips in the desert are much different that my late fall trips so plan accordingly.  A good rule of thumb is to have at least one backup set of everything.  For more extended trips you will have to add more items.

Bathroom Kit

Pretty standard and easy for me.  The stuff you need to make sure you don’t completely freak out your camping mates.  This is the basic list and you may have a few additional items.


I have listed everything you need to cook and enjoy your camping meals.  Take a look at this link to a more detailed camp cooking list for additional items and specific products for cooking and dining.

I will say that I have been on trips where all we brought was a couple of sporks, two bowls and a barbecue.  This was led by my good friend Paul who has such an addiction to fishing that there is little time in the day to prepare meals.  He is a great fisherman to his benefit though!

Misc Items, Extra Items and Grocery list

I have listed a few miscellaneous items that I usually have on my trips along with an open category for extra items that you think of.  If you are really interested in cooking over a campfire then you should take a look at this article.  I discuss in the best methods and the gear you will need to make a good meal over the fire.Spork

There are always little items that you think of throughout the planning process so jot them down here.  Take a look at this article for a few ideas to help with your meal and grocery planning.

Before you leave

Here is a space for a few of those last minute items that you have to get done before you head out of town.  Check the car, lock the doors, set the alarm and grab the dog.  Add anything else that you think needs to be completed before leaving it all behind.

Detailed Camping Gear List (See this Camping Gear Checklist link for a PDF version)

Camping Gear

  • Sleeping Bag or bedroll
  • Solar shower
  • sleeping pad or air mattress
  • air mattress repair kit
  • pillow
  • headlamp
  • backpack (large)
  • backpack cover (waterproof)
  • Cot or hammock
  • tent
  • tent ground cover
  • 1st aid kit
  • tent stakes
  • twine
  • rope
  • bucket
  • day pack
  • shovel
  • pocket knife
  • mulit tool (leatherman)
  • sun shade
  • folding chairs
  • tarp
  • port-pody
  • hatchet/axe/spitting maul
  • matches
  • water bottle
  • lantern
  • lantern fuel
  • mantles
  • extra batteries
  • compass
  • maps/guide book
  • camp soap
  • fire pan
  • camera
  • tripod

Emergency kit

  • flashlight
  • lighting tinder
  • knife
  • matches
  • lite rain pancho
  • space blanket
  • cell phone
  • power bar
  • water purifying tablets


  • sandles
  • shirts (spf shirt)
  • long sleeve shirt
  • pants (light pants)
  • sun hat
  • wool socks
  • thermal underwear (moisture wicking)
  • towel
  • gloves (wool)
  • shorts
  • stocking cap
  • hiking boots
  • fleece jacket
  • fleece pants
  • underwear
  • rain jacket
  • down jacket
  • hoodie
  • belt
  • sunglasses
  • extra set of clothes

Toiletry Kit

  • advil
  • soap
  • shampoo
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • toilet paper
  • washcloth
  • towel

Camp Kitchen

  • Garbage bags
  • food cooler
  • tinfoil
  • barbecue
  • extra cooler
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh spices
  • cooking gear box (camp cooking gear link)
  • stove/fuel (how to choos a stove)
  • Grill Rack
  • dutch oven
  • roasting stick
  • spatula
  • matches/fire starter
  • folding cook table
  • water jug
  • water filter
  • plates
  • forks/spoons
  • knives
  • cutting board
  • bowls
  • cups
  • pot/pans
  • oven mit
  • coffee press
  • can opener
  • zip lock bags
  • wash tubs
  • scrub brush
  • drying rack
  • propane tank
  • propane hose

Food List

  • Bagels
  • Jam
  • eggs
  • cereal bars
  • pancakes/syrup
  • butter
  • Peanut butter
  • oatmeal
  • granola
  • lunch meat
  • bread
  • cheese
  • pasta
  • thai dish
  • hamburger
  • pickels
  • jerkey
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • spices
  • freeze dried meals (backpacking trip)
  • energy bars
  • Snacks (link to a few snack ideas)
  • ice
  • vegetables
  • fruit
  • coffee

Misc items

  • alarm clock
  • handheld radios
  • binoculars
  • playing cards
  • cribbage/games
  • sunscreen
  • insect repellant
  • sanitizer
  • notebook/pen
  • duct tape
  • bear canister
  • GPS
  • mini solar charger
  • fire starter
  • fire wood

Before you leave town

  • oil change
  • check tires
  • final check off list
  • to do on the road?


That pretty much raps up the Ultimate Camping Gear Checklist.  Click this Camping Gear Checklist for a printable version.  You should feel confident to start packing for your next trip knowing that  key items are on your list.  If you think of anything major I missed, please leave a comment below.


  1. Megan
    • Dave

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