The Complete List of Everything You Need to Bring Camping

S'mores ingredients not included.

Photo: Getty Images

Camping has become a popular way to travel while enjoying the great outdoors (and who doesn't love a good campfire s'more?). Whether you're new to camping or just looking to upgrade your gear, this camping supplies checklist contains a few key product suggestions to make sure you don't forget something essential when you're a few miles out in the wilderness. Pick and choose from this list to plan your perfect camping excursion.

Glamping fans can probably cut a lot out of this list (like the toilet paper!), while National Park campers should check the "Know Before You Go" section on the park's website for additional items you might need, like bear spray or a bear-proof food container.

Camping Checklist

Real Simple

Campsite Essentials

Nemo Quasar Sleeping Pad


Make sure your camping supplies checklist includes items that provide comfortable places to sit and sleep for everyone.

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bags and pillows
  • Air mattress or sleeping pads
  • Foldable camp chairs
  • Foldable table
  • Tarp
  • Backpacks/bags for porting things in and out
  • Small broom and dust pan
  • Mat to wipe your feet outside your tent

Upgraded camping gear: Cabela's Nemo Quasar sleeping pads are water-resistant, easy to inflate and deflate, and help keep you comfy and dry—even if the ground beneath you is wet. (Bonus: They're completely made from post-consumer recycled materials.)

Camp Lighting

Coleman Sound and Light Lantern

Light your way for a night hike (or a late-night run to the restroom) with these camping essentials.

  • Lantern
  • Flashlights
  • Matches or a lighter (for campfire making)
  • Headlamps
  • Firewood (from a nearby source)
  • Extra batteries for the lights
  • Glow sticks or necklaces

Upgraded camping gear: The Coleman Sound and Light Lantern gives you plenty of glow—and also serves as a bluetooth speaker if you want to enjoy a little music at your campsite.

Clothing for Camping

Mosquito Netting for Camping

When you're choosing what to wear camping, think functional and lots of layers that you can add or subtract as the weather changes. Even in the summer, long pants and long-sleeved shirts might be preferable to help protect from sunburn, and ticks and mosquitos.

Skip cotton fabrics in favor of moisture-wicking, SPF-laden, and quick-dry options that help keep you comfortable even if you sweat or get wet. Merino wool is a great temperature regulator that you can wear for days without worrying about smelling.

  • Extra underwear
  • Hiking boots or shoes
  • Water shoes or sandals
  • Pants
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Extra socks
  • Swimsuit/Raincoat/Warm coat
  • Fleece or cozy sweater
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat
  • Gel-filled cooling neckerchief
  • Personal mosquito netting

Upgraded camping gear: If you're a favorite snack for mosquitos, a wearable screen netting can help protect you from the bugs—without having to wear hardcore mosquito repellants 24/7.

Camping Kitchen Gear

Aeropress coffee maker for camping
Williams Sonoma

One of the highlights of camping can be the culinary options available to you—s'mores!—but you'll probably want more than graham crackers and marshmallows to enjoy.

If you're planning to be active, it may help to pack freeze-dried meals you can easily whip up with hot water, so you don't have hangry campers waiting for the fire to be ready for cooking.

  • Camp stove with fuel
  • Coleman grill
  • Pots and pans cast iron
  • Cooler with lots of ice
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Water bottles
  • Mountain potpie maker
  • Dish pan
  • Cooking spoon, spatula, and tongs
  • Flatware for eating
  • Plates and bowls
  • Mugs collapsible cups
  • Dish scrubber and towel
  • Dish soap (biodegradable)
  • Can/bottle opener
  • Food storage containers
  • Large jugs of water
  • Trash bags
  • Cooking oil
  • Spices

Upgraded camping gear: If you can't start your morning without a cup of coffee, the easy-to-pack AeroPress can help you make a stellar cup—and it's small enough to pack for even the most off-the-beaten-path camping trip.


Beekman 1802 Cleansing Wipes
Beekman 1802

Keep it clean while you're camping with the right tools—just make sure any products you bring are biodegradable, so they don't harm nature (or you).

  • Sunscreen
  • Brush or comb
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Baby/cleaning wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper
  • Prescription meds
  • Quick dry towel
  • Insect repellent spray/lotion lemon eucalptus Cutter
  • Lip balm

Upgraded camping gear: Beekman 1802's generously sized wipes can keep more than your face clean, and the fragrance-free version won't make you attractive to insects—or bears.

Just-in-Case Gear

Leather Work Gloves for Camping

You never know when something's going to go awry when you're camping, so it's great to have some basic gear for fixing things.

  • Duct tape
  • First aid kit (including lots of moleskins)
  • Multitool
  • Menstrual products
  • Hammer
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Pain relievers
  • Allergy medications
  • Anti-diarrheal or antacid medications
  • Water purifiers
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors
  • Small shovel
  • Snakebite kit
  • Camping sewing kit
  • Leather work gloves

Upgraded camping gear: Heat-resistant leather working gloves let you chop firewood, deal with hot pots and pans, and wrangle anything else that comes your way.

Fun Camping Gear

Bocce ball set for camping
Uncommon Goods

The real fun of camping is all the activities you get to do. Pack along gear for outdoor adventures, games, and maybe a little campfire music-making.

  • Frisbee or ball
  • Compass and maps
  • Fishing gear
  • Field guide
  • Binoculars
  • Books or magazines
  • Musical instruments
  • Cards or games
  • Camera
  • Hiking poles

Upgraded camping gear: This indoor/outdoor bocce ball set is lightweight enough for even the most pared-down backpacking campers—and can be used indoors for a living-room campout, too.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles