Whether you’re planning your first camping trip or your 50th, Tom Stienstra’s list of camping essentials will help you cover all the bases. Download our printable camping checklist (PDF), or copy and paste from below to create your own personalized packing list.

camping iocons in green

Cooking Gear

  • Camp stove and fuel
  • Dish soap and scrubber
  • Fire-starter cubes
  • Heavy-duty paper plates
  • Ice chest and drinks
  • Itemized food, separated by groups
  • Knife, fork, cup
  • Large, heavy-duty garbage bags
  • Matches stored in ziplock bags
  • One lighter for each camper
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic spatula and stir spoon
  • Pot grabber or pot holder
  • Salt, pepper, spices
  • Two pots and no-stick pan
  • Water jug or lightweight plastic “cube”

Optional Cooking Gear

  • Aluminum foil
  • Ax or hatchet
  • Barbecue tongs
  • Can opener
  • Candles
  • Dustpan
  • Grill or hibachi
  • Plastic clothespins
  • Tablecloth
  • Whisk broom
  • Wood or charcoal for barbecue

Clothing

  • Cotton/canvas pants
  • Gore-Tex parka or jacket
  • Gore-Tex rain pants
  • Lightweight, breathable shirt
  • Lightweight fleece jacket
  • Medium-weight fleece vest
  • Polypropylene underwear
  • Rain jacket and pants, or poncho
  • Sunglasses
  • Waterproofed, oilskin wide-brimmed hat

Optional Clothing

  • Gloves
  • Shorts
  • Ski cap
  • Swimsuit

Hiking Gear

  • Backpack or daypack
  • Hiking boots
  • Fresh bootlaces
  • Innersole or foot cushion (for expeditions)
  • Moleskin and medical tape
  • SmartWool (or equivalent) socks
  • Water-purification system

Optional Hiking Gear

  • Backup lightweight shoes or moccasins
  • Gaiters
  • Water-repellent boot treatment

Sleeping Gear

  • Ground tarp
  • Sleeping bag
  • Tent or bivy bag
  • Therm-a-Rest pad

Optional Sleeping Gear

  • Air bed
  • Cot
  • Catalytic heater
  • Foam pad for truck bed
  • Mosquito netting
  • Mr. Heater and propane tank (for use in pickup truck camper shell)
  • Pillow (even in wilderness)
  • RV windshield light screen
  • Seam Lock for tent stitching

First Aid

  • Ace bandage
  • After-Bite for mosquito bites (before you scratch them)
  • Aspirin
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Caladryl for poison oak
  • Campho-Phenique gel for bites (after you scratch them)
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Lip balm
  • Medical tape to affix pads
  • Neosporin for cuts
  • Roller gauze
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Sunscreen
  • Tweezers

Optional First Aid

  • Athletic tape for sprained ankle
  • Cell phone or coins for phone calls
  • Extra set of matches
  • Mirror for signaling
  • Thermometer

Recreation Gear

  • All required permits and licenses
  • Fishing reel with fresh line
  • Fishing rod
  • Knife
  • Leatherman tool or needle-nose pliers
  • Small tackle box with flies, floats, hooks, lures, snap swivels, and splitshot

Optional Recreation Gear

  • Backpacking cribbage board
  • Deck of cards
  • Folding chairs
  • Guidebooks
  • Hammock
  • Mountain bike
  • Reading material

Other Necessities

  • Bear-proof food canister (if required)
  • Duct tape
  • Extra plastic garbage bags
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Lantern and fuel
  • Maps
  • Nylon rope for food hang
  • Spade for cat hole
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Towelettes
  • Wristwatch

Other Optional Items

  • Altimeter
  • Assorted bungee cords
  • Binoculars
  • Camera with fresh battery and digital card or film
  • Compass
  • Menstrual products
  • GPS unit
  • Handkerchief
  • Notebook and pen

free printable camping checklist from Moon


Excerpted from the 20th Edition of Moon California Camping.