Camping is a fantastic way to spend more time outside and a stay at a campsite is perfect for kids and adults alike – as opposed to wild camping, which requires a little more know-how. So whether you’re giving the kids a taste of the outdoors or you’re traveling across the country to take in some sights, camping is the perfect way to spend the night. Our camping checklist will sort you out for all occasions.
Remember that this camping checklist is fully comprehensive to cover everything you might need; in reality, you’ll gradually start to edit it to suit your needs as you become more experienced and depend on less stuff to survive. Many items also rely on you having additional transport, and if you’re backpacking you can check out our backpacking guide and follow the sound words of advice imparted there.
Essential Camping Gear When On Site
Tent – The style of tent you bring depends on how many people it needs to sleep. Remember that a two-person tent will sleep two but not necessarily allow both people a comfortable sleep. If you have additional storage capacity in your means of transportation – such as a car – you can take a more spacious tent. Remember to bring tent pegs and a mallet too.
Sleeping Bag – Your sleeping bag should be chosen based on the season to allow a comfortable night’s rest depending on the conditions. Have a look at our sleeping bag guide for an in-depth look at what you should take into consideration. You can even add a liner for extra comfort, and a cleaner bag.
Sleeping Pad – These can range from a foam roll mat to self-inflating mats, and provide both warmth and comfort to help you sleep.
Mattress/Cot – You can also opt for a more comfortable sleep with an inflatable mattress or cot. Bear in mind these are heavier and the mattress will require a pump to be inflated.
Pillow – Another optional choice for extra comfort. Many people will simply opt for rolled-up clothing instead, to save space.
Camping Furniture – If you want to sit out and watch the stars, a folding chair is a nice addition. A table also takes the hassle out of dinner.
Lantern – Lighting is essential in the evenings and nights for any reading or toilet trips. Bring along a torch or a head torch too.
Eating Like a King
Stove – If you have a car, you don’t have to be stingy with space and can opt for a collapsible barbecue, or if you have a camp stove, it’s perfect too.
Stove Fuel/Gas – Make sure you have plenty of fuel for your chosen cooking system so you don’t get stuck with food you can’t cook.
Matches/Lighter/Fire-starter – Your barbecue will be for nothing if you have no way to light it. Fire-starting materials should be kept safe and in a waterproof container.
Pots/Pans – Depending on your stove, this could be a simple mess tin or you can bring along a nesting set for a range of meals.
Plates/Cups/Bowls – These can be bought in set, perfect for keeping them compact. Make sure they are made from plastic or metal so they don’t get damaged.
Can Opener – This is definitely not to be forgotten or you’ll spend the whole weekend taunted by that tin of ravioli.
Utensils – Spatula, whisk, wooden spoon, chopping board and whatever else you might need. Try to think in terms of what you’ll require to eat the food you have.
Cutlery – You can bring some lightweight plastic sets or if you’re going lightweight you can choose a stacking set or even our Snorky 3 in 1 Camping Utensil.
Tea/Coffee Maker – A camp kettle is great and you can also get lightweight coffeemakers for using outdoors.
Bucket – This can double as a sink, and can be used for transporting dirty dishes or storing food waste.
Cooler – Perfect for storing fresh foods. Fill one up with ice and you can bring a much wider selection of food. It’s great for cooling drinks, as well.
Dish Towel and Sponge – Handy for clearing up at the end of a meal.
Soap – Try and bring biodegradable soap that won’t adversely affect the area when you pour out dirty water.
Waste Bags – Don’t dump your waste where it can both attract wildlife and also be unsightly. Store it in waste bags or even a waste bucket.
Hygiene and Health
First Aid Kit – Your first aid kit should be well-stocked with all essential items, and make sure you bring along enough of any personal medications and prescriptions. Check out our first aid kit guide here.
Toothbrush/Toothpaste – Even if you’re packing light, tooth care is essential and doesn’t take up much room.
Soap and Shampoo – All you need for camp showers.
Toilet Paper – Essential for toilet stops and handy for cleaning up too.
Sunscreen and Lip Balm – Essential for keeping you safe in the sun.
Wash Bag – Bring along anything else you might need like a deodorant, wash mirror, razor and other items you can’t go without.
Insect Repellent – Essential depending on the time of year.
Hand Sanitiser – An easy way to stay clean on the go and prevent germs from spreading.
Multi-tool – Helpful for any quick fixes over your stay.
Maps and Guidebooks – Great if you want to go on an adventure around the area.
Radio/Speakers – Getting a bit of music to accompany a relaxing day is great.
Binoculars – Another exploring essential.
Camera – Remember to bring a case so it stays safe – great for capturing your weekend.
Reading Materials – Magazines, books, etc. An e-reader offers lots of choice, but if you’re a traditionalist, a paperback is fine.
Note/Sketch Pad and Supplies – If you’re struck by inspiration and want to put pen to paper.
Games – Either sports games, board games or fun activities – these are great for both kids and adults.