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Car Camping Checklist

As the summer turns to fall it becomes one of the best times of the year to go camping. To help you get started, we’ve put together our camping checklist. 

This list is created as a car camping checklist. Car camping generally refers to camping in a place where you can drive your car. Most state and national parks have car camping available in designated campgrounds. 

If you’re interested in a backpack camping checklist, stop into the store and we’ll help you modify this list and choose the right products to make the most of your backpack camping experience.

Our advice for the beginner camping checklist. 

  • Use what you have
  • Borrow what you can
  • Buy what you must

We’re not going to lie. It’s exciting and fun to get new camping gear. I don’t think using a new sleeping bag or camp cookware for the first time will ever get old. Additionally, there are some items you might not want to borrow or buy used (see sleeping bag). That said, there’s no reason to go out and buy $1000+ worth of camping gear your first time out, instead, buy yourself one new needed item each trip.

Many people will find they have some of our camping checklist items lying around the house. You may also be surprised at the number of people that will let you borrow a tent or camping equipment they haven’t used in awhile. 

In any case, we hope this camping checklist will be helpful to the beginning camper. If you have questions, stop by the store. We love talking camping and the gear that makes it possible.


General Camping Checklist

These basic camping necessities will help you get a good night's rest. Generally you’ll want to take anything that makes your camping trip enjoyable and not anything extra.

  • Tent (including stakes)
  • Tent footprint
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Pillow/camping pillow
  • Flashlight, headlamp and/or lantern
  • Camp chairs
  • Hammer/mallet


Camping cooking gear

Your camp cooking checklist can be as simple or as robust as your trip will allow. A good piece of advice is to plan out your meals and update your camping cooking gear accordingly.

  • Stove/grill & fuel
  • Matches and/or lighter
  • Cooking pots and/pans
  • Cooking utensils
  • Plates/bowls
  • Eating utensils 
  • Cups/mugs
  • Water bottle
  • Knife/knife set
  • Water jug 
  • Cooler
  • Cutting board
  • Wash bin
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Scraper or brush
  • Dishtowel
  • Trash bags


Camp clothing checklist

Getting the right clothing items packed for your camping trip can be a challenge for the perpetual overpacker. Synthetic and merino wool based clothing items are lightweight, moisture wicking, and highly recommended for clothing items worn close to the skin.

  • Underwear
  • Shorts
  • Pants
  • T-shirt
  • Long sleeve t-shirt
  • Sweatshirt
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Lightweight fleece
  • Synthetic or wool socks
  • Hiking shoes
  • Camp sandals

Weather dependent camping clothing

  • Thermal underwear
  • Insulated jackets
  • Gloves & hat


Personal items

You don’t want to forget life’s necessities when you’re out camping.

  • Toilet paper
  • Soap/shampoo
  • Microfiber camping towel 
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Deodorant/antiperspirant
  • Hand sanitizer/wipes
  • First Aid kit
  • Insect repellent


Additional Camping Checklist Items

Some might consider these items optional, while others would consider them required. In any case, here are a few items you might consider packing on your next camping trip. 

  • Axe or saw
  • Campfire starters
  • Hammock
  • A deck of cards
  • Repair supplies for your tent tent, sleeping pad, etc
  • Collapsible camp table
  • Extra blankets and/or sleeping bag liner
  • Coffee pot (percolating camp coffee pot and/or Aeropress)
  • Metal roasting forks for hotdogs, s’mores, etc
  • Vacuum bags for dirty clothes
  • Pocket stove/Jet Boil w/ accessories
  • Rug for outside the tent door
  • Hiking, backpacking and/or hydration pack


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