A Checklist for Camping


 

To me there are three kinds of camping: Cabin "camping", tent (site) camping, and backpacking. The following list pertains to all kinds of camping except where indicated. For backpacking, the rule is the lighter and smaller the better.

By no stretch of the imagination is this list the definitive and most complete list available, but, rather, this is the list I developed to jog my memory so that I have some chance of remembering everything I need to take with me on a camping trip. I hope it's a useful tool for you too.

  • Bedding
     
    • Blankets (include extras for cold weather camping)
    • Cot/Air Mattress (leave the cot home for backpacking)
    • Ground cloth for tent camping (goes underneath sleeping bag)
    • Pillow (optional)
    • Sleeping bags
    • Sheets to line sleeping bags (particularly nice if your sleeping bag is made out of a material which promotes sweating). (non-backpacking only; for backpacking you should bring a sleeping bag appropriate to the terrain and time of year)
       
  • Clothing/Apparel usually needed
     
    • Belt(s) or suspenders
    • Pants (avoid blue jeans if there's a chance you'll be camping in rainy country)
    • Boots-- Hiking and/or mud variety
    • Spare pair of glasses/contacts (if you wear 'em)-- Athletic and/or spare
    • Sneakers/tennis shoes
    • Sunglasses
    • Sweaters/sweatshirts
    • Underwear
       
  • Warm Weather Clothing/Apparel
     
    • Hats--ball caps, wide-brim hats, etc. for warm weather
    • Kleenex/Handkerchiefs
    • Rain Panchos/Rain Suit
    • Shorts/Bermudas
    • Lightweight shirts; T-shirts
    • Swim gear (Bathing suit, goggles, sunscreen, towels; for more conventional campgrounds rather than backpacking)
       
  • Cold Weather Clothing/Apparel
     
    • Coat or similar (bring a couple of  lighter coats and sweatshirts so that you can "layer" if the temperature drops)
       
      • Down Vest (for cold climes)
      • Fatigue Jacket
      • Hooded coat
         
    • Gloves or mittens for cold weather only
    • Old slippers or equivalent for cabin camping
    • Hats-- cover-the-ears variety for cold weather (e.g. stocking caps, Russian fur cap, etc.)
    • Heavy "liner socks" for cold weather only
    • Flannel Shirts for cold weather
    • Ski Pants or Bunny Pants (if camping in severe cold)
       
  • Entertainment Items/Ideas
     
    • Balls--Football, softball, basketball, volleyball
    • Books/magazines (not to many for backpacks)
    • Boomerang (for tent and cabin camping)
    • Cards-- Pinochle/Straight decks (don't forget paper to keep score on)
    • Coloring Books/Crayons (for children)
    • Fishing Gear (keep it small and light for backpacking)
    • Frisbees (for tent and cabin camping)
    • Games--for rainy or cold day indoor play (for tent and cabin camping)
    • Kites (for tent and cabin camping)
    • Sleds/disks--for winter sledding (not for backpacking, unless you're traveling by dogsled. <g>)
    • Writing material
       
  • First Aid Kit
     
    • Aspirin (Tylenol)
    • Band-Aids/Bandages
    • Cough drops
    • De-congestant
    • Disinfectant
    • First Aid/Burn Cream
    • First Aid booklet
    • First Aid Tape
    • Gauze pads
    • Insect repellent (Spring-Autumn)
    • Lip balm for cold weather
    • Moleskin
    • Needle & thread
    • Personal prescriptions (e.g., antibiotics)
    • Scissors
    • Sunscreen-- at least 15 rating
    • Tweezers
       
  • Food (non-backpacking alternatives)
     
    • Bacon
    • Cereal
    • Coffee
    • Creamer
    • Eggs
    • Hamburgers
    • Hot Chocolate
    • Hot dogs
    • Juice
    • Ketchup
    • Milk
    • Mustard
    • Other food
    • Other seasonings
    • Pepper
    • Pop
    • Pop tarts
    • Potatoes
    • Relish
    • Salt
    • Sausage
    • Sugar
       
  • Food Ideas for Backpacking
     
    • Pasta (e.g., macaroni and cheese [powdered variety], spaghetti and a small can of tomato paste plus spices, etc. OR make your own with dried soups)
    • Rice
    • Riceroni type concoctions
    • Canned tuna (small cans; use 'em up the first or second day out so that you're not hauling the extra weight throughout your backpack)
    • Instant potatoes (if you can stand 'em)
    • Pepperoni
    • Salami
    • Cheese
    • Granola bars (various flavors; if you like 'em)
    • Dry cereal (e.g., Cheerios, Kix, etc.)
    • Nuts (e.g., peanuts, cashews, etc.)
    • M&M's
    • Raisins and nuts
    • Bread mix
    • Sugar, salt, pepper, garlic salt, Lawry's seasoning salt, etc.
    • Small packaged condiments (e.g., catsup, mustard, etc.)
    • Instant soup mixes (very good for making sauces)
    • Powdered drinks
       
  • Cooking Gear
     
    • Bio-degradable Soap
    • Brillo pads or equivalent
    • Camp stove/Portable stove (very lightweight stove if backpacking)
    • Cooking gear (pots, pans, or cook kit)
    • Cooking grill (grating)
    • Coleman Fuel or propane for lanterns/stove
    • Cups (Paper or Plastic)
    • Eating utensils
    • Food
    • Lantern(s) (for non-backpacking trips)
    • Paper towels (for non-backpacking trips)
    • Straws (optional)
    • Tablecloth (for non-backpacking trips) and tablecloth clips
       
  • Repair Kit
     
    • Extra batteries & light bulbs for flashlights
    • Hangers ("wire" variety)-- you'd be surprised how many uses you can find for these
    • Knife-- Pocket variety (e.g., Boy Scout knife or Swiss Army knife) should have a can opener, an awl and a couple of good blades.
    • Nylon chord or string (another valuable item to have; bring one spool)
    • Safety pins
    • Sewing kit (needle & thread minimum) for repairs
    • Shoelaces/bootlaces-- extras for shoes/boots
    • Wire (thin, for jury-rigging)
       
  • Snack Ideas
     
    • Cheetos
    • Chips
    • Chocolate-based for energy
    • Cookies
    • Crackers/cheese
    • Makings for S'Mores (graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows--kids love 'em)
    • Pepperoni
    • Pretzels
       
  • Survival Gear
     
    • Lensatic or orienteering compass
    • Good pocketknife (e.g., Boy Scout or Swiss Army variety)
    • Flashlight(s) (small ones are most useful)
    • Matches (waterproof variety)
    • Paper
    • Pens/pencils
    • Backpacker's Tent or lightweight tarp for lean-to
    • Fire starters for when it's damp (e.g., electric dryer lint, waxed paper, commercial ones, etc.)
    • Safety pins
    • Water Bottle
    • Water purification system and/or tablets (optional, primarily for tent camping where water supply may be "iffy")
    • Whistle (in case you get lost; good for scaring some denizens of the forest away too)
    • Wire (thin, a short length, for snares)
       
  • Toiletries
     
    • Comb or brush
    • Dental Floss
    • Mirror (preferably metal)
    • Razor and blades
    • Shaving cream (optional)
    • Toilet paper (1 roll for emergency/person)
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste (portable variety)
    • Towel and washcloth
       
  • Tools
     
    • Camp saw or axe (a portable [fold-up] saw is usually lighter weight and better for backpacking)
    • Hammer (too much weight for backpacking; if you pack an axe that'll serve as a hammer too)
    • Portable camp shovel (the lighter the better for backpacks)
       
  • Other Items (mostly non-backpacking trip items)
     
    • Tent (for all types of camping; the lighter the better)
    • Groundcloth (for all types of camping)
    • Foam pad or air mattress (for all types of camping)
    • Backpack, duffel bag, or suitcase (depending upon what kind of camping you're doing)
    • Binoculars/telescope (optional, but useful)
    • Camera & film (optional)
    • Cooler
    • Rope (or clothesline) or nylon cord
    • Ice
    • Lawn Chairs
    • Map to camp and topo map of the area
    • Plastic bags (for garbage, dirty clothes, etc.)
    • Radio
    • Walking staff (for all types of camping)
    • Water bottle (for all types of camping)

Where to Find High Quality Camping Equipment

If you're looking for a firm from which to purchase high quality camping equipment, one of the best places to go is Recreational Equipment Inc. ( REI ) based in Washington state. They do have a mail order catalogue. Their address and phone number are:

Recreational Equipment Inc.
1700 45th Street East
Sumner, WA 98390
1-800-426-4840

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Copyright 1998 Rich Hamper 

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Last Updated:

Sunday, January 20, 2008