What is the #1 item you always take on a camping trip?

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Excited about your upcoming camping trip but wondering what camping essentials to bring? I’m here to assist! Your camping kit should always contain a shelter and sleeping arrangements. Depending on where you are, you should also bring a variety of clothing layers and special seasonal items.

Being a camping enthusiast, I have years of experience understanding what gear to bring and what to leave at home.

Here is my comprehensive camp trip checklist of the essential stuff to pack the next time you go camping.

Camping Essentials Checklist


Our Pick

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV UL 2 Solution-Dyed Tent

A camping trip without a tent has clearly gone wrong. Don’t forget to pack the most important part of your adventure! The Big Agnes Fly Creek is one of my personal favorite lightweight tents.

Big Agnes also sells lightweight three and four-person tents, such as the Tiger Wall UL 3 to accommodate bigger gatherings. If you’re carrying a heavy load, you’ll be thankful Big Agnes tents weigh hardly anything.

Sleeping Bag

Our Pick

REI Co-op Magma 30 Sleeping Bag - Men's

Regardless of whether you’re camping in the winter or the summer, a good sleeping bag is needed anytime you camp. Summer evenings might be chilly and windy, but REI Magma sleeping bag will keep you toasty.

This backpack is suitable for use as a 3-season bag, and the integrated hood guarantees optimum comfort and warmth covering.

Sleeping Pad

Our Pick

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad

Be sure to include an air mattress, often known as a sleeping pad, on your camping checklist. After many trials and tribulations with different sleeping pad brands, Therm-a-Rest is my go-to.

The NeoAir XLite sleeping pad is among the most comfy sleeping mats available. You are guaranteed to wake up without any kinks or muscle aches from the night before with Therm-a-Rest.

Travel Backpack

Our Pick

Osprey Porter 46L

With this travel bag, you’ll never have to check a bag again. Fit all of the essentials in this 46-liter bag including your tent and sleeping pad.

Osprey Porter 46L

Your travel backpack is the basis of your camping equipment and should withstand the test of time. Osprey is a Travel Lemming favorite and a top-selling backpack business in the United States. In fact, we have an entire Osprey Porter review for you to check out!

The Porter 46 The backpack type has locking zippers and comfy straps, which are essential while trekking into your campground for the night.


Our Pick

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

Navigate around your campsite with ease after dusk with this headlamp. The rechargeable battery provides an extended battery life in the outdoors.

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

As the sun goes down, you’ll discover you forgot your headlight. Headlamps are the most important camping equipment, so make sure yours is packed before you embark on your epic journey!

The Petzl Actik Core Because of its rechargeable battery, the light is a particular favorite. This head torch also takes regular batteries, giving you extra options in case of an emergency.

First Aid Kit

Our Pick

Every camping party should have at least one member with a first aid kit in case of an emergency. This complete first aid kit takes up no space in your pack.

Protect Life First Aid Kit Amazon

Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit on your camping trip. This minor first aid kit It may lack some of the goods included in larger, more comprehensive kits, but it is plenty for a short journey.

In the event of an emergency, it’s always a good idea to be prepared for anything. Having a first aid kit ensures your safety and the safety of those around you until you can get to a hospital if need be.


Our Pick

NEMO Fillo Pillow

A lightweight pillow really makes a difference when tent camping. This camping cushion is inexpensive and provides excellent comfort.

NEMO Fillo Pillow

Get the best night’s rest possible by bringing a camp pillow. The Nemo pillow is my favorite since it folds up so compact and takes up so little space in my bag.

The finest characteristics of this camp pillow are the air nozzle and compress functions, which allow you to blow up the cushion to the appropriate softness.


Our Pick

Hydro Flask Wide-Mouth Vacuum Water Bottle

Nothing beats a cup of coffee as soon as you walk out of your tent in the morning. The best way to enjoy a warm cup of joe all morning long is by keeping it hot in a thermos.

Hydro Flask thermoses These are excellent camping equipment since they keep drinks hot or cold to your preference. You can also use them in the summertime to keep your ice water cool throughout the entire day.

Bug Spray

Our Pick

Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

Regardless of your destination, being primed with bug spray will help you sleep at night. This Deet-free spray does the job without endangering your health.

Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

Be sure to include insect spray on your camping checklist. There’s nothing that ruins the fun on a camp outing more than pestering insects.

This deet-free bug spray Keeps pests off of you when trekking, setting up camp, or cooking without causing damage to your health with harsh chemicals. Mosquito head nets also work wonders in keeping bugs away.

Sleeping Bag Liner

Our Pick

Sea to Summit Thermolite Reactor Extreme Sleeping Bag Liner

You will need a bag liner on your next camping trip if you run cold and are camping in the winter, late fall, or early spring months. The Sea to Summit liner is the greatest one I’ve tested, and it works well for both men and women.

Sleeping bag liners, which are typically rated 15-25 degrees Fahrenheit, offer warmth to your sleeping bag and are perfect for usage in cold locations or for those who run cold.


Our Pick

Osprey Daylite Daypack

With this properly sized day bag, you can trek through woods, climb mountains, and have picnics by the river. With enough compartments for all your gear, you won’t have to skimp on the essentials.

Osprey Daylite Daypack

Leave all of your heavy camping gear in the tent as you go explore your surroundings. The Osprey Daylite is a Travel Lemming favorite and has beaten out all other daypacks.

This pack can be connected with the Osprey 46, making the two a match made in heaven. This Osprey duet offers the finest value for money.

Camp Chairs

Our Pick

Amazon Basics Padded Camping Chair

The ideal camping chair does not have to be expensive. Comfort, mobility, and a cup holder feature are the most important aspects of a camp chair.

Amazon Basics Padded Camping Chair

Remember to pack your camp chair for sitting around the fire or relaxing with a good conversation at camp. There are chairs on the market that cost hundreds of dollars, but this one is free. Amazon Basics Camp Chair gets the job done just the same.

This is a comfy camp chair with a handy cup holder. It truly is the perfect chair and doesn’t dent your wallet.

Cooking Camp Stove

Our Pick

Jetboil Stash Cooking System

Not every campground has a stove. Be prepared for your next camping adventure with this quick camping stove, one of the most efficient on the market.

Jetboil Stash Cooking System

Not every campground will have public stoves. You should bring your Jetboil stove just in case yours doesn’t.

At only 7.1 ounces, this stove is one of the lightest on the market and takes up almost no backpack space. Take this stove camping or to the top of a mountain. high California mountain summit with no problem.

Water Filtration Bottle

Our Pick

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

This is a Travel Lemming favorite bottle. Filter any bacteria and sediment out of camping water sources like rivers and lakes within seconds.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Avoid unnecessary bacteria in your stomach with a water filtration system while camping. Nothing is worse than becoming ill in the bush.

The LifeStraw filter water bottle allows you to filter with each sip and is the best way to leave no trace. You may also eliminate single-use plastic by utilizing the LifeStraw’s revolutionary technology.

Cooking Utensils

Our Pick

Sea to Summit Camp Cutlery 3-Piece Set

Make sure you have the proper utensils to enjoy your freshly prepared camp dinner. The Sea to Summit The utensil camp set is inexpensive and functional.

This convenient, BPA-free utensil alternative helps you remember to bring all three—your spoon, fork, and knife.

Shower Supplies

Our Pick

Sea to Summit Wilderness Wipes

Showers are the first priority for most multi-day campers. Be sure to bring your shower shoes, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and razor if you are keen on staying clean while you camp.

In instances where there aren’t showers available, Sea to Summit Wilderness Wipes will be your closest companion. Made specifically for multi-day excursions, these all-natural wipes will help you feel squeaky clean without the need for water or a shower head.

Fire Equipment

Our Pick

Natural Pine Fire Starters

A journey to the wild outdoors isn’t complete without a campfire. Fire starters will help you build the perfect fire for roasting weenies or marshmallows.

Natural Pine Fire Starters

Nothing beats a campfire to round off the ideal camping adventure in the wild outdoors. Don’t forget a fire starter, your firewood, and maybe some fire fuel to build the ultimate campfire for roasting marshmallows.

This fire starter gets the job done fast so you may enjoy camp tales over your raging campfire.

Folding Table 

Our Pick

Rock Cloud Portable Camping Table

Be prepared with your own camping table in case you don’t encounter picnic tables. Foldable tables save space and are an excellent choice.

Rock Cloud Portable Camping Table

If no picnic table is available at your campsite, you will be grateful that you over-prepared by bringing your own folding table. The Rock Cloud Portable Table is lighter and takes up little room in your vehicle.

You don’t want to leave a camp table behind since it’s the finest spot to hang out, play cards, or make camp meals.


Our Pick

Adasion High Definition Binoculars

If where you’re going has animals you’d like to see (from afar), then don’t forget a way to view them. Bring binoculars to see the animals from a different angle.

Adasion High Definition Binoculars

Get well acquainted with the natural ecosystem by bringing a good pair of binoculars on your next camping excursion. The stronger, the better, which is why these Adasion Binoculars are the optimal pair to bring camping.


Our Pick

ENO SingleNest Hammock

During a camping vacation, hammocks give the ultimate in relaxation. Hang yours up between the pines and doze off to the sound of Stellar Jays.

ENO SingleNest Hammock

Although a tent provides enough protection, taking a hammock on your camping trip is pure indulgence. You’ll be happy you brought one when it’s time for your afternoon nap but you still want to take advantage of the sun.

Eno Hammocks are the lightest and most compact hammocks on the market. They come in single or double sizes, unique colors, and top-quality materials to ensure usage time and time again.


Our Pick

Thinksport Clear Zinc SPF 50 Sunscreen

If you have a lot of sun exposure, then sunburns exist even in the winter. A decent zinc-rich sunscreen will keep you safe all day.

I spend a lot of time outdoors and stick to using Thinksport sunscreen . Thinksport was designed for athletes like mountaineers and surfers who spend all day in the sun. Let Thinksport to look after your skin.

Camping towel

Our Pick

PackTowl Personal Towel

A quick-drying camp towel is essential whether you take a shower, go for a swim in a local river, or your water bottle spills over.

PackTowl Personal Towel

Camping towels are one of the most forgotten camping items. The Packtowl is a quick-drying towel that won’t let you down when you need to dry off. It also folds up quite well, making it one of Travel Lemming’s favorite camping checklist items.

Clothing to Pack for Camping

The author with a friend beside a Mount Whitney Trail signage Me camping in California

So, what should you take for a camping trip? Here is a quick clothing checklist for camping:

  • 1-2 pairs of shorts
  • 1-2 pairs of pants
  • 3-4 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of thick wool socks
  • 2-3 short sleeve shirts
  • 2-3 long sleeve shirts
  • 1 thermal pajama top
  • 1 thermal pajama bottom
  • 1 ball cap or sunhat
  • 1 pair of hiking shoes/boots
  • 1 pair of camp sandals or comfortable shoes
  • 1 pair of gloves
  • 1 scarf or neck gaiter
  • 1 down jacket
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 5 pairs of underwear
  • 4-6 t-shirts
  • 1 swimsuit

For camping outings, packing the correct clothing makes a big difference. The best time to go camping in your destination may vary depending on the season but it’s best to be prepared for anything, including a storm in the summer or 90-degree weather in the winter! Additionally, be sure to look at our beach packing list if you plan to camp on the sand.


Our Pick

KUHL Freeflex Roll-Up Pants – Women’s

On most terrain, good base-layer hiking trousers are required. These pants can withstand a poke from the spiky-est plants and keep you protected from the elements.

KUHL Freeflex Roll-Up Pants - Women's

Kuhl keeps you safe from the elements. You will want a strong pair of hiking pants that are UV-protected and durable.

The Kuhl Freeflex roll-up pant accomplishes just that. The sun-protective feature of this pair of pants allows you to hike and camp under the sun all day without needing to apply sunscreen.

Sun Hat

Our Pick

Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat

Keep your ears and neck protected from harmful UV rays with this floppy sun hat. This is the most effective technique to avoid heat exhaustion.

Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat

You will want to wear a sun hat while camping, especially during the summer. This is the most effective strategy to avoid heat stroke when out in nature.

This Sunday Afternoons Adventure Hat protects your head and neck from the elements. The cute design is also unisex and suits every adventurer.


Our Pick

The North Face Etip Recycled Gloves – Men’s

Always have base-layer gloves like these in your bag just in case. If you’re in a temperate climate, then the weather can be unpredictable and you will be glad you brought your gloves.

The North Face Etip Recycled Gloves - Men's

You will be happy you brought your “just in case” gloves camping when you wake up shivering. Even in the summer, it might be cool in the early morning hours.

The North Face Etip gloves give the ideal level of warmth for every camping season. You can even use them as a base layer glove in the winter months.

Rain Jacket

Our Pick

Outdoor Research Aspire II GORE-TEX Jacket - Women's

A big misconception is that waterproof or water-resistant jackets will keep you dry during a heavy storm. They may keep you dry for a while, but they will ultimately soak you, and no one enjoys damp clothing.

Gore-tex materials are a must if camping during a rainy season. This Outdoor Research Aspire jacket has been put through its paces. It has proved to stand the test of hard outdoor conditions and won’t let you down on your camping adventure.

Hiking Shoes

Our Pick

Salomon X Ultra 4 Low Hiking Shoes - Women's

Whether I’m camping in Colorado , or camping by San Diego Salomon hiking shoes are my go-to pair of sneakers. I’ve tried many brands on the market but these are the most comfortable and the best fit for my feet.

The Salomon X Ultra 4 Whether you’re scattered camping, car camping, or trekking to your campground, your shoes will not fail you down.

Camping Packing Tips 

The author posing for a photo during one of her hike at winter season

Always Plan For Unexpected Weather

No matter where you go, being prepared for every weather situation may make or break a vacation. Plan for unexpected weather by packing extra clothing options like tank tops and rain jackets, or have a plan-b.

Always check weather forecasts before going camping to prevent encountering inclement weather.

Nights Can Be Cool

Many places cool down at night, unless you’re camping in the tropics. Make sure your whole group packs adequate-rated sleeping bags to avoid waking up shivering in the middle of the night.

See If You Need A Camping Permit

Many American campgrounds require permits for camping. This is particularly true in California’s national parks . Don’t ruin your camping experience by not having the right permit and getting turned away from your dream campsite.

Check the Fire Regulations Before You Bring the Wood

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, then you know wildfires are a big issue these days in many destinations. If you’re camping in the wilderness, odds are you won’t be able to build a fire.

If you insist on having a campfire, reserve an official campground with pre-established fire rings and make sure you follow any laws.

Leave No Trace

This phrase is a good reminder to leave your campsite as clean as you found it. If you prefer camp cooking, pack garbage bags to dispose of any camp kitchen waste.

FAQs About Camping Gear

What are the basic camping necessities?

You don’t need a lot of camping gear to have the best outdoor adventure possible, just the basics. To have the ideal camping experience, all you actually need is a tent, tent pegs, a sleeping bag, an inflatable mattress, camp cooking necessities, and drinkable water.

What do I need for a 7 day camping trip?

For a 7-day camping trip, the most crucial items to bring are food and water. Besides your shelter and other sleeping equipment, you will also need to bring a camp stove, and the little things like personal hygiene, personal medications, lip balm, and extra stakes.

What should you not bring on a camping trip?

Bring no unnecessary items that will take up room on your camping excursion. This includes too many clothing items, electronics, and other bulky, non-essential items.

What is the most important and iconic piece of equipment you need while camping?

One of the most crucial items of camping equipment is the camping bag. It needs to be durable, waterproof and lightweight.

What is the number one rule of camping?

Put out your fire: Since it might threaten people around you, this is one of the most essential camping regulations to follow no matter where you go. Be sure to put out your fire before bed, before heading out for the day, or when you leave the site at the end of your stay.

What should you not bring on a camping trip?

7 Things You Honestly Should NOT Bring Camping

    1. Over use of electronics. Most people go camping to escape and unplug. …
    2. Perfumes and Strong Smells. Anything with a strong smell can be dangerous to bring camping. …
    3. Glass or Other Breakable Items. …
    4. Valuables. …
    5. Too Many Clothes. …
    6. Fashion Accessories. …
    7. Wrong Types of Food.

What is the most useful thing for camping?

These are necessary things for your camping necessities list:

    1. Tent (and footprint, stakes)
    2. Sleeping bags.
    3. Sleeping pads.
    4. Camping pillow.
    5. Headlamps or flashlights (and extra batteries)
    6. Camp chairs.
    7. Camp table (if no picnic table)
    8. Lantern (and mantles and fuel/batteries if needed)


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