What to Pack For Camping: The Essential Checklist

Camping is a wonderful opportunity to disconnect from the world and sleep wild in the great outdoors. Or at least a bit of luxury glamping with friends complete with creature comforts and a warming fire.

But the key to a successful camping trip is to be prepared, as packing everything on your essential checklist will make or break your outdoor adventure more than the weather. So if you are a first timer or an experienced camper, and wondering what to pack for camping, it’s worth checking you have all of these must haves and necessities.

Couple wild camping with fire

The camping packing list

It’s worth researching in advance what facilities are on the campsite, but also noting how far away the car park is. The more you pack, the more you need to carry. It can be broken down into key essentials of camping equipment:

Sleeping gear and Shelter

Canvas tents will stop the rain but not maintain heat. You will want a spacious tent in case of bad weather keeping you inside, and it’s worth setting up in advance to make sure it has all the supports and pegs.

For bedding, sleeping bags are snugger than a duvet, and while you will need a pump an air bed is comfier than a sleeping mat or camp bed.

  • Suitable sized tent plus mallet and pegs
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping mat, air bed & pump, or camp bed
  • Pillow
  • Windbreak

campfire under the stars


Even if the weather forecast looks dry and warm, it’s worth packing extra clothes for the cold and wet just in case, which can be left in the car to keep dry. And for the optimist, be prepared for unexpected sunshine and it’s worth taking a good hat for the outdoors.

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Spare warm clothes
  • Woolly clothes
  • Sunglasses and sunhat
  • Suitable footwear and walking boots

What not to pack

You don’t need to overpack and don’t take anything you don’t want to get dirty, lost or damaged. And no-one will care if you go makeup free for the weekend, it could be liberating.

what to pack for camping: the Essential Checklist include tables and chairs

Cooking equipment

Hopefully you’ve planned ahead to know what you are doing, but having full kitchen equipment enables easy cooking even if planning a BBQ. Just keep it simple and don’t try anything extravagant. Anything that can be fried, boiled or flame grilled should be on your list. So think sausages, soups, noodles, etc.

And plan for three meals a day which covers breakfast, lunch and dinner. You will have limited cool box space for your fridge items so pack wisely.  You can freeze a pint of milk which can double as an ice block.

You should also check if you can have an open fire pit at the campsite.

  • Picnic table
  • Camping chairs
  • Dry food for snacking
  • Stove and/or BBQ and fuel
  • Lighter or matches
  • Pots and pans
  • Cooking utensils
  • Cups, plates, bowls and cutlery
  • Chopping board
  • Can Opener
  • Cool box for fridge items
  • Bin bags for rubbish
  • Bottled water
  • Tea Towel and oven gloves
  • Washing up Bowl
  • Washing up liquid and sponge
  • Extra batteries

What not to pack

Don’t bring food that will go off easily or needs oven cooking like a pizza.

  • Too many perishable items
  • Glass jars

glamping in bell tents

Other Essentials

There are some other things you should think about packing, including your wash bag and entertainment.

Some campsites ban loud music, so should be checked in advance.

  • First aid kit
  • Torch
  • Toiletries including toothbrush, toothpaste, washing items
  • Toilet paper
  • Clothes pegs
  • Board games
  • Insect repellent
  • Solar panel USB charger
  • Music and entertainment

This is not a complete list of what to pack for camping, but covers the essentials to ensure you have what you need. Just don’t forget to respect the environment and take all your litter home. You should always be careful with the fire, ensuring it’s not near dry areas and it’s safe from causing harm. But most importantly have a great time.