Your Camping Checklist

There can be nothing worse than travelling for miles on a camping trip only to find that when you reach your destination you’ve forgotten a vital piece of kit. Planning is the key to any successful camping expedition and it’s important that you draw up a checklist of things that you’ll need (or want) to take with you.

Of course, there are many variables that will make one person’s checklist different from somebody else’s, and even your own checklist will have to be altered from time to time based upon a number of factors. This could include things like the length of time you’re going to be away, the climate, the terrain, the number of people in your party, whether you’re carrying everything on your back or in a car etc.

Therefore, there is no definitive checklist that will cover all eventualities. However, here is an example of a camping checklist which covers most of the basic essentials. It should enable you to get a feel for the kinds of things you need to bear in mind whenever you decide to go camping, and can be modified to suit your own individual needs.

Sleeping Quarters
  • Tent including pegs/stakes, guy ropes
  • Groundsheet
  • Flysheet
  • Mallet
  • Sleeping bags/blankets
  • Air bed/lilo
  • Roll mats/pads to lie on
  • Pillows

Cooking Equipment
  • Cooker, stove, barbecue kit
  • Bottled gas or other form of fire igniting material – wood or charcoal, for example
  • Matches/lighter
  • Cooling box
  • Pans, pots, plates, cutlery, cups, glasses
  • Cooking utensils, e.g. large spoon, fork, ladle, tongs
  • Tin opener, bottle opener, corkscrew
  • Sharp knife for food preparation
  • Food storage containers
  • Thermos flask
  • Bin bags
  • Kitchen foil, kitchen tissue, napkins
  • Washing up bowl and liquid
  • Dishcloths and tea towels
  • Food and drink supplies

Personal Hygiene
  • Soap and shampoo
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Sanitary towels
  • Wet wipes

Clothes
  • Warm clothes
  • Cool clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Boots/walking shoes
  • Flip flops or similar shoes for the shower block
  • Beachwear
  • Sun hat
  • Woollen hat
  • Gloves/mittens

First Aid
  • First aid kit
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun cream
  • Antihistamines
  • Antiseptic
  • Plasters/bandages
  • Paracetamol or some other kind of pain relief

Miscellaneous Items
  • Torch
  • Mobile phone
  • Camera, binoculars
  • Toys, books, games, cds/dvds and cd/dvd players, radio
  • Spare batteries
  • Backpack
  • Outdoor ‘furniture’ e.g. foldaway chairs/tables
  • Miscellaneous tools, e.g. screwdriver, scissors, tweezers
  • Pen and paper
  • Safety pins, sewing kit
  • Duct tape
  • Trowel
  • Spare rope, spare tarp
  • Map and compass

Following a checklist similar to the one above will ensure you keep dry and stay warm, help you build a fire for cooking and heat, and prepare you for any minor emergencies that might occur.

However, what you will take will ultimately depend on the type of camping trip you’re making, how you’re getting there and how long you’re going for. A wilderness expedition up in the mountains in winter is obviously not going to be the same as a family visit to an organised campsite with a shop, its own toilets and shower facilities.

Careful planning of your list and having someone to go through it with you and to check off that each item has been carefully stowed and packed will reduce the chances of you forgetting any vital piece of equipment. It should also ensure help to make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable.

Preparing For Your First Trip

Going on a family camping trip for the first time can be a thoroughly enjoyable experience for everyone – provided that you are properly prepared. For advice and guidance, read our feature entitled What to Know Before You Go Family Camping on this site.

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