One of the best ways to experience the outdoors with friends and family is through camping. Camping allows you to simplify your life down to the bare essentials, unplug from the grind of 21st century life, and connect with those who really matter to you. But if you’ve never been camping before or if you’ve only been a couple of times, you’ll realize real quick that it can be kind of stressful to ensure that you’ve got everything you need to thrive on your trip.
Want to know the best way to ensure you don’t forget anything at home on your next camping trip? Have a dedicated packing list! Eliminate the guess work when packing, the endless circling back to the house after you’ve left, and the wasted dollars on buying extra supplies by printing out our camping gear list for beginners!
Campsite Essentials▢ Tent / Ground Cloth or Footprint / Tent Stakes / Rubber Mallet
▢ Sleeping bag / sleeping pad / pillow
▢ Lighting (headlamp / flashlight / Solar Lamps)
▢ Foldable Chairs / Folding Table (if campsite doesn’t have picnic table)
▢ Swiss Army Knife / Multitool
▢ Battery Packs
▢ Foldable Shovel
▢ Duct Tape / Electrical Tape
Cooking / Eating Essentials▢ Cooler / ice
▢ Stove, fuel, lighter
▢ Cook pot / frying pan
▢ Spatula, knife, cutlery
▢ Cutting board
▢ Food storage containers, plastic bags, tinfoil
▢ Dish cloth/sponge, biodegradable soap, paper towel
▢ Water bottles/5-gallon water jug
▢ Plates, bowls, cups
▢ Trash bags
▢ Pressurized water jug (for doing dishes & quick showering)
Hygiene and Medical Items▢ Toilet paper
▢ Hand sanitizer
▢ Bath towel
▢ First aid kit
▢ Insect repellant
Pro Packing Tips
Before you throw everything into the back of your car and hit the road, it’s imperative to organize your gear. Getting into camp and having to fish everything out of your trunk or the bed of your pick-up is a nightmare, so be sure to follow these pro tips to get all of your stuff in order so setting up and taking down camp is a breeze.
Have a dedicated space for all of your gear.
Bags, bins, boxes. Any way you look at it, you need some sort of system to keeping your gear in order. Whether you decide to go with just using one of the mentioned storage options or mix and match them, you want to make sure that your stuff is organized in a way that makes sense to you or you’ll risk leaving it at home or at camp.
A really good idea here is to make sure that all of your like items are together. IE, make sure you have everything you need to set up camp in one storage area and everything you need to set up your camp kitchen in another. Stick to this storage system and you’ll never leave something behind again!
Label the outside of your organization bins with what is inside.
Take your organization a step further by labeling the outside of your storage solution with what is inside of it. A really good idea here would be to have something that you can edit by drawing on it with a dry erase marker so that you can remind yourself to refill items that you might be low on before your next trip. Nothing is worse than getting to camp and realizing that you’re out of toilet paper!
Consider purchasing clear bins.
A simple way to keep an eye on your stock is to get clear bins. That way, you can easily glance at your gear and see what’s inside. Combined with labeling the outside of the bin with an editable roster and you’ll be sure to have everything you need each time you go camping.
Stack things in the back of your vehicle in the order that you’ll need it when you get to camp.
Help yourself out when you get to your campsite by packing your car up as best as you can by making it easy to grab gear that you’ll need immediately when you get to camp. Putting your tent up and setting up your chairs is probably going to be more important when you get your spot than taking a shower will be, so try to leave your tent until the end when you’re loading up the car.
Don’t just put it down, put it away.
A sure-fire way to misplace your gear is to store it in an area that it typically doesn’t go. Even if it takes a bit more time to put an item away in its proper place, it’s 100% worth the effort. Think about it like this: when you lose your keys or your phone, it’s usually because you place it in a spot that you normally don’t put it. We are creatures of habit, so build the right habits and put your gear back where it belongs!
Pro Tips on Purchasing Gear
Here’s the deal with camping gear; there’s literally millions of choices you can make when it comes to just about everything on our list. The outdoor industry is a billion-dollar industry with thousands of brands on the market with products that all promise to be the best out there for you.
The key is to prioritize what you buy and spend your money on what’s going to make the biggest impact on your trip. For items that are not as important, but are “nice to have,” consider leaving those purchases for later so you can really invest your money on the gear that can literally make or break your trip.
Arguably the most important gear item you’ll buy for camping is your tent. Think about it, this tent is supposed to keep you safe, warm, and dry. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere, the last thing you want to have happen is for your tent to fail. Nothing ruins a camping trip faster than broken tent poles and a flooded floor.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you want to buy a tent that is a bit bigger in size than the number of people that will be sleeping in it, so you can maximize the amount of space you have to spread your stuff out inside. For example, if you’re camping with 4 other people and you’re planning on sharing the same tent, don’t buy a 4-person tent. A 6-person tent is a much better purchase, because everyone will be able to spread out a little bit and not be sleeping right on top of one another.
After your tent, the next most important purchase you’ll make when building out your camping gear is your sleeping system. This includes your sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and pillow. For sleeping bags, you’ll want to get a bag that is rated at least 10°F below the lowest temperature you’ll expect to use it in. For example, if the forecasted low for the weekend you plan on camping is going to be 40°F, then you should aim to buy a sleeping bag that is rated for at least 30°F.
The reason why is that the sleeping bag rating system is meant to show the survivability of that bag, not the comfortability. IE, a 30°F bag will keep you alive when temperatures get that low, but it’s doubtful you’ll sleep nice and cozy that night.
Your sleep pad is the next most important part of your sleep system because it’s what is going to keep your body from losing heat through the ground. Sleeping bags work because the fill material lofts up and retains the heat your body produces. But if you’re laying down on the fill material, it can’t loft up and therefore can’t keep you warm. Having something between your body and the ground will help reduce the heat you’ll lose at night from sleeping on the cold ground.
And finally, having a pillow is an absolute must when camping. Nothing really replaces a good pillow to lay your head on, so don’t forget to bring one!
Outside of your tent and sleep system, it’s completely up to you on how much money you want to spend on your camping gear. Keep in mind that you’ll get what you pay for, so if a deal seems too good to be true, it’s likely not going to stand up to years and years of use. But if you’re just getting into camping for the first time and you’re not sure whether you want to drop a chunk of change on a bomber cooler or an ultra-comfy camp chair, there’s nothing wrong with spending less money on those items. Upgrade as needed!
If you love the outdoors, you need a wallet that keeps up with your lifestyle. The Axwell Wallet is perfect for folks who love spending their weekends roughing it. Just like with our list, the Axwell Wallet ensures that you’ll never leave your essential items at home again because it holds up to 12 cards. In addition to that, the RFID blocking plates secures your information against would be thieves that prey on people on the road by skimming their credit card info without them even knowing! Plus, you’ll never lose it on your adventures when you add the Chipolo Tracker. Get a discount on your first order by clicking here.