The Ultimate Camping Gear List

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The Ultimate Camping Gear List

After a long work week, there’s nothing like venturing out and spending a few nights in the backcountry or a national park. Whether you’re going at it solo or with family, venturing outdoors allows you and your loved ones to get away from all the noise and foster an appreciation for the natural world. 


To keep you properly equipped and ready to go, it’s crucial to understand the essential items you need to have a good and safe trip. So let’s dive into the ultimate camping gear list and some extra tools that will help ease the transition from our tech-centric society to the outdoors.

camping gear

What Are the 10 Essentials for Camping?

What makes or breaks your camping experience comes down to what you pack. So what are the camping must-haves for your trip? There are 10 essential items. 

1. Sleeping Bag

As temperatures can dip very low at night, it’s important to keep your body warm by bringing a good sleeping bag. Not to mention, most insects are active at night, so sleeping bags can provide protection and give you a good night’s sleep. If you’re going camping with your family, there are also children’s sleeping bags available that will help keep your kids comfortable and tucked away soundly for the night.

2. Tent

Even if you prefer slumbering under the stars, out in the open, what will you do if there’s an unexpected storm? Tents provide you with protection, and they are great for storing gear while you’re away exploring a trail. There are countless single and family-sized tents you can choose from. 

3. Water Filter

One of the necessities in life, water is a must on your camping trip. And it isn’t enough just having water; you need to have access to clean water. Sipping straight from the creek or lake can easily take you out of the backcountry and into the ER. 


Though some campsites may have running water available, it’s never a good idea to rely solely on that in case of emergencies. Therefore, be sure to take iodine tablets and/or a water filter on your adventures. 

4. Fire Starter/Camp Stove

What is camping without a campfire? You can start a fire by using matches, flint and steel, a cigarette lighter, or a magnesium fire starter. It’s also a good idea to bring some kindling such as a newspaper or dry bark since these are often challenging to find in the wilderness. 


Some campsites, unfortunately, do not allow fires. In that case, you can bring a camp stove to cook your meals and help you stay warm. 

5. First Aid Kit

As accidents can happen outdoors, it’s important to have a solid first aid kit. Be sure you have the following essential items in your kit: 


  • Aspirin or ibuprofen 
  • Acetaminophen
  • Bandages and gauze
  • Antibiotic ointment 
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Bug spray
  • Anti-itch ointment
  • Aloe vera
  • Antidiarrheal medication

6. Pocket Knife

A pocket knife serves many purposes during your camping trip. You can use it to cut your food, sever tangled vines, tighten a screw, and many other things. Having at least one knife in your group will be extremely helpful for both day-to-day needs and emergencies. 

7. Flashlight, Lantern, or Headlamp

Every camper needs a source of light during their trip to help them see at night. Be sure to pack enough flashlights, lanterns, or headlamps for your party, so that everyone is well-equipped and safe. Headlamps are especially useful for their hands-free functionality. 

8. Toilet Paper

Though hardcore survivalists might think toilet paper is unnecessary, using bark and leaves can be uncomfortable and unsanitary sources to use on your sensitive bits. Campground bathrooms also tend to run out of supplies. So use biodegradable toilet paper and waste bags to help minimize your impact on the environment. 

9. Navigational Tools

No matter how strong your sense of direction is or how many times you’ve visited the campsite, you should never go camping without a map or some sort of navigational tool. Unexpected circumstances can come up that may leave you stranded or lost. Here are some good navigational items to pack: 

10. Sun Protection

Since you’re outside for most of the time camping, protecting your skin is crucial. So be sure to pack:

  • At least SPF 30 sunscreen for your body and SPF 70 sunscreen for your face. 
  • A hat that covers your neck, ears, and nose. 
  • Long-sleeve clothes that are lightweight (if the weather is warm) and light in color. 

Camping Supplies List for Families

Camping with your family can be quite challenging. Especially if you have young children who have never been camping, it can be helpful to throw in some extra items to help ease their transition from your hyper-connected home to the wilderness.

1. Air Mattress

It’s important that your family is comfortable and gets enough rest so they can enjoy the camping trip. Since sleeping on the ground can get pretty uncomfortable, inflatable air mattresses will help everyone get a good night’s sleep and take on the next day.

2. Walkie Talkies

Walkie talkies will be a great way to stay connected with your family members whenever you guys are separated on the campgrounds. They’re also a lot of fun! These are enjoyable toys your kids can easily get into and run around with.

3. Cooler

It’s important to have plenty of juice and snacks like toddler yogurts on hand for your kids. So bringing a cooler bag or box is a good idea to keep all of your items fresh and ready at all times. 

4. Portable Power Generator

Though camping is a time to get away from electronic distractions, sometimes it’s essential to keep your smartphones charged to operate your navigational devices and stay in touch with your family. Not to mention, your kids will need some tunes or shows to keep them distracted while you’re making breakfast or getting their backpacks ready for a hike. Therefore, bringing a portable power station will be a handy tool to keep all parties happy and entertained during your trip. 


Incorporating these camping supplies lists for your next adventure will create a lot of fun and lasting memories for you and your loved ones. So what are you waiting for? Get packing and check these items off your list!

Learn More

Need some storage solutions to help you organize your camping gear at home? Garage Smart offers practical and easy-to-install technology that makes unpacking and organizing much easier when you get back from your trip. So be sure to learn more by checking out our Universal XL Lifter. With the ability to lift up to 100 pounds of large, heavy items such as your paddle sports gear, tents, and more, this lifter will give you peace of mind by keeping your space neat and tidy.

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  • Erica Burton