Garage Smart Blog

The Ultimate Camping Gear List

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.
  • Erica Burton
Smart Camping Storage Ideas and Hacks

Smart Camping Storage Ideas and Hacks

There’s nothing like getting outdoors after a long week of work. Your tent, sleeping bag, and gear are all set up in your camping spot. Life is good. But in order to have more of these pristine moments and trips, you need to take the necessary steps to preserve your camping gear. These helpful camping gear storage tips and tricks when you get back from your adventures can keep you organized and ready to explore the great outdoors anytime.

Storing Your Camping Gear & Keeping It Clean

Cleaning your camping gear is essential in extending its life. As gear can get expensive, it’s important to keep it in top shape when you get back from your camping trip. You don’t want to find dust or mold the next time you open up your tent or sleeping bag during your next excursion. Therefore, take time to understand these cleaning and camping organization tips:

Sleeping Bags

There’s probably plenty of sweat and odors in your sleeping bag, so you want to wash and air it out before placing it in storage. You can throw it in the washer using a non-detergent soap and then dry on a low setting. Be sure to also check the manufacturer's label on the bag to see if there are any specific instructions.

Hang your sleeping bag instead of rolling it up. Though rolling it up might seem like an efficient way to save space, stuffing your sleeping bag into its sack messes with the insulation. So be sure to hang this up in your closet or garage.


Brush off any sand or dirt from your tent. Never machine-wash or dry your tent, as it can tear the fabric. Instead, use a non-abrasive sponge, water, and non-detergent soap to scrub the soiled areas. One of the biggest issues when it comes to tent storage is mildew, so be sure your tent is 100 percent dry before putting it away in storage.

After you’re done cleaning your tent, roll it up—don’t fold it. Folding your tent repeatedly can tear or ruin the fabric. Therefore, roll your tent and put it in a cotton storage sack. 


Just because you rinsed your pots, plates, and forks at the campground doesn’t mean you’re done cleaning your utensils. Poorly cleaned utensils can become a breeding ground for bacteria, so give them a good cleaning with warm water and dish detergent when you return home. 

If these utensils are part of your everyday kitchen utensils, store them in your kitchen drawers. Otherwise, you can store them in plastic storage bins in a cool and dry place such as your garage. 


Let your boots air out and dry after camping/hiking. Then use a stiff shoe brush to remove dirt and a damp cloth to remove any stains. If your boots stink, sprinkle some baking soda inside to alleviate the stench. 

After they have completely dried, stuff your boots with a few wads of newspaper to retain their shape. Place them in a dry spot, away from the sun, such as your closet or garage. Excessive exposure to sunlight can fade leather boots.


Launder your camping/hiking clothes in your washer using a gentle detergent and tumble dry. Don’t use liquid fabric softeners on moisture-wicking fabrics. Softeners can remove the wicking features of the fabric. 

After you’re done washing your clothes, hang them up in your closet, or fold them neatly in a storage bin or packing cubes. That way, they’ll already be packed and ready to go for your next trip!

Organizing Camping Gear in Your Garage

The garage is a convenient and open space for storage. Especially when organizing camping gear, utilizing garage space can help you neatly stow away your items in a cool, dry spot and easily access them when camping season comes around. Whether you have a small- or large-sized garage, there are useful ways to make the most of your space.

Small-Sized Garage

If you have a very small garage or you don’t have much space, it’s important to use the right tools to keep your items packable. Consider incorporating the following: 

  • Overhead garage storage tools - Since you’re limited on space, setting up overhead garage tools to store your items will be an efficient way to organize all of your gear and save space.
  • Backpacks - If you’re stowing away your camping backpacks, why not use them as storage while you’re at it? You can add gear such as your hiking clothes, flashlight, and  first aid kit. The best thing about this is that you’ll be prepped and ready to go on your next camping trip. 
  • Pegboards/hooks - Pegboards are a great way to maximize space in your small garage. They easily allow you to attach hooks and baskets, so you can hang up your sleeping bag, boots, and backpacks. If you don’t have any wall space for a pegboard, you can screw in hooks or baskets. 
  • Packing cubes - These cubes help you pack down all of your clothes. They’ll already be organized and ready to go while you’re prepping for your next trip.

Mid-Sized Garage

If you have a medium-sized garage, consider incorporating the following storage items: 

  • Shelf rack/cabinets - Shelf racks or cabinets allow you to consolidate your gear in one location. Keep the gear/items you use the most on the lower shelves/cabinets, so they are easier to reach.
  • Bins - You’ll probably have room to store some plastic bins in your mid-sized space. Practical and simple, storage bins allow you to easily store all of your camping gear. Be sure to label your bins and organize the bins by function. That way, you won’t have to search through each bin to find what you need. 
  • Large-Sized Garage

    If you’re lucky enough that you have a large garage space, you can incorporate all of the above along with overhead garage products. Technology such as Garage Smart’s Universal XL Lifter can also help you efficiently and safely store large gear like your mountain bikes and kayaks. Along with storing all of your basic camping gear on your shelves and in storage bins, overhead garage products will help keep your large gear off the floor. 

    Incorporating these tent camping organization ideas will help you stay organized, efficient, and on top of your camping game. So when you’re planning your upcoming camping trip, be sure to be mindful of the ways in which you clean and store your gear.

    Learn More

    Committed to providing functional and easy-to-use technology to help you craft a clean and organized garage, Garage Smart understands how important it is to build the garage space you want. Our smart storage and garage tools will help you simplify everyday tasks. Learn more by checking out our overhead storage solutions that are designed to be efficient, practical, and easy to install.
    • Erica Burton
    One-day DIY Garage Makeover

    One-day DIY Garage Makeover

    The garage is the hardest working space in your home that usually gets little to no love. Sprucing up your space and making your garage look and feel less neglected could be as simple as a one-day makeover.

    Garage Door Makeover

    Most standard garage doors are unattractive and not customizable. And stylish, custom garage doors can cost thousands of dollars. Make some small improvements to your existing garage door to enhance your curb appeal.

    Paint and glaze

    You can take your plain garage door to looking as good as new with a bucket of paint and some glaze to top it off. Make sure to power wash your garage door and let it dry before applying any paint. Follow the existing panes or panels of your garage door and apply darker coats in the grooves for a "carriage door" effect.

    Painting faux hardware

    If you're up for a total transformation, you can paint faux hardware and windows onto your existing garage door to achieve a more modern, upscale look. Use the top row of your sectioned garage door to paint window panes and add real wood trim to polish the look. Add metal door handles and straps to fake a carriage door on any standard garage door.

    Color-block your door

    There are tons of ways to add a little color to your garage door. Perhaps the simplest technique is color-blocking. Section off the middle of your garage door with tape and apply colored paint inside the lines. You'll end up with a garage door that looks completely new by creating dimension between the outer and inner portions of the door.

    Tool organization

    Large yard tools like rakes, brooms, and garden hoes can create clutter and a safety hazard against the walls of your garage. And large, bulky items like lawnmowers and snowblowers can be difficult to store. Finding inventive ways to creatively get these large tools off of the garage floor and out of the way will help your space feel bigger and more versatile.

    Garage Smart Tool Rack

    Lift your tools

    The Platform Lifter by Garage Smart is a versatile garage lift system for all kinds of tools. Roll your lawnmower or snowblower onto the platform before raising it up, or add the Tool Rack to the bottom of the platform for convenient and safe slots for your shovels, rakes, and other yard tools.

    Storing small tools

    Although you can use a garage lift system for small tools as well, you can also use open bins found at home goods stores to store loose, small tools if you're overcrowding your toolbox and want a compact place to store them. Stackable bins are a good idea for reducing clutter and maximizing storage space. If you don't have an open table or shelving in your garage, try adhering a piece of sheet metal to the wall. By simply placing some small magnets on the sheet metal, you will have a magnetic storage space for small metal tools.

    Upgrade your floor

    Upgrading your floor might be the finishing touch your garage needs once you've cleared the floor of clutter. A shiny epoxy floor coating won't just make your garage floor look finished and upscale, it will also help your floor resist chips and stains. Plus, it's easy to wipe clean.

    Coating your garage floor

    To coat and seal your garage floor, you'll need:

    • Epoxy-based crack repair product
    • Broom
    • Mop and all-purpose cleaner
    • Epoxy paint
    • Hardener
    • Paint tray and brush
    • Floor topcoat

    Start by filling any cracks and/or small holes in your floor with an epoxy-based crack repair product (you can find products like these at any hardware store, or on Amazon). You'll want to make sure your floor is completely smooth and clean before painting it, so sweep and mop, letting it air dry completely, before painting. Stir your can of epoxy paint before pouring in the smaller can of hardener. Once both liquids are completely mixed together, fill a paint tray. Begin evenly applying paint to the floor. You may want to work in large sections, letting them dry before moving on, so you have use of portions of the garage floor. The epoxy paint needs about 24 hours to dry before applying a second coat. Let your second coat dry for about 30 minutes and then blend the topcoat with the hardener for the final coating. Within 72 hours, you'll have a sparkling and smooth garage floor.


    Some of the biggest pain points in a garage are storage and utility. Garage Smart creates garage lift storage that help get your items off of your garage floor and are easily accessed via smartphone app. With Garage Smart's garage lift system, motorized storage is simpler than ever.

    Tips for Washing a Car in Your Garage in Winter

    Tips for Washing a Car in Your Garage in Winter

    In the dead of summer, washing your car in the driveway is a welcome way to clean up your ride and cool down in the blistering heat. Washing by hand is gentler and more thorough than most automatic car washes, and it can be fun, too.

    But what about when it’s freezing outside? You probably don’t want to be washing your car in the driveway—but is washing your car inside the garage a good idea?

    Is it Bad to Wash Your Car in the Winter?

    No—it’s not bad to wash your car in the winter. In fact, quite the opposite. Washing your car in the winter is good for your vehicle!

    If you live in a cold climate, you know how easily your car gets dirty in the winter months. Snowy, salted roads can leave your car with a crusty, white layer that’s unsightly and does harm to your paint job. And while washing your car in the winter may seem counterintuitive (it’s just going to get dirty again, right?), it’s actually an important way to protect your car from rust and other corrosion.

    Why Should You Wash Your Car in the Winter?

    Washing your car in the winter will get rid of the damaging build-up that easily layers onto the car in the cold season. Dirt, salt, and grime can eat away at the paint job or metal parts of your car and will compromise its integrity over time. If the rust gets bad enough, eventually pieces of the car could literally start falling off while you’re on the road. Yikes!

    Luckily, washing your car regularly will keep it in good shape for years to come. Aim to wash your car once every other week in the winter, and even more if you have an older car.

    How Do You Keep Your Car Clean in the Winter?

    You’re certainly not going to be putting on a bathing suit and washing your car in the driveway when the temperatures are frigid—well, most of you won’t. So how can you go about washing your car at home in the winter? Washing your car in the garage is the perfect solution. You’ll stay warm and still have a chance to thoroughly clean your vehicle.

    How to Wash Your Car in the Garage During the Winter

    You might be wondering how you’ll wash your car in the garage without flooding the place. Clearly, a high-pressure hose won’t suit this setting. Instead, you’ll rely on a simple bucket and rag to get the job done. Here’s how to wash your car in the garage during the winter:


    • Two empty buckets
    • Two large, soft sponges
    • Microfiber towels for washing
    • Absorbent towels for drying
    • Space heater for the garage
    • Floor mop or squeegee
    • Car washing soap
      • ¼ cup dish soap
      • ¼ cup baking soda
      • Water to fill one bucket


    1. Mix your soap solution. Add baking soda and dish soap to the bucket, then use a hose to fill the bucket with warm water.
    2. Set up your space heater. Your garage will certainly be warmer than the driveway, but it still might be cold enough that water will freeze on the car, making it much harder to clean. Prevent this from happening by setting up one or two space heaters near the car in the garage.
    3. Wash your car. Using the sponge, microfiber towels, and bucket of soap, gently wash the entire surface of your car.
    4. Clean soap off of the car. Once the car is completely cleaned, fill another bucket with water and use a clean sponge to get all of the soap off of the car.
    5. Dry the car. With all the soap off the car, it’s time to dry it. Wipe the car with the absorbent towels, moving in a circular motion all around the car.
    6. Mop up the water. If you don’t have a good drain system in your garage, be sure to mop up the water using a mop or squeegee.

    Learn More

    Following these steps will give your car a thorough cleaning, even in the depths of winter. If you’re looking for more ways to make it easy to wash your car in the garage, check out Garage Smart. Our garage overhead products are the best storage solution for your garage, allowing you to maximize the use of the space all year long.

    • Erica Burton