9 Essential Camping Items to Pack

Camping trips are super exciting. The thrill, nature, the bonding with friends out in the wild, and all the survival skills you learn are all great. But packing for a said trip is one of the most overwhelming and least favorite tasks for campers.

Since this is a matter of your survival out in the woods, you can’t just toss in a few items in your backpack and expect to be ready for all aspects of your trip.

You need to keep in mind different scenarios that could happen such as extreme weather, exploring the wilderness, sleeping, hiking, storing food, cooking, and overall safety.

Your gear should be packed in a lightweight and environmentally responsible way that won’t get damaged easily. In case you need help deciding what items are must-have for your camping trip, keep reading.

1.  Lightweight Backpack

The most essential item, to begin with, is the backpack where you store your items. The size of the backpack you need depends on the length of your trip, a bigger backpack for longer trips and a smaller backpack for shorter trips. For day-long tours, you can take a smaller backpack to hold just your snacks, medical kit, map, and water bottle.

Make sure your backpack is lightweight and water-resistant in case you run into some rough weather while camping. Backpacks are available in a wide range of sizes and materials, so choose one based on your specific needs.

2.  The Tent or Tarp

Unless you plan on sleeping under the stars, you will definitely need a tent for overnight camping trips. The first thing to keep in mind when choosing your tent is to check that it’s sturdy enough and well-made.

The material needs to be durable enough to last through weather hazards.

Tents are available for one or more people, so you can choose a tent based on how many people are going on your trip. You can also choose a tarp in case you want a more open feel.

In choosing a tarp, you will also need a mallet, bungee cords, and stakes to rig the tarp off the ground.

3.  Sleeping Bag and Pillow

Sleeping bags come in many shapes and sizes, too, so you can choose depending on your requirement. If you want one for two people, you can choose a giant, queen-sized sleeping bag.

If your kid is sleeping with you, then you should choose a mummy sleeping bag, or just go with the standard rectangular single sleeping bag for each person.

Remember to pack a collapsible pillow, one that is comfortable according to your needs to prevent a sore neck in the future. Also, research ahead to ensure that your sleeping bag is appropriate for the weather conditions you are going to be in.

If the weather conditions are unpredictable where you are going, avoid thin sleeping bags.

4.  Proper Clothes

It’s essential to pack the right type of clothes for your trip. If you are going away for the weekend, pack comfortable shirts, pants, and other outerwear.

Be sure to choose clothes that are appropriate for the weather. If you know it’s going to be warm, packing heavy clothes makes no sense, and vice versa if it is going to be cold, packing shorts will not make you a happy camper.

It’s also important for you to pack an extra set of clothes in case the others get scorched, wet, or torn.

5.  Boots and Socks

Boots need to be packed according to the activities or the terrain you will be visiting. If camping on level ground, you can pack tennis shoes. But if you are camping on uneven terrain or plan on hiking, then you should pack hiking boots or shoes.

Hiking shoes have better traction and are more durable than tennis shoes.

Your socks need to be smooth-fitting inside your hiking shoes. Choose comfortable socks so that they don’t appear too thick and make your boots too tight.

Same goes for underwear—don’t pack tight or itchy underwear. Take comfortable ones instead.

6.  Headlamps and Flashlights

Flashlights and headlamps are essential for camping at night. You have to ensure the flashlight you choose is durable and that the batteries are new so that you don’t run out of juice during an emergency.

Powerful headlamps are also a good option over lanterns. They provide the ability to be hands-free during a tight situation.

7.  Sunscreen and Lip Balm

Sunscreen and lip balm are also essential items. You definitely don’t want to deal with the pain of burnt skin or dry, chapped lips. So even though it might not be that hot outdoors, pack and use sunscreen and lip balm.

The same can be said for the case of mosquito repellant. Mosquitos might be a big pain to deal with in the outdoors, so be sure to get some good mosquito repellent cream or spray to ward off the annoying insects.

8.  Food

Food is an essential item that you must pack for any camping trip. Pack food that will be appropriate for camping outdoors. Be sure to include dried food such as protein bars, mixed nuts, dried fruit, and granola to keep your energy up.

Meat is a good source of much-needed protein, so keep burger patties, hot dogs, raw steaks, and chicken breasts in a cooler to cook later on in the day. Vegetable lovers can include canned veggies, raw veggies, or canned beans. Be sure to pack environmentally friendly and biodegradable plates to eat the food you prepare without harming your environment.

9.  First Aid Kit

This is a very essential item to pack for any camping trip. In the outdoors, you never know what accident might happen. If you are camping closer to a town, then you can pack a smaller kit, but if your camping ground is farther into the woods, be sure to pack a heftier kit.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so make sure you pack a first aid kit.


Camping is a fun activity as long as you are prepared for it. Follow the simple steps above to cover all the essentials while packing for your camping trip, and you’ll have a relaxed and memorable time out in the woods.


Author Bio:

Angie Grey, an expert author from Faveable.com brings you all you need to know about fashion and grooming. She loves the outdoors and travels the world like a nomad.