What to Pack for a Camping Trip: The Beginner’s Guide

Nothing screams SUMMER like a camping trip! But, if you’re a beginner at camping it can be overwhelming to plan this outdoor adventure. And knowing what to pack for a camping trip when you’re inexperienced can leave you feeling lost and confused. Becoming a pro-packer for any trip takes time and experience, especially when it comes to roughing it in the wilderness. 

That’s where we come in. We are here to make your preparation for your next camping trip a bit easier, whether it’s your first or your 10th! We’ve got a list of all the must-pack items along with some helpful tips and tricks! Whether you plan to camp as a couple, with the kiddos, or solo this list of items will make the preparations much easier.

*This post was written with guidance from our amazing Guide Architect and camping guru Raechel Schwarze.

Shelter

When shopping for a tent you want to go for something that is lightweight and easy to set up, especially if you’re a beginner camper! This tent checks the boxes and it’s great for 2 people. One thing to keep in mind when tent shopping is that they can set up easily and knowing that a 2 person tent generally means about 1.5 people!

Food Source

This jetboil comes highly recommended!  There are a lot of options out there for making meals but the great thing about a jetboil is that it cooks things so quickly. Even just using it to boil water for morning coffee while you stoke the fire to eat breakfast is a great option.  (It also has a ton of different pans etc that it can fit so you can cook right in it – including a french press! ) This also works great if you don’t have a clean water source – you can boil lake water to make it safe to drink. 

Cooking Equipment

You can definitely pack things from home but this handy kit has everything! Sometimes it’s nice to have a set of cooking utensils for home and for the road.

Sleeping Bag

There are SO many wonderful sleeping bags out there, it can be hard to decide on one.  If you aren’t worried about weight or size when backpacking, you can get something super cozy. Here’s a tip when buying a sleeping bag: the temperature rating is only how cold it can get for survival – if it’s a 20-degree bag it won’t be WARM at 20 degrees!

Headlamp or Lantern

A headlamp is the perfect reading light and leaves you hands-free. There’s no need to spend a lot on one! Pro-tip: you don’t need both a headlamp and a lantern.  If you just have a Nalgene or clear gallon jug of water you can flip your headlamp so it’s facing into the container and the water will illuminate like a lantern.

Sleeping Pad

This is a GAME CHANGER.  It adds SO much more warmth and comfort for sleeping. You can go inflatable, but the foam ones are great for easy setup and giving you somewhere to lay at your campsite with a great book!

Day Pack

Don’t forget to pack something small that you can go on adventures with! A backpack or fanny pack are both great options.

Book/cards/cribbage

Sometimes it’s nice to just relax and soak in the sun at camp, especially after a long hike! This cribbage board is the perfect thing to bring because it folds up small for easy packing!

Camp Shoes

It’s so nice to have a pair of cozy comfy shoes that you can slip on when you need to relax after a day of adventure or sneak out at midnight to use the restroom or stargaze. Any slip-on shoes will do, but we adore these Teva ones!

Tarp and Rope

Both are inexpensive and handy to have when camping. You’ll be surprised how often you use it in case of rain, to sit on, prepare dinner if there is nowhere clean. Super helpful!

Pocket knife

There are TONS of different options out there for pocket knives. Just make sure you have something you’re comfortable with opening and closing before you go.

Camp Soap

It’s easy to forget some of the everyday essentials, like soap. This stuff is the BEST! It’s biodegradable and can be used for washing everything from dishes to your hair!

First Aid Kit

It’s Murphy’s law that if you bring it you’ll never need to use it. 😉

Basics

Don’t forget all the everyday, basic things! We recommend bringing things like TP, matches, garbage bags, paper towels, something to eat out of and with, bug spray, sunscreen, etc.

Camping is a great way to get out in nature and experience a place in a different way. You really become one with the nature surrounding you and it allows you to disconnect from day-to-day life. If you’re planning a camping trip this summer, this packing list will surely help to make the planning process easier.

Wild Bum

Wild Bum

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