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Packing Checklists for Camping Trips



They’re called “essentials” for a reason. Every packing list starts with these 10 items.

1. A pocketknife or multitool can be handy in a wide variety of situations. It’s useful for tasks as large as building an emergency shelter or lighting a campfire with poor fuel, or as small as repairing a damaged backpack. Keep you knife sharp and clean, and don’t forget to first earn your Whittling Chip (for older Cub Scouts) or Totin’ Chip (for Boy Scouts).

2. A first-aid kit can be a lifesaver. Literally. A few items will allow you to treat scratches, blisters and other minor injuries. They should also allow you to provide initial care while waiting for help for more serious injuries.

3. Bring extra clothing to match the weather. Multiple layers are better than a single massive jacket, because layered clothing is adaptable to a wide range of temperatures.

4. Rain gear is very important. Rain can come in a hurry, and getting your clothes drenched is more than just uncomfortable, it can lead to hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition.

5. A flashlight, headlamp or a rugged penlight is important for finding your way in the dark. Bring extra batteries, too.

6. Trail food is good for maintaining your energy. Bring more than you think you’ll need in case you get stuck (or lost) in the woods.

7. Water can prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Use a lightweight, unbreakable container with a secure lid.

8. Matches and/or a fire starter may be used to light fires for heat, or for signaling for help. Store matches or lighters in resealable plastic bags.

9. Sun protection might include sunblock, sunglasses, lip balm and a wide-brimmed hat.

10. A map and compass are probably the most important tools you can carry in case you get lost.


Here are some hygiene items you may want to pack, depending on the outing:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Soap
  • Comb
  • Waterless hand cleaner
  • Small towel
  • Washcloth
  • Toilet paper
  • Trowel for digging cathole latrines


Here are some cooking and eating items you may want to pack, depending on the outing:

  • Large plastic cereal bowl or kitchen storage bowl
  • Spoon
  • Cup or insulated mug
  • Water treatment system
  • Backpacking stove with fuel
  • Large pot and lid (2.5- or 3-quart size)
  • Small pot and lid (1.5- or 2-quart size)
  • Lightweight frying pan (10 to 12 inches in diameter)
  • For melting snow, add 1 large pot and lid (6 to 10 quarts)
  • Hot-pot tongs


Here are some extras you may want to pack, depending on the outing:

  • Watch
  • Camera
  • Notebook
  • Pen or pencil
  • Sunglasses
  • Small musical instrument
  • Swimsuit
  • Gloves
  • Whistle
  • Nylon cord
  • Insect repellent
  • Repair kit
  • Hiking stick or trekking poles
  • Binoculars
  • Fishing gear
  • Animal identification books, plant keys, geological studies, star charts or other guides

35 Comments on Packing Checklists for Camping Trips

  1. needs water cleaning tablets.

  2. MY REAL NAME IS // June 16, 2016 at 4:20 pm // Reply

    Good job

  3. We really don’t need a pot for melting snow on the WARM weather checklist… 🙂

  4. Check out the Camping Checklist app on the Amazon app store.

    • Scouter Dad // April 28, 2016 at 10:24 pm // Reply

      Depending on the area in which you are trekking as you climb to higher elevations one may come across snow. However I do agree that this item may not be needed since there are other items that can be used instead.

  5. I’m going on the Klondike this weekend what do you guys recommend

  6. im a boyscout and i love this webpage

  7. What about the Boy Scout Handbook? That is definitely an essential.

  8. Like Bruh from T140 // October 22, 2015 at 8:43 pm // Reply

    Ok so I’m helping with a cub camp I’m pretty sure this will get me through the camp. We leave Saturday and come back Sunday morning.

  9. firstclassscout......... // October 19, 2015 at 9:58 pm // Reply

    11. duck tape

  10. A camp chair would also be good. Everything else is great

  11. COOL

  12. Good article. Toothpaste n floss not necessary but, the whistle is a must.

    • floss can be used for things other than getting food out of your teeth. It’s good string, even if waxy. Also, I wouldn’t want food stuck in my teeth for a whole weekend!

  13. Just get your Scouts to read their Boy Scout Handbook to “Be Prepared”.
    Excellent checklist’s are in it!!!

  14. I’ve used this list before and I did not need anything else

  15. trekkerboss // July 30, 2015 at 6:36 am // Reply

    good list-dont forget to do a shakedown

  16. It helps to never unpack your backpack so you don’t have to pack every time you go camping.

  17. I have boys life and I’m a boy scout I didn’t know wat to bring till now it tells me all the stuff I need this site is grate

  18. 〰zon͜͡ε 5™ // June 25, 2015 at 10:16 am // Reply

    Thanks, but Some things you really don’t need expecially for a two day campout…

    • Old Time Hiker // July 29, 2015 at 8:25 am // Reply

      I can’t think of “Some things” from the ten essentials that you would not need for a “two day” campout. Remember the motto “Be Prepared”!

  19. beachboy12 // June 19, 2015 at 12:42 pm // Reply

    thank you, that was very helpful.

  20. da bomb diggidy // June 18, 2015 at 4:54 pm // Reply

    you do not need extra clothes, almost no one changes in my troop on a normal two night camping trip.And who needs musical instruments or binoculars or any of some of that useless stuff. UL for the win

  21. If you can’t remember what to bring then write a list and check things off.

  22. Obviously whoever put this list together has not had a lot of experience backpacking,two major areas are overlooked,weight and bulk.

  23. I am heartened to see that a pocket knife/multitool is listed FIRST as Essential Gear. With a pocket knife, almost all other “essentials” can be found, made or repurposed as needed. I don’t feel dressed without a good pocket knife.

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