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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


  2. Troop 298 C-dude // October 30, 2018 at 9:05 pm // Reply

    This is awesome! I’ve checked about 50,000 other websites and this is best!

  3. Nice that they have that

  4. Hi

  5. what about tents and sleeping bags and food…

  6. Anonymous // May 16, 2018 at 9:10 pm // Reply

    what about tents and sleeping bags and food…

  7. Colorado Scout mom // March 10, 2018 at 12:45 pm // Reply

    This is absolutely terrific. Nicely done, thanks

  8. Helpful when packing and thinking about what I need before a campout. Thanks!

  9. Please if you use LED flashlights or headlamps, be respectful to others with them. They are much brighter than older ones and can ruin the night vision for others.

  10. hi matt, now i know how to keep a spider as a pet…thanks, christina

  11. Bear Den leader and we always go over the “Six Essentials” that go into a day pack. Even for a Cub Scout a whistle is a must have.

  12. Thank you.This helps not forget

  13. Been a scout for 3 maybe 4 years almost a life scout. Also love your magazines

  14. No tent, sleeping bag or sleeping pad

  15. Rough and ready Rangers use this list

  16. Freddymcjunior // June 12, 2017 at 9:41 pm // Reply

    I am a Boy Scout and this really helps me for packing for summer camp! So I don’t forget things.

  17. I like Football // June 9, 2017 at 10:04 pm // Reply

    Good list, but you are missing one crucial thing: A whistle. What if you get lost in the woods, and you yell? After a certain amount of time, Your energy will probably deplete. With a whistle, you only need your breath. Its loud, nd high-pitched. Great thing to bring for a camping trip (Like for the pack or scout camp)

    • great i am a boy scout never been to camp hale so i will use this list

      • A whistle is on the list, in “Extras.”

      • One thing that is vital is your scout book. For some it might sound obvious but it’s an essential. I usually carry some sort of entertainment such as a small instrument, deck of cards, or even a tennis ball.

      • Dave's Mobile Home Phone // July 20, 2018 at 4:02 pm //

        As someone else mentioned, a whistle is, in fact, included on the above list. Another point that has also been mentioned, but just to reinforce the idea- Your scout book is definitely a much needed item. And a deck of cards is always a handy thing to have with you for some late night games of bull around the fire.

  18. i always over or under pack

  19. Where is the dehydrated water?

  20. you dat boi // May 17, 2017 at 10:14 pm // Reply

    i’m using sign language, I need to pee!

  21. none of your busnes // May 17, 2017 at 1:58 pm // Reply

    i always over pack or under pack
    this should help

  22. ProudEagle312 // April 28, 2017 at 8:46 pm // Reply

    I think that they should actually make a whole other list for stuff that shouldn’t be brought

  23. thank you very much. I like it. I’ll share it.

  24. Great! it helps. thanks so much.

  25. micahman11 // March 17, 2017 at 5:41 pm // Reply

    this is a great web site for finding the stuff I need to pack! and I really like your magazines!!!! thank you

  26. It is a good advise thankyou.

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