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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

21 Comments on Packing Checklists for Camping Trips

  1. YA BOY BILL NYE // November 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm // Reply


  2. campchamp37 // June 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm // Reply

    I usally pack that stuff

  3. L U V I T ! πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ πŸ˜›

    • Also a 3DS User! // August 29, 2012 at 5:31 pm // Reply


  4. Patrol leader of the Monkey Patroll, troop 413 // April 4, 2012 at 10:35 pm // Reply

    Our patrol plans every camp out months ahead, and we always include every item from this very list. Thanks Boys Life!

  5. Camp Time 621 // October 5, 2011 at 9:28 pm // Reply

    Don’t pack it all. When you use this, think about the campout. If your going to a state park, you won’t need a latterine. Also, check the weather, you may not need a sweater or rain gear.

    • campcommonsense // November 22, 2011 at 6:12 pm // Reply

      @camptime But also remember that the weather in the mountians or a the beach, or pretty much anywhere can change in an instant. Scouting is about being prepared, so never leave your rain gear at home!:)

    • Tr00p 363 Member // September 10, 2012 at 8:56 pm // Reply

      you should always pack your rain gear because you never know for sure.

      • Flash_EXE // October 26, 2012 at 1:06 pm //

        Look, if your going somewhere like: Bass Lake, and the forecast says: Clear sky today! the day your going, then I don’t really think that you have to bring Rain Gear. You could, but if your backpacking, then thats just more weight.

      • Bushcrafter // April 22, 2014 at 12:57 pm //

        I have always advocated carrying one or two simple plastic garbage bags. They can function as emergency rain gear, emergency shelter, water containers, or…trash bags if the area is badly littered.

    • cmaxwell9 // June 5, 2014 at 6:15 pm // Reply

      u forget it your in trouble if it

  6. to much stuff but thanks anyway

  7. A-W-E-S-O-M-E!! Thanks a TON BL

  8. kick ninja // June 2, 2011 at 8:43 am // Reply

    best check list πŸ˜€

  9. i normaly carry all this stuff and makes pack weigh a ton πŸ™

    • Yes it does, but if you make it small and you exercise often, it will make it a lot easier. Plus, I have found it easier that if you camp and hike with others you must split the gear out between all of you.

    • when you exercise try it with your pack on too, that may help.

  10. thats rely good

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