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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

12 Comments on Packing Checklists for Camping Trips

  1. why, comatose, why??? // April 28, 2014 at 7:23 pm // Reply

    Awesome! Im going to go pack all this into a bag tonight!

  2. Also remember the three layers for cold weather wicking, warmth, and weather layers. Wicking is the t shirt and undies the warmth is like long johns and a fleece, and the weather layer is like a poncho or wind breaker or both. don’t wear cotton. cotton kills

  3. Duct tape is a great thing to have

    • old eagle // May 7, 2014 at 7:27 am // Reply

      Duct tape is great. Just remember it is a “smellable” in bear country, so don’t keep in your tent.

  4. this is helpfull sence im so forgetfull

    thanks for posting it

  5. A Scout @ Troop 853 // May 2, 2013 at 7:39 pm // Reply

    Real handy list! It’ll help me prepare for next camporee.

  6. gorrilla guy // April 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm // Reply

    this list definitly needs a rope on it
    I also noticed that tent wasn’t on it, but I suppose that It would be hard to forget it
    Also maybe sleeping bag.

    Other that that I thought it was great

  7. To those that mentioned rope, I think the aforementioned “nylon cord” refers to 550 Paracord which is excellent as a “rope.” It has a high tensile strength and a multitude of uses.

  8. needs rope and back up knife

  9. Awesome dude385 // November 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm // Reply

    I agree, but rope should be one of the basic essentials also.

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