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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

14 Comments on Packing Checklists for Camping Trips

  1. Pioneers did not have batteries. I think a scout should have a old-fashioned kerosene lamp. It may be out of style, but I always go for the old ways.


  2. uh eh ting tang walla walla bang bang // December 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm // Reply

    I was taught the 9v battery and steel wool method… BY A BOY SCOUT THAT WAS 1ST CLASS!!!!!!!

  3. Chief scout Bear Grylls // November 17, 2014 at 6:03 pm // Reply

    All of these are handy there may seem a lot of things but its better to carry them than die!

  4. Magnesium helps2

  5. Well written and explained. Nice!

  6. Wrong wrong wrong these r not the BSA ten

    • Boy Scout Handbook, p. 207
      Remember the “10 Essentials” is not Scout Law… Do your thing, be safe and have FUN!

  7. No clean clothes? They never get worn anyway…

  8. you also might want to have a survival kit on hand!

  9. Troop72 firstclassscout // November 6, 2014 at 8:26 am // Reply

    9 volt and steel woll always good

  10. Troop 6284 member // September 26, 2014 at 6:44 pm // Reply

    It’s also good to have extra batteries with a flashlight for essentials and surival.

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