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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. I feel like ten essentials should be on that list. Twice.

  2. Drew the Dude // April 23, 2015 at 7:09 pm // Reply

    Thanks! This will be very helpful.

  3. greenninja 44 // April 17, 2015 at 12:30 pm // Reply

    There is a method using a watch to find a north-south line.

  4. trekker tk // April 9, 2015 at 8:39 am // Reply

    really nice list- have used these items on many outings


    • Why not? Don’t want to catch your friends face when you pull the best prank ever?

      • Cameras are good to help practice the Leave No Trace Principles of which Leave What You Find and Respect Wildlife are part. Boy Scouts should be following these principles.

  6. well said

  7. Member of troop 341 // March 18, 2015 at 6:20 pm // Reply

    Great, all you need is some batteries for the light.

  8. hiboyslife // March 6, 2015 at 4:08 pm // Reply

    you might want to carry some rope or paracord also

  9. Troop 934 is awesome // February 7, 2015 at 2:57 pm // Reply

    Goog list but usually don’t have to carry all of these things

  10. good list but seems a bit heavy weight for a daypack.
    maybe seperate lists for different durations of hikes.
    (day hike, overniter, weekender, etc)

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