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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

16 Comments on Packing Checklists for Camping Trips

  1. firstclassscout......... // October 19, 2015 at 9:58 pm // Reply

    11. duck tape

  2. A camp chair would also be good. Everything else is great

  3. COOL

  4. Good article. Toothpaste n floss not necessary but, the whistle is a must.

    • floss can be used for things other than getting food out of your teeth. It’s good string, even if waxy. Also, I wouldn’t want food stuck in my teeth for a whole weekend!

  5. Just get your Scouts to read their Boy Scout Handbook to “Be Prepared”.
    Excellent checklist’s are in it!!!

  6. I’ve used this list before and I did not need anything else

  7. trekkerboss // July 30, 2015 at 6:36 am // Reply

    good list-dont forget to do a shakedown

  8. It helps to never unpack your backpack so you don’t have to pack every time you go camping.

  9. I have boys life and I’m a boy scout I didn’t know wat to bring till now it tells me all the stuff I need this site is grate

  10. 〰zon͜͡ε 5™ // June 25, 2015 at 10:16 am // Reply

    Thanks, but Some things you really don’t need expecially for a two day campout…

    • Old Time Hiker // July 29, 2015 at 8:25 am // Reply

      I can’t think of “Some things” from the ten essentials that you would not need for a “two day” campout. Remember the motto “Be Prepared”!

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