Ultimate Camping Essentials List

Ultimate Camping Essentials List

Camping can be an incredible experience for everyone. 

Whether you’re a big family, a group of friends, or you’re by yourself, packing well is an essential part of being able to thoroughly enjoy the camping experience.

The best news is that packing doesn’t have to be overly complicated.

You know yourself, you know your family, and what your day-to-day looks like. Take that image, add a couple extra items and you’re good to go.

Of course there are a number of gadgets and handy tools that are on the market to help you get the most out of your camping experience. One such gadget is our Survivor Filter Straw that will fit in the cracks between your clothes AND it will clean up to 99.999% of all the bad things you’ll most likely find in your water as you hike or camp. But other gadgets are not necessarily listed as a requirement, you can make do with a couple of sticks and a warm jacket.

On a serious note, you do want to be prepared and know what you’re getting yourself into. So do some research before you head out, and you should be good to go!

Amazing camps in California


Campsite Essentials


You may enjoy sleeping under the stars on a clear night, but taking a tent with you is always a good idea. Weather changes are always likely to happen, and you definitely won’t want to curl up with some bears under the nearest tree.
A tent will also keep out unwanted insects, and dew which can leave you feeling cold and wet.
Whether you’re using your own tent, or a borrowed one, check that you’ve got all the necessary elements to set up your tent properly. And make sure all your zippers work too!

Sleeping bag

This is a necessity for both Winter and Summer camping trips. Temps can drop drastically overnight, and there is very little to brace you from the cold air while you’re outside.
Having this extra layer of protection may also help guard against any insects that creep into your tent through the night.
Additionally, you’ll probably also appreciate the extra cushioning below you as you sleep.

Mattress & Pillow

Technology has been kind to us, and we no longer need to spend hours breathing into a plastic tube in order to inflate our beds. There are so many excellent, easy-to-use options for camping mattresses nowadays like the REI Co-op Self Inflating mattress.

A good mattress is highly recommended while camping, especially if you’re planning to be out for more than a couple of days. Don’t forget your pillow too!

Headlamp or flashlight

A headlamp or flashlight is helpful for cooking in the dark, for making bathroom trips through the night, and for checking your tent for visitors.

Headlamp or flashlight - camping essentials


Camp Chairs & Table

Most campsites have tables available, so depending on where you’re staying you may or may not need to include a table in your packing.
Camping chairs are definitely required though. Camp chairs are great because they fold up neatly which means you can pack them away easily if you’re going hiking for the day, or if it’s raining and you don’t want to sit on wet chairs later.

Camping breakfast ideas


Food Essentials


Utensils for eating and cooking are both important to remember. This includes pots, pans, a kettle, as well as plates, bowls and mugs.

If you’re planning on hiking while camping then you need to eat well and insure that you get enough nutrition and energy. Utensils and dishes are a huge part of making this happen.

Food prep

You need to plan your meals before you head out. This means planning meals that use ingredients which don’t necessarily need to be refrigerated, and won’t go off within the first couple of days. A portable cooler/fridge always comes in handy while camping and is definitely worth the investment. Camp food can be some of the best food you’ll ever have, if you plan well!

Dish washing

When booking your campsite you should be able to find information on the state of the campsite. Some have shared basins where you can wash all your dishes after a meal, but many require you to bring your own dishwashing facilities. This means you need a bucket or large bowl, a sponge or cloth to wipe down the dishes, soap and dishcloths to dry your clean dishes


Survivor Straw Filter and 2 canteens - ideal water filter for camping

Clothing Essentials

Day-to-Day Wear

You’ll want to pack for all 4 seasons- you just never know what the weather will be. That being said, you also don’t want to pack your entire wardrobe, so you need to take the absolute essentials- think layers. 

Depending on the length of time you’ll be out and your personal level of hygiene, you probably won’t need more than 2-3 pairs of long pants and shorts, shirts and underwear for each day. 

Wearing moisture-wicking base layers, rather than cotton is another smart way to stay warm and safe while you’re outdoors!


A warm jacket for the evenings or cooler days is very important. Your evenings will most likely be spent around a campfire, but you need something that is safe to wear and meant for the outdoors. We recommend bringing a down jacket, or a synthetic insulated jacket.

Camping essentials list



Bring appropriate shoes- hiking shoes or boots. Wear shoes that are durable and made for the great outdoors! 

Sandals or flops are a smart idea too, especially if you’re using shared bathrooms at your campsite.


Bathroom Essentials

Toilet Paper

Toilet paper isn’t only for the bathroom, you can use it to wipe down a table or your hands, and you can use it as a napkin. 

You will be outdoors, so there most likely will be many natural alternatives to toilet paper, if you’re feeling adventurous. But these may have some scratchy side effects that you probably wouldn’t want to deal with for a week. 

Even if the campsite has bathroom facilities, many times they run low on toilet paper or just don’t have the staff available to replace the rolls every other hour.

So it’s just a good idea to always be prepared and take your own supply.


Remember to pack your bodywash and shampoo!

Body wash can also be used to clean your clothes in case of an emergency, or if you’re running low on clean clothes.

If bathroom facilities are unavailable or water is low, be sure to carry a can of hand sanitizer with you too.

PDF camping essentials list 

The list of items you might need to take with you on a trip can be quite long, and it’s easy to forget the simple things that we so often take for granted. But we’ve created a pdf list of camping essentials just for you!

Camping should be a fun experience for everyone, so be prepared, but also take along some books you’ve been meaning to read, or games you’ve wanted to play with your family. There’s always space for fun!


Written by Caryn Mackenzie on behalf of Survivor Filter