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Camping Essentials List- What to bring when you go camping

You may be wondering what to bring when you go camping. You found the right camping essentials list and don’t want to forget these items.

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My family and I LOVE to camp!  It’s a nice way to get away from things.  Camping trips keep us busy and it’s nice to be away from all the things that distract everyone like TV’s, phones, video games, work and sports.  It’s also inexpensive. Hiking is one of my favorite things to do.  However, making a camping checklist is never fun.

I don’t need a list from some camping gear like clothes, food, tent, camp chairs and sleeping bags.  It’s the gear that makes life easier that I don’t want to forget.  For example, last time I went camping we had coffee but nothing to drink it in! Now it’s added to the list.

2 girls standing on a rock fishing in a lake

Best Camping Essentials

 We usually camp with a group of people it’s always fun to see what other people bring.  It’s also nice because when you forget something hopefully someone else remembered! Make sure to look through this list before your next camping trip.


Tongs are perfect for all kinds of cooking and grilling. You can live with a flipper, but not tongs!


OK- You don’t realize how much you need this until you forget it! You can a lot of your cooking on foil for easy cleanup. You need it for this awesome camping dessert too.

Water Cooler

A water cooler is bulky to pack but you won’t realize how much you are going to use it. They are nice to fill up water bottles, rinse your hands off and brush your teeth.

Dish Soap

Make sure you take soap so you can clean off all your cooking equipment and clean off messy hands. This collapsible wash bin is so nice addition to your camp kitchen.

Glow Sticks

I buy these for the kids at the Dollar Tree, just for fun. They are perfect for a game of tag at night.

Card Games

Uno and Phase 10 don’t take up much space and fun for all ages. It’s nice to play when resting in between activities.

Yellow and grey tent in the woods

Anti Itch Cream

I’ve always carried anti-itch cream in my purse and you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve used it or someone else needed it. It’s perfect for anything to little ant bites or bee stings.

Burn Cream

If you have kids and fire you know they love to poke sticks in it or the fire pops and little sparks float out and get on someone.  If you have those metal marshmallow roasting sticks, someone always grabs the wrong end too.

General First Aid Kit

You can get an inexpensive first aid kit to keep in your camping supplies or better yet, just keep it in your car. You never know when you’ll need it.


Make sure to have a flashlight for everyone.  We had these and they were AMAZING, small and really bright.

Wet Ones or Baby Wipes

You don’t realize how dirty your hands can get while in the woods. These are great for cooking, cleaning, the black ash from fires and MUD!

Flip flops

If the weather is nice, don’t forget a pair of sandals or flip flops so you can slip them on in the mornings and night to walk around your campsite and run to the bathrooms.

Tarp or pop up canopy

A tarp with some bungee cords doesn’t take up much space or a pop-up canopy is bulky but you will be thankful if it’s raining (or hot). A rain jacket and rain boots are nice to have if you have space.

Instant Coffee Bags! 

I had never seen these before and they are so easy! Someone in our group brought them and now I never head out to the woods without them. They are small and convenient.

Coffee Cups

You’ll need something to drink that coffee. Don’t forget your reusable coffee cup.

Small axe

This is great when getting the wood for your fire set up or a random branch poking everyone in the head.

Am I forgetting anything?  What do you take when you’re camping that you can’t live without?  I’ll keep coming back and adding things to the list when I get recommendations or as I go on trips and realize there are things I need!

GREAT camping recipes