10 Best Camping Essentials (With Free Printable Packing Checklist!)

It’s camping season!  And to celebrate camping season, I think we need to talk about all the cool camping gear that is needed to make your camping a trip a success.  In this post you’ll find the best camping essentials for beginners and seasoned camping.  No matter your skill level, there are some fun things to bring camping on this list.

Fun things for camping

Years ago when our family first started regular camping trips, we went camping with some friends.  We were so excited, and I spent days packing, making sure we had what I thought to be all the necessary things for camping.

Turns out, I had no idea what I was doing.  We forgot all the useful things for camping, like a spatula, or a frying pan, or a cheese grater.  Thank goodness we were camping with friends who were seasoned campers or we would have spent our life savings at the store on the campground.

So, here’s the thing.  I don’t want the same thing to happen to you.  So, after we talk about all the cool camping gear you’ll want to make sure you have, there will be a free printable checklist at the end of the post so you don’t forget a single thing needed for your camping trip.

Other camping posts that might interest you:

Now, what are the 10 essentials for camping? In my opinion, it’s everything listed below.  Of course, the list below is not exactly EVERYTHING you need for camping, but you definitely don’t want to be without the things on this list.  It will make your camping trip way more successful.

10 best camping essentials you’ll WANT to have for your next Camping Trip

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1. Camp Stove Toaster

I know, so basic, right?  But when you get up for breakfast you will want food, and you will want to be able to make it as quickly and as easily as possible.  The smell of bread toasting out in the fresh air is absolutely amazing.

2. Coffee Percolator

Since we are on the subject of breakfast, we can’t forget our beloved coffee.  There is nothing worse than being in the middle of nowhere and discovering you have no way to make coffee.  This percolator is perfect for camping, and requires no electricity.  Can we just all admit we are better off if we have our cup o’ joe in the morning?

best camping essentials

3. Camping Enamel Mugs

Let’s be honest, it’s basically a requirement to have ridiculously cute mugs while you go camping. Your Instagram pictures need these mugs. 🙂  You are going to need something to put in your coffee, after all.  I am a huge sucker for adorable enamel mugs with cute sayings and pictures on them.

4. Fire Starters

Gone are the days you are expected to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. Look, not all of us are good at getting a fire going.  Buy these fire starters and no one has to know.

5. Battery Operated Lanterns

I’m not saying there’s going to be bears where you are camping, all I’m saying is you are going to want to have a good light to use when you need to walk to the outhouses in the middle of the night to see what’s out there. This one has the ability to run continuously for up to six days! The battery operated lanterns are great for kids too.

6. Hanging Tent Lights.

On the subject of lights,  I am loving these hanging battery operated LED tent lights.  Hanging lights help avoid any tripping accidents at your campsite and also help little ones with not being too scared of the dark.

7. Tent with Divider

Last year we finally upgraded from a small tent to an 8 person tent with a room divider.  There are only 5 of us, but let me tell you, camping is way more enjoyable when your kids aren’t rolling around on top of you while you sleep. Plus, a bigger tent means room to open and store suitcases.

8. Cooler on Wheels

Sometimes you need to walk a bit to your campsite.  You’ll love camping a lot more if you can just roll some of your stuff to the site.  Plus, a good cooler is a key essential to camping.  We have been very happy with our Coleman cooler.

9. Screen Tent

When we first started camping, it never dawned on us to bring a screen tent.  We watched as our friends set up their screen tent around the picnic table at the campsite.  Then the mosquitos and black flies came.  Then we learned to never go camping without a screen tent again.

camp laundry

10. Clothesline

This last one might seem weird.  Until you have no place to hang our swimsuits or clothes that just got soaked from a downpour of rain.  Clotheslines are a necessity for camping.  This one is great because it has the clips already attached to the clothesline so you don’t have to worry about remembering to bring clothespins!

Useful Things for Camping

You might look at some of these items and think “whoa, camping ain’t cheap!”  While the truth of the matter is there is an initial investment, you will use all this cool camping gear for years to come.  We bought most of our equipment 10 years ago and are still using it, with the odd thing we’ve had to replace. 

In the long run camping can be a very cheap family vacation if you do it year after year. We’ve camped for weeks at a time while travelling across Canada, again while travelling to see the Colorado mountains, and many other weekends in between at campgrounds closer to us.  We have more than gotten our money’s worth of our equipment!

cool camping gear

It’s definitely worth the investment to make family memories camping.  Whether you use a tent, trailer, or are one of those brave people that sleep outdoors in a hammock, buy some useful things for camping and you’ll have an amazing trip (you know, as long as it doesn’t rain. 🙂 )  You can also get some pretty cool camping tools from the dollar store to go with the ideas above.

As promised, I am ending this post with a printable checklist.  It can be difficult to remember everything you need to bring along with you for a successful camping trip, so to avoid forgetting all the important stuff, print off this list and check it as you go!  Just subscribe to my weekly newsletter and you’ll get the PDF sent straight to your inbox!



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