Camping List To Pack For Adventures: The Ultimate Guide
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Looking for a camping list to pack that will help you get prepped for your next adventure? You’ve found the right place! We’ve put together the top items that you need in order to make your camping trip the most enjoyable it can be. Complete with a free camping checklist as well as a full description of each item. This list is based on our own camping experiences over the past years and the items that we've found most useful as avid campers ourselves. Enjoy your next camping adventure in the great outdoors!
Camping List To Pack
We’ve been camping together for more than two years now. Before we met, we had camped a bit on our own. However, we’ve learned a lot more now that we’ve done full multiple-day backpacking trips together. We’ve also done a lot of short overnight camping locally and simply put up our tent next to our car many times. In this camping list to pack, we’ve highlighted items that will help ensure you have the items you need for any type of camping adventure. That means that all of this camping gear works for backpacking, car camping, and overnight trips.
We’ve also made sure to include items that work in all four seasons. One thing we’ve learned from our own experiences camping is that we hate spending money on multiple items that do similar things but for different occasions. We like to find camping gear that works for all conditions. That way, we buy quality gear as cheap as possible that will last us a lifetime of camping. It’s been a good strategy so far for our own camping trips as we’ve been able to camp in the fall, winter, spring, and summer all around the world and our gear is still holding up well!
Before you go through each item, make sure to download our free camping checklist.
Quality Hiking Backpack
In order to pack all your gear up the mountains and to the oceans for camping, you need a quality backpack. We recommend 60L capacity or more. This Osprey backpack was made for backcountry packing and has a ventilated tensioned mesh back panel with added adjustability for variations in torso length. There is also a rain cover included which is key for potentially rainy situations in the unpredictable outdoors. We’ve found from our own camping experiences that it’s best to have a larger backpack and then just pack less if needed for smaller trips. That way, you don’t have to constantly change which packs you’re bringing with you. What we like most about this pack is that it also has a dual zipper on the front so you don't have to pull out all your items when trying to find something. Just unzip the whole bag, take what you need, and zip it back up. We've featured the women's backpack (65L) in the picture below, but you can also find the men's backpack here which is a tiny bit bigger at 70L.
Made by: Osprey
Waterproof, Lightweight tent
We recommend this 2-person tent because it is lightweight, warm, and super compact. It’s the perfect all-around tent for any type of adventure, especially for long backpacking treks. It is surprisingly spacious on the inside due to its unique pole pattern and also takes very little time to set up. Time is everything when it comes to camping because of the varying conditions. It’s important to be able to get set up quick so you can stay as warm as possible.
Made by: MSR
It’s super important to have a tarp with you when you camp. As we mentioned, the weather can change drastically when you’re outside, so you might get rained out. Having a tarp like this that is durable and waterproof will keep you dry all night long! There’s nothing worse than waking up in a soaking wet tent. We had way too many sleepless nights in the Canadian Rockies before we invested in our first tarp and we’ve never looked back since investing in one.
Made by: Terra
Cold weather sleeping bag
When we first started camping, we had no idea how cold it could actually get at night. We recommend going for a sleeping bag that is very warm even in cold conditions. This particular one stays warm down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit and still breathes well. It is extremely light at only 2.9 pounds. It will allow you to camp almost anywhere you can think of in the world. The fact that it is good for all four seasons is what drew us to it. For our camping gear, we like to have stuff that lasts all year round and is very versatile. This is the perfect sleeping bag for any type of trip, including backpacking.
Made by: Hyke & Byke
Camping Air Mattress
Another piece of essential equipment is a lightweight air mattress that will give you a good night's rest so you can get ready for multiple hour hikes. We recommend the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir because of its wave core construction that provides twice the warmth of uninsulated air mattresses. It’s super compact and inflates easily too. We spent a whole summer in Canada recently camping with this air mattress and it never failed us. Even in our 5-day backpacking trek to the famous Mount Assiniboine.
Made by: Therm-a-Rest
Although not essential, it has been nice for us to have our coupler sheet while we’ve been camping. We each have Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad and having the coupler makes it really convenient to sleep next to each other. Before the coupler, our pads would split apart and slide all night, making for a more restless sleep as a couple. If you go camping with your partner a lot, then this is a great item that will add to your experience together in the great outdoors!
Made by: Therm-a-Rest
A camping pillow will keep your neck supported and is something we’ve found really nice to have after long hikes. The Therm-a-Rest option has foam filling which expands into a 4-inch thick pillow for your head, neck, and back support in tents, cars, planes, and other tough-to-get-comfortable places. It’s super compact, so there shouldn’t be much of a space issue in your pack. The comfort is worth it when you set up the tent!
Made by: Therm-a-Rest
No matter where you camp, it generally gets cold in the evenings. It can be especially cold if you hiked during the day and have some sweat on your skin. We highly recommend packing a comfortable sweater that you can throw on in front of the campfire. For us, this is an absolutely essential item to complete your camping experience as it brings you comfort after a long day of adventures.
Made by: World Wild Hearts
Rain Jacket or Poncho
Besides staying warm in the evenings, it’s also essential to stay dry when you are camping. Rain can come at anytime in the great outdoors and it’s extremely important to be prepared for those moments. We were on a backpacking camping trip recently where it was sunny all day until 4pm. Then, within 10 minutes the sun turned to a dark cloud and it started thundering all around us. We had to throw on our rain jacket and keep pushing forward for the next two hours. Luckily, when we got to camp we weren’t too wet and were able to warm up in our sweaters and extra clothes. Our jackets definitely helped.
Made by: VAUDE
When camping, it's important to pack as light as possible, but it's also important to have enough food with you to survive in the wilderness. That's why dehydrated meals are such a great option. They weigh very little and take up minimal space in your backpack. They also come in many different varieties such as beef stew, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and more. Best of all, you only have to add hot water to them!
Made by: Mountain House
Camping Stove and Utensils
When you’re camping, it’s definitely essential to have the right cooking equipment (unless you’re comfortable living off Cliff bars for a few days). The essentials we recommend is a mini-stove, non-stick pot, fork, knife, spoon, and cups. This kit has it all in one and packs down small for your camping adventure. It can be hard (and more expensive) to find all of these items separately, so we recommend grabbing the full kit below for a decent price. Don't forget your matches or a small lighter!
Made by: Odoland
If you are going camping, then you HAVE to try s'mores! This classic camping desert consists of a graham cracker, a piece of chocolate, and a roasted marshmallow in the middle. It's perfect to end a great night of camping since you can roast the marshmallows over an open fire. It's one of our favorite camping traditions! We did it a lot recently in the region between Sooke and Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island. But in order to roast the marshmallows, you need a roasting stick. These ones are a cheap option and very durable.
Made by: Ajmyonsp
One of the most essential camping items to pack is a portable speaker! We've used ours consistently over the past few years and it always adds to the vibe of a camping trip. There's nothing better than vibing out to some great camping tunes while you sit with friends around the campfire. This Bose speaker is great because it has a built-in strap that can fit around your backpack and is super light. It came in super handy during our nights camping in Namibia! It's also a very affordable option, waterproof, and has the best sound quality of any small mobile speaker we've come across.
Made by: Bose
Deck Of Cards
When you're camping, is usually a lot of downtime in the evenings. When the sun goes down, there are few activities you can do besides sit around the campfire and talk or play games. A deck of cards is the perfect lightweight game that has endless options for entertainment. You can play with multiple people in games like spoons, speed, war, go fish, crazy eights, and slap jack.
Made by: Bicycle
When you’re out in the wilderness camping, you definitely need a flashlight. Whether it’s for getting some light while you’re setting up the tent, finding the washroom in the evening, or just having for an emergency, it’s important to have a flashlight with you. This one is about the size of an iPhone and is water-resistant.
Made by: JARDLITE
Collapsible Water Bottle
Something we never think about until the last minute when camping is bringing a water bottle. But it’s extremely important, especially when you’re going on hikes that are longer than 2 hours. This collapsible bottle will help save space once you’ve finished your water and you can un-collapse it once you need to refill again. When you go camping, keeping a extra space available in your backpack is always a top priority!
Made by: Nefeeko
If you are going for longer backpacking and camping trips, then you should ditch the water bottle mentioned above and go for a Camelbak instead. It allows you to fill up ample amounts of water for the whole day while saving space because of it’s thin plastic housing. In fact, it can fit in your backpack itself as a thin layer. If you won’t have access to water for multiple hours on a camping trip, then a Camelbak could be exactly what you need. For us, we found it super handy on our backpacking trip on the Berg Lake Trail.
Made by Camelbak
Water Purification Tablets
The nice thing about hiking and camping is that a lot of the time you can find a river or lake where you can fill your water bottle or Camelbak. However, you should never drink the water straight from the source, no matter how pure it looks. There could be bacteria in it. So it’s important you get some water purification tablets and use them before you drink from your bottle. Generally, you have to wait about 30 minutes after you’ve added the tabs and then the water will be safe to drink.
Made by: Aquatabs
First Aid Kit
You never know what is going to happen out in the wilderness while you’re camping. It’s important to be prepared for the worst, even if nothing happens. We recommend this kit because it has 140 medical-grade items included in it and is FDA approved. It will get the job done for most situations in the wild. Two things that we always add in addition to our first aid kit are duct tape and hand sanitizer. The duct tape is a great tool to have for patching up blisters from hiking as well as fixing holes in the tent, etc.
Made by: Johnson & Johnson
The outdoors is full of changing weather conditions. When camping, you generally try to pick days where it’s sunny or at least not raining when you can. If this is the case, then you definitely need to pack your sunscreen! We recommend SPF 30 and above for a good layer of UV protection. Make sure to get above the top of your ears as that spot is prone to skin cancer!
Made by: Banana Boat
Since you’re outdoors when camping, you need a good hat to protect your face from the elements. A hat can help prevent sun from damaging your skin, sweat from getting in your eyes, and rain from getting on your face. We always take our hat when going camping! Why not do it in style with the one below?
Made by: World Wild Hearts
Insect repellent is another essential item for camping in Canada. We were attacked by mosquitos in the Canadian Rockies last year and could have used a stronger DEET. This one is 40-percent DEET. If you don’t want itchy skin, do yourself a favor and splurge on the heavy-duty repellent.
Made by: OFF!
Camping can be a bit messy. You are constantly surrounded by dirt, sand, and other natural environment bacteria. It’s also likely that you will sweat during your daily activities in leadup to your evening of camping. That’s why it’s important to have a small, foldable towel that fits nicely into your pack. You can wipe your face with it and use it for drying your body in case you find a water source near your campsite. These towels are great since they are quick-drying!
Made by: GetActeon
High-Quality Travel Camera
Canon is our favorite camera brand for traveling and capturing landscape photos. The EOS 80D is top of the line with a 5-point all cross-type AF system and great autofocus options. It also has great video modes and is very durable for a high-end camera. Check out some of our camping and travel videos we’ve made using this camera!
Made by: Canon
A GoPro is the perfect camping camera. It’s super durable, has a wide lens for capturing every moment in the wilderness, and is waterproof so you aren’t limited to only land shots. We’ve been using a GoPro on our camping trips for the past few years and have noticed how much it adds to our videos and pictures of the trips. Such cool, unique angles!
Made by: GoPro
Portable Power Bank
With all of the electronics that come with camping these days (phone, camera, speaker, etc), it's important to have a way to charge them. When you don't have access to a power outlet for days at a time, your devices are almost guaranteed to run out of batteries. This can be a dangerous thing if you're relying on your phone for directions and it can be a mood dampener if you don't have the ability to capture your trip with your camera. That's why it's important to have a small portable power bank that fit in your backpack! We've used ours on every camping trip the past few years and it's been a life-saver every time. Plus, they're more affordable now than ever.
Made by: Lanluk
That’s it for our camping list to pack! If you want more travel gift inspiration, check out our page on travel gifts with 40+ ideas including: filled with travel essentials, adventure gear, camera gear, travel electronics, and more.
Make sure to download our free camping checklist so you’ve got everything you need for your next adventure. Enjoy the great outdoors.
For more camping lists to pack, check out REI's camping packing list.
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