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Tent Camping Checklist - All the Things to Bring

5 minutes read Aug 02,2021
Tent Camping Checklist - All the Things to Bring

You start the car, plug the directions into the GPS, and get ready to go, but the nagging thought lingers: "Did I pack everything?"

Camping is a wonderful way to embark on an outdoor adventure, though there are quite a few items to pack. Additionally, when you're camping in a tent, there are even more things to bring. This is where a tent camping checklist comes in handy.

In this roundup, we've focused on the essentials, including your campsite setup, kitchen gear, and personal hygiene products. To make your trip easier, we've also compiled these suggestions into a printable checklist. Click the link below to download our tent camping checklist for your next trip!

Click here for a printable PDF version of our tent camping checklist.

Sleeping Bag and Pillows in a Tent

Complete Tent Camping Checklist

Essential Items

Essential items are vital to setting up your campsite. These are the basic items you'll need for a tent to sleep in. We recommend purchasing from trusted outfitters like REI Co-op and Cabela's, but there are many places to purchase camping equipment.

  • Tent (with stakes, rainfly, and tarp)
  • Sleeping bag or air mattress
  • Sleeping pad
  • Pillow
  • Flashlight
  • Camp chair
  • Matches or lighter
  • Doormat

Important Tools

Even the best laid plans can go awry. Be prepared for the unexpected by packing a few versatile tools. You might be surprised how far you can stretch your equipment with a little creativity and a lot of duct tape.

  • Multi-tool or pocket knife
  • Duct tape
  • Hatchet or wood axe
  • Mallet or hammer
  • Scissors
  • Rope and/or bungee cords
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Tent pole repair sleeve
Person Cooking in a Pan on a Camp Stove

Campsite Kitchen

A proper campsite kitchen should be adaptable, but minimal. Remember, you want to be able to cook without lugging a full kitchen into the forest. Stick with a few pieces of equipment that can be used to prepare a variety of meals.

If you need ideas for what to eat, our recipes section is full of tasty dishes.

  • Camp stove (with fuel)
  • Pots/pans
  • Dining utensils
  • Cooking utensils
  • Can opener
  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Mugs/cups
  • Cutting board
  • Oven mitts
  • Measuring spoons/cups
  • Coffee pot or kettle
  • Leftover containers
  • Water jug
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Cooler
  • Ice
  • S'mores sticks
  • Dishwashing tub
  • Biodegradable dish soap
  • Sponge
  • Dish towel
  • Trash/recycling bags
 Person Washing Dishes By Hand While Camping

Hygiene and Health

Don't forget about cleanliness! Our tent camping checklist covers the important bits, but bathroom facilities can vary based on your destination.

Most of our outdoor destinations feature clean, modern bathhouses with shower facilities, eliminating the need for a portable shower. Check the amenities for your campground online, and when in doubt, always pack a little extra.

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Handwashing tub
  • Hand towel
  • Body towel
  • Portable shower
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Personal toiletries
  • Toilet paper
  • Tissues
  • Medications
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • First aid kit (see our first aid kit infographic)

Personal Items

Perhaps the most frustrating scenario is to pack the camping gear and forget a personal item. Triple check that you have these critical things before hitting the road.

  • Cell phone (with charger)
  • Credit/debit card
  • Cash
  • Keys
  • Driver's license/ID
  • Printed campsite reservation


Remember, camping should be fun. Bring along a few extras for free time during your trip. Books, cameras, and hammocks are all great items to help pass the time.

  • Deck of cards
  • Binoculars
  • Field guides
  • Books
  • Journal and pen
  • Hammock
  • Camera
  • Laundry bag
  • Beach towel
  • Umbrella
  • Clothesline and clothespins

You've made your list, you've checked it twice, and on the way to paradise! With our tent camping checklist, you can rest easy knowing that you have the important items for your trip. Now all that's left is to enjoy your vacation. Happy trails!

Before you go, help a fellow camper by sharing our handy checklist!

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