Camping Supplies

We all know the old travel adage, Don”t forget your toothbrush. But when planning a camping trip, you need to pack more than just a toothbrush. Packing the correct camping equipment can mean the difference between wonderful memories and an unpleasant experience.

Camping Supplies To Consider

Camping gear and camping supplies can generally be broken down into the following categories:

  • clothing
  • first-aid kit
  • kid/baby items
  • kitchen items and food
  • lights
  • personal effects
  • recreational goods
  • shelter and sleeping gear
  • tools.


The important thing to remember with clothing is that weather can change quickly and unexpectedly. Pack extra socks: A dry pair of socks can really warm you up if you”re feeling chilled. A raincoat or poncho is good to have, too. Bring comfortable clothes in which to play and sleep. The general rules with clothing are:

  • avoid clothes that are too loose or too tight
  • keep it simple
  • wear layers.

First-Aid Kits

Emergency kits are necessary camping gear for all camping trips, even at the most modern campsites. At a minimum, you should pack bandages and anti-septic solutions, but it is also smart to include insect repellent, sunburn lotion and aspirin or ibuprofen.

Kid/Baby Items

Camping with youngsters presents a few more challenges than with adults, but the memories of camping trips are often worth the effort. For kids, experts recommend bringing a few items to hold their interest if the thrill of nature wears off. For babies, you”ll need to pack a fully stocked diaper bag, food and formula, if needed.

Kitchen Items and Food

The kitchen-related camping supplies you pack depend on how you plan on cooking and what type of outdoor cooking equipment you will need. Does your campsite allow open fires, or should you bring a barbecue grill?

If you plan on having an open fire, bring a bucket for water in case you need to extinguish the fire quickly. Experts also recommend bringing a shovel to smother fires with dirt. Firewood is another consideration. Many grocery stores offer campers their extra wooden pallets, which is a cheap solution for firewood. Lighter fluid and matches are helpful for igniting flames, in case your plan of rubbing two sticks together doesn”t pan out. If you are barbecuing, remember the charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid.

The next step is to plan your meals, so that you will know which pots and pans to pack. You”ll also need to bring enough plates, cups and utensils for all of the campers. If you”ll be washing your plates, be sure you have access to water and bring detergent and a sponge. Some people opt for disposable items, but if you do, ensure you have somewhere to dispose of your garbage. Scraps left on unwashed utensils can attract bears. Bringing some extra trash bags is a good idea.

A few other kitchen items to remember are oven mitts, zip-lock bags for storing leftovers and coolers.

Exactly what food should you pack? That depends on how much of an Emeril you are over an open fire. If you”re not interested in preparing a four-star feast, consider foods that don”t require cooking, such as pre-made sandwiches, or the ingredients for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Popular food items people take camping include

  • bread or sandwich buns
  • cereal
  • chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers for making s”mores
  • coffee
  • fruit
  • hamburgers
  • hot chocolate
  • hot dogs
  • juice
  • tea.


Lights are an important consideration, especially if you select a remote campsite. Experts recommend packing one electric lantern per tent and one flashlight for every camper. Your car headlights can be a source of light as well, but make sure that your car”s batteries don”t run out.

Personal Effects

The number one personal item to bring on any camping trip is toilet paper. Even if your campsite has toilet facilities, you do not want to be caught without this essential item. Another must-have: sunscreen, and plenty of it. Other items to remember include:

  • a comb or brush
  • a small mirror
  • deodorant
  • shampoo
  • soap
  • toothbrush/toothpaste.

If your campsite has showers, you may need to bring quarters to operate them. Other personal items that come in handy on camping trips are baby wipes, lip balm and anti-bacterial gel.

Recreational Goods

Depending on the activities in which you”ll be participating while camping, such as swimming, hiking or bird watching, you may want to pack any or all of the following camping gear:

  • binoculars
  • camera
  • fishing equipment
  • hiking gear
  • life vests
  • swimsuits and towels.

Shelter and Sleeping Gear

What type of sleeping gear you bring depends on your method of camping. If you”ll be sleeping in a tent, you”ll want to also bring a tarp to cover the ground beneath your tent. Experts also recommend sleeping pads to place underneath sleeping bags, for an additional layer of protection from moisture and cold. A pillow is always a good idea, although some sleeping bags claim to have “built-in” pillows.

If you will be camping in a recreational vehicle or camping trailer, tarp and sleeping pads become unnecessary. But you should ensure that the sleeping quarters are comfortable for everyone on the trip; blankets and pillows are still needed. Make sure the campsite you select has the necessary hookups for the RV amenities you plan on using.


Besides a shovel to smother a fire, experts recommend a short list of tools to bring camping. On the list:

  • broom
  • duct tape
  • rope
  • Swiss Army knife/leatherman”s tool.

Be Prepared

When planning a camping trip, it”s best to follow the motto of those expert campers, the Boy Scouts, and “be prepared.”


Encyclopedia Britannica (2006). Camping. Retrieved November8,2006, from Encyclopedia Britannica Online:

Cary, A. (n.d.). What to Pack: Family Car Camping. Retrieved November 4, 2006 from the Away Web site:

Essortment. (2002). Planning a Camping Trip. Retrieved November 4, 2006 from the Essortment Web site: