Extensive first-time camping checklist

Extensive first-time camping checklist
Pavlo Lysyy June 05, 2024 11 mins read time


First time camping

Almost everyone has ever had to go on a first-time camping trip and previously solved the problem of what to take with them. Traveling to the woods or the mountains is a great hobby that millions of people around the world have. However, for such an event to not bring you a lot of inconvenience and threat to life and health, it is worth being thoroughly prepared for it.

During the camping trip, your equipment and other useful things that you choose to take with you are especially important. Without such essentials, your trip can turn into pure torture. To avoid this outcome, you should compile in advance a checklist of everything you should bring in advance.

1. Tent

A tent is your indispensable place to rest during a hike. It protects from the weather, be it rain, wind, or annoying insects. Choose models of tents that suit the size of your group, the amount of camping gear you have, and the weather conditions you will encounter during your backcountry adventures. Consider factors such as waterproofing, ventilation, and ease of setup. Pay attention to what material the tent poles are made of, remember that a quality camping tent and supplies can make a difference in your camping experience in national parks.

The tent is the main shelter for travelers, as well as a place to sleep. That is why there are many requirements for such an accessory. The tent cover should reliably protect travelers from water and wind. A good tent will ensure your comfort and independence from the weather.

Today, teepee tents are becoming increasingly popular among tourists. Some modern models of tents are real houses, which are spacious and comfortable. They are made of durable material, supplemented with high-quality water-resistant impregnation. Lovers of solitary travel can find products for themselves with a smaller capacity.

Swedish Tentipi is the most common brand of tent shelter for hikers today. Since 1989, many variations of cone tents of different sizes and configurations have been produced under this brand. All of them, as well as many other hiking accessories, are presented today in the catalog of their online store.

You should choose a tent taking into account the functions it has. It should have an optimal weight. A lightweight product will not require too much effort during the journey. A good tent always has a waterproof layer as well as a mosquito net.


2. Sleeping bag

A good sleeping bag is crucial for a comfortable night's sleep while camping. It insulates you from the cold weather and traps your body heat, keeping you warm and cozy throughout the night. Choose a sleeping bag with a temperature rating that matches the expected weather conditions. These products are always designed for a certain temperature. There is a maximum, minimum, and comfort temperature for each sleeping bag. You should always focus on the "comfort" value. It is necessary to pay attention to the material of the top and the filling of the sleeping bag. Consider factors such as weight, compressibility, and features such as a mummy hood or collar.

3. Sleeping pad and karemat

A sleeping pad provides an extra layer of cushioning and insulation between you and the cold, hard ground. It elevates you above the ground, preventing heat loss and offering a more comfortable sleep. When choosing air mattresses, consider factors such as thickness, R-value (insulation rating), and packability.

Karemat is a soft mat, which is placed under the sleeping bag so that campers do not have to lie on the damp, cold ground. Today traditional one- or two-layer, rolled-up karemats are most commonly sold. The inflatable rug is less expensive, but it has a small size, and therefore it is more convenient.

4. Pillow

A pillow may seem like a luxury, but it can greatly improve the quality of your sleep while camping. It provides neck support and helps maintain proper alignment, especially for those who sleep on their side. Choose a camping pillow that is compact, lightweight, and comfortable. Consider using inflatable pillows or even using a rolled-up jacket as a makeshift pillow.


5. Foldable chairs

Folding chairs and a picnic table are essential items for creating a comfortable and relaxing campsite. Camping chairs are a place to sit by the campfire, enjoy a meal, or just relax after a day of exploring. Choose chairs that are lightweight, portable, and easy to set up. Consider factors such as weight, comfort features, and storage options.

6. Portable stove

Stoves for tents allow you to cook delicious meals and boil water for drinking while camping. Choose a stove that suits your needs and cooking style. Camp stoves come in a variety of sizes and fuels (propane, liquid fuel, etc.). Consider factors such as portability, ease of use, fuel economy, and cooking power. With a camping stove, you can enjoy hot meals and your favorite dishes around a campfire under the sky.


7. Plates and utensils

The utensil set on your first time camping checklist should include metal bowls and mugs. Such material ensures their durability, as well as resistance to fire. The spoons should be made of aluminum. In addition, you can use a folding spoon fork specially designed for tourism.

Choose reusable plates, bowls, cutting boards, and utensils made of lightweight and durable materials such as stainless steel or BPA-free plastic. This is a more environmentally friendly option than disposable camp kitchen gear. For easy cleaning, take a quick-drying dish towel or paper towels and a small bottle of soap and water. Don't forget about water jugs and potable water bottles, choose depending on your campsite.

Do not forget that if you are camping in places where there are bears, it is wise to bring bear canisters to store your food. However, special camping sites usually provide metal cabinets to store your food to protect it from bears and other wildlife.

8. Bug spray and sunscreen

Bug spray and sunscreen are vital for a comfortable and enjoyable camping trip. Insect repellent prevents mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects, protecting you from bites and potential diseases. Pay attention to bug protection clothing if your area has a high insect population. Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV rays, preventing sunburn and long-term damage. Choose an insect repellent spray and sunscreen with the appropriate SPF level for the season and expected sun exposure.

9. Lighting

A reliable light source is essential for safety and convenience after dark. A headlamp is a great option for hands-free lighting while navigating the campsite or setting up gear. Consider bringing a lantern to provide ambient lighting around a campfire or picnic table. Bring extra batteries to keep the lights on throughout your trip. Flashlights are also a good backup option.

10. Toiletries

Bring all the necessary toiletries you would use at home to stay clean and fresh while hiking. This includes soap, camp shower, shampoo, lip balm, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. To save space, consider choosing travel-sized toiletries. Don't forget to pack enough toilet paper and a trowel to properly dispose of waste, following the "Leave No Trace" principle.


11. Proper clothing

The multi-day trip to nature cannot be successful if you do not take special comfortable clothes with you. That's why it's important to include them in your first time camping checklist. When it's cold, several thin closet items are a much better option than one piece of dense fabric. Clothes made of synthetics in this case will be more practical than accessories made of natural materials, which are comfortable in everyday life. All parts of your clothing should be packed in separate bags in order to protect them from precipitation and moisture.

Packing the right clothes is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable hike. Choose comfortable, breathable clothing that is appropriate for the expected weather conditions. Layers are key - pack a base layer, an intermediate layer (fleece or sweatshirt), and a waterproof outer layer (rain jacket) to adapt to temperature changes. Don't forget comfortable hiking or outdoor shoes and a hat to protect you from the sun. Take warm clothes even if the forecast is mild, as temperatures can drop significantly at night. Pay attention to quick-drying materials that wick moisture and dry quickly.

The first-time camping checklist must include:

  1. A hat or cap. This latter will come in handy in the hot summer. You will need a warm hat during the cold season.
  2. A jacket will save you from the piercing wind and light rain. The best choice for a hike is a product with a hood. The jacket must be made of light waterproof material.
  3. A raincoat poncho is necessary as an additional means against heavy rain. Many people prefer to replace it with a regular waterproof jacket or polyethylene raincoat.
  4. Sweater. Even in the summer, this item can come in handy on chilly mornings. It is recommended to carry one warm sweater of fleece or wool, as well as a product of thinner material.
  5. You will need at least two pairs of T-shirts for the expedition. One is for daytime wear, the other is for the night. It is better if the day shirt is based on synthetic material. This material is more efficient than cotton to wick away sweat and also dries faster.
  6. Pants. You will also need at least two pairs. You should wear the first one during the day, and the second one should be used for sleep. Daytime transitions should be done in cotton or synthetic pants. At night you should wear pants made of warm fleece material. Jeans are not an option for hiking, as they are quite heavy and take a long time to dry out if wet.
  7. A set of socks should consist of two pairs of hiking socks and one or two pairs of wool socks for the night.

The best footwear for hiking in the mountains will be trekking boots with a sturdy base and stiff soles. They will give the foot stability on any rough terrain. The leather should be impermeable to water.

The first time camping checklist can include sneakers in addition to boots. They must be made of durable material with a rigid sole. You should have a change of footwear for use during camping trips. These can be lightweight trainers or flip-flops.

The main thing in hiking boots is comfort while wearing them. Therefore, it is very good if you have been wearing the sneakers or boots you choose for the camping trip for a long time. The newly bought products should be worn for a while. Just one or two walks should allow your feet to adapt.



Food is the fuel for your outdoor adventures! While some campsites may have amenities such as grills or fire pits, it's important to bring enough food and drink for the duration of your trip.

Here are some tips for planning your camping meals:

Plan your meals: make a menu and make a shopping list to avoid last-minute obstacles.

Take a variety of food: think about meals, snacks, and drinks to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.

First of all, you will need carbohydrate foods. This part of the first-time camping checklist may include:

  • rice;
  • buckwheat;
  • pearl barley or corn grits;
  • pasta, etc.

It is better to eat less meat. It should be jerky, dried, or canned. Vacuum-packed smoked sausages are suitable. It is better to eat meat not more than once every few days. Do not bring any dairy products, as they will quickly go bad.

Choose easy-to-prepare options: camping is not the time for complicated meals. Choose simple one-pot meals or pre-made sandwiches.

Pack lightweight and shelf-stable foods: canned foods, dried fruit, nuts, and granola bars are great camping foods. Dark chocolate is a great treat during the trip. It will quickly rid you of hunger, as well as replenish energy resources.

Don't forget the most important thing: bring plenty of water, coffee, tea, and other beverages to stay hydrated.

Another necessary item on your first-time camping checklist should be a gas or gasoline burner. Even if you plan to make a fire, you may still need it. For example, when it rains, if the wood dries out.

You need a wok to cook food on fire. It's also good for boiling water if you suddenly want to warm up with tea or coffee. A standard set of repair tools will help you to fix a suddenly broken thing during the hike.


Optional health and hygiene items

When going camping, making sure your health and hygiene needs are met is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Here's a breakdown of both essential and optional items worth packing for your excursion, especially when you're a first-time camper:

Personal hygiene:

- Soap
- Shampoo
- Portable shower
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Deodorant
- Towel
- Toilet paper
- Hygienic lipstick
- Sunscreen
- Insect repellent
- Antiseptic
- First aid kit (painkiller, bandage, adhesive plaster, activated charcoal)


- Bowl
- Mug
- Spoon, fork, knife
- Thermos
- Sponge for dishes
- Detergent

Other items:

- Garbage bags
- Camping toilet (if necessary)

Personal items and extras

When preparing for a camping trip, it is important to have all the camping essentials with you to ensure amenities and safety during your adventurous vacation in nature. It is better to choose a multi-tool for traveling, so you can save space.

- Flashlight
- Rechargeable batteries
- Lighter/matches
- Flashlight
- Charger
- Book/magazine
- Board games
- Camera

Additional things

- Hammock
- Rain fly
- Folding camp chairs/table
- Portable charger
- Power bank
- Food and water supply
- Thermos bottle
- Cooking utensils

Compass and map

It is difficult to imagine any multi-day hiking route in unfamiliar terrain without a compass and a map. These items have always been part of the first-time camping checklist. However, today you can replace the paper chart with an electronic version of the map downloaded to your smartphone. However, to do this, the places you want to visit must have good communication and navigation.


Other considerations: weather, group size, and more

When planning a camping trip, it's important to consider a variety of factors that can affect the success of a first-time camping trip. One of the most important aspects is the weather. Check the forecast before you go and buy the right clothes and equipment to be prepared for any conditions. Remember that even in the summer months it can be cool at night, so don't forget about warm layers and a sleeping bag with high thermal insulation.

Another important aspect is the size of your group. Keep in mind that the more people you have, the more supplies and equipment you will need, as well as the need for coordination and planning. Discuss plans with everyone in the group beforehand and determine who is responsible for which aspects of the camping trip to avoid misunderstandings and ensure a smooth organization.

It is also important to consider the personal needs of each group member. Some may have allergies, others may have physical limitations. Prepare for this by considering the special needs of each member of your team and providing appropriate equipment and facilities for all campers. Don't forget to bring additional accessories for complete comfort and convenience while camping.

Lovers of mountain travel should take a special rope. Rope length up to 10 meters and width of 6 millimeters may come in handy even if you expect to be on the most ordinary hike.

What should you put in the first aid kit?

A must-have in any hike is a first-aid kit. It is equally necessary for individual tourists and groups. The list of necessary medical supplies should be based on the number of participants and the duration of the activity. Medicines should be stored in a separate bag or container, also putting there a complete list of all drugs taken in the hike. You should add the rules for taking each medicine to the first-time camping checklist, as well as consider what cases you may need it for. This will help you not to get confused and choose the right medicine.

Any camping first aid kit should include first aid items:

  1. Bandaging supplies.
  2. Common and bactericidal plaster.
  3. Brilliant green or iodine.
  4. Hydrogen peroxide.
  5. Flexible bandage.
  6. Drugs against high fever.
  7. Antimicrobial agents.
  8. Drugs against gastrointestinal disorders.
  9. Medications for pain and allergies.
  10. Sunscreens.
  11. Means against insect bites.


🏕  What shouldn’t you take with you on your first camping trip?

Your checklist for the first time camping trip should not include uncomfortable clothes that are hard to dry. In addition, you should not take perishable foods with you: yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, etc.

📦  What things are most important to bring on your first trip?

Some of the most important items on the first time camping checklist include a durable tent, a warm sleeping bag, comfortable, waterproof clothing and shoes, as well as a first aid kit and quality food. In addition, the list contains quite a lot of camping equipment, useful accessories, which are difficult to do without during a hike.

💡   Is it a good idea to bring a change of clothing on a camping trip?

Extra clothes are an important item on the first time camping packing list, because you might need to replace your clothes in case of sudden cold or rain. In addition, a spare outfit will help in case your main clothes or shoes get ripped or ruined.




Cally Monroe

Cally Monroe said:

You will definitely need a tent lol

Zander David

Zander David said:

First time camping may seem scary but its worth it, i promise

Tyreese Decker

Tyreese Decker said:

It’s always better to bring someone experienced along

Kennedy Cortes

Kennedy Cortes said:

Better safe than sorry

Rajan Ramos

Rajan Ramos said:

Thanks for the checklist

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