Printable camping gear list for families: get organized!

Whether you’re new to camping or have been camping for years, it’s always a good idea to have a basic camping gear list on hand.  Make up your own or use this camping gear list to make sure you’ve got everything you need!  Use it when you’re checking your gear at the beginning of the season, when you’re packing up for the yearly car camping trip to grandma’s house, when you’re out at the camping store checking out the sales, or all the time!  

Using this camping gear list for your family is a great way to stay organized and limit the stress of all that planning, prepping, and preparing.  This list referenced on this page is a minimalist shorter camping packing list. If you’re looking for a more detailed list, perhaps this next paragraph is more for you:

But, if stressing about family camping trips is something that happens for you, you’ll definitely want to jump over to read how we simplify our family camping trips here at this article instead: Your guide to a stress-free family camping trip, the secret is all in the prep work!

Pile of camping gear with text overlay reading camping equipment checklist


What are the 5 most important things to bring camping?

There are definitely some must haves for any camping adventure… like somewhere to sleep and something to cook with and eat with… sorry, I don’t think I can limit all that to just five single items! Maybe five general categories of items? 

Here are my top 5 categories of items to bring on a camping trip:

  1. Shelter
  2. Sleeping Gear
  3. Safety Gear
  4. Food Items
  5. Clothing

Aside from these items above, all the other camping stuff is just icing on the camping cupcake!

If you’re looking for specific details, tips, and suggestions pertaining to the camping necessities, hop over to this detailed article all about the camping essentials you need for a successful trip.

Otherwise, below you can get a quick run-down of the items and grab this camping equipment list to make your camping planning easier.

A note on buying camping gear: If this is your first camping trip you’ll want to consider where your priorities are and where the extra cost of higher quality camping gear is needed and where the extra spending it isn’t necessary. Oftentimes second hand items are still in great condition and you shouldn’t avoid these used marketplaces.

Gear for sleeping and staying warm

A tent.  A trailer or a camper.  Maybe a hammock.

You’ll need to decide which method works best for you and your whole family.  But, you will need something… unless you plan to sleep under the stars cowboy style.  And, if that’s your style, then that’s very cool!  And, very brave!

But it is definitely not my style.

Now, that you’ve decided how you’ll be sheltered, you’ll need a sleeping bag or linens of some sort.  If the weather conditions are cool where you sleep, don’t try to save money on your sleeping bag.  Seriously, spend the money and buy a quality bag that will keep you warm and dry in the cold weather.

A good quality insulated sleeping pad is also very important for keeping you both comfortable and warm at night.

READ MORE: This article has many great and practical tips for staying warm when sleeping in a tent.

If, on the other hand, the temperatures stay warm at night, then you can probably get away with a department store sleeping bag or just bringing some sheets and blankets from home.

Head on over to this post on camping necessities to get more details and direction in choosing which type of sleeping bag and sleeping pad you should use.

So, thus far, your camping equipment list should contain:

  • A tent, camper, hammock, or tarp shelter
  • Tent pegs and ropes to secure this shelter to the ground (or trees)
  • A sleeping bag or set of linens for each camper
  • A pillow for each camper (although, hardcore campers will just bunch up their clothing and use that!)
  • A sleeping pad for each sleeper
A pile of camping gear - sleeping bags, cooking gear, sleep pads, and more
A checklist will help you keep all your camping equipment in check!

If you’re looking into getting yourself a new family tent, you’ll want to check out this article all about choosing the best tent for your family’s camping needs.

READ MORE: All about tents and how to choose the best one.

Gear for cooking and eating:

This is where your gear can start to pile up.  Your comfort and ability or willingness to haul all this gear to the campground will be the biggest deciding factor.

For most camping families, the camp kitchen essential items are:

  • A means of cooking (camp stove, BBQ, or campfire with a grill)
  • Cooking implements (pot with lid, fry pan, long handled cooking utensils)
  • Eating implements (plates, bowls, cups, good knife, cutlery)
  • Items to manage your water needs (water jug, water filter, and water bottles) 

From here, you can just keep camp kitchen gear until you have everything you need:

  • A few more pots with lids
  • A dutch oven
  • Can and bottle opener
  • Quality knives
  • Coffee maker
  • Kettle
  • Roasting sticks
  • Pie irons (campfire sandwich makers)
  • Colander
  • Cutting board

Don’t forget washing all this cooking and eating equipment:

  • Dish pans (preferably 2 or 3 buckets or plastic tubs)
  • Scrubbies, dish towels, dish soap

And, then there’s all those handy extras when you’re camping that you’d wish you’d brought along like:

  • Containers, plastic wrap, and baggies for leftovers
  • Tin foil
  • BBQ tongs
  • Paper towels
  • Wet wipes
  • Garbage bags
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Coffee thermos
  • Water bottles
  • A book, board games, or activities

What about all that other camping gear?

So you’ve covered shelter and the camp kitchen, now you should start thinking about your safety, your enjoyment, and your personal needs.

Some additional camping supplies you’ll want to bring along:

  • Tarp and ropes for rain or sun shelter
  • Camp chairs
  • Folding table if your site doesn’t have picnic tables
  • A campfire grill if that’s not provided
  • A hatchet or ax for firewood
  • Flashlights, headlamps, or lanterns
  • Pocket knife and multipurpose tools
  • Duct tape (just because)
  • Camp fire starting materials and matches
  • A bucket for water if you do plan to have a fire
  • Life jackets if you’ll be near or on water
A pile of camping equipment with an image of a printable camping checklist

Your Personals

This list of items can quicky get out of hand if you don’t spend some time considering what’s needed and what’s an extra comfort.  When I’m car camping I bring way more luxuries than if I’m carrying all my gear on my back!  But, there are definitely some personal essentials you’ll need to pack for your family regardless of your camping style.

The Personal Items you’ll need:

  • Outdoor clothing like coat, toque, mitts, shoes, etc. based on the weather forecast
  • Regular daily and sleeping clothes for each family member
  • Personal care items like toothbrushes, washcloths, towels, lotions, etc.
  • Bug spray and Itch cream for mosquito bites
  • Lip balm
  • Sun screen
  • Any medications or aids

The Important items you must not forget!

And these last camping supplies should be brought along on all your family camping trips. Again, if you’d like a more detailed camping packing list, you’ll want to hop over to this article that goes into more details on all the family camping necessities.

Some important don’t-leave-home-without-them items

  • A good quality first-aid kit
  • Your cell phone and/or satellite communications device if camping in remote areas
  • Bear spray or bear canister (if in bear county)
  • A fire extinguisher (for RVing and Car camping)
  • Cash
  • Your wallet
  • Pen and paper

Remember, these items should be packed with easy access in mind.

So, there you have it… all the camping supplies you should make sure to include on your own family camping packing list… or just click here and grab this printable packing list, already made up for you!

And, now that you’ve made sure you’ve packed all your camping equipment, you might want to read this post to get some tips on organizing, packing, and making sure you don’t forget the rest of the stuff you’ll need for camping and grab the ultimate family camping checklist with all the things!

Enjoy your next family camping trip and happy camping!

camping equipment with text overlay reading camping gear, don't forget a thing

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *