National Park Camping Checklist

Our gear list for car campers is comprehensive. Not every camping party will bring every item (but some people may want to bring everything including the kitchen sink). Our recommendation is to go camping with what you (if you can?), If you take everything camping, it reduces the fun and feeling of adventure.

In and Around Camp List

  • Tent (with stakes and guylines)
  • Tent footprint
  • Tent-pole repair sleeve
  • Sun shade, tarp or screen house
  • Sleeping bags (with optional liners)
  • Sleeping pads
  • Air mattresses
  • Pad/mattress repair kit
  • Pump for air mattresses
  • Pillows
  • Multi-tool or knife
  • Daypacks (see our Day Hiking Checklist)
  • Trekking poles
  • Child carrier
  • Rolling jogger
  • Folding chairs
  • Folding table
  • Cots
  • Mallet or hammer (for tent stakes)
  • Headlamps (with extra batteries)
  • Flashlights (with extra batteries, bulbs)
  • Lanterns (with mantles, if needed)
  • Lantern fuel or batteries
  • Water filter or treatment tablets
  • Bikes
  • Bike trailers
  • Inflatable boat with paddles and PFDs
  • Fishing gear (and license)
  • Canoeing/kayaking gear

Clothing and Footwear Checklist

Come prepared for cold nights.

  • Moisture-wicking T-shirts
  • Moisture-wicking underwear
  • Quick-drying pants/shorts
  • Long-sleeve shirts (for sun, bugs)
  • Sun-shielding hats
  • Swimsuits
  • Bandanas or buffs
  • Boots or shoes suited to terrain
  • Socks (synthetic or wool)
  • Long underwear
  • Sleepwear
  • Insulating jacket or vest
  • Insulated pants
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Rainwear (jacket and pants)
  • Clothesline with clips
  • Water sandals
  • In-camp sandals or booties

Camping Kitchen Checklist

Depending on personal tastes and needs:

  • Stove
  • Windscreen
  • Fuel
  • Fuel bottle(s) with fuel funnel
  • Matches/lighter
  • Charcoal (with fire starter)
  • Firewood (if allowed, plus saw or axe)
  • Grill rack
  • Frying pan
  • Cook pots
  • Pot grabber
  • Dutch oven
  • Portable coffee/espresso maker
  • Hot-cold vacuum bottle
  • Hand-crank blender
  • Bottle opener/corkscrew
  • Can opener
  • Recipes
  • Marshmallow/wiener roasting sticks
  • Food-storage containers
  • Resealable storage bags
  • Trash bags
  • Tablecloth and clips (or tape)
  • Coolers
  • Ice
  • Water bottles
  • Plates, bowls, mixing bowls
  • Mugs/cups
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Utensils
  • Paring knife
  • Spatula
  • Whisk
  • Kitchen organizer
  • Cutting board or cutting surface
  • Funnel
  • Foil
  • Egg holder(s)
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Pot scrubber/sponge(s)
  • Collapsible water container(s)
  • Portable or standing camp sink
  • Drying rack
  • Quick-dry towels

Camping Food Checklist

For more options, see our Camping Kitchen Checklist.

  • Coffee
  • Cereal/granola/oatmeal
  • Eggs (freeze-dried or fresh)
  • Breakfast bars
  • Batter mix
  • Syrup
  • Butter/margarine
  • Jelly/jam
  • Bread/bagels
  • Meat (fresh and jerky)
  • Soup mixes/bouillon cubes
  • Prepared or freeze-dried meals
  • Cooking oil/spray
  • Salt/pepper
  • Tea
  • Milk (powdered or fresh)
  • Cocoa
  • Drink mixes
  • Bottled/canned beverages
  • Energy food (bars, gels, trail mix)
  • Fruit (dried and fresh)
  • Vegetables
  • Cheese
  • Crackers/chips
  • Chocolate/sweets
  • Marshmallows
  • Spice kit
  • Herbs

Personal Camping Items Checklist

Tip: To more easily locate gear, keep similar items in a single duffel.

  • Toilet paper
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Insect repellent
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Alcohol or antiseptic wipes
  • Spare eyeglasses/contact lenses
  • Mirror
  • First-aid kit (see First-Aid Checklist)
  • Prescription medications
  • Toothbrush, toiletry kit
  • Cosmetics
  • Brush/comb
  • Eyeshades; earplugs
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Shower water bag

Other Camping Items

  • Camera
  • Camcorder
  • Memory cards/film
  • Binoculars
  • Campsite reservation confirmation
  • Maps
  • Guidebook
  • Interpretive field guides (flowers, insects)
  • Star chart/night-sky identifier
  • Pet tent
  • Pet bed
  • Paperbacks/DVDs or e-Books
  • Notebook and pen/pencil
  • Sketchpad with art supplies
  • Radio or music player with headphones
  • Two-way radios
  • GPS receiver
  • Cell phone
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Umbrella
  • Pet food (with favorite bowl)
  • Pet toys (such as Chuckit!)

Camping Fun Stuff Checklist

Browse Games and Toys for more ideas.

  • Playing cards
  • Rolling ice cream maker
  • Kick-around foot bag
  • Kites
  • Geocaching materials (with GPS receivers)
  • Paddle ball set
  • Glow sticks
  • Flying discs
  • Puzzles (crosswords, etc.)
  • Board games
  • Water toys
  • Electronic toys
  • Boomerang

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