Car Camping Gear

Camping Gear Essentials: The Ultimate Checklist

Camping is an experience like no other. It allows you to take in nature, acquire valuable life skills, make new friends and create memories. Unfortunately, camping can quickly become a miserable experience if you’re unprepared, especially for a beginner camper. Packing the basic camping necessities can be daunting, not to mention the fear of forgetting essential gear, which often leads to forgetting that very thing you meant to pack. Fear not, my friend, for I have compiled a camping gear essentials checklist to help keep you organized and well-prepared for your next car camping excursion.

For backpackers or those considering a canoe/kayak camping trip, your ultimate camping gear checklist will look somewhat different, which we’ll cover later.

So, let’s start with the basic camping gear.

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1. Car Camping Necessities for a Comfortable Camping Experience

Basic camping gear requirements are uncomplicated – a tent and a sleeping bag – everything else is a luxury! I, for one, prefer a more comfortable camping experience, especially when children are involved! Hats off to those who can camp with just a sleeping bag and tent or tarp. 🙂 For those looking for a more enjoyable experience, campers should pack quality sleeping equipment, reliable shelter and practical items, such as these: 

*Do not forget batteries and air pump if using an air mattress.


2. All the Camping Gear Essentials that You Need for Cooking

Roasting Marshmallows
Roasting Marshmallows

Once at the campsite, you can get away with the bare minimum for camping cooking gear. Not much is needed to cook a meal outdoors. Techniquely, all you really need is a campfire, foil, a quality knife, spice and maybe a cast iron pan. For those looking for creature comforts and a tastier steak, boiled potatoes or even a heavenly coffee, I’ve listed all the camp kitchen essentials you need to bring for a delicious and unforgettable outdoor meal.

  • Camp Stove & Fuel (Small or Large)
  • Fire Starter (Matches / Lighter / Ferro Rod)
  • Pots & Pan
  • Cutlery & Cooking Utensils
  • Roasting Sticks
  • Bottle Opener / Can Opener / Corkscrew
  • Knife & Cutting Board
  • Plates, Bowls, Cups, Mugs
  • Water Bottles
  • Food Storage Containers
    • Aluminum Foil / Ziploc Bags / Paper Towel
  • Cooler & Ice Packs
  • Camp Sink or Bin
    • Soap, Scrubber, Dish Towel
  • Recycling & Trash Bags
  • Water Jug / Water Filter (if no drinkable water at the campground)
  • Firewood
    • Axe
  • Small Broom & Dust Pan
  • Snacks / S’mores Ingredients
  • Coffee / Tea Bags / Drinks
  • Recipes & Meal Ingredients

3. Important Camping Gear Essentials for Safety and Survival

Emergency Camping Gear
Emergency Camping Gear

Camping safety and survival is a category that you should pay extra special attention to. Emergencies have a way of challenging your plans. Whether it be bad weather, a hiking accident, a medical issue, etc, being well prepared is essential. Remember that not all campsites are located close to aid. Ensure your safety by packing the proper safety and survival gear that I have listed here.

Further Reading: Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Bring a Multi-tool Camping

4. Camping Necessities for Staying Clean

Keeping yourself clean while camping is paramount to protecting your health. Without proper hygiene, you put yourself at risk of infection from bacteria and other microorganisms. Ensure you stay clean with this camping necessity list for a safe and healthy camping experience.

  • Toiletry Kit (soap, shampoo & conditioner, deodorant)
  • Toothbrush / Toothpaste
  • Brush / Comb
  • Make-up
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Menstrual Products
  • Wet Wipes / Alcohol Wipes
  • Quick Dry Towel / Wash Cloths
  • Toilet Paper

Further Reading: Emergency Antibiotic Kit: You Need to Have One

5. Clothing and Personal Effects for Camping

Before packing for your camping trip, be sure to check the forecast. You want to pack the best camping outfits for the conditions. Opt for moisture-wicking and quick-drying fabrics to ensure you stay comfortable and dry whatever the weather. Don’t forget to pack layers, as temperatures often drop significantly in the evenings and make sure you bring the proper accessories for the season!

  • Hat / Toque / Gloves
  • Shorts / Pants
  • Short-Sleeve / Long-Sleeve Shirts
  • Sweater
  • Jacket / Fleece
  • Rainwear
  • Socks & Underwear (sports bra)
  • Boots / Shoes / Sandals
  • Swimwear
  • Sleepwear
  • Lip Balm
  • Medication / Allergy Medicine / Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen
  • Sunglasses / Extra Pair of Glasses or Contacts
  • Ear Plugs
  • Power Bank / Batteries
  • Cellphone
  • ID
  • Credit Card / Cash
  • Park Pass
  • Dry Bags / Stuff Sacks

6. Additional Camping Gear To Consider

Relaxing in a Hammock

Now that you have your essentials for camping packed, you may want to consider bringing some gear for entertainment. This list of entertaining camping items will keep you sane when the children are bored or when you need a break from nature, or just to make your camping outing a little more comfortable.

  • Hammock
  • Portable Table
  • Bug Shelter
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cots
  • Clothesline & Clips
  • Bins to Store Kitchen Items
  • Field Guides / Star Chart / Books
  • Bikes
  • Art Supplies / Games
  • Watersport Gear & PFD’s
  • Music Player / Camera
  • Dog Gear
  • Binoculars

Now You’re Ready for Your Next Camping Trip!

This ultimate checklist of camping gear essentials includes everything you need for a comfortable and memorable outdoor camping adventure. Utilize this guide to confidently ensure you pack all the essential camping gear, from cooking and sleeping items to safety and hygiene supplies. Don’t forget to bring a few additional accessories to make your camping trip even more enjoyable.

Camping Gear - Infograph
Camping Gear – Infograph

Lastly, you may want to head to Ontario Parks and book now for the upcoming camping season.

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Camping Gear: The Ultimate Checklist to Essentials
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Katherine Widziak
Katherine Widziak

Fuelled by the boundless energy of my two adventurous children, my diverse repertoire extends beyond the realms of an ordinary mother. As a seasoned graphic designer, master of social media content, and savvy marketing strategist, I've sculpted my own entrepreneurial journey. My passion for the great outdoors defines me - from igniting fires to setting up camps, my skills are diverse and practical. Skilled in ATV riding, possessing sharpshooting accuracy, and a knack for out-fishing just about any man - even my husband, though that's our little secret.

When not working away at something creative, you'll find me enjoying the outdoors in one form or another. Hopefully, I can inspire many women and men alike to pursue their outdoor goals and embark on new adventures.

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