The checklist we use when going camping with our kids. Maybe it will be helpful for your camping trip!

Around Camp

  • Tent – Invest in a tent that has a slip cover that keeps the rain off but still allows good ventilation. I went through a couple of tents before settling on the one I have now. (Got mine from the Great Outdoor Provisioning Co. in Chapel Hill).
  • Rubber mallet – for driving tent stakes into the ground.
  • Tarp that goes under your tent – I’ve been on camping trips where it pours most of the time, and the tarp under the tent kept us from getting water logged.
  • Sleeping bags
  • Sleeping bag pads – Puts an extra layer of cushioning and insulation between your sleeping bag and the soggy/rocky/root-riddled ground. Can get these at Dicks sporting goods or lots of places.
  • Lantern for your tent – By the time we’ve had dinner, free time, campfire meeting, and made it back to our tents it will be dark. So having a lantern in your tent makes it easier to find things and get ready for bed.
  • Flashlights – for walking the trail back from the campfire meeting (typically after dark)
  • Picnic blanket – comes in handy.
  • Folding chairs – people set them up around their tents for sitting and chatting or for meal times.
  • Portable firepit – handy for roasting marshmallows or hotdogs.


  • Water bottles – I invested in HydroFlask water bottles because they are dual wall vacuum insulated and keep water COLD even if left in hot sun.
  • Hotdog sticks.
  • Smore supplies: Marshmallows, Chocolate bars, Graham crackers (and hey, there’s also Peanut butter Smores too!)
  • Cook stove – Coleman stoves or similar to cook meals, or boil water for coffee etc.
  • Cooler – If you want to bring your own drinks or food items, a cooler is in order. TIP: If you want to keep bacon or similar foods frozen/chilled until cook time, bring a 2nd cooler dedicated to those items, and open it only when needed.
  • Any meds, inhalers etc.
  • Trail mix – extra points for Whole Foods “make-your-own” trail mix! (Weaver St Market may have some too).


  • Hats
  • Swimsuit
  • Underwear
  • Socks – Its worth it to bring an extra pair or two. Take care of your feet and keep them dry, my Dad used to say.
  • Towels
  • T-Shirts
  • Shorts
  • 1 pair long pants. If you’re like me, there’s a threshold where the annoyance of swatting bugs off your legs becomes worse than wearing long pants in warm weather.
  • Sweat shirt – can be cool in the mornings.
  • Rain jacket
  • Sunglasses
  • Flip flops
  • Trail Shoes/Sneakers


  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Comb ….nah, let your hat worry about your hair styling.
  • Antibacterial soap. For when you return to camp from fishing with that special worm dirt on your fingers and suddenly they’re passing around the trail mix bag.


  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellent
  • Fishing poles
  • Bait
  • Bug pavilion/bug jars
  • Umbrella
  • Binoculars
  • Multi-tool (Leatherman Blast thank you very much)
  • Drawing tablet and pencils
  • Phone – Reception at some locations is notoriously bad. I could send text messages but couldn’t make/receive calls. I ended up keeping my phone off most of the time (to prevent it from continuously seeking and running the battery down), then turning it on to send/recieve some text messages.
  • Phone battery charger. I used them once just to get my phone juiced enough to make a call (and subsequently resorted to texting).
  • Cash – sometimes we divide up the cost of a pizza, donuts etc.

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