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. Am happy with the one I have now – got it from the Great Outdoor Provisioning Co. in Chapel Hill.
  • Rubber mallet – for driving tent stakes into the ground.
  • Tarp that goes under your tent – At the Clearwater Campout back in 2010 this was a big help for us. It poured most of that weekend, 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 – the drink options at camp (including Camp Clearwater) are limited. Typically there are some large water coolers with water, sometimes lemonade. 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).


  • Your vests! If you don’t have one yet, contact the YMCA office. Hint on how to attach the patches to the vest. I tried sewing, iron on, staples (yes, staples) and then tried fabric glue from the craft store. Fabric glue WINS! (But must be reapplied periodically).
  • 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 (Walmart sells worms, Farrels out on Farrington Hwy sells worms, minnows etc.)
  • Bug pavilion/bug jars
  • Umbrella
  • Binoculars
  • Multi-tool (Leatherman Blast thank you very much)
  • Drawing tablet and pencils
  • Phone – Reception at Camp Clearwater is notoriously bad. I could send text messages but couldn’t make/recieve 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 – there are a few plugins in the camp office. 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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