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Tent Camping Checklist

Having a good tent camping checklist is the secret to a successful trip.

A good list makes packing for a car camping trip easy and stress-free!

tent beside lake

I'll show you the list we use. You'll probably want to modify it and make it your own.

How to use this list

Go through this list, crossing off the items you won't use.

Add other items that you know you'll want. (Perhaps you need your coffee maker, or a GPS.)

I've given a general list. Make it as specific as possible.

For example, cross out "bowls" and write something like this:

  • cereal bowls (4)
  • large metal mixing bowl
  • green plastic bowl

Creating your family's own personal tent camping checklist from this list will take some time - but you have to do it just once. When your camping gear list is done, packing for your tent camping trips will be easy forever after!

If you'd rather use this exact list, click here for the printable tent camping checklist.

Okay - here we go! Get ready to start packing!

Tent camping checklist

The basics

A camping candle not only provides light and atmosphere, but can even keep your tent cozy on a chilly evening!

Cooking and eating

  • stove and fuel and funnel
  • barbecue and small propane tank
  • matches or lighter and lighter fluid 
  • pots and lids 
  • skillet
  • oven mitts
  • cutting board
  • knives, forks, spoons
  • steak knives, paring knife, large knife 
  • plates, bowls, cups
  • mugs
  • kettle or coffee pot
  • serving spoons, wooden spoons
  • flipper
  • measuring spoons
  • garlic press
  • grater
  • can opener
  • pot lifter
  • spatula
  • tongs
  • potato masher
  • containers for leftovers, with lids
  • water jug
  • cooler and ice - or camping refrigerator
  • stainless steel water bottles
  • Thermos
  • aluminum foil
  • hamburger cooker
  • marshmallow roasting sticks
  • tablecloth and tablecloth weights 
  • food 

This set of nesting camping dishes for 4 is compact and easy to pack. The bowls come with lids so that you can store your leftovers. You can use the mugs as coffee cups for the adults, or sippy cups for the kids.

But what should we eat?

Excellent question! Here's my camping food list, and here are some great easy camping recipes.


  • dishpan or portable sink
  • dish soap
  • dishcloth and dishtowels and scrubbie
  • cleaning cloths
  • tent sponge
  • dustpan and whisk

This sturdy dishpan collapses to one-third its height for easy packing. Just look at all the enthusiastic reviews!


  • basin
  • washcloth
  • hand towels
  • beach towels
  • soap
  • toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • hairbrush or comb
  • sunscreen
  • aloe gel
  • lip balm
  • deodorant
  • women's sanitary supplies
  • shampoo
  • hand cream
  • toilet paper


  • bathing suits
  • pants
  • shorts
  • T-shirts
  • long shirts
  • pajamas
  • underwear
  • socks 
  • sunhats
  • sun wear
  • warm hats
  • rain gear
  • warm layers (fleeces and jackets)
  • footwear (hiking shoes, beach shoes, rubber boots, sandals)


  • bikes, helmets
  • bike bottles
  • bike tools, bike lock, bike pump
  • axe, hatchet
  • shovel
  • clothesline and clothespins
  • beach blanket
  • beach toys (inflatables and pump, pails and shovels, toy trucks, balls, Frisbees) 
  • campsite games
  • day pack
  • hammock and hammock straps
  • books 
  • board games
  • pad of paper, pens and pencils
  • deck of cards
  • scissors
  • pliers, screwdriver
  • camera and batteries
  • garbage bags
  • laundry bag
  • insect repellent

In the vehicle

  • water bottles
  • travel food
  • music
  • travel toys
  • maps
  • directions to campground
  • camping reservations info
  • sunglasses

Don't forget

  • watches
  • to give a key to the neighbors
  • cash (for campsite fees or emergencies)
  • credit cards
  • this list

Now that you have a good tent camping checklist, click here for more handy camping lists.

Before you start packing for your next camping trip, be sure to visit The Camping Family home page!

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