Wondering What to Bring Camping?

Whether you’re planning your first-ever camping trip or you’re more seasoned for camping than a canvas swag, you’ll need to know what to bring camping. 

This camping checklist should help to equip you with the right gear regardless of where you’re setting up your tent and staying. From a family-friendly campsite fit with amenities to the more rugged wilds of Australia, you should be steadily prepared to handle whatever’s thrown your way.

Camping Checklist


A comfortable and secure shelter is fundamental for a smooth camping trip. Your shelter protects you from the elements and ensures a good night’s sleep, which is essential for enjoying your outdoor activities. This could be something as simple as a swag for yourself, or a pop-top trailer or caravan to bring some of the comforts of home with you.

Here’s what to bring to ensure shelter and comfort:

  • Tent with stakes or pegs, and guylines (plus a mallet to hammer pegs in)
  • Bungee cords for securing tarps, storing items, and repairs
  • Tarps for additional shelter, ground cover, or covering trailers.
  • Sleeping bag rated for the season
  • Sleeping pad or air mattress for insulation and comfort
  • Extra blankets for warmth on colder nights

This list covers the essentials needed to create a comfortable living space at your campsite, regardless of the weather conditions you might face.

Clothing and Footwear

The right clothing and footwear are crucial for staying comfortable and protected when you’re away from your shelter, regardless of the weather. Here’s what to pack:

  • Weather-appropriate tops and bottoms
  • Additional pairs of socks
  • Sleepwear
  • Insulating layers for warmth in cold conditions (particularly chilly mornings and nights)
  • Comfortable walking or hiking shoes for varied terrains
  • Swimwear like rash vests and quick-drying boardshorts
  • Hats, gloves, and weather protection like rain jackets or sun shirts

These items will help you manage different weather conditions and ensure you enjoy your outdoor activities comfortably.

Food & Water

Proper nutrition and hydration are critical for staying energised and healthy on your camping trip and avoiding emergencies. Here’s what to pack:

  • Non-perishable food items and snacks for easy meals on the go and energy boosts
  • Fresh water supply or methods for water purification to ensure safe drinking water
  • Coolers and ice packs for keeping perishable food items fresh
  • Water bottles to travel with you wherever you go

Packing these essentials helps maintain your energy levels and health throughout your adventure, ensuring you can fully enjoy your time outdoors.

Cooking and Eating Supplies

Having the right supplies for cooking and eating is essential for keeping energy levels high and for keeping everyone happy. Whether you’re camping solo, or feeding the family, you should bring:

  • Portable stove or barbecue for cooking
  • Fuel or gas for the stove or barbecue
  • Cooking utensils, pots, and pans for meal preparation
  • Eating utensils, plates, and cups for serving food
  • Biodegradable soap and sponges for cleaning up
  • Sealed containers and storage to store food for freshness to prevent attracting wildlife

These items ensure you can prepare and enjoy meals comfortably while maintaining cleanliness at your campsite.

Safety items

Even in many family-friendly campsites close to populated areas, reception can be spotty and phones may not work in the event of emergencies. Packing with health and safety in mind can ensure your camping trip goes well.

  • Fully stocked first aid kit
  • Medicinal products like paracetamol and relief heat packs or ointments for itchy insect bites
  • Light sources like torches, headlamps, or lanterns
  • Personal locator beacon (if camping in a remote location)
  • Offline map (you can download maps to your phone for use without data using software like Avenza or Google Maps, or you can bring a physical printed map with you)
  • Fire blanket or extinguisher if you plan to have a fire


When you’ve settled down for the day, it pays to have a few items for entertainment around the campsite (especially when camping with the family). 

  • Board games or cards
  • Books or magazines
  • Music players or instruments
  • Tools to explore local wildlife and nature like magnifying glasses, binoculars and local wildlife encyclopedias for the little ones to learn about the area

Always remember to respect other campers and the local wildlife and keep noise to a minimum, particularly at night. 


Packing all the camping essentials won’t mean a lot without the necessary tools and equipment to ensure everything stays upright. Out in the elements, camping gear can be prone to punctures, tears, and more. So, you’ll want to pack a few camping tools to ensure everything is kept in working order:

  • Bungee cords for storing supplies when not in use or for assistance in tying items down to trailers or trays
  • Trailer covers or ute covers for protecting supplies when not in use or for when travelling to and from campsites
  • Additional pegs for tents, gazebos, and ground covers in case some are lost or damaged in use
  • Spare batteries for camping supplies like lanterns, or for personal devices like phones
  • Duct tape or cloth tape for patching up damages such as leaks in bases of tents
  • Dustpan and brush for general spills or crumbs, sand, and for tidying once leaving a campsite.
Infographic outlining what to bring camping

Heading on Your Camping Trip

Got your camping checklist all ticked off with everything you need to bring? Remember that preparing for your trip also requires a few extra bits and pieces to be mindful of for your safety and for the environment you choose to camp in.

  • Check weather conditions before you leave to prepare appropriately for what you’ll face.
  • Inform someone of your travel plans, including your destination and expected return, for safety.
  • Follow the old Boy Scouts rule and leave your campsite better than how you found it. Enjoy nature responsibly by respecting the environment and wildlife, ensuring the beauty and health of natural spaces are maintained for everyone to enjoy.

By following these guidelines, and remembering to bring everything you need for camping, you’ll be set for a safer, more enjoyable time on the road, allowing you to fully appreciate everything camping has to offer.