Ahh, how we love the summer camping trip! Honestly, can you think of anything more delightful than sleeping under the stars? What’s better than days filled with swimming holes and hiking trails? It’s probably the most fun to help the kids toast marshmallows and roast hot dogs over an open fire? And even more enjoyable, imagine being in a place where you wake up and sip coffee on a cool morning in the middle of nowhere. If you love camping like we do here in the Pacific Northwest, you know that a successful camping trip takes a whole heap of planning and prep work. Therefore, we decided to write the ultimate camping checklist – a helpful guide to enable you to camp smarter, not harder. Above all, a successful camping trip is a well-planned camping trip. Feel free to print this out and tailor it to your own family’s needs. Onward!


Information and Safety are the key to camping success! Let’s start with the most important ESSENTIALS.

Printed Campground Reservations and Phone Numbers

Paper Maps of the Area

Field Guides, Guidebooks to the Area

Fishing Licenses

Emergency Phone Numbers Written Down

Emergency Roadside / Outdoor  Survival Kit

First Aid Kit

Magnetic Compass

Sunblock & SPF Lip Balm

Insect Repellent


Shelter is the first and foremost order of business, so let’s go over the CAMPING GEAR.


Tent Poles & Stakes

Tarp (for Ground Cover) +1 Extra Tarp

Mallet or Hammer (for Driving the Stakes)

Sleeping Bag for Every Camper

Sleeping Pad or Air Mattress for Every Camper

Patch Kit & Air Pump for Mattress


Extra Blankets

Camp Chair for Every Camper

Headlamps and / or Flashlights

Lanterns & Lantern Fuel**

Extra Batteries

Extra Rope / Tether Cords for Clotheslines, etc.


**Have you seen this handy idea for making your own ambient lamp from a gallon jug?


Do we hear some tummies rumbling? Because we’re moving on to KITCHEN GEAR, FOOD & BEVERAGES.

Camp Stove

Long Reach Lighter

Stormproof Matches

Firewood & Kindling

Fuel: Lighter Fluid, Charcoal Briquettes, Propane, etc.

Frying Pan or Skillet

Large Pot

Mixing Bowl


Cutting Board

Cooking Knife, Spatula, Serving Spoon, Tongs

Roasting Forks for Marshmallows / Hot Dogs

Forks, Knives, Spoons, Plates, Bowls

Shatterproof Glasses, Coffee Cups

Stainless Steel or Nalgene Water Bottles

French Press or Percolator

Bottle Opener and Corkscrew

Foil & Food Containers

Cooler & Ice Packs

Bin for Washing Dishes

Biodegradable Dish Soap, Rubber Gloves

Paper Towels

Trash Bags

Salt & Pepper

Cooking Oil (Vegetable or Olive Oil)

Energy Food – Trail Mix, Bars, etc.

Drinking Water – 1 Gallon per Day per Camper (and don’t forget the dogs!)

Written Plan for Each Meal, Each Camping Day**

Dog Bowls for Food and Water

Dog Food in Sealable Container

**Meal Planning: The Pioneer Woman has an awesome guide to camp meal planning here.


You’re doing great and you’re almost done! Time to make sure you’ve got all your CLOTHES AND PERSONAL ITEMS.

One Towel per Camper


Bar Soap

Toothbrushes, Toothpaste


Toilet Paper

Hand Santizer


Daytime Clothing

Socks and Underwear




Hoodies, Sweaters and Extra Layers

Shoes: Hiking / Walking Shoes, Easy-On Shoes, Water Shoes


To wrap up, let’s not forget about the most important part – the fun! Here’s ENTERTAINMENT. 

Outdoor & Beach Toys (Kites, Frisbees, Football, Pails & Shovels)


Air Pump for Balls & Bike Tires

Fishing Poles and Tackle Box


Swim & Water Toys

Yard Games (Cornhole, Badminton, Bocce Ball, etc.)

Deck of Cards or Tabletop Games



Do you have anything to add to this list? Comment Below!