Get Outdoors
New England

GONewEngland General Events Bearings Library
New to the site?
Start Here...

More Info...
Awards, etc.
Main Page
Bulletin Board
Events by Type
Post an Activity
Points of Contact
Hiking Gear
Camping Gear
Trail Camping

What to bring on a camping trip?

A few years ago some friends and I went to camp out on Prince Edward Island. We created a checklist of things to remember, and I've been adding to it. Thanks to Jim H., The Newc-ster, and Susan R. for starting this list!

Much of this is optional, and much will depend on where you're going and what you're doing. Please adapt the list to suit your needs. Remember that what you take---including any humans---has to fit into your car, and despite your careful packing efforts, the content will expand before you return home!

If you're new to camping, you might want to know what to expect.

Additions/comments to Ken.

Campsite Equipment
  • Tent, poles, tent stakes, tie-downs
  • Plastic ground tarp for under the tent
  • Plastic tarp for over the tent (if tent is leaky)
  • Air mattress & pump
  • Sleeping mats
  • Sleeping bag
  • Blankets
  • Pillow
  • Lantern
  • Lantern fuel & funnel (if gas)
  • Flashlight & batteries
  • Portable shower
  • Trash bags
  • Rope (clothes line and 1000 other uses!)
  • Clothes pins (amazing what a little wind will do!)
  • First Aid kit
  • The Camp Site
    • Pitch tent on highest spot
    • Use under-tent tarp---always!
    • Be considerate of your neighbors
    • Will the spot be too noisy? (i.e. near busy restrooms)
  • Small shovel
  • Hammer
  • Scissors
  • Camping knife, army knife
  • Camping saw
  • Screw drivers
  • Wrenches
  • Waterproof matches
  • "Fire starters"
  • Fire wood
  • Camp stove
  • Camp stove fuel & funnel (if gas)
  • Grill for fireplace
  • Camping pots with lids
  • Tea kettle or coffee pot
  • Frying pan (cast iron?)
  • Cooler & ice
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Spoons, knives, forks
  • Plastic or tin mugs
  • Plastic or paper cups
  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Serving spoon
  • Spatula
  • Hot pad
  • Dish towel
  • Sponge/scrubber
  • Dish pan
  • Nature-friendly dish soap
  • Paper towels
  • Sandwich bags
  • Plastic food storage bags or containers
Food, etc.
  • Some good almost-non-perishables:
    • Muffins
    • Bread
    • Chips
    • Peanut butter & jelly
    • Cocoa
    • Tea & coffee
    • Powdered drink mix
    • Pancake mix
    • Oatmeal, granola
    • Fruit (apples, pears)
    • Pasta
    • Canned salsa, sauce
  • Non-perishables
    • Canned goods
    • Twinkies and Pop-Tarts
  • Avoid glass containers, if possible
  • Water
  • Salt, pepper, seasonings
  • Cooking oil
  • Ketchup, mustard, steak sauce, etc
Personal Items
  • If hiking, see the Hiking List
  • Cash (in the local currency)
  • Identification: Passport, license, birth certificate
  • Towel (beach & shower)
  • Wash cloth
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Sandals or "flip-flops"
  • Lounge chairs
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Walkman & batteries, tapes, etc.
  • Trail guides, maps
  • Backpack
  • Canteen
  • Toilet paper
  • Tissues
  • Prescription medicine
  • Sweater or light jacket
  • Heavy coat
  • Rain and wind gear
  • Hats & Gloves
  • Sunglasses
  • Bathing suit
  • At least 2 pairs of footwear
  • One "nice" outfit
Fun Stuff
  • Floats
  • Frisbee, soccer ball, volleyball, etc.
  • Board Games (Scrabble is my fave!)
  • Deck of cards
  • Books
  • Camera & film
  • Binoculars
  • Bird & Plant ID Books
Campground Features to look for...
  • Tent spots available?
  • How many cars, people, and/or tents allowed per site
  • Pool/swimming, ball courts, other amenities
  • Adult only or are children allowed?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • Fire places at each site
  • Picnic tables at each site
  • Camp store? Firewood?
  • Camp activities (hayrides, etc)
  • Discounts to local attractions
  • Proximity to what you'll be doing
  • Good restaurants and places to pick up supplies in the area
  • Cost should be reasonable
  • Trailer hookups?
  • Hot Showers
  • Laundry facilities
  • "Quiet time" hours
What not to bring camping...
  • A loud radio
  • Firearms
  • Anything valuable or easily damaged
  • Pets (if not permitted)
"Be Prepared"
Camping is wonderful. There's nothing quite like sleeping in the outdoors or the almost out-of-doors. In preparing to head out camping, you must balance your needs with what you can carry. Consider what is available where you are going: If you're going to a campground, maybe you won't need that portable shower.

Just use your common sense. If it's going to rain, I stay at a B&B. If cooking is a hassle, bring along food that doesn't require preparation (or just head out to a restaurant).

It's up to you how you want to enjoy your camping experience! Be safe, and have fun!

Camping Sites on the Internet
  • Campmor - Camping/Hiking outfitters
  • REI - Good gear
  • L.L.Bean - The place for everything...

Back to the Main Page

Send e-mail with your comments, questions, and suggestions!

For the first-timers...

Doing something new presents way too many questions! Camping for the first time is no exception. Your Webmaster had called staying in his family's cozy trailer "camping," but real camping is a bit different.

Car camping (i.e. bringing a tent) offers many advantages, though:

Trail camping (where you hike with your tent and sleep out somewhere) involves being more self-sufficient, but I won't get into that here. Events to Acadia and other Get Outdoors New England camping events, unless specifically called trail camping, are car camping events. We'll have showers, so don't worry!

Your first time camping will likely involve bunking with someone. We don't expect you to have your own equipment. Your Webmaster has a large tent, a stove, a lantern, utensils, and a bunch of other stuff on the Hiking and Camping Gear Lists. Other folks in the Group do as well. The important thing is to make sure you have a confirmed spot in someone's tent, else you may wind up in the car. Other forgotten or needed camping hardware can usually be purchased locally or borrowed or shared.

There are things you absolutely need when you're going camping. This is pretty much the "personal stuff."

There are some other things to consider.

OK, you're up there. What do you do? Why the heck do I want to do this anyway?
I hear you asking these questions!!! Camping gives you a sense of accomplishment. You're there with just "your stuff," and you're doing for yourself. You're somewhere that's usually in the woods and quiet, usually within walking distance of a trail. All campgrounds have fireplaces, and you'll find yourself gazing at the stars and solving the world's problems until all hours of the morning---just be careful not to melt your soles in the fire! Your friends are there, but you can walk away and be alone for a while. There's too much cooperation, too much humor, and too much fun. You sleep like a rock. Everyone has a bad hair morning, so you're all "even." Everyone contributes, everyone helps.

Camping is more than something to do. It's a way to have a great time with great people. It's a change of atmosphere. It's a stress reducer. It's fun!

Is it hard work? Yes, if you think of it that way. Setting up the site can be a pain, but that's all usually done in an hour. Cooking is a pain (my stove takes forever to melt snow in July), but cleaning can usually be done using the camp's facilities.

I won't talk about having to get up out of bed to use the facilities at 2am. That can be interesting on a cloudless late August night, which is notorious for being very chilly.

Who shouldn't go camping? If you like things "just so," then don't go camping. If a bad hair day of your own or of someone else bothers you, then camping is not for you. Camping is out if you do not like bugs or mud. If you don't like to help out or pitch in, then camping is not a good idea for you. If stargazing bothers you, or if you hate sitting by a warm fire at night, or if you don't enjoy the sounds of the woods overnight or in the morning, then the rest of us will just have to enjoy these things, because that's what camping is all about.

After your first camping event or two, you may decide to head out and buy your own equipment. By experiencing things first, you'll know exactly what to buy which'll work out the best for you. Let us old-timers make the mistakes, and you can learn from them!

I will be here to help, if you have any questions. Please ask away!

Send e-mail with your comments, questions, and suggestions!