One of the best things about camping is that it gives you a chance to disconnect from the chaotic bustle of daily life.

And if you know you brought exactly what you need to stay safe and happy, you’ll feel even freer. A thoughtful camping checklist will include things you know will improve the trip, without weighing you down with items you feel pressured to carry but never use.

Here’s how to put together the perfect list for a camping trip you’ll love.

1. Make the Camping Checklist Yourself

Got a paper and pen? Then you’ve got everything you need to start making your own camping list.

Don’t worry too much about following a book or printing out a detailed checklist from the internet. It’s good to look through these lists to make sure you’re not missing anything major. If you’re just going out on a simple camping trip, though, you might want to create your own checklist based on the camping experience you’re looking for.

2. (Cast) Iron Chef

If you have a cast iron pan, a dutch oven, or a little pie iron handy, you can bring them along for a serious upgrade to your camping menu. Think perfect cornbread, grilled cheese for the kids, and even braised brisket (we know, but we promise it’s doable).

Keep in mind that iron does pack a punch when it comes to weight, so you’ll have to be careful with how much you bring if there’s a long hike before you get to your campsite. So how will you know if the cast iron is worth the hassle?

3. Assess Your Needs

Just like every other aspect of your camping packing list, you should start with the experience you’re looking for and work from there. Contrary to the depictions on TV and in cartoons, there’s more than one kind of ‘camping food.’ Pick a few easy campfire recipes you want to make on your trip, and then add the necessary kitchen tools to your camping checklist.

Make it fun by adjusting your dining plans to the needs of the people on the trip. A camping-with-kids checklist might go heavy on the s’mores, while a romantic stargazing trip could call for something more balanced.

4. Dress for Success

When it comes to choosing camping clothes for the right season, terrain, and wildlife, you should know it’s not ‘one size fits all.’ Beyond common sense, this wisdom also extends to special items that will help you manage the elements.

If you’re going on a light hike in the summer, you might want to bring non-waterproof shoes to let your sweat evaporate and a silk bandana to soak and wrap around your neck. For camping in a forest, add long-sleeved shirts and long pants to your list to protect yourself from ticks.

5. Always Include Emergency Backup

If you haven’t added emergency tools, extra nutrition, and some basic survival gear to your camping supplies list, you’re not done yet.

Along with a first aid kit, bring some duct tape and a multi-tool on your trip to get out of sticky situations. An emergency whistle could get you crucial help if you find yourself in danger, especially if you’re going somewhere without cell service.

Wrapping Up

A camping checklist should be practical, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. Use these 5 tips to plan the right camping trip for you, and let us know how it goes in the comments below!

Happy camping!

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