Tent Camping Essentials

Heading out to go camping? Need the ultimate checklist? See below for some of my must have camping essentials for a tent camping experience with a electric/water hookup. Learn more about how to go tent camping your first time in my article How To Go Tent Camping.

She went camping &thenShe she stopped doubting herself, she … [insert your victory]

Sleep Gear
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  • Tent:
    • Affordable: Check Walmart or your local sport store Tent
    • Better: REI has great quality tents especially if you will be in any extreme conditions. This Tent was my first one and very easy to assemble
  • Sleeping bag:
    • Affordable: I got my sleeping bag at my local Aldi’s in their seasonal isle and it works great. Here is another affordable Sleeping bag option
    • Better: REI has great quality gear, get a GOOD Sleeping bag if you will be in cold climates (Fall can get very chilly in the mornings)
  • Sleeping Pad: For some extra comfort use a sleeping pad or an Exercise Mat (or both). No judgment if you pack the air mattress, just don’t forget the air pump if that’s the route you plan
  • Comfy pillow
Safety
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  • Headlamp: This is the one I have, and it works great. It does need 3 triple A batteries
  • Flash Light: Get one at a local target or sport store
  • First Aid Kit: Get one that has antihistamine cream/medicine and afterbite sting relief
    • Also, get some Instant Ice Packs at your local Walgreens and throw it in your first aid kit
    • Pack a bottle of Calamine lotion while you are at it
  • Large Knife: For the bears! JK, I mean it is good protection, but most of the time its used to cut random things
  • Hand Sanitizer
Fire
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Make sure to check out my article on How to Start a Campfire

  • Lighter: Pack two so you have a back up
  • Firewood: Certified heat-treated
  • Firestarters: You aren’t getting a badge for starting your first fire, save yourself a little time and frustration and get the firestarters
  • Fire Poker
  • S’more Sticks: Because duh we are having s’mores! Make sure the stick isn’t too short or your hands will melt along with the chocolate
  • Extra newspapers: To use as kindle to get the fire started
  • Small/Medium Bucket: To put out the fire or wash dishes/s’more sticks
Food
  • Camping Kettle: A little more rustic way to boil water, just put this in the fire and get the water boiling
  • Paper Products: Paper towels, paper plates, paper cups, plastic utensils, toilet paper 
  • Camping Mugs – To drink some hot coffee, tea, or even soup
  • Coleman Grill: (optional) Only if you plan to cook, but I recommend to rely as little on cooking as you can on your first trip
  • Coffee: French press, instant coffee, maybe even a Keurig if your site has electric
  • Soap: To wash hands/dishes at site
  • Oven mitt, spatula, cooking spoon, cooking spray, other cooking tools you may need based on what you plan to cook
  • S’mores: chocolate, graham crackers, marshmallows, s’more sticks
  • Water bottles
  • Salt, pepper, sweetener, other spices
  • Cooler – check out my suggested weekend food packing list in step 4 of my article How To Go Tent Camping
Electronics
  • Back – up phone charger: Here is the one I use and I love it, but you can find cheaper ones elsewhere too.
  • Batteries: Triple A (headlamps), Double A (flashlights), D batteries (tent Fan)
  • Extension Cord
Comfort
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  • Lawn Chairs: (optional) A picnic table will likely be at your site 
  • Hammock: (optional) A fun way to kick back if you find a good spot
  • Tent Fan: I have this one and I love it for those hot and humid nights in the tent. It does requires 6 D batteries. I also bought this Tent Fan recently and plan to try it out at my next trip
  • A good book, board game or deck of cards
  • Towel/toiletries: Most campgrounds should have showers
  • Slip on shoes: For those late night bathroom runs
  • Bug spray: And/or a Mosquito candle 
  • Sun gear: Sunscreen, ball cap 
  • Cold gear: Hats, gloves, hot-hands, extra blankets
  • Rain gear: Umbrellas, tarps, rain coats
Other
Photo by Uriel Mont on Pexels.com
  • Tarp
  • Rope
  • Day bag/back pack
  • Thermos: The Stanley thermos keeps incredible insulation for either hot or cold items
  • Water Filter or Purification Tablets: More for “roughing it” kind of camping, but always good to have in handy just in case
  • Table Cloth
  • Clothespins: You will find the most random things you can use clothespins for while you are camping.
  • Battery powered twinkle lights: To make your site look cute, duh

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