Camping Checklist: Items to Remember • Prepare With Foresight
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Camping checklist includes shelter

Camping Checklist: Items to Remember


When you are heading out to spend a peaceful weekend in nature, it can be easy to forget the things you need. A simple camping trip can turn into a survival scenario if you are not prepared. Specifically, backcountry camping can be very dangerous if you do not take the proper measures. It is therefore recommended to draw up a camping checklist to make sure you include the basics you will need during your trip. Here is a list of items you should remember to take on every camping trip.


The first item on the camping checklist is a shelter. Whether you flaunt your style in a camper or you sleep under the stars, you should always have some sort of shelter with you. This is true even if you do not plan to use it. This could be a tent, a hammock with cover, a tarp, or a camper. Rain can be unpredictable, and there is no need to risk hypothermia.

Also See: Priorities when building a survival shelter


Not all camp sites will have water. Even the ones that do might have you at a site very far from the water source. I like to get my water from a stream and purify it, but it is still always important to have some water with you just in case. Also remember to take a water bottle or canteen.

Also See: Survival water purification methods


You should never assume that you will be able to find food while camping. Often people combine hunting or fishing with camping, but neither is a sure bet. Always bring enough food to get yourself through your trip. Consider taking some freeze-dried meals. You can always store them for a later camping trip use if you don’t use them during your first trip.

Also See: Edible wild plants for survival


Starting fires is not as easy as it seems. I suggest bringing several methods of starting a fire with you on every camping trip. A camp stove is a good idea if possible. In addition, lighters, ferro rods, and waterproof matches should make for a good backup plan. You also might want to bring your own tinder, fire assistance products, or charcoal. Some campgrounds do not allow you to collect firewood, so you may want to bring your own.

Also See: How to start a survival fire

First Aid

It is hard to predict what injuries or illnesses might happen on a camping trip. You might be dozens of miles from the nearest doctor, so having a complete first aid kit is vital. Bring items to treat cuts, stomach issues, fever, allergic reactions, burns, and blisters.

Also See: Top 5 survival skills to learn


If you are like me, I rarely camp without doing some hiking. It is not a camping trip if you just sit by the fire the whole time. Because of this, you should have several ways to navigate. Both a trail map and a road or topographical map should be on your camping checklist. At least one compass should be with you, and never forget a GPS if you have it.

Also See: Land navigation techniques for survival


When camping, you can end up with several small projects that require tools. Whether you are sharpening a stick for marshmallows or fixing a tent pole, tools are vital. I suggest bringing a multi-tool, a full tang knife, a hammer, a folding saw, a hatchet, and some duct tape.

Also See: Survival items you need to have in your backpack


Even in the summer, you can end up with some nasty night time temperatures around dawn. You do not have to use it, but you should either bring a sleeping bag or blankets for each person. You should also have a sleeping pad or mat for each person to keep them up off the ground.

If you include these items on your camping checklist, you should at least have the basics sorted for your next trip. Upgrade your camping meals by considering The Campout Cookbook and Feast by Firelight for simple recipes for camping, cabins, and the great outdoors.

About The Author

My name is Ryan Dotson, and I am a survival specialist. I grew up in the Ozark Mountains of Southern Missouri and the foothills of the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. I enjoy writing about all related topics including hunting, fishing, prepping, firearms, cooking, and of course survival skills.

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