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The Best Tent Camping Checklist – And It’s Editable

BY JO SIMON

February 4, 2021

Camping in a tent isn't complicated, but you do need to be well prepared, especially if you are camping beginners, or at least are family first-timers, and want a comfortable outdoor experience.

That starts with a good tent camping checklist to make sure that all of your essentials are accounted for before you head off on your adventure.

Our checklist of what to take camping is especially designed for families camping with a tent, and while it contains some Australian terminology, it should also be of interest to our international friends. Please let us know if you have any suggestions for the document.

To complement this article, also check out our tent camping setup for families article for a detailed look at all of the various components of a typical camping setup together with links to related articles and our recommendations.

You can click on the check-boxes below to mark off items and these will be stored in your browser for future reference as long as you return to the same browser.

As everyone is different, a static tent camping checklist is really not going to cut it. That's why you need an editable and printable checklist so you can customise it to suit you! Download it to MS Word / Google Docs OR as a printable PDF!


 This will be one of those packing lists that you will come back to time and time again.

1: Tent and accessories

A campsite should provide weatherproof shelter for privacy and protection from the elements. This could be in the form of a tent fitted with a large awning, or something smaller with additional shelter in the form of a separate tarp or marquee.

Also included in your tent camping checklist should be accessories to help enhance your camping experience and protect your equipment from damage.

  • Tent(s)
  • Marquee / tarp / shelter
  • Spare tent poles
  • Spare tent pegs
  • Loose wall panels and flooring accessories
  • Tent floor saver
  • Front door mat for the tent entrance

2: Tools

Every camping trip is different, but you should always have the right tools for your trip. Compact and lightweight camping tools can really help you deal with the various issues that may arise during your trip and on your travels. More often than not, you won’t need to use these tools, but they will be there in case of emergencies.

  • 2 mallets/hammers
  • Multi-tool
  • Rubber bands
  • Fold back clips
  • Small scissors
  • Compact folding saw
  • Spare tent pegs/stakes
  • Screwdriver
  • Plant twist wire
  • Dustpan/brush
  • Bike tools/repair kit
  • Spare guy ropes
  • Spanner
  • Cable ties
  • Broom
  • Long handle shovel
  • Tent repair kit
  • Peg/stake puller
  • Duct tape
  • String
  • Trowel
  • Small ax
  • 1-2 buckets

3: Electronics

Technological improvements over recent years have really worked in our favor in terms of pack size and cost. While some campers still endeavor to limit the use of devices and get back to basics, for others, devices are becoming an integral part of their camping experience.

  • Electronic devices
  • Portable speaker
  • Powered site: Extn lead and power board
  • Battery chargers and cables
  • Solar panels
  • Power banks/batteries
  • Cables

4: Lighting     

Campsites don't need to be lit up like a sports stadium, but a good lighting setup should still provide adequate lighting for the various camping-related activities, including general tasks, reading/cooking/playing games, spotting nocturnal animals, and finding the way in the dark.        

  • Tent lights
  • Awning / outside light
  • 1 headlamp each
  • Living area light
  • Torches – 1 each
  • Spare batteries as required
  • Spotlighting torch

5: Camp Kitchen
Camping food doesn't have to be elaborate, and a well-equipped kitchen doesn't need to take up a lot of room. The most important thing when putting together your tent camping checklist is that you focus on what you can cook with the equipment available to you and if necessary have the recipes on hand. Here are our suggestions for your camp kitchen checklist:
   

  • Gas bottle/canisters
  • Long tongs
  • Campfire frying pan
  • Required gas fittings
  • Long-handled fork
  • Jaffle iron
  • Camp oven
  • Wooden spoon
  • Heatproof gloves
  • Gas cooking stove
  • Camp oven lid lifter
  • Wood / fuel for fire 

Cookware

  • Frying pan and lid
  • Flat frying pan lid
  • Kettle
  • 2 additional stackable storage containers
  • Small milk pot
  • Flat toaster
  • Cake tin
  • Large saucepan/pot
  • Silicon pot rest

Dinnerware

  • Stackable drink cups
  • Side plates
  • Dinner plates
  • 2 small bowls
  • Desert bowls
  • Stackable coffee cups
  • Stackable glass cups
  • Stubby holders

Kitchenware

  • Strainer
  • 2-3 medium to large stainless-steel bowls
  • Chopping board

Cutlery/cooking utensils

  • Knives
  • Forks
  • Dessert spoons
  • 3 teaspoons
  • Small tongs
  • Veggie peeler
  • Utility knife
  • Flat grater
  • Small scissors
  • Can opener
  • Small paring knife
  • Serving spoon
  • Permanent marker
  • Egg flip
  • Egg rings (1 each)
  • Small spatula
  • Rubber bands
  • Gas lighter / matches
  • Paper towels
  • Flat whisk
  • Meat thermometer
  • Pastry/basting brush
  • Wooden skewers
  • Bottle opener

Camp Food

  • Frozen meals from home
  • Long-life food items
  • Refrigerated food
  • Condiments
  • Containers for food
  • Food storage or pantry

Cleaning

  • Tea towel
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Dishwashing basin
  • Dishcloth
  • Scourer

6: Refrigeration    

Your refrigeration options range from lower-cost eskies and absorption fridges to the more expensive compressor fridges. Smaller cooler bags can also store smaller items with lower temperature requirements such as fruit and vegetables that don’t necessarily require refrigeration but benefit from an environment of a cooler temperature.

  • 1-2 soft or hard esky's
  • Icebox / fridge stand
  • Icebox / fridge

7: Bathroom and Laundry

Your bathroom and laundry-related gear will depend on the types of facilities you have available to you as well as the length of your stay. With access to a shower, toilet, and laundry facilities, you might only need standard items like toiletries, towels, and basic supplies. Camping in areas without toilet and shower facilities becomes much more complicated for car campers. Your tent camping checklist should include:

Bathroom

  • Portable camping shower
  • Portable camp toilets


Toiletries          

  • Toothbrush / toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Nail file/tweezers
  • Earplugs/eye mask
  • Lip balm
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Jewelry/makeup
  • Toilet paper
  • Moisturiser
  • Soap and soap holder
  • Shaver's & shaving cream
  • Feminine products
  • Brush/comb
  • Scissors
  • Make-up
  • Cotton wool/buds
  • Other personal items

Laundry bag     

  • Clothes pegs
  • Delicates washing bag
  • $2 and $1 coins
  • Laundry powder
  • Hanging peg bag

8: First aid / H&S 

The importance of having a well-equipped first aid kit on hand shouldn't be underestimated, especially if children are involved. Also important is knowing how to administer first aid, especially in an emergency.

Medications:

  • Antihistamines
  • Pain relief med
  • Motion sickness tabs
  • Anti-diarrhea tablets
  • Other personal meds
  • Cough medicine / lozenges

Creams, cleaning & sterilizing   

  • Antiseptic cream;
  • Saline solution
  • Sunburn cream/spray
  • Vinegar
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Anti-itch cream

Bandages and dressings            

  • Band-Aids
  • Bandages
  • Adhesive tape

Other first aid items

  • Tweezers/scissors
  • Thermometer
  • First aid manual
  • Dosage syringe
  • Thermal/space blanket
  • Cotton wool
  • Pocket knife
  • Face mask
  • Note pad & pen
  • Latex gloves
  • Safety pins
  • Water filter/purify tabs

Communications & info

  • Whistle
  • Mobile phone
  • Small mirror
  • Satellite phone
  • Portable AM radio
  • A distress beacon – PLB
  • Spare radio batteries

Directions         

  • Compass
  • Maps
  • GPS tracking

Other H&S related

  • Matches/fire starters
  • Woolen blanket
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Water Bucket
  • Torch/headlamp
  • Insect repellent
  • Appropriate clothing
  • Extra batteries
  • Sunscreen
  • Shovel
  • Extra drinking water

9: Furniture   

The options for camping furniture range from simple to extravagant. Some campers prefer to use a simple fold-out table and chair, while others prefer to go all out and make their campsite as comfortable as possible.  I think you will find our suggestions are somewhere in between, but erring on the side of comfort.

  • Camp chairs – one each
  • Dining table @ seat set
  • Collapsible shelf/pantry (long stays)
  • Folding table/stand for cooking stove
  • 1-2 camping tables for a benchtop

10: Bedding and towels  

For most people, comfortable sleeping arrangements are so important, second only to the quality of your tent. So, within reason don't skimp on comfort.    

11: Clothing

The first thing to consider when you're looking for camping clothing is the type of outdoor adventure you plan on going on. Are you going to be doing a lot of bushwalking and hiking or are you going to relax around the campsite? Of course, the expected weather forecast plays a big part in deciding what to take, as well as other planned activities.

General                                        

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Going-out wear

For cold/wet weather

  • Nightwear
  • Gloves
  • 1 outer layer (water/windproof jacket)
  • Thermal leggings
  • Head beanie
  • 2 insulating layers (jumpers/jackets)
  • 2 long pants
  • Woolen socks
  • 3 base layers (thermal/other tops)
  • Scarf
  • Rain poncho

For warm weather

  • 3 summer tops
  • Nightwear
  • Sun hat
  • Swimming goggles
  • Bathers
  • 2 shorts/skirts
  • Swimming top
  • Sunglasses

Footwear

  • Water shoes
  • Thongs/flip flops
  • Sandals
  • Walking/hiking shoes or boots

11: Sports / entertainment / other activities

Every good family tent camping checklist needs a variety of options for sports and entertainment, especially if you are camping with kids. While space might be limited for transportation, you still will have plenty of options:

  • Bike(s)
  • Rackets / bats
  • Small board games
  • Small toys/balls
  • Colouring in book
  • Colour pencils etc
  • Helmets
  • Playing cards
  • Life jackets
  • Paperback books
  • Other fun things to bring camping

12: Cars and accessories

Whether you own or hire your car, it is really the key to comfortably and safely transporting you, your camping gear, and your loved ones. 

  • Tie-down straps
  • Cargo box or bag
  • Bike rack

14. Eco-friendly and Sundry Items         

And last but not least, every tent camping checklist should include eco-friendly items to help reduce the amount of waste produced while we are camping.

  • Water bottle each
  • Reusable containers
  • Reusable coffee cups
  • Reusable straws
  • Reusable shop bags
  • Trip information
  • Umbrella
  • Hand luggage

For further reading


Trailer-Free Camping Setup Inspirations

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