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Best Tent Camping Checklist for Families – And Editable

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Last updated on February 14, 2024

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If you are looking for the ultimate camping checklist, this is it!

A fully comprehensive list, editable to suit you, and in an easily printable format format so you can conveniently mark the items off when you are packing.

Because camping in a tent isn't rocket science, but you do need to be well prepared, especially if you are first-time campers, or are on a family camping trip, and want a comfortable outdoor experience.

Our checklist of what to take camping is especially designed for families camping with a tent, and while the document includes Australian terminology, because we are based in Australia, it should also be of interest to our international friends. Please let us know if you have any suggestions for the document tosuit your camping style.

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.

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 essentials list should be accessories to help enhance your 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
  • Extra tent stakes / tent pegs
  • 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 cable
  • Solar panels
  • Power banks/batteries
  • Cables

4: Camp 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 Essentials Camp cooking 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 list is that you focus on what you can cook with the equipment available to you and if necessary have the recipes on hand. 

You will also need to consider the availability of camping supplies in the local grocery stores for fresh food as well as ice and other things you may need while you are out there.

How you organise the camp kitchen and furniture (below) may differ significantly if you are in bear country, or other areas where wildlife are likely to want to get at your food. 

Gas and Campfire cooking

  • Gas bottle/canisters
  • Long tongs
  • Campfire frying pan
  • Required gas fittings
  • Long-handled fork
  • Jaffle iron
  • Camp oven
  • Wooden spoon
  • Heatproof gloves
  • Gas  camp 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/ cooking pot
  • Silicon pot rest

Dinnerware / tableware

  • 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
  • Cutting board
  • Portable sink
  • Water container

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
  • Aluminium foil
  • Portable coffee maker

Camp Food And Refreshments

  • Frozen meals from home
  • Long-life food items
  • Refrigerated food
  • Trail mix for hiking
  • Frozen meals from home
  • Long-life food items
  • Refrigerated food
  • Clean water

Cleaning

  • Dish towels / tea towels
  • Dish soap
  • Dishwashing basin
  • Dish cloths
  • Scourer

6: Refrigeration    

Your refrigeration for camping options range from lower-cost iceboxes and eskies and absorption fridges to the more expensive compressor camping fridge. 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 packing list should include:

Bathroom

  • Portable camp shower
  • Portable toilet
  • Toilet roll

Toiletries          

  • Toothbrush / toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Nail file/tweezers
  • Earplugs/eye mask
  • Lip balm
  • Toothbrush holder
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Jewelry/makeup
  • Toilet paper
  • Moisturiser
  • Body soap and soap holder
  • Shaver's & shaving cream
  • Menstrual 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

For babies and toddlers

  • Diapers/nappies
  • Picnic blanket
  • Portable cot/crib
  • Baby wipes
  • Baby formula and bottles
  • Highchair or booster chair
  • Stroller
  • Play pen (space permitting)

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.This list is comprehensive, and you wouldn't typically include everything in your first-aid kit. Simply read through the list and include only what you would need for your particular camping trip.

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            

  • Bandages
  • Adhesive bandages / band-aids
  • Adhesive tape
  • Cotton buds

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 repellant
  • Appropriate clothing
  • Extra batteries
  • Sunscreen
  • Shovel
  • Extra drinking water

9: Furniture   

The options for camping furniture range from simple to extravagant and cater for all comfort levels. 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.

Some campsite facilities will include picnic tables on each site, which will reduce what you need to take.

  • Camp chairs - one each
  • Dining table @ seat set
  • Collapsible shelf/pantry (long stays)
  • Folding camping table / stand for cooking stove
  • Another camp table (or 2) for food preparation

10: Bedding and towels  

For most people, creature comforts are important when comes to sleeping gear and comfortable sleeping arrangements, 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 conditions will play a big part in deciding what to take, as well as other planned activities.

General                                        

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Going-out wear

For wet weather / cold weather

  • Nightwear
  • Gloves
  • 1 outer layer (water / windproof rain 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 shoes / hiking boots

12: 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
  • Ideas for camp games
  • Other fun things to bring camping

13: 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

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