Valerie Root

Wondering what you should bring for some tent camping? Use our camping checklist!

I was tired of being ill-prepared so I created a camping gear checklist to use every time I head out for the day.

Below I list what I bring for every camping trip and recommend you do to!

Camping Checklist

Check out our camping checklist. Use the camping gear checklist to get started for your next trip to wherever your adventures take you.

Camping Tents for Women

When you look at the number of people that are 'supposed to' fit in the tent, don't be surprised if you fall over from shock.  I typically divide the number by 2 and expect that to be a cozy number of adults to fit.  For more detailed reviews see our Definitive Guide to Tents article. Check out what we have for camping tents.


Co-op Kingdom 8 Tent

Every year this camping tent gets better and better!  Four adults fit comfortably with 2 large (or 4 small) mattresses. Ample space and ease for under $600.


Co-op Camp Dome 4 Tent

This is a great camping tent for two adults in non-rain and non-windy conditions.  Great tent for under $200!


Co-op Grand Hut 6 Tent

Six and a half feet of standing room! This is a great REI tents for multiple day camping trips for under $350!

Sleeping Bags

Sleeping bags come in different shapes and fill types.  Down filled bags are lighter for the temperature rating compared to synthetic fill. On the other hand the synthetic fill is more affordable and will stay somewhat warm when wet.


NEMO Riff 15 Sleeping Down Bag - Women's

I have used this bag for 2 years straight and absolutely love it. The little neck blanket is amazing for keeping the draft out and the leg room helps me sleep like a baby. 


Kelty Galactic 30 Sleeping Bag - Women's

This warm and simple sleeping bag will only set you back $129 and offers the leg room needed for a good nights sleep.


Big Agnes Sunbeam 15 Sleeping Bag - Women's

Big Agnes is a hands-down durable and dependable outdoor brand.  This synthetic bag is rated for such cool temps it would likely work year round for most women.

Camping Chair

Camping Chairs are so necessary unless you like sitting on the ground, which few actually like. There are great camp chairs online or at your local retail store.

They also make double wide chairs and little chair side tables and other great accessories.

Camping Cot

A queen sized camping cot with an inflatable mattress made camping with my husband much more enjoyable. It is made by Coleman and even has little side tables with cup holders. We also have spring loaded cots that come with these great open cell foam pad.

Camping Shower

Not all campgrounds come with showers or a refreshing lake. In those cases if you need a camping shower you need to bring one. You can suspend a water bladder and slowly rinse yourself but that is likely to take a while to rinse shampoo out.

Portable camping shower tent is a great first step for modest showering. You can hang your portable camping shower in the tent and then strip down and clean up. What is nice about the camping shower bags are that they can get warn all day in the sun.

Camping Mattress

For car camping I prefer a inflatable mattress with top sheets and quilts for 2 people and my favorite sleeping bag on a air mattress for solo nights.


REI Co-op Kingdom Insulated Sleep System 40

The base mattress is very comfortable (don't over-inflate!) and with the added layers it is a bed you won't want to get out of!


NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad

I use this air mattress in combination with a closed cell foam pad for camping and backpacking.  I have the wide, so my elbows stay on at night.


REI Co-op Camp Dreamer Insulated Air Sleeping Pad

This super thick air mattress will make you forget you are sleeping on the ground.  It comes with a pump so you won't get faint inflating it.

Camp Hydration

It is always easier to refill one large container than to fill all bottles, packs and cookware at the spigot.  Here are som of my favorite solutions to camp hydration.


Reliance Jumbo-Tainer Water Container - 7 gal.

Unique shape is easy to pack and convenient handles make it easy to move around. Designed for campers.


GSI Outdoors Folding Water Cube - 5.3 gal.

Easy to pack up and store when empty.  Convenient back up water container.


LifeStraw Flex with Gravity Bag Water Filter - 1 gal.

If you are camping where you will filter water, this is a great camp filter system.  Just suspend the bladder and let gravity filter for you.

Rain/Shade Canopy

It is always easier to refill one large container than to fill all bottles, packs and cookware at the spigot.  Here are som of my favorite solutions to camp hydration.


Caddis Rapid Shelter - 10' x 10'

This is a what you often see, becasue it works well and provides versitle shade and shelter protection.


Neso 1 Sunshade

This super pack-able and useful invention is great camping and at the beach.  We keep ours in the trunk.


Caddis Rapid Screenhouse Shelter

Stay cool and away from pests and pets.

Camp Lighting

Lighting can help make any great day last late into the night.  I suggest bringing a few kinds so that you can set the perfect post sunset mood at camp.


REVEL GEAR Trail Hound 30 ft. Camping Light

Twinkle lights that are rechargable can make camp feel so much more festive!


Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern & USB Power Hub

What?! A lantern and a charging station!  This comes equipped with a crank so you will always have power.


MPOWERD Luci Outdoor 2.0 Inflatable Solar Lantern

This standby is a great way to travel light and create ample illumination.  I own at least 10 of these and use them for backyard parties as well as backpacking and camping.

First Aid at Camp

Never leave home without a basic first aid kit.  When camping, make sure you know how to use what's in the package and keep up with your CPR and First Aid training.


Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Hiker Medical Kit

Great basic first aid supplies for a car camping trip.


HART Health Weekend First Aid Kit

This is a more simple version of #1 if you are looking for just the basics.


Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight/Watertight .5 Medical Kit

Designed for life in the bottom of the bag - watertight and lightweight, these are great for adventure anything!

Camping Stove

You really need a way to cook your camping food and most people use a camping stove. You will need one that is powerful enough for your needs or light enough to carry. We use a different stove for car camping and through hiking.

There are fast boil camp stove options that range from $99 to a lot more. The more you spend on your camp stove the fast and lighter it will be.

Then you can always go for the Camp Chef stove or Camp Chef griddle that allows you cook for larger groups more easily. The Camp Chef stove we use for family reunions has been very reliable. We have yet to try the Camp Chef pellet grill, let us know if you have!

Hiking Gear

What you will wear and use to stay safe can be found in the Day Hiking Gear Checklist.

This camping list is designed to get you started on your next outdoor adventure.

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