Looking for a quick and simple camping checklist?
It can be overwhelming wading through the internet noise to find the perfect one! We used to spend hours and hours reluctantly scrolling to find a camping checklist with the essentials.
We wanted something quick and simple that could get us out the door ASAP.
After lots of digging and no success, we decided to ultimately make our own camping checklist! That way, we can pack the car in record time and care about more important matters…like jumping in the lake. 🙂
We wrote this post to help you plan your own quick camping trip, without the hassle of packing for the next apocalypse.
Read on for the perfect list for the first-time camper, or anyone who wants a simple camping checklist to help them get outside and do what they love best – being outside!
Camping With Coleman: The 10 Essentials You Need On Every Camping Checklist
The goal of this blog from the beginning was to make outdoor adventure attainable to everyone and we’re so happy to help you get there through our pictures, words, and stories.
We love sharing easy tips on how people can get outdoors, so we’re so excited to share our quick and simple camping checklist with you!
For this post, we teamed up with Coleman to bring you 10 essential must-haves on every camping checklist, to make your next trip fun and hassle-free!
This was such a fun and natural collaboration because it was the perfect opportunity to share some great products and do things we genuinely love. So, let’s get packing!
We’ve also made a printable camping checklist- get it below!
This one goes without saying, but you need a place to sleep!
You could technically sleep in your car, but for a totally classic camping experience, we suggest investing in a good tent. This way, you can be closer to nature, and maybe even have the chirping of crickets lull you to sleep at night.
We were so happy with this 6-person tent from Coleman while we camped over the Fourth of July.
Not only could it fit all of our friends, but the tent has Darkroom Technology, which blocks the light out so your tent stays cool and you can sleep in longer. Win-win!
Camping Tip: If it’s your first time with a new tent, try throwing a backyard campout so that you can practice setting it up before your big trip!
Read More: How To Survive Camping In The Rain
2. Sleeping Bags
One of our favorite parts of camping is snuggling up in a cozy sleeping bag at night!
The right sleeping bag can be a perfect addition to a night under the stars, so make sure to pick the right one for your type of camping trip.
Camping Hack: Need to save some space? Ditch the bulky pillows and use your sleeping bag sack as one instead! Stuff it full of clothing and wrap it in a sweatshirt for a multi-purpose way to use your gear.
(And you’ll finally have a reliable way to keep track of that darn bag!)
Read More: 8 Steps For Planning A Flawless Weekend Trip
The heart and soul of any good camping trip is gathering around the fire. This is where you can roast s’mores, share stories, cook meals, and enjoy good company – oh and did I say s’mores? 😉
Berty is the master fire builder of the two of us, so if you need some tips on how to start one – send him a DM on Instagram! Make sure to bring some cash to buy some cords of wood on site when you register at your campsite.
Pro Tip: Buy firewood where you are going to burn it. Transporting firewood has the potential to kill trees (eek!) and spread diseases. Read more about how you can help conserve our forests here!
Read More: The Essential Guide To Camping In The PNW
4. Water Jug
One of the most essential pieces on your camping checklist is a water storage container! Not only will you use water for drinking, but for cooking, cleaning, and everything in between.
This is especially important if you are camping in a location that doesn’t have running water (very common in winter camping!).
We suggest packing a refillable water carrier like this one so you can use it over and over again. If you want to be extra prepared, try calling the local gas stations or state parks on your way, and see if they have stations to fill up your water.
Traveling Far? Here are 30 Road Trip Essentials You Must Pack
A good cooler is an integral part of a great camping experience.
Not only is it perfect for storing groceries, but it can double as a prep station, a temporary bench (for the new friends you meet!), or even a way to keep non-groceries cool (like sunscreen on a hot day – how refreshing would that be?!).
We loved the chance to try this Red Steel Belted one from Coleman. It is super stylish, highly effective, and easy to clean after our weekend camping trip.
Berty and I can see ourselves using this cooler as a staple piece for tailgates, overnight car camping adventures, and gathering for summer picnics with our friends!
Read More: 10 Easy Camping Meals To Make On The Road
6. Portable Stove / Cooking Surface
Camping stoves make it super easy to cook meals for your entire campsite.
Personally, we own this Even Temp two-burner one from Coleman (we put it on our wedding registry two years ago!) and it makes cooking quick and mess-free.
Berty’s quite the chef, so he loves caramelizing onions and flipping burgers for a perfect summer meal. We love that it closes up when we’re done using it, so we can store it packed away from curious wildlife in the area.
(Note: We didn’t take it on this camping trip, but I’ll update this post later with pictures!)
No stove? Don’t fret! You can use the grill on top of a fire pit, and a cast-iron pan to cook your meals. We cooked nearly all of our meals over the fire on our latest camping trip and it was so fun!
Read More: 10+ Easy Camping Meals To Make On The Road
7. Hot Water Heater
This piece of equipment can take on a lot of different shapes. You can heat up water over a campfire using a percolator, speed heat water with a Jet Boil, or simply use a camping stove and a pot of water.
Whatever way you choose, having a way to heat up water is useful for doing dishes, making coffee/cocoa and filling up water bottles for a cozy heat pack before bed.
Read More: How We Prepare Coffee On The Road
8. Deck of Cards / Board Games
Some of our favorite camping memories are when we’re sitting around the picnic table playing games!
Our favorites to add to our camping checklist are Mad Gab, Sorry, Dice, and Settlers of Catan. Make sure to pack a few decks of cards too – then you’ll have endless games to play.
On our last trip, we played Settlers of Catan not once, but THREE times! It was a really fun way to sit around the picnic bench and bond with our friends.
While it’s not the most common game to add to a camping list, don’t be afraid to bring your favorite games to share – no matter how complicated.
Read More: La Push, Washington and Beach Camping Tips
A good lantern is essential for those late-night bathroom runs, but even more important if you want to stay up late playing games.
Bonus if your lantern plays music like this one from Coleman for some perfect camping vibes. Just make sure not to disturb your neighbors and respect camp quiet hours!
We also used this lantern to explore during sunrise at Lake Wenatchee. It’s the perfect source of light for blue hour, and it helped guide our way through the rocky trails. (As you can see, I didn’t have the greatest shoes for this adventure, haha)
Want A Cozier Getaway? Read About Glamping In A Yurt!
10. Camping Chairs
No more sitting on log stumps and coolers!
Camping chairs are a must for us because of their ability to facilitate great conversations around the campfire. Bonus if yours has a cup holder for a nice cold drink!
We have been known to sit around the fire until midnight most times because we get lost in enjoying the visits with our friends.
If you’re feeling fancy, get this ultra-comfy camping chair with a built-in cooler! Not only is it great for the outdoors, but we could definitely see ourselves bringing this chair to parades, tailgates, and outdoor movies!
Read More: The Essential Guide To Camping In The PNW
We could go a lot more in-depth in this post, but we wanted to keep this post simple and attainable for any first-time campers.
We believe you don’t need a huge packing list for camping (though you totally could go all out, and that’s great too!) but we’re here to share a basic camping checklist with just the essentials in this post.
We hope that it can equip and inspire you to take your first camping trip (or your 100th!), and feel prepared to take on any outdoor adventure! So, let us know in the comments below…where will you go camping next??
Thank you Coleman for partnering with us for this post! Just a reminder, all opinions are completely our own!
What’s on your camping checking? What camping essentials would you suggest for a first-time camper? Let us know in the comments below!
READ MORE CAMPING POSTS
Want some more ideas for your camping checklist? Follow our Camping Board on Pinterest for more inspiration!
Want to find the best places in the PNW?
Stop searching through internet noise and download our curated list just for you.
Enter your email below and we'll send you your PNW Bucket List!