I recently was looking for an ideal gear list that I could print out for friends going on camp. I thought to myself, hey why not create one of my own. So I’ve created an Essential tent camping gear checklist (Downloadable .PDF) File. This will help you pack for your next camping trip and is a great resource to give to friends planning a tent camping trip.

This printable .pdf file should help you save time and give you peace of mind when preparing for your next trip away tent camping. It explains everything you could need from tent to toilet paper so you have all the basics and a few creature comforts.

The essential tent camping gear checklist

So here are the essentials you will need to pack for a camping trip. This includes the basics and some extras labeled (optional *).

Free Download: Essential tent camping gear checklist (.PDF)

1. Tent / Tarp Shelter

First things first if you’re going tent camping you’re going to need a tent or a tarp shelter. So choose what you’re taking out of the two and pack that into your pack. I always suggest if the weather is nice to take the tarp shelter for packing & trekking convenience.

2. Tent Pegs & Poles

Almost always the tent poles are never with the tent pegs and the tent pegs are never with the tent. So make sure you have the whole tent packed and double check you have the pegs and poles.

3. Sleeping Bag

A Good sleeping bag or woolen blankets during the right weather, are a must for the cold nights camping. be sure to pack your favourite sleeping bag or blankets.

4. sleeping pad

Depending on where your sleeping you will wish you brought at the bare minimum a yoga mat. Tiny stones digging into your hip all night ruins a good sleep.

5. Flash light

A flashlight or a headlamp is a life saver for them 3 am toilet breaks. You will find they are a pretty useful source of light for everything else you need to do when it gets dark, and it normally gets really dark in the country.

6. Clothing

You will need a few clothing items when camping and that will also depend on the climate you’re going into. Is it going to be snowing or is it going to be warm? Knowing this will help you to pack.

but a rule of thumb for a 2 day trip would be.

  • 4 x pairs of socks
  • 3 x Pairs of jocks or boxers
  • 2 x pairs of sturdy jeans or pants
  • 1 x Bonds singlet otherwise known down under as a wife beater
  • 2 x T-shirts
  • 1 x jumper & Rain jacket

Packing these should keep you out of trouble for most camping situations.

7. Knife & other tools

We all know how that saying goes “The best knife you have is the one that your holding” well its true and you should pack a knife or two for your trip. depending on where your going camping you might need to consider other tools.

Tools to consider would be a shovel for digging poo pits or saw for cutting down trees. A small sharp hatchet or axe can come in handy when camping as well.

8. Fire Starting Tools & Tinder

It’s always nice to have one form of fire that you can create even if it is a BIC lighter. But there are many ways to start a fire and becoming practiced in them is a good skill to acquire while in a relaxed camping environment. consider taking some alternate methods of starting the campfire.

You could try using some of these methods

  • Flint & Steel
  • Magnifying lens
  • Glass Lens or polished surface
  • Ferrocerium Rod
  • Friction fire starting, bow drills, pump drills, and the good ol stick

9. Food & water

packing food and water can be where a lot of bulk in your pack can come from especially if your not self sufficient in the bush. having to trek with 20 cans of baked beans is not fun.

I always find packing soup stocks and dry lentils and longer lasting stuff I can use to make soups in the bush always seem to save my pack room and I eat well.

Here’s an idea of what food you could take for a 2 day and night camping trip

  • Rice & Pasta
  • Dry lentils and other assorted legumes
  • Chicken & Beef Or Veggie Stock
  • large Stick of salami or other dry/smoked meat
  • Oats
  • Sugar
  • Tea & Coffee
  • Powdered milk
  • Water
  • 2-minute noodles or Ramen

This is a bare minimum kinda list but could be fit inside one pack with plenty of room left over, it would also provide you with plenty of food.

As for water your going to need more of that than anything, So filling bottles and camelbacks is a must. You might want to consider water purification options and I’ll go over that in a minute in this post.

12. Water Purification *

Water purification is a side thought to most people but it’s something we all should consider even if only going camping for a day or two.

There’s plenty of options to purify water and with some research, you will find many places selling a plethora of devices and chemicals that will clean water for you.

Amazon is usually a good place to start, I’d trust it more over eBay and some no-name online shop. look for water purification straws and chemical tablets and you will find a bunch for an affordable price.

10. Games & entertainment *

While it’s not going to be the end of the world if you forget Uno. It is nice to have some leisure and entertainment while camping. I personally play the harmonica and ukulele because they are small and easy to bring with me.

You can find most board games come in a travel version these days as well. I wrote a post the other week about 22 camping games and activities you should try. you might want to check that post out for ideas on what entertainment you will want to bring.

11. Emergency Location Devices *

These things usually cost a fortune and should really only be used in extreme cases. if you’re going on a simple camping trip the chances of you needing to use one of these is so low.

However, with that said that’s what these devices are designed for, to be put in a pack in case of emergency so it makes sense to have it.

13. First aid kit

Some people go overboard here and will pack full trauma kits like there a field doctor in a war. I’d only suggest a light-med kit.

  • bandages
  • Sling
  • wound irrigation solution
  • betadine,
  • Band aids
  • cotton tips
  • superglue
  • antibacterial spray

Keep your med kit simple you could build on it depending on what conditions you might be camping in but honestly you will only need it light for a short trip.

14. Toiletries & Cleaning Products

Pack your shaving and bathing products like toothbrush and toothpaste, proper hygiene should be observed in the bush where possible.

You might want to consider soap and dirty dish cleaning products too. Don’t forget the toilet paper either you will be wishing you hadn’t.

15. Bug Repellent & Sunscreen

no matter where you go camping your gonna get bugs, for some people it drives them nuts and they get attacked the whole time there camping others don’t get one bite. Either way, it’s always nice to put some bug spray in your pack just in case.

If you have kids or are fair skinned adding some sunblock to your pack is a good idea in a scenario where you’re exposed to the sun for long periods while camping.

16. Beer & Alcoholic drinks *

While this is totally optional and lots of people don’t drink. Bringing some beer, wine or spirits along camping is nice on some occasions. Having a nice hip flask of scotch can warm you up when it starts getting cold.

17. Power Banks, Solar Chargers & Mobiles *

Almost everyone has a mobile phone these days, so if your camping it’s a good idea to buy a few portable power banks and make sure there charged right up. You could also invest in a solar charging power bank or a few portable solar panels.

This will help you play a game or watch those late night movies on your phone in the tent before bed. Could also be a lifesaver if you needed to call for help.

18. Cooking Utensils

Don’t know about you but I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gotten to a campsite and gone to cook some eggs and bacon and realized I left the egg flip or worse the pan.

You will need a few items for cooking here is what I suggest

  • Fry-pan
  • Small soup or stew pot
  • Small pot to brew coffee
  • Knife, fork, spoon
  • Tongs, Ladle & egg flip


Following this checklist should ensure you leave nothing behind and your camping trip goes off without a hitch. like all things, I may have left something off depending on the season and the number of people going.

If you feel I’ve left something off this list then please leave a comment or share it in our forums. Like always if you found this post useful please leave an honest rating and some feedback.

Enjoy your next camping trip from everyone here at tentreport.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?


Hi, my name is Becca I'm a mum and wife and I love camping with my family. I started this blog to share great information about tents and camping.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I’ve read some excellent stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking
    for revisiting. I surprise how much attempt you place to create
    one of these wonderful informative website.

  2. Magnificent website. Plenty of useful info here. I’m sending it to some pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And of course, thanks to your effort!