Camping is a great way to get outside with family and friends or even by yourself. You can go camping in many state and national parks, at private campgrounds, in the backcountry or even in your own backyard. (For more info, read Where Can I Camp?)
Most campsites include a picnic table, a place to park your car and a spot to pitch your tent. Many also have shared bathrooms and running water.
Part of the joy of camping is needing very little gear to exist outdoors. But it’s also nice to have a comfortable, convenient and homey campsite. If it’s your first time camping, it might be best to borrow or rent some of these things. As you become a more experienced camper, you may find that part of the fun is figuring out what to bring along to meet your needs.
While you’re packing, use this handy camping checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything important and make sure to stock up on the things you need. This is a comprehensive list, and we don't expect you to bring along every item — though we won't judge you if you do!
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Tools & Repair Items
Most of the following items are optional, though depending on how remote your campsite is, navigation tools such as a map, compass and/or GPS may be required (for more info, read about the Ten Essentials).
Clothing & Footwear
Additional items for rainy and/or cold weather:
Health & Hygiene
Sun and bug protection:
Recreation.gov is a great resource for public lands campsite reservations; Hipcamp is a great resource for private lands campsite reservations.
Video: What to Take Camping