Our Complete Family Camping Checklist (with Printable PDF)

Prepping for your first family camping trip? Then you need our ultimate family camping checklist. We'll tell you exactly what to pack.

Reconnect with nature (and your family!) by planning a camping trip. This classic summer activity is fun for all ages and easy on the budget.

If you’re a camping newbie, it can be quite daunting to plan your first trip, especially when it comes to packing. That’s why we put together the ultimate family camping checklist. On this list, you’ll find all of the necessities for a successful trip—plus, we’ve included a camping checklist PDF that you can print. Happy camping!

Print out your FREE family camping checklist.

Make a Plan

Camping and tent under the pine forest near the lake with beautiful sunlight in the morningnampix/Shutterstock

  • Pick a date
  • Determine how long you want to camp
  • Reserve your campsite
  • Make a rain contingency plan (and consider these other brilliant camping tricks)
  • If you have small children, consider doing a trial run with backyard camping

Essential Gear

  • Tent and stakes
  • Tarp
  • Duct tape
  • Air mattress(es)
  • Sleeping bags
  • Folding lawn chairs
  • Folding table
  • Blanket(s)
  • Pillows
  • Lantern/flashlight
  • Candles/matches
  • Clothesline (for hanging wet swimwear and towels)
  • Umbrella
  • A map or compass (You might not always have cell service!)
  • Cellphone charger
  • Wallet

Outdoor Kitchen Tools

  • Cooler and ice (Here are the best ways to keep food cold while camping.)
  • Cast-iron skillet (Here are our favorite cast-iron skillet breakfasts.)
  • Camping Dutch oven
  • Portable grill (Don’t forget charcoal and lighter fluid.)
  • Matches/lighter
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting board
  • Meat thermometer
  • Skewers
  • Tongs
  • Large/small bowls
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plates
  • Cutlery
  • Napkins
  • Cups/water bottles
  • Water jug
  • Trash bags
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Paper towels

Camping Meals and Drinks

Multiple marshmallows extended over a camp fire to roast.Phil McDonald/Shutterstock

  • Breakfast for each day (fruit, cereal, breakfast hash, pancakes)
  • Lunch for each day (hot dogs, brats, hamburgers, buns/bread, sliced cheese)
  • Dinner for each day (grilling meats, potatoes, vegetables, kabobs)
  • Condiments (ketchup, mustard, relish, mayonnaise)
  • S’mores supplies (marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers, skewers)
  • Portable snacks (granola bars, beef jerky, fruit snacks, chips)
  • Water
  • Coffee (filters, portable coffee makers, grinder if bringing whole beans)
  • Juice
  • Beer/wine/liquor

These are some of the best foods to bring on a camping trip.

Clothing and Shoes

  • T-shirts
  • Pants and/or shorts
  • Thick socks
  • Jackets or long sleeves for layering
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Scarves
  • Pajamas
  • Thermal underwear
  • Bathing suit
  • Sunglasses
  • Towels (for showering and water activities)
  • Walking shoes
  • Hiking boots
  • Rain boots
  • Water shoes
  • Sandals
  • Plastic bags for wet, dirty clothes


  • Hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Handsoap
  • Body soap
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Lip balm
  • Contacts and contact lens solution
  • Toilet paper
  • Tissues
  • Menstrual products
  • Baby wipes
  • Medications
  • Hand sanitizer

Camping Activities and Entertainment

  • Board games and lawn games (these are our favorite outdoor games)
  • Beach toys
  • Coloring books and crayons
  • Books and magazines
  • Camera (don’t forget chargers, batteries, film, memory cards and tripod)
  • Fishing pole
  • Speaker
  • Binoculars

Camping Safety Items

Military Medical Aid, first aid kit; The world of words/Shutterstock

  • First aid kit (check your pantry for some homemade first aid remedies)
  • Extra batteries
  • Life jackets (if you’re going in the water)
  • Approved firewood and firestarter
  • Jugs of freshwater (in case of emergency)
  • Printed or written directions to closest hospital (in case of dead phones or no internet service)
  • Epipens (if needed)
  • Emergency blankets

Like any trip you take, it’s always possible to forget things. As long as you have the basics to build your tent, keep you and your family fed and you brought all the necessary safety equipment, you should be golden. If you left your favorite coffee mug or the cornhole set at home, it won’t be the end of the world. Take this time to breathe deeply in the open air and enjoy the simplicity of the outdoors and all they have to offer.

More Campfire Favorites
1 / 35

Katie Bandurski
As Senior Shopping Editor, Katie connects Taste of Home readers with the best gifts, deals and home products on the market. An avid foodie and a holiday enthusiast, Katie is an expert at cultivating meaningful moments. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and watching Christmas movies.