Camping Checklist (and a few great tips!)


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Your TopNotch Camping Checklist

The Gear
You Never Want To Forget

Never Go Camping Without These Essentials…
…Once You’ve Packed Them You Can Rest Easy
…And Have The Best Time.

Camping is a great way to connect and reflect whether it’s with family, friends, team-building with colleagues or even by yourself.


We’ve all heard the horror stories. Or maybe you lived through one, (or two)…

Damp, Cold, Tired, Hungry, Sunburnt….

Maybe you’ve even encountered Bears along the way.

Well, our TopNotch team goal is to show you….

….what great camping memories are made of.

So, don’t let’s leave anything to chance.

Table of Contents

Use our camping checklist to make your next camp trip one to remember (not one you’d rather forget).

The TopNotch camping checklist isn’t ONLY for first-time campers, smart campers always check and double-check they have the essentials before heading out.


This is the exact same Camping Checklist I’ve created over years of experience – and I use it all the time.

I’m sharing it with you today.

NOW: This is a (very) comprehensive list (we don’t expect you to pack everything).

That said…

…we’ll be super happy if you do!


Let’s dive in…

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I know what you’re thinking; pack the tent, dude!

But for a happy, comfortable camping trip, you’ll want to triple check you’ve packed the right kit.

No one wants to be sleeping or sitting on the floor, in the dark, cold, wet, or missing guy ropes or tent poles.

These are the campsite essentials for your camping checklist:

  • Tent(s) (and groundsheet)
  • Sleeping air mattress/ pad(s)
  • Camping pillow
  • Sleeping bag(s)
  • Headlamp(s) (and extra batteries)
  • Camping lantern (and batteries/ fuel)
  • Flashlight(s) (and extra batteries)
  • Camp chair(s)

Optional Items:

  • Camp table
  • Tarp/ screen house for sun and rain protection
  • Sleeping bag liner(s)
  • Toilet
  • Clothesline & pegs

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Tools & Repair Items

Have essential tools, you may need to cut a rope, clean up sand in the tent, fillet a fish, or repair a deflating mattress.

Be prepared, be prepared, be prepared.

Pocket knives & multi-tools work well for everyday tasks but remember they do have limitations.

These are the essential tools for your camping checklist:

  • Multi-tool
  • Mallet (for tent pegs)
  • Small axe (for firewood)
  • Extra paracord
  • Broom and dustpan

Camp Tools
Optional Items:

  • Pad/ mattress repair kit
  • High-quality survival knife
  • Survival shovel
  • Duct tape

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Cooking for your family (or any crowd) is going to be very different than if you were just cooking for yourself.  So set yourself up for throwing a TopNotch Outdoor dinner party! 

A camping stove or grill is essential, as you can’t guarantee you’ll be allowed to light a campfire –  lots of campsites have fire bans!

A lot of people forget to pack coolers for their camping adventures – yet you wouldn’t leave your food out of the refrigerator at home now, would you?

Not only will your cooler keep you your food safe from nasty airborne bugs, it’ll also keep your food fresh and safe from animals and outdoor elements – so it’s essential.

It’s hard to make a camping meal if you have nothing to cook with. And it’s tough to enjoy a meal if you have nothing to eat! There’s no real way to improvise….just make sure you have this kit with you…

These are the essential kitchen items for your camping checklist:

  • Stove/ camp grill (and fuel)
  • Lighter/ matches/ firestarter
  • Cooking pots and pans
  • Cooking utensil set
  • Eating utensil set(s)
  • Kettle/ coffee/ tea maker
  • Sharp kitchen knife
  • Lightweight cutting board
  • Plate/ bowl/ mug/ cup set(s)
  • Large water container
  • Water bottles
  • High-performance camp cooler
  • Sink
  • Scrubber (for washing up)
  • Soap (biodegradable)
  • Recycling bags (for trash)
  • Food – basics – olive oil, salt, pepper, tea, coffee, milk, bread, cans, soup, butter, chocolate treats, fruit.
  • Food – to a predefined daily menu

Camp Gear
Optional Items:

  • Ice substitutes
  • Charcoal
  • Bags/ foil
  • Can opener/ bottle opener/ corkscrew
  • Air-tight containers

Campsite Extras

No one wants to end up lost or worse still in a wilderness survival situation…

But every year, thousands of people do.

These are the additional items for your camping checklist:

  • Solar panel
  • Radio
  • Portable power backup
  • Binoculars/ Monocular
  • Compass
  • Map
  • GPS
  • Survival whistle
  • Signal rescue mirror
  • Dry bags, stuff sacks (to store items)

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Clothing & Footwear

Neither you (nor your group) will enjoy your camping adventure to the full unless you’re comfortable and of course dry.

Look for clothing designs with mesh pockets, armpit zips, and cinched hoods.

Socks are one of the most underrated essentials that people tend not to even consider, yet it’s so important to keep your feet dry.

These are the essential clothing & footwear items for your camping checklist: 

  • Boots and/ or trainers suitable for the terrain
  • Sandals/ flip flops
  • Socks (wool) moisture wicking shirts (for sun, bugs) and T-shirts
  • Quick-dry hiking trousers or shorts
  • Lightweight fleece (with top to bottom zipper)
  • Lightweight jacket
  • Sleepwear

Camp Gear

Additional clothing & footwear items for rainy and/ or cold weather:

Heavy jackets are warm, but when it’ raining, they can be restrictive and uncomfortable.

You’re better off with lightweight, waterproof, breathable top layers.

It’s all about layering….

…which’ll mean you’re prepared for any eventuality – and for all weather conditions.

Breathable waterproof jacket (with detachable waterproof hood) and pants

Moisture-wicking base layers (synthetic or merino wool)

Mid layer fleece


Warm hat

Optional Items:

  • Swimwear
  • Mesh sandals (for water)
  • Baseball cap

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Health & Hygiene

We might go camping to get away from it all but that doesn’t mean we have to compromise on health and hygiene at all.

Remember to pack emergency items like painkillers, bandages, and plasters as well as simple things like toilet paper, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. The corner store may not be as close as you’d like…

…so you need to take them with you.

These are the essential health & hygiene items for your camping checklist:

  • First-aid box
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Microfiber towel
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toiletry bag

Sun and bug protection:

I don’t know about you, but when I go camping – I try to spend as much time as I can outdoors.

And being outdoors more than usual means sunburn & bugs

Camp Gear

…unless you’re prepared. 

  • Suntan lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Sunglasses (and retainer strap)
  • Baseball cap/ Sun visor
  • Mosquito spray
  • Bug repellent candles

Optional Items:

  • Spare eyeglasses
  • Baby wipes
  • Earplugs

Personal Items

I know what you’re thinking; credit card and money, dude!

Don’t make the same mistake I did.

I was part of a Winter camping trip.

You know the thing – work and rushing about trying to pack beforehand…

I only took my credit card. 

Two days into the holiday, I fell over and accidentally snapped it in half

Luckily, I had a very generous buddy who helped me out with cash when I needed it.

Thanks Angus!

Thanks Angus!

These are the personal items for your camping checklist:

  • Wallet with credit card(s) and cash
  • ID
  • Smartphone

Optional Items:

  • Wife/ husband/ kids!
  • As I said before, camping is a great way to connect and reflect, build relationships, make new friends and create lifetime memories…
  • …but only if you’re properly prepared for the trip.

The Bottom Line:

The key to having a great camping trip vs. a nightmare time of it is…..

Preparation…. preparation… oh yeah, and a bit more preparation.

Make sure you have all the essentials so your camp trip is fun, relaxing and not at all…


Experienced campers know this: 

They need their own camping checklist. It’s a must-have.


You have one (mine!) too – it’s guaranteed to make your camping life just that little bit better.

Go ahead, print a copy, tick off the things you pack. Update it when you come home with extras or things you didn’t use to save time next time. Keep it safe.

The team at TopNotch Outdoors wish you safe and happy travels and hope you never leave an essential piece of kit behind again!

Oh yeah, and please don’t forget the kids (If you have them). 

Tempted though you might be to forget them, sometimes.

They’re on the list – so there are no excuses.

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