Checklist of our camping gears

Camping has always been a fun activity for our family; however, when it was our first time the packing part stressed me out. I have no idea what to bring and was afraid of not bringing enough, so I ended up over packing. After our many camping trips over the last few years, we have learned quite a lot and have created a list of our camping must-haves. This is still a work in progress as we continue to learn from others and update our camping gears, but it’s getting pretty refined and served us well on most of our camping trips.

Tent Camping Gears

Camp setup

  • Tent (we have a 4-person tent for our family of 2 adults and 3 little ones), which usually comes with:
    • Tent poles
    • Ground stakes
    • A ground tarp to go underneath the tent
  • Tarps for rain
  • Lots of ropes of different sizes
  • Axe that doubles as a hammer
  • Camp chairs
  • Small foldable table

Inside the tent

  • Sleeping bags
  • Inflatable pillows (we like inflatable as it packs small, but you can also bring your preferred pillow if you have space to pack)
  • Air mattress/sleeping pads
  • Air pump
  • Power bank
  • Charging cables
  • Head lamps
  • Lanterns for inside the tent, we like the Luminaid lamps because it’s waterproof


Even in the heat of summer, it can still get pretty chilly overnight and in the morning in Canada, so it’s always best to check the weather before packing for the trip. My rule of thumb is always bring clothing for layering. If temperature dips between 5-10C overnight or early in the morning, I will be wearing a heavier jacket (a puffy underneath a rain jacket with a long sleeve fleece or thin sweater underneath). We also like to use packing squares to condense our clothings while packing.

  • Puffy jacket
  • Rain jacket
  • Light jacket
  • Long sleeve fleece (if temperature drops below 10C overnight)
  • Short sleeves and long sleeves for layering (we like merino wool clothing or synthetic as it is quick drying and has less odour for continuous wear)
  • Hats and sunglasses
  • Hiking pants or leggings with pockets (if bringing leggings, I like those made with a thicker material to prevent rips from trees while hiking
  • Good pair of trail shoes (best if waterproof)
  • Rain boots especially if your trail shoes are not waterproof
  • Water shoes or sandals for beach time
  • Quick drying towels
  • A bag for soiled clothing


  • Camping stove, we use a Camp Chef Everest
  • Kettle
  • Cooler
  • Pot and pan (we also added a cast iron grill in 2023 and it instantly became a stable)
  • Eating utensils (sporks are amazing for camping)
  • Cups, bowls and plates (we like stackable ones) – we use and love this Stanley set
  • For the coffee lovers, a good coffee maker (we use an aeropress)
  • Propane tanks
  • Ziplocks in different sizes to keep leftovers or to pack food in for longer hikes
  • Kitchen napkins, paper towels
  • Baby wipes (to quickly clean the hands of little ones)
  • A simple table cloth (mostly to cover up bird poop on the picnic table)
  • Water bucket, we like this collapsible one
  • Water bag to keep clean water. I use MSR Dromedary
  • Scraper (for cleaning pots and pans after use)
  • Soap for dishwashing (we like using campsuds as it can be used for multipurpose)
  • Garbage bags (a foldable garbage can is also convenient but not a must)

Personal care and hygiene

  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, body wash and shampoo, toilet paper for the backcountry)
  • Sunscreen
  • Facial care (facial wash and creams)
  • First aid kit
  • Basic first aid medicine (Tylenol, polysporin, hydrocortisone cream, loperamide, bandaids, etc)
  • Bug repellents (repellents containing DEET is the most useful, we have also tried ones with citronella oil based , also comes in spray form or stickers, which have some effect but not as effective)
  • For the babies: diapers, baby wipes, extra clothing (preferably quick drying ones), portable potty

Activities and Games

These are not essential items for first time camping but can increase the enjoyment level. Depending on what your interests are you can pick and choose what to bring in this section. Since our kids have different interests we usually bring everything listed below with a focus on bringing smaller and more packable items within each category.

Camp fire

  • firestarter (we use dryer lint mixed with vaseline)
  • lighter
  • axe
  • heat resistant gloves


  • backpack carrier if you want to go further than what you think the young hikers of your family can handle
  • hiking poles
  • Bear spray and bear bell
  • The 10 essentials

Water and Sand toys

If you are like us and usually look for places near water to camp, you may want to include beach toys for the kids. Even if you aren’t, we found that a dirt bucket and some shovels usually can keep our kids busy for a long time at the campsite.

Other camp toys

  • Hammock
  • Bikes
  • Board games (especially for those rainy days)
  • A book or two
  • Picnic mat

These are the items we usually bring to camp and the list can be modified as our kids get older or when our interests changed. But generally some of the basic items will stay the same. Another big section we didn’t mention here is FOOD 😍 and that by itself is another post as the list can get pretty extensive. Snacks and meal prep is so important for camping especially when kids are involved (you gotto keep them happy with snacks and not hangry right😄) I will see you on our next post on some of the food items we bring to camp.

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