Camping Checklist - Top Tips from the ACF

If you’re looking to spend more time outdoors and fully immersed in all that nature has to offer, then we’re sure you’ll love camping! But regardless of where you go or who you go with, working out what you need on your camping checklist can be a minefield...

Camping Checklist - Top Tips from the ACF

14 June 2021

If you’re looking to spend more time outdoors and fully immersed in all that nature has to offer, then we’re sure you’ll love camping! But regardless of where you go or who you go with, working out what you need on your camping checklist can be a minefield - particularly if you need to factor in different age groups, terrains, and weather. To help out, we’ve created a camping checklist of everything you’ll need to ensure you’re well-prepared to take on the challenge.

Essential Camping Gear

The ultimate camping packing list should always include the essentials:

A Tent

Unless you’re planning to sleep amongst the stars and in the elements, you will always need a tent. Tents come in various sizes, including ones for solo campers, couples or pairs, families, and even tents with five rooms for those planning a camping trip for a large group. Unless you want to go big, a good rule of thumb is to bring a tent that can accommodate 1-2 people.

Tent Pegs

Most tents are supplied with pegs to ensure yours doesn’t get swept away by any winds. But sometimes you need more than what you’re given. It’s worth having a spare set on your camping packing list, just in case the wind is stronger than you thought or you accidentally leave any behind. This way you can rest easy knowing your tent will still be there after a day of activities.

Sleeping Equipment

This includes anything from sleeping bags to sleeping mats, an airbed to pillows. While camping, you’re going to want to make sure you can get as comfortable a night’s sleep as possible, so considering your bed for the night should be near the top of your priorities. Pillows may not be deemed essential, but they can make a huge difference to comfort levels. If you want to wake up on the right side of the bed, they’re definitely worth considering - particularly if you’re going camping for a while. Sleeping bags are practical - and some are even insulated - but, like pillows, airbeds can help provide an extra layer of comfort and help elevate you off the floor.

Camping Stove, Pans and Cooking Utensils

Unless you’re regularly eating out, the chances are you’ll be cooking food yourself. But you don’t need to bring a million pots and pans. Think practically about the pots, pans, and utensils you actually need to ensure you travel as light as possible. And don’t forget the all-important fuel for the stove – just make sure you get the correct type!

Cutlery, Food Containers and a Water Bottle

When thinking about things to take camping, it’s worth bearing in mind how you’ll be eating and drinking, along with how you’ll be cooking. Hydration is crucial, so you should always bring a refillable water bottle to get drinking water when possible. Food containers have a dual purpose when camping - they will help keep insects and animals out and double up as your plate/dish at mealtimes. As you’ll be outside, you should also make travel cutlery an essential to avoid using your hands, and any contamination should you pick something up off the floor.


In addition to illuminating your tent when night rolls in, these are essential for night-time trips to the bathroom. Ideally, you want these to be self-charging. But, if not, make sure to add batteries to the camping list.

Camping Chairs

After a long day hiking, exploring or fishing, you’re going to need to sit down, and a camping chair is often one of the best places to sit and relax. The beauty of having this as an item on your camping list is that they’re portable, meaning you could bring them on any of your outdoor adventures and walks to sit and take in the views wherever you may be.

Extra Camping Gear

Other things to consider when creating a camping packing list include:

Bin bags - Unless there are bins near where you put up your tent, you should bring a few of these to keep the area you set up neat and tidy.

A windbreaker - This is a secondary layer that goes over your tent to help create some additional shelter against the elements, as well as some extra privacy.

Duct tape - A multipurpose tape used for sealing and patching holes. Some duct tapes can even be used on rough outdoor surfaces such as stone, wood or metal, making it the perfect item to throw in your bag and onto your camping checklist.

Something to start a fire - You’re going to need something to get the fire going for meals, whether that’s in the form of a light or matches. But be careful to keep these out of reach of children you might be camping with, and extra cautious not to let fires spread by keeping them away from flammable materials.

Tent repair kit - Accidental damage is a possibility, so it’s important to be able to deal with this should it occur, particularly as this is your shelter.

Emergency Camping Gear

Items that it’s always good to have, just in case of emergency:

Considering you’re going to be outdoors, you shouldn’t forget health and safety elements. When thinking about what to take camping, make sure you bring:

  • A travel first aid kit
  • Anti-bacterial handwash and sanitiser*
  • Any personal medication
  • Sun cream
  • Insect repellent
  • Tissues and toilet roll

*This is particularly important given Covid-19

Aside from the list above, you’ll need to bring things like clothes, food and personal care such as a toothbrush, toothpaste and body soap. Having these essential supplies and equipment for a camping trip can make all the difference to your overall experience and enjoyment.

If you love the idea of camping, then becoming a cadet or an adult volunteer would be ideal for you. You’ll fit right in by taking part in outdoor adventures such as rock climbing or abseiling. Find your nearest detachment and discover more about joining the ACF today.