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Hey fellow journeys! I thought I would tell you guys what is essential for camping as well as what I packed for my last camping trip.

All these products are just suggestions. I would recommend that you ask friends and family to borrow their gear before purchasing your own to get a feel for what you like. 


Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on

Unless you want to be sleeping with no protection a tent is one of the most essential things you’ll need when camping. It will protect you against rain, wind, and snow. The great thing about living in the now is that there are a variety of tents now; lightweight, car tent, hammock tents, and tents for all four seasons.

Sleeping Bag 

by rei

There are all sorts of sleeping bags so you can get one that matches you perfectly. I am just under 5ft, usually cold, and transitioning into an eco friendly lifestyle therefore I’d prefer the down Mummy style that is responsibly sourced because it’d keep me nice and cozy. Plus the Mummy style is like being wrapped in a giant burrito. Check out this post for more information.

Sleeping Pad 

from nytimes

You need this. I know you may think that the sleeping bag will be enough padding but it is not. Trust me I almost made the same mistake. Please invest in a sleeping pad whether it’s one that blows up or folds down it will help you get a comfortable good night’s sleep under the stars. You won’t regret it.

First-aid kit 

Photo by Roger Brown on

Basic supplies such as band-aids, bandages, antiseptic and safety pins can be invaluable when the closest town is 30 miles away! For headaches bring medicines like Dramamine or use cilantro essential oil as an alternative. 


Photo by Snapwire on

if you won’t have a reliable source of water at your campsite bring some with you. You can invest in a water tank or get a water filter and fill your water bottle or water bladder if you plan to do some hiking.


Photo by Vlad Bagacian on

Bring whatever method you prefer to use as a source of heat for your meals; fire starter/local firewood or propane. Use a grill on top of a fire pit or a camping stove. Please buy your firewood where you are going to burn it. Transporting firewood has the potential to kill trees and spread diseases. 

Cooking Utensils

Photo by Harry Cunningham on

This one depends on how you plan to make your meals. That being said be sure to meal prep in advance so you know what to bring with you. Knives, spatula, spoon, tongs, pots, pans, cast iron skillet, etc. And dish soap, dish rags to wash your pots and pans. Bring a bowl, spoon, and cup with you from home.

Travel size cooler

To keep your drinks and snacks cold, bring a travel size cooler. It allows you to cut travel time and save money by not having to stop at a grocery store. But be aware that you may need to be close to a place that sells ice, get a long lasting cooler.

Sun Protection 

Photo by on

If the sun is out, then have the means to protect yourself from UV rays. Studies say that you should get at least 10- 20 mins of sun everyday. But if you get too much sun it may damage your skin. So be good to your body and use sun protection whether it’s coconut oil, a sun shirt, hat, sunglasses, or another product that works well for you.


by Joshua Bartell

When it gets dark keep your hands free by using a headlamp. They have rechargeable ones so you’ll never have to replace the batteries. Use a lantern to keep a larger area Illuminated with a brighter light.

Down Jacket

from uniqlo

Can double as a pillow and is great for any sudden changes in weather. 

Camping chairs 

by t3

Unless you want to sit on the ground camping chairs are the way to go. Depending on where you are the ground could be damp and cold even if you lay a blanket. But If you do decide to sit on the ground make sure that your campsite does not have a raised fire pit or else it’d be difficult to roast a marshmallow. 

Garbage bags 

by koa

To keep nature the way you found it. 


Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Depending on how rough you are going to rough it, the bare minimum to bring (in my opinion) is toilet paper, toothbrush, and paste. See what toiletries I brought camping with me down below.

Add ons:

I thought I would include this section just in case you’d like to know what other non essentials, essentials you can bring. As I say before it’s all up to your discretion.

A blanket can also be optional depending on where you camp and the weather. I’m usually cold so I will always bring one with me. a thin one in the summer, a thicker one during the colder months. 

I love my Kindle! I use to upload an armful of books and it all fits in the palms of my hand. Keeps my load light without giving anything up.

Bug Spray 
If you are near water you definitely need bug spray. I use the lemon spray to keep bugs away. You can DIY one by using lemongrass, peppermint, and water.

Being outdoors can dry your skin so bring chapstick or another moisturizer to help alleviate that! 

A notebook, pen, and pencil. I love to bring these so I can write down my thoughts and feelings real time. That way when I go back to write a blog post it will be as if I’m accounting for everything as I was still present at my destination.

This is optional because you may be trying to disconnect and enjoy nature. So this is mainly for writers, social media buffs, and filmers. You can use your down time to write a blog post, edit photos/videos, or watch a movie.

Outdoor clothing & shoes 
Look at the weather for where you are going and consider the activities you are going to do and pack accordly. I love bringing a hoodie because you can use it as a pillow or as a mini blanket.

Bringing a pillow can totally be an optional thing. You can bring the one from your bed, get an inflatable one or use an item that you bring with you as a pillow; jacket, clothes etc. 

Lastly, bring something to pass the time if needed; Playing cards, board games, soccer balls, bike, etc. Don’t forget to pack it and enjoy the great outdoors.

My Packing List

Here is everything I packed for my Redwoods Camping trip. What I pack will change depending on where I am going. Some of the essentials I mentioned above were borrowed from friends.

(Not pictured: Sleeping bag, bluetooth headphones, and travel mug)








Craft bag (wip):

  • Yellow Socks

Things I should have brought:
After every trip I look back and make a list of the things I wished I brought with me.

These things didn’t make or break the trip but it would have been so great to have them with me. Find out more about this trip in my next Explore post. Sign up below to stay updated.

Final thoughts:

As I this list is just a starter pack. You can start by camping out in your backyard and borrowing essentials from family and friends. Feel free to take this list and add or take away to personalize it just for you. And let me know where you are going for your next camping trip down below.

Read More: Hiking Essentials | Road Trip Essentials | Redwoods Guide
Check out: The Mountains are Calling and Into The Wild series

Share this article with a friend, using the icons below, if you learned something new, felt inspired, or just enjoyed reading my story. 

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Until next time!

– Olguine Brutus

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