Camping Packing List: What to Bring on a Camping Trip

Essential camping kitchen and cooking equipment

Figuring out your camping packing list can certainly seem daunting. Camping gear lists will vary based on your planned activities, time of year and length of trip. Plus, everyone’s needs are a little different. But a really helpful approach is to break your list down into different areas.  

We’re going to start with must-haves, then move into more specific lists for your needs.

Camping can be so much fun: living in the great outdoors, relaxation, sunshine and going as rustic as you choose. From provincial parks to Crown Land to privately owned campgrounds, there is a campground for everyone. If you are camping for a family vacation, a couple weekend getaway, a guy’s angling adventure or even a girls’ escape to nature, to help you plan your fun we have developed some helpful lists to make the packing task so much easier. 

The must-haves for camping trips include: 

  • Equipment 
  • Cooking gear 
  • Personal “stuff” 
  • First Aid and general everyday health needs 
  • And (of course) clothing 

So let’s dive into each

Equipment: Camping Packing List 

  • A tent that is big enough to comfortably sleep your group 
  • Enough pegs to properly fit your tent and a mallet to secure pegs 
  • A ground sheet that should be about 2-3 inches smaller than the outside dimensions of your tent to avoid pooling of water 
  • A piece of indoor/outdoor carpet or a mat for outside your tent 
  • A tarp, this is so important, as you still have to cook outside in the rain. This tarp is key to keeping dry! Some campers pack a dining tent in addition to their sleeping tent, but a tarp is still required for cooking in the rain.  
  • Sleeping pad or an air mattress and a sleeping bag. Always ensure your sleeping bag is rated the same as the temperatures you expect during your trip. 
  • Pillow(s) 
  • Extension cords if your campsite has electricity 
  • Rope and clothespins 
  • Flashlight, battery powered lanterns, extra batteries, candles, matches/lighter 
  • Broom, dustpan, axe/hatchet, pocketknife 
  • Battery powered radio  
  • Watch, alarm clock, solar powered/electric phone charger 
  • Backpack 
  • Garbage bags, rope, duct tape 
  • If you are planning to hike or explore, bring a map and a compass or better still invest in a GPS unit. Always be aware that in many areas, particularly in Northern Ontario, there is no cell service 
  • If your campsite does not have picnic tables bring a folding table and chairs 
  • Campfire wood, of note you cannot bring campfire wood into Canada from the U.S. You can, however, purchase firewood in Ontario. Provincial Parks in Ontario do not allow collection of firewood in the campgrounds. 
  • Drinking water, not all parks have access to clean drinking water 

Cooking Gear: Camping Packing List 

  • Fuel powered stove top with extra fuel 
  • Plastic or steel washable plates, bowls, cups 
  • Eating and cooking utensils, including a set of sharp knives 
  • Pots, frying pan, strainer, mixing bowl(s) 
  • Oven mitts, potholder 
  • Can opener 
  • Cutting board 
  • Dish pan, dish soap, dish clothes, t-towels, scrub pad/steel wool 
  • Cooler(s) 
  • Plastic containers  
  • Wipeable tablecloth 
  • Paper towels, aluminum foil, plastic wrap 
  • Personal water bottles, one for each camper 
  • Kettle (electric, if you have electricity available, or a stove top kettle) 
  • Corkscrew 
  • Coffee pot 
  • marshmallow/hotdog skewers  

Personal “Stuff”: Camping Packing List 

  • Shampoo, soap, hairbrush/comb 
  • Towels, bath and hand towels 
  • Portable shower or shower bag, if there is no shower access where you are camping 
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss 
  • Mirror 
  • Hand sanitizer, wipes 
  • Toilet paper 
  • Feminine products 
  • Body lotion, hand lotion, deodorant, lip balm 
  • Nail clippers, tweezers 
  • Kleenex 
  • Prescriptions, enough for the entire trip 
  • EpiPen  
  • Sunglasses 
  • Sewing kit 
  • Shower flip flops 
  • Camera and extra batteries 

First Aid and General Health Needs for All Camping Trips 

  • First aid kit 
  • Sunscreen and sunburn lotion 
  • Burn ointment 
  • Gas relief medication, antacids, laxative 
  • Insect repellent, bug spray 
  • Antacids 
  • Ibuprofen or aspirin 
  • Insect repellent with DEET 
  • Thermometer 
  • Antihistamine medication 

Camping is such a wonderful way to spend your holiday or even just a weekend. Each adventure is full of smiles, laughter and, of course, relaxation. So remember to take your time to pack well, and then your only worry will be trying to pack in all of the great things to do in Ontario.

Some things to do may not be available due to COVID-19.

For the most up-to-date information on where and when it is safe to travel please visit: covid-19.ontario.ca