Camping Essentials Checklist: These Are the Most Critical Things!

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Camping Essentials Checklist: These Are the Most Critical Things!

Sure, whole regions of the country are currently experiencing record cold temperatures—but that’s not stopping us from daydreaming about all the wilderness fishing, hiking, and nature-enjoying right around the corner.

Many of us are hoping more parks and recreational areas will open this year, while others go so far out into nature there is no “closed” to it.

Whichever stage of hoping and planning you’re at, now is the perfect time to go over the basics of what to bring camping. Start getting your gear together now and you’ll be ready for when temperatures go back up!

The Camping Basics Checklist

 Man camping

Some of the lists you’ll find out there are either too long (for car camping only) or too short (for hiking only). Here’s a list of must-have gear you need in your pack regardless the type of camping you plan on doing.

Remember this list is basic—there’s always more to add if you feel like you need it. Also keep in mind that you will need your fishing license to go along with your fishing gear.

Click Here to Download the Complete Camping Essentials Checklist

Camp-Food Primer—Here’s What You Need

 cooking over a fire

For hiking, we recommend classics like MREs, meal bars, and freeze-dried foods.

If you’re car camping, here’s our go-to list for keeping every camper fed and happy:


  • Ice
  • Drinks
  • Butter
  • Chocolate Bars
  • Deli Meat
  • Cheese
  • Salsa & Dip
  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Produce of Your Choice
  • Bread


  • Salt & Pepper
  • Bread
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cooking Oil or Spray
  • Marshmallows
  • Graham Crackers
  • Any Other Spices You Like/Want.

Packing Your Cooler the Right Way

Here is a great way to pack that cooler and keep everything cold without ruining packages or food:

Bottom layer: Ice, drinks, butter, chocolate bars.

Middle layer: Deli meat, cheese, salsa & dips, chicken, salmon, beef.

Top layer: Eggs, produce, bread.

Making sure you pack your cooler right will save you from soggy bread or your egg carton drowning in water and falling apart in your hands. Make sure you drain and put fresh ice into your cooler as necessary (once every day or two is the minimum). The FDA even recommends you keep a thermometer in your cooler to help ensure it stays at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in your cooler.

Just-in-Case Camping Checklist

    In a tub with a lid on it you should keep some items “just in case.” These items will come in handy if you need them and you may find other things you will want to add to it as you become more acquainted with what can go wrong when camping, hiking, and fishing.

    • Rope
    • Tarp
    • Emergency blanket
    • Scissors
    • Whistle
    • Solar charger
    • Extra batteries for flashlight
    • Poncho
    • Small shovel
    • Small axe
    • Snake bite kit (if you live in an area with venomous snakes)
    • Extra fire-starting device.

    More items can be thrown into your “just in case” bin as necessary.

    Keep in mind you will need an emergency blanket for everyone in the family, as well as a poncho for everyone. You can also keep a small kit of emergency food in here, in case something happens to your supply while you are camping.

    We hope these lists make it a little easier to get out there in 2021 and enjoy the beauty of nature, gather with friends and family, and make some great memories camping.

    Click Here to Download the Complete Camping Essentials Checklist

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