Camping essentials

11 Camping Essentials to Add to Your Trip Checklist

Need to know what to pack for your next camping trip? We surveyed the Lippert Scouts to find out what items are absolutely essential to the success of their trips, and they did not disappoint! The Scouts’ suggestions poured in, and we tallied up about 100 open-ended responses. With their recommendations, we were able to build a list of camping essentials that you should consider packing when you’re preparing for your next outdoor adventure.

No matter whether you booked your trip the old-fashioned way, by doing your own research, through an app like Airbnb, Vrbo, Tentrr, The Dyrt, Hipcamp or Glamping Hub, or if you’re planning your getaway in an RV, tent, car, cabin, glamping site or even a treehouse, you’ll find that the following list of must-haves will serve you well!

1. Food & Drinks

If there’s one thing the Scouts agree on, it’s that coffee gives them life. Citing sanity and basic human functionality, the Scouts highly recommend packing a coffee pot to make your favorite brew while you’re camping. They say a cup of joe goes a long way in making the whole experience more enjoyable for everyone! But, since coffee doesn’t keep you hydrated (no matter how much you wish it did), they also recommend packing plenty of water bottles for hot days spent hiking on the trails.

Sustenance has two parts: drinks AND food. These things go hand in hand, so the Scouts recommend packing plenty of food for your trip. Multiple Scouts also say they rely on food that is easily preparable or foods they’ve already prepped and stored in containers to keep in a cooler, while others say they are sure to pack their favorite snacks and, of course, bring all the fixings for s’mores around the campfire.

2. Electronics

Coming in as the second most popular camping essential for the Scouts is electronics. They say having a reliable GPS is a necessity as an explorer. Some Scouts even mentioned bringing along paper maps and atlases to be on the safe side.

Aside from a trusty GPS, the Scouts recommend packing other electronic favorites, such as your cell phone and charger, a Bluetooth speaker for listening to your favorite tunes, a laptop just in case you need to work on the road and a Kindle for when you want to wind down for the night and read a good book. They also say a camera or camcorder is a must if you want to capture your outdoor memories to look back on later, especially if you have growing kiddos.

3. A Grill, Skillet or Portable Stove

You can only digest so many snacks before you'll inevitably want to eat a hot meal. The Scouts mostly agree that dinner in the great outdoors should be cooked on a grill, smoker, skillet, portable stove or pressure cooker. While these are nice conveniences, other Scouts said that if they have a fire pit handy, they’d prefer to cook on the open flame. Either way you slice it, you’ll need to remember that trail mix is great for snacking, but either a fire pit or other cooking device will help you get more sustenance.

4. Outdoor Camping Chairs

Whether they’re zero-gravity chairs, rocking chairs or just super cozy camp chairs, the Scouts agree — you need a comfortable camp chair that’s fit for sitting by the fire. They say a good camp chair is not only essential for relaxation, but it also fosters togetherness and quality time with family and friends.

5. Camping Accessories

You’re going to need plenty of camping accessories to get you through your outdoor journey. The Scouts say they can’t live without handy items such as a first aid kit, flashlights, lanterns and extra tent stakes. You never know when you’re going to need a light for nighttime hiking or figure out too late that you’re short a couple stakes for pitching your tent.

6. Clothes

While you’re packing, remember to bring some adventure-appropriate clothing. The Scouts say you should always keep the weather at your destination in mind and pack accordingly. Some helpful clothing items to pack could include hiking boots, sunglasses, a swimsuit or a high visibility vest for nighttime exploration.

7. Loved Ones

“It doesn't matter where you go in life, it's who you have beside you that makes it worthwhile.” — Anonymous

 From spouses to children, some Scouts say that having a travel companion (or a few) is a camping necessity. Sharing special moments and making precious memories with your family makes each adventure that much sweeter. Fido is definitely included in this must-have! Some Scouts even said pet supplies are essential for a successful trip.

8. Tools

According to the Scouts, you should always pack a toolbox or RV tool kit in preparation for any situation. It's hard to predict what might go wrong but having a few standard tools with you can certainly save the day sometimes. While a few screwdrivers and other basic tools may come in handy, you may also want to consider the following items, just in case: a utility knife, pliers, a mallet (for your tent stakes), flairs, cones and a fire extinguisher.

9. Firewood

You can’t sit around a cozy fire without the wood to fuel it. Unsurprisingly, the Scouts say you should always plan to have plenty of firewood on hand, especially if you are going to spend the majority of your trip at your campsite. However, it may not be as important if your days are spent hiking in national parks or riding coasters at an amusement park.

10. Bedding

For nights when you need some much-needed shut-eye, you’re going to want cozy bedding to crawl into after a long day. If you're sleeping in a camper or RV, make sure you pack the sheets, mattress cover and other bedding. If you're sleeping in a tent, don’t forget your air mattress, sleeping bag and pillow. A couple Scouts even recommended bringing along your CPAP machine if you need help getting into a restful slumber.

11. Toiletries

You may be camping in the wilderness, but it still feels good to stay clean. Last on the list of camping essentials for the Scouts is soap for a refreshing shower, plus a toothbrush and toothpaste to keep up with oral hygiene. And if 2020 taught you anything, you should always keep some toilet paper on hand.

Some of our Scouts say the items in their camping essentials checklist never change, while others say their must-haves could change based on the weather, duration of their trip or their destination. Whatever the case may be, you should consider packing some of these must-have items in preparation for your next camping trip.