Camping Checklist

I love to camp. However, I think most can agree that the WORST part about camping is the packing. There are so many little things to bring, and I usually end up forgetting something really important. A great example is when I went camping with my two best friends and we were planning to have english muffin pizzas for dinner. Except that I forgot cheese. So we drove (far) to a store, only to get back and realize I forgot sauce. Whoops! Because of this (and many other incidents) I have a camping list that I’ve continued to add and subtract from to try to get to the sweet spot of camping organization.

Tent Trailer!

Our new tent trailer. Yahoo!

Recently, The Boyfriend and I decided that we would further improve the packing process by getting ourselves a little pop-up tent trailer. Really, you don’t need to buy a trailer to simplify packing, well-organized list will work too. Our idea (other than not sleeping on the ground) is that if we can keep the trailer packed with the essentials, we’ll only have to do minimal packing before a trip.

The Camping Checklist
The key is to have a basic list established with the things you need every time you go camping (sleeping bags, stove, marshmallows), plus a list of more general items that may vary (shirts, socks, booze). Further, I’ve divided my list into “what stays in the trailer”, and “what to pack every time”.
Camping list screen shot 2
Camping list screen shot 1
Then I can double check to make sure everything is still in the trailer, and I know what I need to grab from the house. Click this link to see what my current checklist looks like: Camping Checklist. The first page is for stuff to keep in the trailer, the second page is more variable and is what needs to be packed each time.

I use Excel for this because I like the additional formatting options, but it would work well in Evernote too. Plus then it is more portable when you’re out shopping. I usually make it up in Excel and then drop it in a Evernote Note.


Group Camping? Share the List.
If several groups of people are going camping together, put your list up on GoogleDocs or somewhere where everyone can access it. Mark “All” next to items everyone needs to bring for themselves, and have campers put their initials by what they will bring for the group (do this in the “x” column, if you’re looking at my camping list). I’ve done this with friends and it’s worked really well. It’s nice because everyone can see exactly what is still needed, and it limits how much back and forth we had to do. Plus, no one forgets the cheese and pizza sauce!

A Tote For Everything
Before the trailer, most of my camping stuff was still packed and ready to go, it was just sitting in totes in the corner of my garage. My garage was more organized, because everything was contained and in one place, plus when it was time to go I just had to throw them in the car. Having identified totes for kitchen stuff, tools & gear, and food also helped keeps things further organized instead of just throwing it all in willy-nilly. Plus, in a power-outage at my house I could easily find the lantern and headlamp. Now, since our camper folds up and everything isn’t’ easily accessible, we plan to keep several totes just inside the door of the tent trailer of things that have to get washed after we camp, or that we may want to get to (flashlights) between trips. We have a tote for pots & pans, and one for bedding & towels. Another tote for food we will keep empty, and load it up before each trip.

Update Your List Before You Go Home
The packing list only works if it’s current. At the end of each camping trip, before you pack up and leave the site, sit down and make a list of what staples needs to be replenished before next time. Almost out of paper towels? Need more paper plates or garbage bags? Write it down! If you have your pack list in Evernote and you have cell phone access – update it right then and there. Since I don’t typically have my phone on while I”m camping, I keep a little notebook in the trailer for my list and tear off the list and put it in my duffle bag so I remember replenish the trailer when I get home.

Here’s my camping checklist again…

UPDATE! – If you have a half size Camping Notebook like I do, here’s a 5.5″ x 8″ version to fit in your cute little binder! Camping Checklist Half Page.

We’re heading off on our first trip with the pop-up trailer this weekend. Any tips for us?

43 thoughts on “Camping Checklist

  1. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s challenging to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appearance. I must say that you’ve done a very good job with this. In addition, the blog loads extremely quick for me on Internet explorer. Outstanding Blog!

  2. Hi Sarah, Just dropping by from BYW. When we live in Melbourne we also have a camper trailer. LOVE it! I always wanted to do a list but never got around to it…however our camper was always full, especially gourmet food. One eventful trip had our overpacked trailer door fly open and all our home baked goodies ended up rolling onto the feet of the people drinking coffee at the cafe we were flying past…Maybe I do need to take a look at your lists 🙂

  3. I think I will steal your list as a jumping of point for the one I need to make. Jacob makes fun of me for being like mom, but you really are her daughter! 🙂

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  6. Thank you so much for the helpful list. I showed my girlfriend what you made, and said “We’re using this!”. Again, much thanks.

  7. k, we have a pretty good start, I love the list and will use it this weekend and next for our first camping trip.. thanks TONNES!!

  8. I think you camp just like me. I only needed to add a few items to make this list complete. Thank you very much. I live in California, so sunglasses were a must.

  9. Pingback: The Camping Notebook | All Those DetailsAll Those Details

  10. Thank you! We just purchased a new-to-us tent trailer — and your list was ever so helpful! How wonderful to not have to think of all this stuff myself! You gave me a great starting point and made the prep so much easier!

  11. Thanks for the list. We just bought a popup too and I’m trying to get organized in a short period of time. This list will help a lot!

    • Oh no! I’m away from my computer right now, but I’ll troubleshoot as soon as I get home. I have it pinned on my Pinterest account (allthosedetails) on my camping board if you can repin from there!

  12. Thanks so much for all the helpful advice. we have recently started traveling a lot with racing dirtbikes and I was losing my mind making sure we had everything we needed and what we should keep on hand. It is going in the camper right now.

    • Hi Carla!
      If you downloaded the Excel camping list spreadsheet, when you print, in the print window you’ll see a command that should say something like “print 2 pages per sheet” if you select that it should print both pages in the 5.5×8 size. If that doest work, let me know!

    • I just updated the post to include a half-page size link at the bottom of the post. Please let me know if you have any trouble and I can make adjustments!

  13. Just stumbled across your blog and love the camping section! We too have pop up and love it, it is so much fun making it your home away from home. You have some great ideas!

    • I also just discovered your camping list, but haven’t been able to get it to where I can print it. It always takes it to a flickr account.!? Might you be able to help me figure it out please? (like through email?)



      • Hi Diane!

        I just updated the post so if you click the pictures of the checklist it should take to you to the file. Also, at the end of the post I have it linked if you click the phrase, “Here’s my camping checklist again”. If you still have trouble let me know and I can email it over!

  14. I also checked, and I do have an Evernote account but it has been over a year since I used it, and I don’t remember how!? 🙂


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  16. The Camping Checklist was very helpful as we just bought a used Rockwood pop up camper and leave tomorrow for Silver Lake State Park on Michigan’s beautiful west coast(all sand dunes and fresh water). It’s the maiden voyage and your checklist saved us a lot of runs to a store. Thanks!

  17. Just discovered your blog & am most impressed. we also are buying a pop up similar to yours and your ‘organization of it will be incredibly helpful. i do have one question that i cannot figure out.. we have certain events we attend & once trailer is up i need to be able to hang certain large dresses for the weekend. any suggestions on how i create a hanging spot?? i was thinking the dining area (there are only 2 of us) but not sure what to use.. suggestions would be greatly appreciated
    thanks and happy camping 🙂 rj

  18. I love this idea and is small enough to carry around.
    I also think I am going to make one up for my friends that my husband and I go camping with, and instead of a camper on the front cover I think I will put a picture of my friends with their dogs and camper instead.

  19. I might suggest that you don’t leave any type of food in the trailer when stored for a season. The reason is that most items have a date on them and if not used for a few seasons, they will either expire or moisture will turn it into a clump (most powdered items). Don’t leave batteries in the rig either, they tend to leak, destroying everything they are in contact with.

    The clean out exercise at the end of the season gives me feedback on what we don’t use, so I won’t pack it again the next season. I do store laundry soap and softner off season, but they have been “seal a meal” vacuum packaged into single loads to avoid the clumping.

  20. This is a wonderful list for my family; seeing as we are just starting out with a trailer. My extended family (veteran campers) have added a few “you’re gonna want this” items to your list. Thank you for the fantastic resource!!
    Additions: Wash basin (dishes, dirty feet, carrying items from trailer to trailer), Shelf Insert (Ikea Variera in cupboards), Antiskid mats, Table cloth clips, Coffee Filters, Pee Mat (I don’t know what they’re really called – but what you put under kids sheets in case of accidents), pots/pans with removable handles (T-Fal Ingenio),

  21. Best camping list ever! Our first time going in the pop up and this list is so comprehensive! I’m sure over the summer I will add some things but thanks for the great start!

  22. Thanks for the camping checklist! Nice not to have to reinvent the wheel… I love excel so it suits us perfectly, thanks again!

  23. Thank you for the great list! Added some sunglasses and fishing stuff as well as things for the kids! Very useful for our trip next week.

  24. Pingback: Camping Checklist | All Those DetailsAll Those Details – Camping & Hiking Fun

  25. This is awesome and I thank you! We have been camping for over 43 years! I keep saying I’m going to make a printable list, but never get around to it!!! We started with a 16 foot travel trailer, then in 1980’s bought a mini motor home that we have loved. Our last purchase was a tent pop up, similar to yours! It took me almost an entire camping season to adjust to the difference in camping. We went to a “jacked up” tent because we love to go back country and not to rv parks. We started this with our grandson as Pappy didn’t like sleeping on the ground! I have learned many tricks, but am still learning. We do use the totes. Some things I leave in the camper during off season. Like someone mentioned, never store food over the season! The canned foods have expiration dates. My hubby insisted on leaving the Ramon noodles, chips, crackers, peanut butter, and tuna in the camper. Along with paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates etc! Bad idea.? We live in Colorado and the weather constantly changes, snow, very cold, or warm and hot! The food goes bad. As for the paper products – the mice loved having nesting materials!!!! Never again. My camper gets through Cleaning’s before the first camp trip and after the final trip. In between it a quick clean up, leaving most items inside. At the beginning of each season I put all cloth items (towels, sheets, clothing) through a hot wash. The dishes, all cooking and eating utensils, pots & pans go into the dishwasher. Every thing is vaccumed.

    Biggest saver is to remember to flush out all water lines & tanks. Do NOT let any water standing or laying in the lines. They will freeze, crack, break, and leave you with a huge mess to clean, not to mention the replacement of all lines & plumbing!

    Again thank you for a perfect list I can save and print as needed! We always are camping in areas where we take our own water, supplies, and absolutely no cell or Internet!

    Hope all enjoy your camping as much as this 65 year young lady does ????

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