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Sometimes when we go camping, I feel like I am packing everything but the kitchen sink.  No, literally.  I even pack the dish soap and scrubrush FROM the sink!

And I think that it is this often overwhelming task of making a camping packing list and figuring out what to bring camping that makes a lot of people shy away from the amazing experiences that camping can offer!


So, I am going to simplify it to the absolute BARE ESSENTIALS for camping.  Sure, I LOVE bringing my air mattress to make tent camping more comfortable, but it isn’t NEEDED.  I’ve done the research for you to find the top rated, best camping gear on Amazon so all you have to do is click and camp!

No more guessing at what to take camping.  Let’s get started on your camping must haves.



Let’s be real.  You can’t REALLY go camping without a tent, right!?  And finding a quality (and not outrageously priced) tent is absolutely essential to your camping gear list.  Here is the first tent that we personally bought and really appreciated how it kept us dry in our first downpour!

Sundome 4 Person Tent

  • Quick and Easy to Set Up (15 min or less)
  • Comes with stakes and all the essentials (may want to bring a tarp for underneath if rain is a possibility)
  • Great Price for size and quality

Click here to read other reviews on the Sundome

Or compare other top rated tents here


Sleeping Bag

There are quite a few best sellers for sleeping bags. 

But if we are aiming for your basic camping list, we need a sleeping bag that is extremely versatile.  Meaning, it will keep your warm in cold weather, but won’t sweat you out in the heat.  We need a sleeping bag that is easy to pack and clean.  I want a sleeping bag that is quality but isn’t going to cost me an arm and a leg!  And I think I found just the right one!

Abco Sleeping Bag

See the Current Pricing for the Abco sleeping bag here

Have a Kiddo?  Here is our Ultimate Guide to Kid’s Sleeping Bags for All Occasions.


Lighting (Flashlight)

While you have plenty of lighting options (headlamps, lanterns, etc) if we talking about just the essential things to bring camping, then a flashlight will do perfectly.

Wsky LED Tactical Flashlight

  • TWO flashlights included (always love a good deal!)
  • Fantastic price for a “tactical” flashlight
  • Amazing reviews
  • Extremely durable
  • Fantastic lighting abilities
  • Waterproof

See what others are saying about the Wsky here



While I’m not including “clothing” on my essential list because that will vary so wildly depending on where and what kind of camping you are doing, a good backpack is high up there on my basic camping list to hold all your personal belongings.

You would think I was a walking advertisement for the brand Osprey, since EVERY backpack I own is Osprey.  I will start off right now and say they aren’t cheap but the quality, life-time guarantee, sturdiness (seriously, you’d be SHOCKED at how far I can push those zippers!!!) and look of these backpacks make the one time investment worth it for me.

My absolute favorite backpack is the Porter.  Mostly because you can clip the daylite day bag to the front!

Osprey Porter

  • Can  hold A TON but is still carry on size (aka easy to carry)
  • Easy organizational pockets
  • Lifetime Guarantee
  • Sturdy and Durable
  • Comfortable to wear OR hold
  • Amazing reviews
  • Can clip the Daylite backpack to the back so that you can have a smaller day pack for outings.

See why others love the Osprey Backpack here


You can read all about finding the absolute perfect camping cooler for YOU in our Camping Cooler Guide (you’d be surprised what criteria can go into finding the perfect one!) Depending on what type of outdoorsmen you are, then a cooler may not make your necessary camping supplies list, but for the general, overwhelmed camper, I’d argue it is just one of those items that you need to bring camping.

For the sake of not getting complicated and keeping within a REALLY reasonable (I’d argue fantastic) price range this Coleman is a crowd pleaser.

Coleman Xtreme

Read More About the Coleman Xtreme Cooler Here and compare to other cooler favorites.

Plan on camping more?  Here are our Top Picks For Camping Coolers

Camping Chairs

What is camping without sitting around the campfire?  Believe me, we’ve forgotten this MUST have camping gear before and TOTALLY regretted it as we attempted to sit uncomfortably on the ground without getting burned from the ashes!

I picked these camping chairs because they are no frills, cheap (yet fantastic reviews for quality) and are easy to throw in the car.

Coleman Quad Camping Chair

See what other camping chairs people are looking at here, including Amazon’s Top Choice.


Other Things You NEED For Camping

The rest of your packing list for your basic camping checklist are the essentials you would take on any trip

  • Toiletries: Brush, toothbrush, medicine, glasses, shampoo/ conditioner (add a quick-dry towel to your list if you plan on showering),
  • Minimal (but weather appropriate!) Clothing
  • Shoes: Include flip flops if you’ll be using a public bathroom facility!
  • Camera: Some are going to argue that this isn’t a NECESSITY and I’d have to agree, but as a photo-junky, I don’t go anywhere without my camera! So here is a great guide on what cameras a backpacker should consider.


And that is it!!! Again, if you are overwhelmed with figuring out what things to bring camping, this is your simple, essential, basic, and bare-bones list.  As you start to camp more, you’ll figure out what other things to take camping that fit your personal style of camping (for example, I never leave for a campsite without a wine opener!!!) but more on a detailed camping list later….


Do you love to camp?  What are you no nonsense essentials when you head out?


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