What To Bring On A Camping Trip With Friends – Essential Camp Checklist

Today, I still recall the excitement and excitement of my first camping experience. I was just six when I went camping, which means it was quite a long time back! Even though I was just a little I was learning the tricks and tricks that my uncles learned during their time in the Army and throughout the years of camping with them.

As a young person at the time, I had little. In my 30s, I’m more certain about camping trips in the winter and summer. This confidence isn’t based on the years of travel however. I experienced an 8-year gap of no travel between the ages of 10 and 18.

At the age of 18 some of my friends and me decided an outdoor weekend was in order. So we began thinking about our very first camp trip. At the age of 18, I was still a novice. I was unable to remember everything I had learned as an innocent young man. This was until I began getting back into the swing of things once more!

Since that first trip in the year I was just 18, I’ve been on numerous excursions. In the past, I’ve gone with various groups of friends camping . I always have similar questions. I also let them overlook the same equipment and fall into the same traps and pitfalls. This is why I the most frequently asked concerns into this complete camping guide for beginners.

If you’re a total novice and are making plans for an adventure for your very first time camping you’re protected. You must also be able to utilize the basic checklist for camping gear to make sure you have everything you need in your camping items.

Essential Camping Gear You’ll Will Need

Camping is becoming more well-known with a growing number of families and friends embracing the great outdoors rather than city break or beaches vacations. Making plans for a trip into the wilderness can be more difficult that booking an accommodation room and flights, however. The list of essential camping gear is a list of essentials you should not leave your home without. There’s a full checklist of camping essentials coming soon.


The most important element of your camping adventure is your tent. It will determine what time, where and how many you are able to take. Of of course, it is sensible for a group with more than one tent however, that’s a personal preference.

If you’re looking to purchase a tent, I’d suggest you buy one bigger than what you need. If, for instance, you are sharing with an adult then you need to look for an all-person tent. The extra space will be beneficial for having the space to move around and stretch. I have found that a three person tent is ideal for my wife and me. It lets us keep our backpacks in place while allowing us to move around in the tent.

Another thing to be aware of for camping with families is the size of the tent you wish to purchase. I have found it beneficial for certain families to have a tent that you can sit up instead of an even smaller tent. A tent that has a small vestibule is also a good choice since it will provide the space to get your wet and muddy shoes and clothing off without damaging the interior and outside.

Basic Tip: After you’ve purchased your tent, you must try setting it up at home initially. The main thing I see people struggling with is folding a tent away. Pop-up tents are easy to fold away if that’s a problem.

The choice of a sleeping Bag

Deciding which kind of sleeping bag is suitable is a bit more challenging than with a tent. The temperature rating can be a good guide, but it’s not all is that. If you’re planning to camp in normal summer temperatures the temperature rating will be a great option. If, on the other hand you’d like to have a bit more flexibility for unpredictable weather conditions, then a three seasons sleeping bag is an ideal option.

Another thing to keep in mind is the weight and size the sleeping bag. If your camping experience will be much more like a walk I’d highly recommend paying attention to the weight of your sleeping bag to make sure it’s not too heavy to be carried around for the entire the day. Your sleeping bag’s size needs to be comfortable, but it should allow you to move about, roll around and generally feel at ease. It is true that the “Mummy” type sleeping bags appear to be extremely popular but not everyone loves these bags.

It is also possible to consider a sleeping mat that will offer you some protection from the hard and cold ground. They can allow you to keep some of your body heat in you sleeping bag. I highly recommend you take a some time to read my guide to staying warm inside your tent to learn more suggestions.

If you’re contemplating a winter camping trip I suggest that you read the summer camping guides.

Lighting For Your Campsite

The majority of campsites don’t provide any kind of artificial lighting, therefore you must carry your own. I’ve seen a lot of camping novices using iPhones and other smartphones however, they do have some limitations as they can drain your battery fast and do not provide sufficient light for camping.

I recommend getting an inexpensive headlamp to ensure you have enough lighting ahead of you, while taking your hands off. My top headlamp to take camping is right here at Amazon.

A campfire can also be great for creating light and can help provide a bit of ambient lighting to share with the campsite with other campers. Be sure to check the regulations and rules for campfires since there are strict regulations. At certain campgrounds, you may not be permitted to campfire, so make sure you know this prior to arriving!

Try a hammock and check if you fall in the same way as I did.

Campsite Seating & Hammock

If you are camping in the wild, you’ll need to bring at least a folding seat. If you’re planning to visit the campsite with benches and picnic tables it is an ideal item to have. I’d recommend a mesh-covered chair, to ensure that if it is wet, it’s much simpler to dry. If, like me, you do not take your chair into your tent during the night, it might end up being extremely wet from early morning dew.

While camping, I prefer to bring with me a camping chair, such as this one available on Amazon and an outdoor hammock. A hammock when camping can be an absolute comfort since they are extremely comfortable and allow you to enjoy a few moments of relaxation without having to lie down on the cold , hard ground.

Hammocks are either a love or loathing item. I would recommend you give them a an attempt. This way, you can determine whether it is a good fit for your requirements. Being a bigger man, I was reluctant to test the hammock. Nowadays, I’m not on camping trips without having one. A reliable and sturdy hammock that I’ve recommended is available here and if you appreciate the experience and the comfort it gives, you can upgrade it to something slightly more luxurious in the future.

You’ll be surprised by what you can cook on a tiny gas stove.

Stove & BBQ

A lot of people suggest the two-burner gas stove, which is a fantastic idea. However, they come with cost however. Most campers need to lower costs until you are able to upgrade certain things. According to my experience, stoves are an item you can begin with an affordable option, provided you read reviews and are aware of what you’re purchasing.

The stove I recommend to those who are preparing for their first camping trip would be that of the Coleman Classic Propane Stove. It’s the ideal camping stove for newbies and campers with a tight budget. It is also awash with great reviews from other campers. I would recommend this as one of my best choices.

Do you want to cook on a grill or BBQ instead? A good meal on a camping trip is one of the reasons that people love the camping experience so much. There’s nothing more relaxing than admiring the sunset while enjoying a cold beer, your friends and delicious barbecue or grilled foods. It’s usually not something I carry on a solo journey however, when I travel with my spouse or a group of people, it’s always on my list of things to consider. I own a variety of portable grills and barbecues For a novice I’d strongly recommend using something similar to this tiny portable grill from Amazon or this fold-up Charcoal BBQ that will to save space and allow plenty of food preparation space when cooking for a big group.

Tips: If you’re camping in a location that does not allow campfire, but does allow grills and barbecues, then carry extra charcoal and fuel. If you’re not cooking, you can use your grill or barbecue to create a small campfire in order for warmth.

Maintaining Food & Drink Cold

This is a suggestion I have seen a lot of people forgetting until the very last moment of their preparations and this is the reason I wrote my first camping guide. I recently went out with an acquaintance who was a self-professed expert in the wilderness. On the morning of our trip, I got a text message from him telling me that his mistake was completely unintentional and hadn’t realized that his cooler was not big enough to hold the food and beverages that we required for our 4 persons camping trip.

The moral of the tale is to ensure that you have a cooler which will perform well in high temperatures and be adequate for the quantity of food and drinks needed. It’s a simple thing to do, but one I am sure we all slip into at some point.

Luckily , I had two coolers. The trip went as planned and we didn’t need to put off any of our plans. Coolers aren’t something I’d like to skimp on because they can be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful vacation. I always recommend getting two coolers and dividing beverages and food between them. In the event that one fails, you’ll still have the basics. If you want to bring perishables and meats and other perishables, then take a look at my buying guide to the top camping coolers, it will help novices find an appropriate cooler that can work well for the majority of trips.

Camping Etiquette

As a newbie, your first camping trip can be overwhelming considering all the gear you have to keep in mind as well as the plans you must create, and the learning curve that you need to overcome. You also have to learn the basics of camping which is similar to the other rules that are not written down at the campground.

I’ll be truthful and say that most of these guidelines are common and common sense. However, there are some that you’ll either study here or learn by doing it yourself. Unfortunately, the subject of camping etiquette can be too vast to be included in an easy-to-follow guide to camping for beginners. My advice is to be kind to others. Offer assistance to other people when it appears that they require assistance, but don’t try to establish friendships even if it appears that someone is content to be in peace. Be careful not to play too loud in the evening, particularly at night after 11pm. Respect the privacy of other campers Keep children from getting into trouble, and keep dogs and other campers at a safe distance.

In all honesty, this should seem commonsense. I’m sure some of you will have followed these guidelines perfectly in the past. However, there’s always that one instance where the dog escapes and grabs the burgers at the campsite directly across from you! Believe me, I’ve had this happen in the past. It was funny at the moment however all it took was for the owner to apologize, and an request to substitute the food and everything would be back to normal.

All it takes is being friendly to people and being accommodating when you make a mistake.

Don’t think too much about it. Make sure you have several layers to deal with the cold.

Which Should I wear?

Most often, this is the most frequent questions I receive. It’s simple to answer, however it depends on your comfort level as well as the location you are camping and the season and the conditions. In the end, I’d always advise you to bring several layers of clothing, including an warm waterproof coat gloves, fleece hoodie wool socks, a hat as well as lengthy shorts (Long Johns) or thermal underwear.

My personal opinion is that it’s more beneficial to be warm than cold. If you are caught in a snowstorm or low temperature suddenly, you’ll be grateful for the additional layer of clothing and the waterproofs. If the weather changes towards the positive, you can take off layers until you’re at ease.

Making a plan and paying attention to weather conditions is essential to determining what layers you’ll require. Making a guess and then putting on the latest clothes for your camping trip is not wise.

Meal prep can be a lifesaver when it comes to making sure everyone is fed and happy!

Meal Preparing for camping

A lot of us are masters at meal preparation. Certain of us are better than others. I’ve had good as well as bad ones in terms of preparation of food. If I am camping, I plan my meals up to the exact moment I have to be looking out the stove.

Preparing meals for camping is among the most crucial tasks you can think about planning for. Insomnia for too long and having to finish the food for the campsite is one of my biggest fears.

For those who are new to camping, we is to use the stove for cooking canned and boxed food items as side dishes and mains as you make use of your campfire, BBQ , or grill to cook kebabs, meats and other grilled items.

Most of the time, there is no correct or wrong solutions when it comes to what foods work and what doesn’t so provided you’re well-prepared and know how to move it to your camping site and maintain it at a cool temperature.

Basic Tips: Be sure to ensure that food items are covered and stored away. Animals and bugs can help their way to your tasty food if it is not handled with proper care. I like to keep all my food in plastic or lock bags. container for food storage. Food leftovers are likely to draw animals to come over, so make certain to eat all of it or throw away leftovers quickly to avoid attracting animals to your space.

The lakes and streams can be excellent for washing your clothes when camping. Take care of wildlife and the surroundings however.

Camping Hygiene For Beginners

The issue of hygiene during camping can be a lengthy topic. It deserves its own series of posts that address every aspect of keeping your campsite clean. One thing I will be writing about very shortly. While I am waiting, anyone who is contemplating a camping trip for the first time trips should be well-prepared and bring a few things along with them

  • Baby Wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Clothesline
  • Travel toothbrush, toothpaste floss and mouthwash
  • Towels
  • Dry shampoo that is unscented
  • Washing water to use (Unless there is a river or a clean lake)
  • Biodegradable soap

Personal hygiene should be the most important concern to ensure that you are clean and not smelling the campground out. If you’re searching for items for your hygiene needs, you should look for non-scented, biodegradable products.

Biodegradable toothpaste, soap and shampoo means you are less likely to harm the water and wildlife by consuming harmful chemicals inside “normal” hygiene products. I highly recommend unscented as well to protect yourself from the biggest negative bad‘s away in the form of Bugs and Bears! It’s not a problem for all spots, however some campgrounds may contain bears and several million bugs. If you’re not worried about bears, then make aware of my article on the extent to which bears can smelt and change your view on hygiene quite quickly.

How do I get to the bathroom while in the wilderness?

When you’re in the wilderness, your bathroom habits will be completely different. It will be no longer sitting on the throne for twenty minutes browsing through Facebook or Instagram. If you’re camping wild and you don’t have toilet facilities then you must get rid of yourself as far from other campsites. I typically prefer to walk five minutes from my tents.

In a perfect world you’d have an appropriate container for urination that you can dispose of safely. This isn’t always feasible and, if I’m being honest, it’s not a viable alternative for many camping trips that have a lot of hiking.

If you have to leave a container behind make sure you choose a location that isn’t near lakes and streams. It is best to choose a bit higher and about a 5-10 minutes walk from the tents you are sharing with others to ensure that the smell does not cause any problems.

My No. 2 tip, and the pun is totally intended to ensure that you don’t go to the woods and then poo. It’s not going to go well. The smell will spread quickly. Bring a small trowel or spade and make a small pit approximately 8 inches deep. make use of it as a. After you’ve finished, you can cover the hole using the soil that you dug along with any other debris and leaves. It’s going to ensure your family members and friends won’t accidentally get into it, and the odor will not linger or travel.

When you return to camp, ensure that you thoroughly wash the spade’s hand with water that’s not being employed for any other purpose. The toilet paper was used for your spade should be burned in the campfire as well, but I’m sure some of you would prefer to put it in a secluded area and bury the evidence in order not to embarrass yourself! It shouldn’t be a problem so long as you’ve got biodegradable toilet paper. However, ideal is to rather burn the paper.

Cooking Hygiene

It is important to take care when cooking raw meats, so that you do not make your camper’s food poisoning. The most likely cause is cross-contamination according to my experience. Many people believe that just a small amount of water will cleanse pots, utensils, and plates.

It is recommended to use biodegradable wash liquids for anything that your food comes in contact with. I would also recommend boiling water in order to make sure that you have warm water available for cleaning. Make sure to give enough time for the liquid to cool slightly. So that you don’t cause yourself harm.

My Dog camping – Woody the Westie out and about on one of his trips.

Camping with My Dog

I’m sure that you’ve seen the numerous Instagram posts of campers out in the wild and their pets. This should be the answer to “Can I go camping with my dog?”.

If you’re anything like my wife or myself, then realize that a family vacation isn’t complete when your dog isn’t present. You can trust my word when I tell you that taking your dog along on an adventure in the wilderness can be a memorable trip that will leave you with lots of great memories. I always enjoy when I camp with Woody (my West Highland Terrier). I’m contemplating a camping trip on my own with Woody in the coming summer. I’ll document it as well as write about and perhaps share some pictures as well as videos of us.

If you decide to bring your dog to the park to the park, you’ll need some additional precautions to take into consideration. For instance, you should ensure that the nails of your dog are not cut or at the very least less sharp than enough that they could cause damage to your tent. I also have other suggestions and advice on camp with your dog which you might be able to use.

Also, make sure you locate a comfy and warm area to put your dog in the evening. I would always recommend letting your dog rest with you, so you can rest assured of not having an escape plan from your home at the beginning of each day. I also like snuggling with my tiny Westie in the evening. He is my favorite pet, though sometimes smelly, warm water container. If you’re planning to camp with your pet, ensure you have everything they need I have an entire section of dog camping gear that lists my top picks with me on my most dog camping excursions.

The most important thing to consider is the place you will be camping. Some campsites do not allow animals or dogs and you should check the guidelines. Most campgrounds are fine provided you adhere to some rules that an responsible dog owner will follow regardless.

Selecting the Campsite

The last but definitely not the least important thing to consider is the location you’d like to camp to camp for the first time. There are a myriad of nearby and accessible spots to choose from no matter the place you live. If you are a novice to camping trip, I’d recommend that beginners choose a location near enough from civilization. If you are able to park your vehicle within just a few miles of your camp site, it’ll provide you with a exit alternative in the event that something goes out of hand or you forget some thing.

USA Campsites in the United States

If you are in the USA, then I suggest taking a look at campsites on https://www.recreation.gov from there you will be able to locate campsites, rules and even start your planning. I suggest using common sense with regards to wildlife, bugs and the general elements of the environment which you may encounter. The most unpleasant thing you could do is to set your tent only to find your area is overrun with bugs, or even bears!

Campsites located in Scotland, Wales, England (UK)

If you are planning a UK camping trip, then I would suggest having a look through https://www.pitchup.com/campsites/. For Scotland it is recommended to make use of the Visit Scotland’s Wild camping in Scotland guide to keep up to date with regulations and locate campsites in Scotland.

A Sidenote: I’m from Scotland It is an incredible country, with some of the finest camping spots in the world. It’s true that I am biased, but I have been camping in a variety of locations (England, USA, Germany are just a few of the countries I’ve camped in) all over the world, and the landscape in Scotland continues to take my breath out of my mouth. I am planning to do an Scottish camping series, so make sure to keep your eyes on the screen for that. I also hope to make it to the USA for a few camping trips with my American friends in the near future. As I’ve mentioned I am a fan of the Wilderness.

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Den Kyle

Den Kyle

I'm the founder of Dens Camp Guide. After many years of hiking and trekking worldwide, I decided to share my experiences by making my guide website! Former science teacher, Ohio State graduate, and now full-time adventurer!