Camping and hiking information
with tips for parents
Camping and hiking information
with tips for parents

The Necessary Packing List

What you really need to camp!

I am one of those people who packs everything! It is very hard for me to take only the basics - and I find a list can help me keep the packing to a minimum.

This list is meant to minimalist campers and hikers - especially you backpackers!

I am presently camping with young children - so I don't do any overnight backpacking at this time. My children's father does occasionally take one boy at a time on short overnight backpack trips, but this list is for people who don't find packing weight a too critical consern. If you are looking for a list that covers everything you could possibly consider bringing please click here.

The suggestions provided or improved by helpful visitors are marked with a *

A frequent visitor to Camp-A-Roo made a great suggestion for first-time campers or campers trying to pack light. He suggested that if you follow the "Seven Commandments of Camping" You will always have what you really need.

The Seven Commandments of Camping

  1. Thou Shalt Have Shelter.

  2. Thou Shalt Have Food and water.

  3. Thou Shalt Have Clothing.

  4. Thou Shalt Have Bedding.

  5. Thou Shalt Have Medical Supplies.

  6. Thou Shalt Have Toiletries.

  7. Thou Shalt Have Fun.

The following list should keep you to the Seven Commandments!

*Headlamps This is a flashlight that straps onto your head. If you ever want to hike at night - this is the ONLY way to go.They're better than carrying a flashlight around. This helps one see what one is looking at, and are great for cooking and eating at night - not to mention a trip to the potty or fixing a tent stake at night in a storm.

Wooden matches or a lighter

A first aid kit If you want to put it together yourself, check the First Aid Packing List.

Swiss Army Knife or something comparable You don't need the super expensive model, a basic knife will do fine.


*Folding Multi-Purpose Tool There's different names and brands for this item. It's a good addition to the Swiss Army knife, and comes in handy -particularly the pliers function.

A cup

A lot of trash bags Great for packing up wet gear, dirty laundry, dirty dishes, trash, and makes a great rain poncho in a pinch. .

*A Metal Mirror For shaving, hair combing, or can be used to signal for help in an emergency.

Toilet Paper and a small shovel Just in case you need a rest room! See 'Bathroom issues' for handy potty tips for kids.

Sun screen The higher the altitude, the stronger the U.V. rays.

Lip balm some come with U.V. protection.

Prescription medications get spares of all you can; especially allergy and athsma medications as these conditions can be worsened by changing climate and vegetation

Not Necessary but Nice!

A tent - (or RV) Make sure you have all the stakes, ropes, poles, et. Most tents come with trashy stakes that bend after the first few uses - I buy 'industrial strength' stakes at my local hardware store.

Sleeping bags I often use a comforter and a few cuddly blankets instead, this is more simple when sharing a bed with a small child.

*A Canteen I prefer a water bag that can be worn in a pack. These come in kids sizes too!

Backpack Stove You don't need a stove if you don't mind cold food or finding wood every night.

A bandanna Great for tying hair back, can be a washcloth, etc.

A Backpack very convenient for backing your stuff - motre practical than a suitcase in the woods!

Medical insurance Bring everyone's cards; better safe than sorry.

Camera and film Many cameras take strange batteries - bring a spare!

*Can Opener some tolls come with this option, but believe me - the real thing is a whole lot easier on the hands.

Condiments Those handy restraunt packets are perfect.

A box of Cereal Cherrios, Chex's, any Cereal that requires no sugar. Eat this out of a cup. It's a quick and easy breakfast or snack for the car ride.

Zip lock storage bags Package all of your stuff in these. They are light and reusable.

Aluminum foil I just fold up a few sheets for short camping trips.

A spatula My husband says the flat ended ones work best for camping.

*Clothes Pins great for clamping shut snack bags, hanging clothes and towels to dry (it was windy and the pins kept them from blowing away), and hanging up our reclycling bag.

Silverware Plastic silverware is best - then you won't be sad if you come home short a fork and you can recycle 'em instead of wash after your last meal.

Water I use a large container for the bulk of the water at the camp, but bring smaller bottles for in the car. You will be thirsty when you finish your hike!

*Rain Poncho For kids or adults, a rain poncho is a quick putter-onner when the water is coming down. Quicker and easier than a rain suit, and can be used in conjunction with one.

If you have any preferences - or have any other suggestions for this list, just click here to contact me!

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