Camping Essentials Checklist – Our Complete List of What to Take Camping

When we go camping at Tonight We Camp (which is often!) we have an extensive camping checklist. Rather than rushing round trying to find the pegs minutes before setting off, Mrs Tonight We Camp spends the week beforehand brandishing her packing checklist at me and gathers what we need into one huge pile. Mr Tonight We Camp then performs a feat of impossibility and somehow manages to squeeze it all in to Gary (our campervan).

A lot of what we pack might not be considered a camping “essential”, but do we have lots of room in our T25 campervan, so it all goes in. We camp by the phrase “better to have and not want, than to want and not have”.

Fairy lights, for example, are “camping must haves” for us.

Rather than keep the delight of this checklist ritual to ourselves, what better way to spread the love than to upload it to so that you can download it, print it off and have the satisfaction of ticking things off as your packing pile gets bigger than your car.

At the very least you won’t turn up at the site with a bottle of red and no corkscrew (“I told you to get one with a screw top”).

Tent and shelter checklist

No self-respecting person would go camping without a tent or something to sleep in. If you don’t have a tent, best get one. This Coleman Blackout Tent is perfect for up to 3 people and the blackout material means you won’t wake up at first light and it keeps the tent cooler during the day. For larger families, this Skandika Montana Tunnel Tent is a beast. You can stand up in it (unless you are Peter Crouch) and it sleeps up to 8 people.

We like to set up an enclosed base camp and take two windbreaks. When the wind changes direction, you’ll be glad of the one behind you.

An extra camping tarp comes in handy when it rains and you cant have enough paracord as there are never enough guy ropes for windy coastal campsites.

For securing the tent we use these Rock Pegs – you can bash them into the toughest ground and they glow in the dark, so you won’t might not trip over them. To hammer them in get a mallet. One with a hook on the end will mean you can also get them out again – you’ll never lose this lime green one.

Finally, duct tape is useful for a whole host of things, from fixing from holes in tents to wrapping up a sprained ankle. Gorilla Tape is best.

Here is our tent and shelter checklist:

  • Tent
  • Awning
  • Windbreaks
  • Extra tarpaulin
  • Poles
  • Pegs
  • Peg mallet
  • Duct tape
  • Torch and lanterns
  • Bungie cords & rope / paracord
  • Dust pan and brush

Sleeping, comfort and warmth

  • Sleeping bag
  • Camping mat / airbed
  • Air pump
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Ear plugs (Tonight We Camp essential)
  • Towels
  • Camping chairs
  • Fold up table
  • Firepit
  • Logs

Electrical and entertainment

  • Electric hook-up
  • Portable charger / power bank
  • Adapters
  • Extra batteries
  • Camera
  • Fairy lights (Tonight We Camp essential)
  • Bluetooth speaker

Camping clothing

  • Hiking boots
  • Wellies
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Jeans / trousers / trackies
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts
  • Jumpers / hoodies
  • Socks / underwear
  • Swimming stuff
  • Hat / cap
  • Flip flops
  • Trainers
  • Pyjamas
  • Onesie! (Tonight We Camp essential)

Camping kitchen checklist

  • Barbeque
  • Charcoal
  • Barbeque tongs
  • Matches or lighter
  • Camping stove and fuel
  • Pots and pans
  • Frying pan
  • Kettle
  • Thermos flask
  • Water carrier
  • Bottle opener
  • Tin opener
  • Corkscrew (Tonight We Camp essential)
  • Cool box / cool bag
  • Plates, bowls, knives, forks and spoons
  • Napkins
  • Wine & beer glasses
  • Camping mugs (don’t forget teabags!)
  • Water bottle
  • Washing up bowl
  • Washing up liquid and dishcloth
  • Bin and bin bags
  • Coffee maker – French press

Personal and medical

  • Suntan lotion & after sun
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Hay fever tablets
  • Medications
  • First-aid kit
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Camping shower
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and shower gel
  • Hand sanitizer (Tonight We Camp essential item)
  • Wet wipes
  • Bog roll!
  • Portable toilet

Your dog’s camping checklist


Overall Top Pick

Vango Combi IR Grill

200 projects

No encryption

No encryption

100 sub domains

100 sub domains

Best High End Glamping

Vango Combi IR Grill

200 projects

No encryption

No encryption

100 sub domains

100 sub domains

Best Budget

Vango Combi IR Grill

200 projects

No encryption

No encryption

100 sub domains

100 sub domains

Best for Wild Camping

Jetboil Zip Cooker 

Fastest boil time

Awesome wind resistence

Perfect for ration packs

Pretty poor for a fry up

Not good for groups

Best for Families

Vango Combi IR Grill

Robust and sturdy

Packs up neatly

Quick to light

Grill could be better

No wind shelter

It wouldn’t be fair if I complied the dog checklist. I’ll therefore hand over to the resident Tonight We Camp hound, Geoff, who will walk (no not now Geoff) you though the dog camping checklist.

Hai, I Geoff. I like camping. Wen camping pls bring all my things. I done list for camping of all things I like. Here list.

  • Dog food
  • Bonios
  • Dog bed
  • Snacks
  • Dog towel (TWC – this microfibre one is awesome)
  • Dog tie out cable (no I be good)
  • Food and water bowls
  • Sausages
  • Poo bags
  • More bonios pls

There you have it. The Tonight We Camp ultimate camping essentials checklist. If there is anything we have forgotten, be sure to let us know in the comments below and click here for the downloadable PDF version (without all our waffle). Happy camping!

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