Car Camping Packing List

Packing List for Car Camping

Are you a last minute packer, or a pack-ahead kind of camper?  I like to pack ahead, generally over-pack, then spend days trying to take things out of the pile so I will travel lighter.  Regardless, using a packing list is helpful for guidance.  I have been regularly packing for camping trips for over twenty years, and I still use this list.

To be sure we cover all bases,  items are categorized by the things we may be doing when away from home: eat, sleep, bath, adventure activities, clothing, and misc..

When considering what clothes to pack, start from head to toe and inner to outer, and plan for climate changes.  For example, begin with hats, and work your way down to underwear, and pants, gloves, long underwear, shirts, and jackets, socks, and, finally, shoes.

Weather, trip activities, and number of participants will alter this list somewhat, but this is a good place to start, and a good way to catch the little things that are easily forgotten.

Feel free to print this out and use it as a checklist.  I do!



meals + campfire + car snacks

car snacks

food for meals

filled water jugs

cooler + ice

firewood + charcoal

camping stove + propane, gas

pots + pans + spatula + big spoon

plates, bowls, cups, utensils

matches, lighter

dish sponge, dish soap, towel

camping knife

hand sanitizer

table cloth

tin foil

camp chairs

trash bags


tent camping


sleeping bag

sleeping pad

pillows/neck pillow

extra fleece blanket

bedside bag (books, electric plugs)

headlamp + lantern (fully charged + batteries) + glow sticks


shower + personal

toothbrush + paste + travel cup

hairbrush + hair ties + clips

Dr. Bronner’s soap + wash cloth

toilet paper

shower shoes



Adventure Activities

hike+ climb +hot springs + lakes + rivers

water bottles + bladders

trekking poles

day pack

climbing gear + harness + climbing shoes + helmet

first aid kit

sun hat

handkerchief or scarf


bug repellent

swim suit + sun shirts




water shoes



Sun + Wind + Rain + Snow

down jacket

fleece jacket

fleece vest

long underwear + top & bottom

mittens + beanies

warm wool or synthetic socks

rain jacket + rain pants

wind breaker jacket

hiking pants

tanks + t-shirts


underwear + sports bras


walking, hiking shoes


optional items

checkbook (to pay for campsite)

bikes + helmets

s’more making ingredients + sticks

play tarp or tent + water toys + dolls + stuffed animals

reading + activity books


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