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An equipment checklist for first time campers

Where you are camping, the style of camping you are doing, the conditions you are venturing out in and who you are traveling with will all impact the camping equipment you will need to bring. However, for most first time campers, there are certain items that you will definitely need to have on your list. With some camping gear essentials, you can ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable time on your next adventure. 

Preparing and planning for your trip ahead of time is crucial in ensuring that you have everything you need before you embark on your trip. Having a checklist will help to keep you on track with your gear requirements and ensure that nothing is left behind. Taking the time to prepare for your trip in advance will give you the time to spread the cost of the gear you need over time. This way you’re not hit with one big bill all at once. You will need to bring a number of things to survive a camping night and a few more that can make your camping experience a little more enjoyable. 

Essential camping gear for your equipment checklist

Let’s take a look at some essential camping gear that every first-time camper should include on their equipment checklist.


The first thing you will need to go camping is a tent. It’s wise to choose a tent that is lightweight, rainproof, and that is suited to the terrain and conditions that you are likely to encounter. It’s also crucial that it is big enough to accommodate you and your campmates. You will also need tent poles, pegs, spare pegs, guy lines and a groundsheet. Make sure that these are included with your tent. If they are not, you will need to buy them separately.

Sleeping bag

Choosing the right sleeping bag is crucial in getting a good night’s sleep when you’re camping. If your sleeping bag is too warm or not warm enough, you will be uncomfortable for the entire night. You also want to avoid cheap sleeping bags that are made from non-breathable materials. Non-breathable materials can get intolerable as the night goes on. Choose a sleeping bag designed for the temperatures you will be camping in. Also make sure the it’s made of lightweight, breathable materials to ensure you get the rest you will no doubt need.

Photo by Jack Sloop

Cooking equipment

Camping is all about being self-sustainable and immersing yourself in the environment. While bringing sandwiches and other cold pre-prepared food and snacks can make life easy, there’s nothing quite like cooking up a meal tent-side. A camping stove and some lightweight pots and pans serve as a simple kitchen. Search for one-pot meals or packaged meals and find simple dishes you can prepare at your campsite.


To get from the trailhead to your campsite with all of your gear, you will need a way to transport it. A durable, lightweight, comfortable backpack is essential for any camping trip. There is a wide range of backpacks available in a variety of sizes. Choose a pack that will allow you enough room to pack everything that you need and to carry the load comfortably. If possible, try the pack in-store before buying to check that it fits you well. 

Other essential camping gear that should be included on your equipment checklist

Packing properly and having the right gear will definitely improve your next camping trip. In addition to the items listed above, you should also carry a headtorch, first-aid kit, rain gear, dry clothing, towel, insect repellant, sunblock and enough food and water. For more camping accessories you can check out some online shops like Decathlon or Botanex.

Always make sure that you tell someone where you’re going and what your plan is so they can alert the emergency services if anything goes wrong. Planning for every eventuality before you leave will give you the peace of mind you need to relax.

Is there anything else that should be included in this equipment checklist for first time campers? Please let me know in a comment! Safe travels!

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