Camping checklist: 7 things you’ll probably forget

Okay, there are all of the obvious things – tent, sleeping bags, matches and flashlights. But what about those things you wished you hadn’t forgotten, or worse yet, never even thought about until you found yourself without them? Don’t forget these camping essentials!

Young family camping

Think about it. You’re going camping – living out of a tent or camper for a few days to a few weeks – and everything you and your family needs to exist on a day-to-day basis (toothbrush, pillow, deodorant, baby bottles, dishes, blankets and more) needs to come with you. Here are a few things you may not have thought about, but you’ll probably wish you had.

1Family travel guideWood

It seems obvious that you’ll need it – especially if you’re planning on cooking your dinner over an open fire or roasting marshmallows just for fun. But did you consider you might actually need to bring it with you? Some parks have restrictions about taking wood and brush from the park, so be sure to scout out your particular camping location before you show up without any means for roasting.


If you’re a seasoned camper, you probably have one of these in your camping stash. If you’re not, you may be wondering, whatever for? Especially if you’re bring your own wood; however, a hatchet can come in handy; particularly, if you buy one that can also serve as a hammer. Good for splitting wood or pounding in stakes for the tent.

3Plastic tablecloth

It may not feel like roughing, dragging a plastic tablecloth with you and putting it on that au natural picnic table, but it may be a good idea if you’re planning to serve a meal there. That table has been sitting out in nature for goodness knows how many years, collecting crumbs and spills, and the footprints of critters going after the leftovers.


Most campsites, save the most primitive of them, usually offer some form of electricity. To keep yourself and your kids connected with the outside world (this may come in handy if they’re driving you crazy), you don’t want to be without the various chargers you may need throughout your stay. There’s the cell phone, iPod, gaming device and camera to name the most obvious, but what about the electric tools and flashlights you brought or the portable DVD player to keep the kids occupied just for a few minutes while you assemble the tent?

5Duct Tape

It’s magic and you never know when you might need it. It can repair rips in canvas, vinyl and plastic, hold together wires or cables and it has hundreds of other uses. If the astronauts and MacGyver can put it to good use in a pinch, then it’s a must have for any outdoor adventure.


You can’t have too many batteries (and make sure you have all the right sizes – AA, AAA, C and D and any other size you may need), because you never know when you might run out. Sometimes it seems that you just put in a set of batteries when you need to replace them. Like the digital camera you used all day because seeing grandpa up on water skis was too good to pass up (without evidence). Or the flashlight you end up needing more than you thought.


Unless you brought the refrigerator along with the kitchen sink, ice is a luxury, so stock up, especially if you’re bringing along items that need to be kept cold, such as medicines, baby milk or even food.

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