Skip to Content

Camping List: How to prepare for a Camping Trip

We’re going camping! I’m quite excited, but with camping comes the ever dreaded preparation! That’s always my least favorite part, the preparation. But we’ve got a great camping list that will help make it go as smoothly as possible. This will help you prepare for camping! We all know if you are prepared, you always have the best experience. Our camping list isn’t a typical camping Checklist of items to pack. But more about exactly all the prepping that goes into preparing for camp before you pack! This is the first step. Then you can jump over to our camping checklist for easy to follow list of all you need to pack to finish off your camping list.

Camping List: How to prepare for a Camping Trip

Camping List step 1: Select the Destination.  

You need to have a solid plan in mind. Where are you going camping? Are you camping with just your small family or are you meeting up with friends and relatives? How long are you going to be camping? These are the first and most important questions to iron out when you are camping. Once you know all this you then know how to pack and prepare.

Camping List: How to prepare for a Camping Trip


Camping list Step 2: Prepare the medical needs. 

If you have allergies, be sure to prepare all you need to manage your allergies. If you have routine medicine, have that be your first priority to get ready. Make sure you have enough medication for the entire trip. If you have contacts, make sure you have your solution, an extra pair of contacts and a back up pair of glasses. If someone is allergic to certain foods, be sure everyone attending the camp out knows about this, and plans accordingly.

Camping List step 3: Make a Meal Plan:

Sit down as a group and decide how you will manage meals. In our family we always take care of our own breakfasts and lunches, and have a potluck dinner each night. We take the favorite meals from past camping trips and we divide out meal assignments as to who will bring what for that potluck meal together. We always include side dishes, desserts and all. Everyone always provides their own drinks. It makes menu planning and packing food a lot simpler. After the main family meal list has been created I then make my own for our breakfasts, lunches and snacks. Don’t forget the snacks, especially if you have kids!

Once you have a menu planned, then you can make a shopping list for the items you don’t have on hand. It also makes planning what foods to take a lot simpler and packing goes smoother as well.

Camping List: How to prepare for a Camping Trip

Camping List step 4: Find/Create and follow a Camping Checklist for packing:

Start preparing out a camping checklist. This list will include everything you will need to gather and pack for the entire duration you will be camping. You will want to include obvious and not so obvious items on this list, to ensure nothing gets forgotten. You want to plan out your shelter, cooking arrangements, bedding, clothing, personal items, and miscellaneous items to pack.

As you are preparing your checklist keep in mind how much room you have in your vehicles to haul everything. Also will you be hiking to your camp spot after you park your car, or will your vehicles be right there with you? It will help determine how light or heavy you can pack. But for a general rule of thumb you want to pack as light as you can to ensure you aren’t spending too much time packing, unpacking at camp, repacking at camp and unpacking once you get home. You are going camping to relax and have a great time, not to be worrying about all the junk you brought up.

Camping List step 5: Don’t Procrastinate:

One of the best pieces of advice I can give you about making your camping preparation go smoothly is to not procrastinate until the day before! Since our family camp out is a yearly event, we usually start planning in the fall, as many people have to have enough time to schedule time off from work. Then a few months before the selected date we find out how many people will be attending and start the entire planning process then. If you are holding a smaller camp out event, I’d recommend to start planning a few weeks in advance. Schedule out your menus, and ensure you have all the camping gear in good order.

Start the packing process of all the items you don’t need in your daily life the week before you are to leave on the camp out. Gather your supplies and pack them into their appropriate bags and then set them aside in a spare room or garage. Then pack all the non-perishable foods a few days in advance. Then pack the clothing the day before. Just before you leave pack all the last minute items such as your pillows, toothbrushes, etc. Basically the items you couldn’t pack before because you use them daily. Also last minute is when you pack the perishable foods.

 Camping List Step 6: Plan for travel entertainment:

After all the camping gear is set aside, you should remember you still need a little room in the vehicle for entertainment for the kids. Just like any travel trip, your kids need snacks and entertainment factors while you drive to the mountains. Have the kids help pick out what they want to entertain themselves in the vehicle while you are driving. Keep some snacks handy depending on how long of a drive you have.

Camp List step 7: Plan an easy First meal

Remember that once you reach the camp site, you will have a lot of work to do to set up camp. You may be hungry once you arrive or shortly after you arrive. Be sure you planned a very simple meal for right after you arrive. Something simple like sandwiches, or the likes. Maybe you thought ahead and even already have the sandwiches made! That’s even better! Then once you arrive you can quickly have something to eat and then begin setting up.

Camping List step 8 Load up and hit the road

Once you have everything organized, begin the packing process. Like I mentioned procrastination will not be your friend. It also increases your chances of forgetting something important. Once you have everything gathered, load it all into the vehicles and hit the road!

Camping List: How to prepare for a Camping Trip

Remember that Camping is a time to relax and enjoy the company that is with you, and to enjoy the great outdoors! Don’t over stress and don’t over plan. You may have planned a lot of great activities for camping, but just like any normal vacation, you need time to relax. You don’t want to over do it so when you arrive home you feel as though you need a vacation from your vacation. Don’t fret too much over schedules, just enjoy the time away from your regular responsibilities.

Do you go camping with your family? 

How do you make camping preparation go smoothly? 

What is your favorite camping memory? 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

6 Great Tips on Preparing for a Camping Holiday in the Mountains | Camping for Women

Monday 27th of March 2017

[…] Busy Creating Memories suggests planning an easy first meal to have once you reach the campsite – something simple like sandwiches. For all other meals, you’ll need to make supplies with you, so it’s best to plan ahead what you can cook on a camp fire and avoid taking too many perishable foods. […]

Hickory Smoked Grilled Salmon perfect camping recipe

Tuesday 5th of April 2016

[…] you about camping. I’ve shared our top 10 camping tips, the best camping checklist, a great camping list to help you prepare, the best camping air mattress and even our favorite Dutch Oven Potatoes recipe […]

Camping Checklist, Preparing for Camping

Friday 30th of October 2015

[…] that you have a great camping checklist, you can start packing and going through all the camp preparations. Happy […]


Wednesday 15th of May 2013

Awesome!! My husband and I just bought a popup camper this year, we can't wait to go camping with our 4 kids. This will be our 1st camping trip in an RV and we are a little rusty on the whole camping thing, it's been 7 years since you went camping last :-( I am excited to get back out there and start camping again. Thanks to your advise this will be a little easier now :-)

Kristin Wheeler (Mama Luvs Books)

Friday 10th of May 2013

You're so good! Our idea of camping is at the Holiday Inn! LOL

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.