An Easy to Follow Camping Pack List for the New-to-Camping Woman

Adventures, How-To, vacation

I’ve gone camping in the past, but not very consistently. I camped in Nevada a couple times, and it was always miserable. Well, one time wasn’t miserable, and that’s because we went on a 4-wheeling adventure and the people I was with drank too much on one of the pit stops, so we had to stay at someone’s house they knew near by. There was real dinner, showers and a real bed. That one was fine. The rest though… really sucked.

When I moved to Washington, camping was an expected activity among my friends. I decided to give it another shot. It turns out that 1) when you’re near water, 2) the weather isn’t scorching hot, and 3) the people you’re with aren’t assholes, camping is a lot more fun. As a result, I’ve warmed up to the whole idea, and recently went on a girls only camping night! It was so fun, and I feel like a total tough girl for surviving all by myself (read: no men around to help me set up my tent).

easy tent setup

You might not be able to see my super cool white-elephant present, camo tent, so look closely. :)

Now that I’ve gotten a little more used to camping, I wanted to share an easy to follow camping pack list for anyone else who might be new to camping and isn’t sure where to start. This is a list I’ve compiled after several camping trips in the last year or so. A more serious/experienced camper might have more items or different types of items. Make sure to check your weather report and ask other people in your camping group what they suggest. If it weren’t for J’s cousins, who knows what would still be missing from my list, or how much money I would have wasted on over-priced and unnecessary camping supplies!
An Easy to Follow Camping Pack List for the New to Camping Woman

For Your Body:

Tooth Brush/Tooth Paste
Sunscreen
A LOT of bugspray – either store bought or homemade
Eye Makeup Remover – I like to wear a little bit of makeup, even while camping because it makes me feel more comfortable
Dry Shampoo
Deoderant
Face/Body Wash Wipes – I buy these in the travel size so they don’t all dry out
If you’re going to wear makeup too, I’d strongly suggest this tinted moisturizer or this 70 SPF facial sunscreen.

For Your Clothes:

Everything you’d normally bring on vacation, except clothes you wouldn’t want to get dirty
An extra set of clothes, and a few extra undergarments of all kinds
A set or two of PJs – You have to carry everything around yourself, so I only bring one set of PJs. No one sees them anyway.
Bathing Suit
Flip Flops
Comfortable Shoes/Sneakers/Boots depending on the time of year
2 Towels – One for laying out on, one to dry off with
Warm layers – These fleece lined tights were so clutch when it got unexpectedly cold. They take up very little room with a huge impact under jeans or pj pants.

For Your Entertainment

Book or magazine – a real one, so you don’t have to worry about sun glare or your tablet’s battery dying.
Glow Sticks – They’re fun and keep people from getting lost from the group after a few drinks. You can get a huge variety at the dollar store.
A card or interactive game, like Phase 10 or Guestures

For Your Food

Ice Chest + Ice, Ice and Ice – I use a small ice chest like this one when it’s just me (I bought it for road trips over 10 years ago)
Food For Meals – Examples:
Hot Dogs & Buns
Sandwich Supplies (Don’t forget condiments!)
Prepped Ahead Burritos (bring a pan that you could prop above the fire)
Already Hardboiled Eggs, or a pot and extra water to cook them over the fire in the morning
Snacks throughout the day – you probably won’t feel like sitting in front of the fire to cook a hot dog, or make a sandwich when you haven’t been able to wash your hands properly in two days. Examples:
Chips
Granola Bars
Chopped-Up Strawberries
Prepped Carrots
Lunchables (my secret trick)
Water! One trick is to freeze half of your water bottles before you go. This will work to keep your cooler cold, and it will be really nice on the last day or two to have refreshing, ice cold water.
Electrolytes Drinks – I also like to pack vitamin water or powerade
Iced coffees – I buy the Starbucks Mocha ones, but I think there are more options these days.
Beer – This is technically optional, but I’ve never gone camping without it, so… :)

For Your Tent:

A Tent :) – with enough room to put your luggage inside
Sleeping bag
A self inflating mat or air mattress – This will keep you off the cold ground and uncomfortable rocks.
Pillow
Camping Chair – you can only lay in the sand for so long before you just want a chair.
A small flash light! I’m afraid of the dark so I don’t know why it took me so long to realize how important this is. Once the sun goes down, there are no street lights to come on!

I got this sleeping bag at Target for under $35 and I'm so glad I invested in it rather than bringing a ton of blankets. You can find it here.

I got this sleeping bag at Target for under $35 and I’m so glad I invested in it rather than bringing a ton of blankets. I couldn’t find it online, but a similar one can be found here.

It seems like a lot of stuff to bring, and it is. That’s why it’s important to pack light items and make sure you have a good way to carry it. Something I’ve noticed since I’ve become more adventurous, is that people who camp, love to share their supplies. If you have a friend or co-worker who is outdoorsy and you want to go camping but don’t want to spend the money on a sleeping bag or tent right away, simply ask to borrow it. After I bought my sleeping bag, a friend scolded me for not just borrowing one of hers. By now, I decided that I needed one. But in the past I totally borrowed from people. In fact, last weekend I borrowed the self-inflating mat because I forgot my air mattress. It was a total lifesaver!

You don’t need to spend a million dollars to get this list going. But the money you do spend, and the energy you spend nicely asking to borrow some things, will be worth every penny as long as you’re going with nice, supportive people and can take a deep breath and relax the real-world stressors away!

Do you think there’s something I’ve forgotten or did this list help you? Leave a note in the comments!

Previous Story
Next Story

34 Comments

  • Reply
    Monica Bruno
    August 10, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Hi Brittany, I can certainly relate to being adverse to camping. I used to hate it, too. But then, in 2011 I took a trip to Estes Park, CO. It was AMAZING. I fell head over heals in love with the mountains. And,yes, who you go camping with is just as important as where you go. This is also a great, thorough list of supplies. I love your blog and your pictures. Thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Brittany
      August 10, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      Isn’t it amazing how different people and scenery can change an experience!

      Thank you so much :).

  • Reply
    Kenzie @ Life According to Kenz
    August 10, 2015 at 8:07 am

    What a list!!! I’m so glad that you’ve now had a better experience camping. :) I am absolutely convinced that the people you’re with can make or break it! Looks like a lovely view!
    Kenzie @ Life According to Kenz recently posted…The Expert of Your Own Experience

    • Reply
      Brittany
      August 10, 2015 at 8:41 pm

      Thank you! It’s my favorite view ever.

  • Reply
    The Gripping Memoir You Need to Read this Summer (The Tank Man's Son + a Giveaway!) - Where My Soul Belongs
    August 12, 2015 at 4:52 am

    […] started reading this book on my girl’s only camping trip, and then snuck in pages here and there as frequently as I could. The book really captures your […]

  • Reply
    Christina Scalera
    August 12, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    This is great! Thank you so much for sharing this Brittany! Bookmarked for the next time I go camping :)

    • Reply
      Brittany
      August 14, 2015 at 7:05 am

      You’re so welcome! Let me know how it goes! :)

  • Reply
    Megan
    August 18, 2015 at 9:27 am

    The last few times I was camping was without Matty (sad days!), but with other couples. So I actually just stayed in their tents. hahaha I’m with you on the food tho, easy is the way to go. And I thought headlamps were lame, but it’s the best investment ever. You can see at the bathroom without carrying a lamp. Brilliant! Plus you can use it when you run at night or in the morning!
    Megan recently posted…Christmas 2014

    • Reply
      Brittany
      September 12, 2015 at 9:06 am

      Headlamps are seriously awesome. I should just buy one. haha

      • Reply
        Megan
        September 12, 2015 at 9:57 am

        Wait til Christmas. They go on sale for stocking stuffers! :) you’re welcome

        • Reply
          Brittany
          September 12, 2015 at 9:57 am

          #winning :)

  • Reply
    Mandi
    August 23, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    We love camping and this is a great list!

    • Reply
      Brittany
      September 12, 2015 at 9:07 am

      Thanks, Mandi!

  • Reply
    Sam @ DIY Just Cuz
    August 23, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    This is an AWESOME list. I used to camp a ton as a child but I haven’t been recently & I don’t know that I would have remembered all the essentials. I’ll be pinning this as a reference for my next camping trip :)
    Sam @ DIY Just Cuz recently posted…DIY Woodburning Tribute Plaque

    • Reply
      Brittany
      September 12, 2015 at 9:07 am

      Let me know how it goes when you camp next time, Sam! :)

  • Reply
    Jessi Haynes
    August 23, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    I’m a rock climber, so I camp A LOT. I have just recently (in the last couple of years) discovered the joy of the headlamp. That is an absolute must for me now, when I go camping!

    • Reply
      Brittany
      September 12, 2015 at 9:07 am

      Rock climber? That’s so bad ass!

  • Reply
    Melanie
    August 23, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    While I’m not planning a camping trip anytime soon, this list is really helpful!
    Melanie recently posted…Helpful Products for the Home

    • Reply
      Brittany
      September 12, 2015 at 9:08 am

      Thanks, Melanie!

  • Reply
    Tori Gabriel
    August 23, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Love it. Camping is great fun. I loved your description of why camping rocks (ie. “The people you’re with aren’t assholes”). Made me giggle.
    Tori Gabriel recently posted…Baby Things I Can’t Wait To Be Rid Of

    • Reply
      Brittany
      September 12, 2015 at 9:08 am

      Haha it’s so true! :)

  • Reply
    Kate
    August 23, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    This is such a great list, spot on for sure! :)

    • Reply
      Brittany
      September 12, 2015 at 9:08 am

      Thanks, Kate!

  • Reply
    StressedMum
    August 24, 2015 at 3:31 am

    I have bookmarked this, I am anti camping, but kee being hassled to go, this post may give me the kick to go and have a go thank you x
    StressedMum recently posted…Silly Accidents

    • Reply
      Brittany
      September 12, 2015 at 9:09 am

      Good luck! I used to be anti-camping too, but if you have the right company it might be worth the risk :).

  • Reply
    Yaya
    August 24, 2015 at 9:40 am

    I need to bookmark this post because I really want to go camping next year.

    • Reply
      Brittany
      September 12, 2015 at 9:09 am

      Let me know how it goes!

  • Reply
    Isabel @ From Cats to Cooking
    August 24, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Love this list. I’m not completely new to camping – I’ve probably gone 2 times a year for the past 4 year – but I’m still not completely comfortable and confident in the whole process. This list is super helpful!
    Isabel @ From Cats to Cooking recently posted…3-Ingredient Authentic Mexican Corn Tortillas

    • Reply
      Brittany
      September 12, 2015 at 9:10 am

      Isabel, I don’t know that I’m super confident either. It takes a lot of practice. But keeping an ongoing list of things I need or things that make me feel more comfortable (makeup, a book), helped a lot. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Lily Nguyen
    August 24, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Cool tent! This is a wonderful list. I’ve only gone tent camping like two times, and it’s something I would like to do in the future, so I’m bookmarking this for sure. Very comprehensive list. :)

    • Reply
      Brittany
      September 12, 2015 at 9:10 am

      Thanks, Lily! Good luck on your future camping trips!

  • Reply
    How to Set Up Your First Crab Pot - Where My Soul Belongs
    September 9, 2015 at 5:58 am

    […] If you’re also going to be camping, don’t forget to check my camping pack list for the new-to-camping woman. […]

  • Reply
    Susan Smith
    June 30, 2016 at 7:40 am

    I’m new to camping, but am starting to feel tugged by the idea. This is a helpful list to get me started. Thank you!

  • Reply
    5 Tips for Cleaning Your First House: The Diary of a First Time Homeowner - Where My Soul Belongs
    August 29, 2016 at 6:58 am

    […] The green ones are the Scotch-Brite® Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges. These are perfect for the kitchen, but also tough surfaces like the stuff you bring camping after you unload it at home! […]

  • Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge