When it comes to an ideal camping experience, you want everything to go your way. First, you want blue skies and sun during the day and clear starry nights. You want your neighbors (if you have any) to be quiet. And lastly, you want to have all of the gear you need.
If you don’t, this is not the ideal camping experience. This can quickly become annoying if you forget a pillow or the sleeping pad pump. It’s why having a camping checklist is so important. It keeps you and your group on target for an ideal camping trip.
A camping checklist for your ideal camping adventure
Breaking down the ideal camping gear you’ll want to have
The Main Camp Gear
You’ll quickly realize that there are A LOT of camping items, which are probably spread throughout your house. So, because of this, I recommend before you embark on your trip, you organize them into smaller bins so that when it’s time to go, you throw the containers into the car and start driving.
Get your camping checklist below!
What you want for camping meals
Cooking and Meal Must-haves
- Two Burner Stove
- Utensils and Cookware (cups, plates, etc.)
- Pot and Pan
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Camp table (if doing dispersed camping)
- Insulated Cooler
- Can Opener
- Water jug
- Condiment packs (salt/pepper/spices/sugar)
- Full Propane Tank
What is good camping food?
Easy to make and easy to clean up, make for a perfect camping meal.
Where do you put food at night when camping?
Put your food in the car or close your cooler for most camping locations. A bear is the only animal you’d need to worry about getting into a closed hard-shelled cooler. But, of course, if you’re not in a bear area, you don’t have much to worry about.
If you are in a bear zone, you’ll either have a metal box to put your food in (Yosemite, Glacier, Alaska, and more have these). This helps keep the bears away from your food.
How much food should I bring for an ideal camping weekend?
Bring as much food as possible to nourish yourself, but not too much where it’ll go bad. For some, it’s a fine line.
I like to plan out my meals, which helps prevent me from over-packing. This way, I know exactly what we need for each meal and how much to bring.
Here are ten ideal camping meals to make
- Foil packet meals: Place vegetables, protein, and spices in a foil packet and cook over the campfire. Try a chicken and vegetable foil packet with rosemary and lemon.
- Campfire chili: Brown ground beef with onions, peppers, and spices in a Dutch oven. Add canned beans, diced tomatoes, and broth, and cook over the campfire.
- Spaghetti and meatballs: Boil pasta and cook meatballs in a Dutch oven. Serve with jarred sauce.
- Hobo stew: Layer sliced potatoes, carrots, onions, and sausage in a Dutch oven. Add broth and cook over the campfire.
- Grilled salmon: Grill salmon fillets with lemon, garlic, and herbs over the campfire.
- Breakfast skillet: Cook scrambled eggs with potatoes, bacon, and cheese in a cast-iron skillet.
- Breakfast burritos: Cook scrambled eggs with sausage and vegetables, wrap them in a tortilla, and heat over the campfire.
- Pancakes: Mix pancake batter and cook on a griddle over the campfire. Serve with butter and syrup.
- Oatmeal: Boil water and add instant oatmeal, dried fruit, and nuts.
- Breakfast sandwiches: Cook eggs, bacon, or sausage, and assemble on English muffins with cheese.
Related: Tasty, but easy camping meals
Campire and Lounging Gear
Ideal Camping Clothes
Depending on how many days you’re going camping will determine how many clothes you wear. But as a guy, I have my camp clothes which I’ll wear for a couple of days, and then my hiking/adventure clothes.
This helps minimize what I bring and keeps my bag light.
- Comfy clothes (sweats & jackets)
- Fleece Jacket
- Down jacket for nights
- Camp booties
- Flip Flops/Sandals/Water Shoes
Keeping an Ideal Camping Hygiene
These can be easy to forget because they reside in your bathroom, not near your other camping gear. Don’t forget your hygiene, or else you’ll be a lousy camping partner!
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Mouth Wash
Your Hiking Gear
Whatever you would bring for a regular hike, bring it camping – if you plan to hike during the day. Below are some suggestions of what to bring with you!
- Power generator for phones, cameras, or laptops
- Phone Battery Bank
- Lantern – Small or Large
- Propane-fueled fire pit to decrease fire danger
- Paper towels/napkins
- Shovel (if dispersed camping to dig a toilet)
Deciding on an ideal camping location
As you prepare to go camping, determining where you will camp is a crucial component of your trip. Most people opt for the “safe” confines of an established campground. It has basic necessities, you know it’s accessible, and maybe most importantly, you know where it’s located.
However, some want more freedom and solitude than a dispersed or wild campsite offers. We’ll dive into both options below.
Dispersed or Wild Camping
Dispersed camping is simple in theory. You find a patch of public land – usually in the desert or forest – and camp there. Additionally, it requires bringing everything you’ll need for the trip. Think of it as backpacking but in a car.
There is no bathroom, dinner table, campsite host, or, and this is a big draw, noisy neighbors. Furthermore, there isn’t always a great place to put your tent. This is inconsequential if you sleep in your car or have a trailer. However, those with a tent may need to search a bit to locate a good spot.
Or, you can use TheDyrt app and find good dispersed camping throughout the United States and Canada. I recommend getting the Pro Version for $36 as it offers incredible bang for your buck.
Stay at an Established Campground
This is a campground you’ve imagined or seen photos of. It’s likely situated in or near a National Park or State Park and offers campers some low-level amenities. These can include showers, bathrooms, a camp host to go to for questions, a place to put your tent, and maybe best of all, a camp table.
Better yet, you can find these on Google Maps or on Recreation.gov. The recent explosion in people being outside has led many of these places to be reserved almost immediately – though mainly on the weekend. Lastly, if you have flexibility, use established campgrounds during the weekdays.
Where should I not set up camp?
- Avoid bowl areas that could fill up in case it rains.
- Look for ant hills or bugs on the ground. Don’t set up on top.
- Under trees that look like they could fall or have limbs fall
FAQ: How to have an ideal camping trip
What is the golden rule of camping?
Treat people nicely. Don’t be a nuisance. And please, please, do not start a forest fire.
Camping is easy, and everyone’s there for the same reason. If you smile and treat others with respect, things will go great!
What makes good camping?
Good weather, friendly neighbors, and a killer location make for an ideal camping experience. If you can nail all three, you’re in for a beautiful and memorable time.
How many days is ideal for camping?
Totally up to you. Most people would do weekend camping trips, so 2-3 days. But others can spend three, four, or five days out camping. There’s no wrong answer to how many days if ideal for camping. Furthermore, make sure you’re having fun!
What is the number one rule for camping?
I’d say it’s to respect the land, leave it how you found it, and have fun. It’s easy to accomplish all three, and you’ll make it last so those who come after you can also enjoy the experience!
What should you not keep in your tent?
This goes for backpacking and camping, but try to keep items with a distinct smell out of your tent. These smells can attract animals or insects. Indeed, you don’t want those in an ideal camping world.
What are fun things to bring camping?
What should you NOT bring on an ideal camping trip?
To have an ideal camping experience, leave larger technologies at home. Yes, you can bring your phone, but leave iPads, computers, and TV at home. You’re out here to connect with nature, but not connected to technology.
Additionally, leave large speaker systems at home. No one wants to hear your music, no matter how wonderful you think it is!
Wrapping Up – Ideal Camping Trip
Regarding ideal camping experiences, you want to have a good time, enjoy the scenery, and connect with nature. It doesn’t have to be exciting or hectic. Just make it work for you. Lastly, I hope you download my camping checklist to help you plan and organize your upcoming trip!
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
Download my free Backpacking FAQ E-Book.