Going camping for the first time can be super exciting and nervy at the same time. If you have never done it before, expecting the unexpected and being prepared for all things is a good starting point. At Smart Camper, we have compiled the ultimate camping checklist for newbies. Hopefully, after reading this, you won’t be left asking, what to take camping?

To get a downloadable spreadsheet go to the bottom of the page to get access to the Google Sheet we have created. Feel free to steal this free camping resource and use it to your heart’s content.

So what do you need to bring camping?

I remember the first time I was going camping and the anxiety I felt thinking whether or not I had everything. This list is here to help you relieve that anxiety and make sure you pack everything that is required to have fun and make sure you have all your bases covered.


Let’s start with looking at where you are going to sleep, where you are going to go if it starts raining. So you have several options in this case. If you are going with a caravan, well you’re pretty much covered. If you are going to camp in a camper trailer or tent you are probably going to need a few things

  • Tent
  • Hammer
  • Pegs
  • Tarp or Gazebo
  • Rope & Poles
  • Flooring
  • Dust Pan & Brush


So you’re away from home in the wilderness. Nothing is going to replace your amazing bed at home but it’s best to have something that will provide you with the ability to have a good nights sleep. Getting the correct rest on your camping trip is important because you’re probably going to be doing some fun activities that you need your energy for.

  • Mattress/Bed
  • Pillow
  • Sheets
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Extra Blankets


I can only assume you’re going to want to do some relaxing on your camping trip so having somewhere to laze around is vitally important. So you’re going to need a place to sit down and relax. You’re also going to need somewhere to have your meals at, so tables and chairs are also very important.

  • Camp Chairs
  • Table
  • Cupboard
  • Clothing Line


Yeah, it’s going to get dark out there so be prepared to have the appropriate lighting for when the sun goes out. Having a combination of lighting is also very important. Some for when you are stationary in your tent and those times when you need to get around the campgrounds. Be prepared for all lighting requirements.

  • Battery or Rechargeable operated Lantern
  • Battery or Rechargeable operated Torch


If you are anything like us, you’re most likely going camping on the cheap which means, chances are you’re not going to have showers at your campsite. If you do they are not going to be heated. So to help keep clean and sanitised on your camping trip its best to come prepared with all the requirements to bathe. Let’s be honest you don’t want to be the stinky one in your group of friends, do you?

  • Solar Shower/ RV Shower/ Hot Water Unit
  • Shower Tent
  • Shower Pole
  • Shower Mats
  • Bucket/Tub


You’re going to have to prepare and cook food right? Well, it’s best that you have a setup of some kind to prepare and cook the food you will need to keep you going on your camping expedition. It doesn’t have to be fancy and really it’s sometimes best to keep it basic, especially on your first trip out. Let’s not forget about the beverage and keep well-hydrated needs cups. You’ve also got to clean up and keep the campsite clean. Also, you’re going to have to keep some items chilled. So many things to consider and remember to be prepared for.

  • Plates, Cups & Utensils
  • Pots & Pans
  • Dishwashing bucket, detergent & sponge
  • Bin & Bin Bags
  • Paper Towel & Tea Towels
  • Cooler/ Esky
  • Portable Fridge
  • BBQ/Stove
  • Gas Cylinder
  • Matches/Lighter
  • Cobb Cooker
  • Foil, Cling Wrap and Zip lock bags


You obviously need to bring your regular gear such as your toothpaste and shampoo etc but there are a couple of items on this list to make sure you bring along on your camping trip. Sometimes you don’t think to bring these items because well you’ve never gone camping before. You are going to be outdoors heaps and there are shit loads of bugs floating around so you need to be prepared for the environment.

  • Insect Repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip Balm
  • First Aid Kit

Clothing and Apparel

What camping checklist is complete without a reminder of clothing items. This one really depends on where you are going and the weather you are going to be encountering. But be smart about it, if it’s going to be freezing make sure you pack the thermals. If it’s going to be hot, don’t forget the thongs. It might be pretty common sense but alas be prepared and use the following just as a measure and reminder of what to possibly bring. It’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared.

  • Thermals
  • Jacket & Fleece
  • Beanie
  • Raincoast
  • Boots / Gumboots
  • Hiking Shoes
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sandals/Thongs


It all depends on what type of camping trip you are planning on having. So this part of the camping checklist will need some clarification. As a first-time camper especially if you are not staying at a powered site you might want to consider some method of powering stuff. If you are at a powered site, well then you don’t even need to worry about this. You may also have a neat smart system and solar panels, who knows, just figure out how you want to power stuff really.

  • Solar Panel Kit
  • Generator & Oil
  • Power Boards
  • Extension Leads
  • Battery Charger
  • Device Chargers
  • Jump Starter Pack
  • Inverter (Pure or Modified)


Now this is a list of random stuff you may want to consider bringing on your trip.

  • Extra batteries/bulbs
  • Compass/GPS
  • Whistle
  • Water filters/purification/treatment
  • Camera/battery/film/video
  • Books/magazines (a Kindle would be better)
  • Candles
  • Maps/directions
  • Misc. tools
  • Backpack/fanny pack
  • Fishing gear/license/bait
  • Radio
  • Musical instruments/song books
  • Hammock
  • Tissues
  • Saw/axe
  • Park map/guidebooks/trail maps
  • Lantern pole or hanger
  • Collapsible drying rack
  • Popcorn
  • Marshmallows, Graham crackers,
    Hershey bars (Smores)
  • Pocket knife
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Binoculars
  • Rope/clothes line
  • Canteen/water bottle/coffee pot
  • Bungi cords/straps
  • Cards/games/toys/golf
  • Duct tape/electrical tape
  • Notepad/pen
  • Cell phone/charger
  • 2-way radios/walkie talkies
  • Small shovel
  • Safety pins
  • Money/ID/credit card/quarters
  • Bikes/helmets
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Work gloves
  • Umbrella
  • Hand wipes
  • Drinks/snacks
  • Small sewing kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Hot chocolate/tea bags/coffee
  • Scissors
  • Watch

So there it is a list of everything you will need when you go on your camping trip. A simple but in-depth at the same time camping checklist to set you on a path of a super enjoyable camping trip.

Don’t forget the toilet paper, the shovel will come in handy for those moments if you do not have toilets on site. Typically most free campsites in Australia do have drop toilets. If worse comes to worst, a hole in the ground will do the job.

The best of luck and hope you have a great camping trip.

Get access to the camping checklist Google Sheet.

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