U.S. Army MWR

Camping Essentials


Whether you’ve been camping before or this is your first time for a camping trip, you may constantly worry about forgetting something important that you will need once you arrive at your campsite. It’s a common worry, but with a little preparation, you can ensure that you have everything that you need once you arrive at the campsite. By having the necessary camping essentials, every Soldier and their Family are much more likely to have an enjoyable and memorable camping experience.

Where Are You Camping?

Camping Gear

First and foremost, you need to determine where you are going so that you can pack the necessary equipment, as you may need to add items that you normally wouldn’t need depending on the weather, location, etc. The Paths Across America program makes this part of the preparation process easy with their extensive listing of military camp grounds and RV parks.

Are You Ready to Be in the Wilderness?

Many campers decide to take a skill instruction class to learn a bit about the outdoors prior to actually going camping. This can be a fun event for the entire Family and provides peace of mind knowing that everyone in the Family is a bit more knowledgeable about staying in the wilderness.  Army Family and MWR’s Outdoor Recreation program offers information on camping, equipment check-out and much more.

Checklist of Camping Essentials

Now, on to the good stuff. Here is a list of the items that you will likely need when you go camping. As previously mentioned, you may need to add or remove certain items depending on where you are camping and the time of year it is.

Shelter/Bedding Camping Essentials

  • Tent
  • Tarp
  • Tent stakes
  • Sleeping bag/sleeping pad
  • Pillow
  • Blankets
  • Air mattress
  • Air pump

Cooking Camping Essentials

  • Water
  • Cooler
  • Food
  • Can Opener
  • Charcoal
  • Camp stove
  • Thermos
  • Matches
  • Pots and pans
  • Utensils

Other Camping Essentials

  • Cash and credit cards
  • Toilet paper
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • GPS and compass
  • Flashlight with spare batteries
  • Swiss army knife or something similar
  • Toiletries (deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush)
  • Lantern
  • First-aid kit
  • Clothing

When packing, always hope for the best, but plan for the worst. You need to always expect the unexpected and be prepared for such. Don’t forget to pack items that will make you feel more comfortable while on your camping trip, including luxury items and non-essential items. Also, make sure to consider extra-curricular activities that you and your Family will partake in while on your camping trip and pack anything that is needed to fully engage in those. Above all else, be sure to have fun!

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