Summer Camping Checklist (Printable PDF & Editable)

Summer camping is THE best! So many memories. So many good times. So much to remember! 

You want to create these wonderful memories for your own family camping trip, but arent 100% sure of what you should take in hot weather…

You are a beginner camper and know you don’t need the kitchen sink or maybe you do!?  What do you really need when you take the family on a weekend summer camping trip?

Find out in our summer camping checklist. Read on!

Related: Looking for a camping tent that doesn’t require messing around with guy lines and tent poles? Check out our guide to the best instant tents for camping.

Sleeping Gear For Hot Summer Days

  • Tent, poles, stakes/pegs, mallet, rainfly, or tarp
  • Groundsheet, footprint, or tarp
  • Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, sheets, blankets
  • Pillow
  • Rechargeable battery powered fan
  • Heat reflecting blanket to keep the tent cool
  • Add new

Kitchen Packing List

  • Camp table
  • Camp chairs
  • Tarp or shelter for shade
  • Portable camping stove or campfire materials
  • Extra stove fuel, lighters, matches, firewood, firelighters
  • Cooking pots and pans
  • Large bowl
  • Stovetop kettle
  • Cooking utensils (Wooden spoons, tongs, flippers, spatula)
  • Can opener, corkscrew, bottle openers
  • Cutting board and knives
  • Cooler with ice or ice packs
  • Rubbish bin/bags
  • Bucket for dishwashing, scrubber, detergent, tea towels, dishcloth
  • Large drinking water container with potable water or water purification system
  • Food containers and resealable plastic bags for food storage
  • Foil and paper towel
  • Marshmallow cooking sticks
  • Dustpan and brush
  • Add new

Eating And Drinking

  • Plates and bowls
  • Knives, forks, and spoons
  • Mugs and water cups
  • Wine glasses!
  • Water bottles
  • Add new

Wet Weather Protection Gear

  • Tarp, poles, ropes, stakes
  • Rain jackets
  • Clothes pegs
  • Add new

Summer Clothing & Footwear

  • Bag for clean clothes
  • Quick-drying suitable outdoor clothing for the season
  • Trousers, shorts, T-shirts, sports bra
  • Suitable nightwear
  • Sun protection (Hats, sunglasses, sun shirts)
  • Trekking boots, water shoes, slip-on shoes
  • Socks
  • Swimming gear (swimsuit, towel)
  • Plastic bag for dirty/wet clothes
  • Add new

Toiletries Kit

  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Soap, shampoo
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Hairbrush
  • Shaver
  • Toilet paper
  • Medications
  • Women/Girls hygiene products
  • First aid kit
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick or lip balm
  • Sting and bite cream
  • Reading glasses/contact lenses
  • Toilet shovel
  • Waterless hand sanitizer
  • Baby wipes
  • Add new

Camp Lighting

  • Lanterns
  • Candles, matches
  • Headlamps
  • Rechargeable torches
  • Flashlights
  • Spare Batteries
  • Portable solar panel for recharging
  • Add new

Summer Camping Entertainment

  • Field guides, star charts, and books
  • Binoculars
  • Notebook and pencils (pencils write on wet-ish paper)
  • Music player, Bluetooth speakers, phone, tablet, etc
  • Musical instrument
  • Ball, frisbee
  • Watercrafts
  • Hammock
  • Camera
  • Fishing gear, bait, license
  • Deck of cards, Jigsaw, board games
  • Day pack for short hikes
  • Devices for teenagers
  • Add new

Useful things and Camping Accessories

  • Phone charger
  • Watch or clock
  • Rope – thick and thin
  • Multi-tool/Pocket knife/Scissors
  • Duct Tape
  • Extra guy ropes
  • Bungy/shock cords
  • Tent pole repair
  • Hammer/saw/axe
  • Compass or navigation device
  • Reflective blanket
  • Mosquito net
  • Credit card/cash/Identification
  • Repair kits for tent, tarps, water toys, blow-up mattresses
  • Bear spray for errant bears also works well on unwanted human intruders
  • Whistle
  • Add new
Orange tent set up in the forest at Sunrise on a summer day.
Set up your tent for the morning sun to stay cool, not the hot afternoon sun!

Summer specific camping hacks and tips for first-time campers

  • Book your summer campsite early. They often book out fast.
  • To stay cool, set your tent up in the shade and make use of any breeze there might be.
  • Face your tent east so that you get the morning sun and the afternoon shade in the hottest part of the day.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to set up. The hot sun can wear you down pretty quickly.
  • Plan for wet and rainy weather too…
  • Think about camping mid-week and avoid the big summer crowds.
  • Choose a tent with lots of mesh. It keeps the bugs and heat out!
  • Bring water bottles and drink lots of water. Plan and prepare your meals before you leave.
  • Loose clothes with long sleeves help with sunburn as do large hats or umbrellas that clip onto camping chairs!
  • Do your hiking in the cooler parts of the day.
  • White lights attract bugs at night. Warm lighting is less attractive to them. 
  • Close up your tent before nightfall to make sure it stays bug-free.
  • Create your own shade! Gazebos, tarps or a large fly will all help create shade for you in the hottest part of the day. Also fantastic if it rains!
  • Use solar power for iceboxes, fans, phones etc. You’ll have plenty of it!
  • Always use a checklist for packing or you WILL forget something!

And a few things to do before you Go Warm Weather Camping

It’s always an idea to make sure you have the campsite details and a printed confirmation with you when you leave. Paper-based maps are also handy if phone coverage is patchy where you are planning to camp.

Make sure you leave with a full tank of gas in the car and make sure you tell someone exactly where you are going and when you’ll be back. It’s reassuring to know someone will come looking for you if things go wrong.

Check what the weather is going to do, what the fire ban status of the area is, and what dangerous animals or toxic plants you may encounter in your campsite before you leave home as well!

Stay safe!

Happy Camping 😊

Next up: You’ve heard of instant tents, but are they worth it? Find out: Are instant tents good?

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Author at Wilderness Redefined camping website

Kara grew up in New Zealand where camping in the backyard as a child turned into multi-night trips in the National Parks as a teenager and then a full blown backpacking adventure for a year in Asia, by herself in her early 20's. Camping, bush walking, car camping and road trips still feature heavily in her current life style. She lives right next door to a World Heritage National Park on Springbrook Mountain and highly recommends having them as next door neighbours!