Camping Checklist

It’s time to camp! I’ve noticed that our camping tubs have gotten pretty disorganized, so I plan to reorganize all of the gear this spring.  When we come home from camping trips,  I always try to sort, clean and restock everything. Inevitably, in a rush to get it all put away, things go in the wrong tubs and we forget to put something back in, only to find it missing at the most inopportune moment on the next trip.

Photo Credits

To help get me organized, I have created a camp checklist that I plan to use from now on.  This list is meant to work for both car camping and camper camping, plus or minus a few things depending on what you’re doing. I also have been compiling a good stash of camping recipes, rather than scrounging around for meal ideas at the last minute like I normally do.


  • Tent and everything that goes with it
  • Ground tarp
  • Mat for door entrance
  • Small dust pan and brush to sweep out dirt
  • Sleeping bags
  • bedrolls or air mattresses if you like it cushy
  • Air pump
  • Pillow

Food staples

  • Hot Chocolate
  • Coffee/ filters
  • Vino & beer
  • Tea Bags
  • cooking oil
  • herbs in ziplocks to go with meals
  • salt & pepper
  • marshmallows
  • grahms
  • chocolate
  • honey/jelly/agave
  • pancake batter
  • popcorn
Camp Kitchen

  • camp table
  • citronella candle for table top
  • Stove & fuel
  • Firewood
  • pots & pans
  • dutch oven
  • coffee pot
  • pot holder
  • fire starter or newspaper
  • lighter
  • tablecloth
  • plates/bowls/utensils
  • one sharp knife
  • cutting board
  • mixing bowl
  • tongs
  • spatula
  • serving spoon
  • paper towels
  • dish pan
  • dish soap/sponge
  • ziplock bags
  • drying towel
  • aluminum foil
  • trash bags
  • marshmallow/weiner sticks
  • wine/beer bottle opener
  • Coolers
  • Travel mugs to keep morning coffee warm

  • Wash cloth and/or towel
  • Normal toiletries
  • Small mirror
  • Toilet Paper
  • Feminine products
  • Box of tissues
  • Wipes
  • chapstick

  • Camp chairs
  • Tarp for rain cover
  • Lanterns & flashlights – bring plenty for kids & flashlight tag! Glow sticks are fun too.
  • work gloves
  • daypack/camelbacks
  • water bottles, water jugs
  • Ax/ shovel
  • extra propane
First Aid Kit

  • Sunscreen
  • Bugspray
  • Snakebite kit
  • Bandaids, gauze, moleskin, sterile bandages, tweezers,heat/cold pack,ace bandage
  • Thermometer
  • Medication (children’s ibuprofen, benadryl, etc.)
  • nail clippers/ scissors
  • whistle
  • * Don’t skimp here – the one time I forgot to bring a first aid kit on a hike, my 2 year old fell and gashed her forehead open. We had to stop the blood with my husband’s tshirt. Will never forget again.

  • Fishing gear
  • bikes
  • Walky Talkies
  • Sand toys/diggers
  • Books – field guides to flowers, insects
  • Star Chart
  • Binoculars
  • Frisbee
  • jump ropes
  • cards

Regarding meals, I am a fan of making as much as possible ahead of time.  Doing it this way means less dishes, less time spent hunched over a campstove or fire, and more time doing this:

Photo Credits Molas

(this is Molas Lake Campground, by the way)

Here are some camping recipes ideas:



  • A whole website devoted to Dutch Oven Recipes  – looks easy – love Dutch Oven cooking!
  • Cold cuts/peanut butter sandwiches, pre-cut bell peppers & other veggies – good for the trail
  • Marinate, marinate, marinate. Put chicken pieces and favorite marinade in heavy duty ziplock, or double ziplock it. Let it marinate for 2 days in your cooler, then grill. Marinate another bag of red onions, bell peppers, zucchini or whatever fresh veggies you like and then grill those too! You could do this with any kind of meat, a big salmon filet, shishkabobs, and so much more! Brush some slices of thick crusty bread with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and grill those lightly too. Serve with chopped up veggies & hummus (chop ahead of time, at home!).
  • Bring frozen tamales – thaw out in cooler. We usually plan this for day 3 or 4 because it takes that long to thaw out in cooler or fridge. Meantime, all your food is staying cold with these edible ice bricks. Grill when it’s time. Pre-cook beans to go on side (can pre-freeze those too), smother with green chili, cheese & cilantro. If you are ambitious, chop up onions & peppers and sautee in pan, put on top of tamales.
  • Hobo Meals – put meat & veggies, salt, pepper, butter or olive oil and pretty much anything else that sounds good in a foil packet and throw it in the campfire.
  • Pasta – does it get any easier than pasta?


  • Crescent Roll Chocolate Croissant? Really? Check this out – take crescent rolls and intertwine it through a twig, and it appears they have stuffed chocolate on the inside. So, like a camping chocolate croissant, only better cuz everything tastes better when you’re camping.
  • The best ever Dump Cake ever made in the Aspen Maroon Bells. Kids LOVED making this.
  • A Bananas Foster taste-alike: Take a banana, cut slit down the center (without peeling). Wedge some chocolate & marshmallow into slit. Now wrap it up in tin foil, roast over campfire, and when it comes out, drizzle with caramel sauce and whipped cream. Seriously good. And seriously bad for you too. But so good.
  • Smores of course, or just simple old roasted marshmallows!


  • Plain old apples, add peanut butter
  • Cheese sticks
  • Gorp – be sure to throw in some fun things like m&m’s but don’t put so many in that it becomes dessert.
  • Pistachios
  • Raisins or craisins
  • Carrot sticks
  • Granola Bars
  • For all foods, avoid sticky at all costs!

What am I missing? Do you have a good camping recipe? Share it by posting in comment section below!

San Juan Parent


SJPmama is the schemer, founder, and the editor at San Juan Parent.  She created San Juan Parent because she wanted to find fun activities for families that would tire her kids out and make them go to bed at a decent hour. She has been banging away on computers for longer than she can remember and freelances at various tech jobs. She considers herself extremely lucky to have such awesome friends and family who are willing to let SJP feature their stories on the interwebs.




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San Juan Parent
Founder, Co-Editor San Juan Parent was founded by Erika Story in 2010. Erika is the mom to two fabulous young ladies who are growing up too fast for her comfort. In addition to managing the backend of SJP, Erika freelances for various IT jobs and loves every minute of her life with her family in Western Colorado.
San Juan Parent

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  1. This dinner I make ahead of time at home in the crock pot let it cool and then throw it into giant ziplock bags. I usually freeze one to keep for the next trip and take one with us.

    4 cans ranch beans
    1 can ranch beans with jalapenos
    2 small cans diced roasted chilis (recommend Hatch)
    1 small can jalapenos
    1 diced onion
    1 large can sliced mushrooms
    4 Hillshire (and no substitute either) smoked sausage (not the all beef one either just the regular old sausage)
    1 bottle beer (i use a cheapy one wouldnt recommend a dark one either)

    Cook in the crock pot on low all day then turn to high for last 1/2 hour to hour. This takes a big crock pot so if you don’t have one use a dutch oven on the stove and stir regularly so you dont burn the bottom.

    Take a box of minute rice to cook at camp and throw the reheated bean sausage mix over a bowl of rice. This has become our favorite camp dinner!

    • San Juan Parent

      Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Good one!! Thanks for sharing Jennifer!


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