15 Essential Items for Camping (for beginners)

Going camping doesn’t need to daunting or difficult. With some planning, you can easily pull together some essential items that allow you to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

Below is a list of 15 Essential Items for Camping (for beginners)

  • Water (drinking water
  • Tent
  • Firelighters and Lighter
  • Flashlight
  • Toiletries
  • Padding to go under the sleeping bag
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Food
  • Cooking Stove
  • Pot and Pan
  • Cleaning Gear
  • Cutlery
  • Clothes
  • Chairs


Not every campsite has water or at the latest clean drinking water. You can buy a water container from your local outdoor store filling it up at home before taking off.

Alternatively, you can buy bottled water or large bulk amount of water from grocery or supermarket.

You just need to take enough water for the duration of your trip. Better to less than more.


Unless you’re sleeping in a campervan or caravan you will need somewhere to sleep in and to get out of the elements.

If you haven’t gone camping before I wouldn’t recommend going out and buying an expensive tent. Just borrow one from a friend to see if you enjoy camping.

Firelights and Lighter

You can’t go camping without having a fire. Staring into the fire is strangely captivating.

It’s also good for keeping warm and cooking marshmallows.

Fire can also be used to cook meals.  So don’t forget to take a lighter or matches. If needed take some firelighters to get things going. 

15 Essential Items for Camping (for beginners)


Best to have one flashlight per person.  Lanterns also come in very handy, dispersing light over the campsite whilst preparing dinner or rounding the kids up for sleep.


Because you’re going camping doesn’t mean being hygienic comes to a grinding halt. 

Hand sanitizer 
Tooth Paste
Toilet Paper

Padding to go under the sleeping bag

Unless you’re sleeping on a moss cover ground which is inches think, sleeping on the hard ground will likely lead to a poor night’s sleep. Getting a great night’s sleep is important, it can make or break a camping trip.

If you have a mattress from your spare fold up the bed at home, bring that along.

Alternatively, borrow a camping or hiking mattress from a friend. If that can’t be done, take along another donna that you can place down as a mattress. Some padding is better than none.

If your not willing to risk having a decent night’s sleep check out our review on Best Sleeping Mattress.

Sleeping Bag

You don’t need a fancy sleeping bag or any sleeping bag for that matter. Just take your favorite pillow and donna. It can get cold at night so take and extra blank or two.

Blankets are useful when traveling as they don’t take up much room.

If you know it will be very cold take and you have a power supply take along a small heater that can be safely placed inside the tent.


If you are an organized person you can prepare cooked meals at home, taking them along camping for reheating. 

If your taking perishables, you will need to keep your food cool. You will need to take an esky.

A day or so before you travel, pack the esky with ice or ice blocks. Once ready to go one your adventure pack your food and drinks into the esky,

By doing this, your food will be entering a cool esky opposed an esky being at room temperature.

Tip: freeze water in plastic bottles and place in esky will keep the esky cool for some time longer. Once defrosted, water in plastic bottles can be used as a refreshing drink.

Your food must be kept below 4°C (or above 60°C) to remain in the safe food temperature zone. Any food that strays outside this zone for longer than four hours should be binned.

If you’re looking for simple camp food recipes we have an article on this.

Cooking Stove

The campsite may have a BBQ or might be able to cook over a fire. Most campers prefer to camp with a portable gas stove which is quick and convenient.

If you have a portable stove (barbecue) take that along, if not borrow from a friend. My preferred portable cooking stove is Coleman.

The Coleman Classic stove is a simple, functional unit that will reliably cook up your breakfast lunch and dinner. Coleman Classic stove comes at an affordable price of $45 on Amazon.

15 Essential Items for Camping (for beginners)

Pot and Pan

If you taking food it’s likely you will need at least a pan or pot to cook with.

If you planning on cooking a few ingredients at one time you will need more than one cooking pan. Pots come in handy for boiling water for making coffee or tea.  

Cleaning Gear

So you have cooked breakfast now the pot, pan plates and cutlery will be need cleaning.

It’s highly unlikely you will have access to a dishwasher so you will need sponge and detergent. Suggest taking a bucket that you can place your dirty dishes and clean them. 

Cleaning gear list

Kitchen towel

Plates, Cutlery, and Cups

Unless you eating out at restaurants, getting takeaway, or eating out of pack food you will need something to eat on and with.

You can pick up inexpensive camping plates and cutlery from local stores. Alternatively, you can bring stuff from home.

Also, don’t forget to bring some cups to drink from. Cups that can hold hot liquids for your favorite hot beverage such as coffee and tea.

15 Essential Items for Camping (for beginners)


You don’t necessarily need a table but you do need somewhere to sit.

Taking fold up chairs are ideal, you can rest the plate of food while you eat or sit back enjoying or favorite beverage whilst staring into the fire. 


There is always a chance it could rain, the weather can change quickly.

A good weatherproof jacket with some shoes or boots is recommended. You will need to bring extra clothes depending on the number of days camping 

If the weather of cold, suggest wearing at-short, thermals, or fleece then a jacket giving you enough layers to deal with everything from heat to a blizzard. 

First Aid Kit

First aid kits act as an insurance policy. It’s only when you need it that you bring it out.

Basic First aid kit should include the following items

  • plasters in a variety of different sizes and shapes 
  • small, medium and large sterile gauze dressings 
  • at least 2 sterile eye dressings 
  • triangular bandages 
  • crêpe rolled bandages  (great for use as splint or snake bites).
  • safety pins 
  • disposable sterile gloves 
  • tweezers  (splinter removal)
  • scissors 
  • alcohol-free cleansing wipes 
  • sticky tape 
  • thermometer (preferably digital) 
  • skin rash creams, such as hydrocortisone or calendula 
  • cream or spray to relieve insect bites and stings 
  • antiseptic cream 
  • painkillers such as paracetamol (or infant paracetamol for children), aspirin (not to be given to children under 16), or ibuprofen 
  • antihistamine cream or tablets 
  • distilled water for cleaning wounds 
  • eyewash and eye bath

Final Thoughts

Camping is great and low cost. It’s a great way to reconnect with nature and spend time quality time with friends and family. 

Going camping doesn’t need to be complicated. I just need some basic items and your right to go.

Further Information

If you have enjoyed this article, you will enjoy our other resources.

Below are some of our other gear reviews and popular resources;

How to keep warm camping in Winter

Top Tips for Beginner Campers

How to be Safe Camping

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