Camping provides the perfect opportunity to hit ‘pause’ on city life and reconnect with family, friends, or loved ones in nature. Whether it’s a grand adventure or a simple weekend getaway for some much-needed R&R, a trip to Canada’s backyard can provide beloved memories for years to come.

That being said, a camping trip can quickly go awry without the right supplies, so a little preparation goes a long way. With this in mind, we’ve compiled the ultimate first-time camper packing list to ensure you have everything you need to have an incredible experience.

Pitched Campsite Essentials:

  • Tent (also all affiliated pieces, including pegs, groundsheet, stakes, tarp, and repair tools)
  • Sleeping bags or air mattress, air pump, and pillows
  • Flashlight
  • Headlamp
  • Battery-powered lantern (and extra batteries)
  • Games and sporting equipment
  • Books
  • Navigation tools
  • Close line with clips (for longer duration trips)
  • Extra cords
  • Pocketknife
  • Battery radio

Health/Personal Essentials:

  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toiletry supplies
  • Baby wipes
  • Brush or comb
  • Quick-dry towels
  • First-aid kit
  • Sunscreen and after-sun lotion
  • Insect repellent
  • Aloe vera
  • Lip balm
  • Ibuprofen (or equivalent)
  • Antibacterial ointment or wipes
  • Any EpiPens or inhalers
  • Portable camp shower (if desired)
  • Small backpack for daytime activities
  • Watch or alarm clock
  • Portable chargers for devices

Keep in mind; some Pitched campsites offer gear rental, so you experience camping without the carload and expense, in which case, you can pack a little lighter!

Cooking Essentials:

  • Plastic or reusable bags (resealable)
  • Cooler
  • Cooking pots, pans, bowls, and utensils
  • Mugs and/or cups
  • Sharp knife
  • Can opener
  • Paper towels
  • Water bottles, water jugs and/or water filters
  • Stove and fuel (or a camp grill — some campsites will provide a BBQ on site)
  • Cutting board
  • Firestarter
  • Waterproof matches and/or lighter
  • Food storage containers
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Sponge or pot scrubber
  • Dishtowel
  • Wash bin
  • Folding table, chairs, and tablecloth (depending on the nature of the campsite chosen)
  • Roasting skewers and s’mores supplies (of course)

Repair Essentials:

  • Duct tape and rope or twine
  • Small mallet or hammer (to secure your tent)
  • Saw or ax (if planning to chop firewood)
  • Repair kits for critical equipment (tent, mattress, etc.)

Ready to plan your first camping trip? Head over to, find the perfect campsite, pack your things, and get that campfire going!