A Packing List for New Campers

A Packing List for New Campers

Initially, the thought of camping was terrifying. Why would I want to go sleep outdoors on the ground - where there are bugs!?


After many camping trips and a few wilderness meltdowns, I've learned the value of packing certain creature comforts. I mean- I know you're outdoors, but that doesn't mean you have to freeze your butt off. 

Here are the most important aspects of camping (from a newbie camper). As long as you have these things, you'll be fine:

  • You're warm and comfortable-ish - this post will focus on this
  • You have nourishing things to eat and drink  - this will be its own post
  • You going with responsible people you like / people you could like - I can't help you with this one

Hopefully this post is inspiring - or at least comforting. Take solace! This isn't backpacking- it's car camping! Worse come to worst, you can just curl up in the back of your car.

Here is a camping list that will hopefully mitigate wilderness break downs. This is for free-loaders that don't have group gear (like tents) and want to tag along with their more camping savvy friends. Here's the list for group gear.

 Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

 Bullfrog Pond Campground

Bullfrog Pond Campground


  • It really helps if you're going with friends that have camped before & they have some gear, like a tent, a stove, lights, etc.
  • You're going in a warm-ish month. This list will no good for for snow camping. Also, I'm not sure if I have interest in snow camping.
  • You're going for 2 - 3 nights. You'll need more of the same stuff if you're going for longer.


Windproof Jacket or Down Jacket
Rain Jacket - check the weather
Cotton Tank Top - I like Gap's Active Tank
Long Sleeve Shirt - Nike Half Zip or SmartWool 150

Sweatpants - Aphrodite Pants
Leggings (2) - Pearl Izumi Windproof or Nike Thermals or SmartWool 150
Active Shorts - Nike Shorts
3/4 Capri Leggings - Nike
SmartWool Socks
Hiking Shoes/ Something with some traction, no Nike Frees;
Tennis Shoes
Flip Flops

Swim Suit
Water Bottle

Extra Blanket - if you get cold

Lip Balm
Hair Tie
Baby Wipes

Gear - you'll probably have to buy this
Sleeping Pad -Don't cheap out on this because it will affect the quality of your sleep. I really like this Therm-a-Rest because it's super comfortable and light enough to be used for backpacking.
Headlamp / Good Quality Lantern - Don't skimp on this. What if you have to go pee in the dark by yourself?
Sleeping Bag (Marmot Ouray)- This sleeping bag is an absolute dream. 0 degree, so it keeps you warm & made out of comfy down.

Other (optional)
A Board Game you like
A Delicious Bottle of Wine
A Good Book

If you go camping and you HATE it, give it another try. You'll like it -I promise. Think of it as a grown up sleep over. Remember how fun sleep overs used to be?

If you liked this post, you're probably a spontaneous adventurer, and will like these posts:

If you came here for the food and were very disappointed, follow me on Pinterest for some meticulously categorized recipes.

 Henry Coe State Park

Henry Coe State Park

Finding food that worth the calories.