Camping Guide: What to Pack + Free Packing Checklist

Learn what you should bring for Camping Essentials when staying in National Parks. What to pack for camping - These are important items for your camping checklist: Tent | Sleeping Bag | Sleeping Pad | Camping Pillow | Headlamp| + all other gear essentials for what to bring camping for beginners.

Each time I visit a National Park, I always always always camp, and I might maybe sometimes forget what to pack. So I made this packing checklist to help me! Sleeping outside in nature, soaking up the sunshine and fresh air I feel free, relaxed, and connected to our beautiful planet. But the first few times, I had no idea what to pack. So I decided to make a packing guide for when I go camping in the National Parks.

Learn what you should bring for Camping Essentials when staying in National Parks. What to pack for camping - These are important items for your camping checklist: Tent | Sleeping Bag | Sleeping Pad | Camping Pillow | Headlamp| + all other gear essentials for what to bring camping for beginners.

Here is Your Packing Checklist for Camping!

In this post you will: Learn what you should bring for Camping Essentials when staying in National Parks. What to pack for camping – These are important items for your camping checklist: Tent | Sleeping Bag | Sleeping Pad | Camping Pillow | Headlamp | + all other gear essentials for what to bring camping for beginners.

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 Camping Essentials when staying in National Parks. What to pack for your road trip - Important items for your camping checklist: Tent | Sleeping Bag | Sleeping Pad | Camping Pillow | Headlamp | + all other gear you need as a beginner camper.

My friends that have never been camping in their life before, always ask me the same question – what to pack. On National Park camping trips we coordinate as a group on what to pack in order to save space. It was entertaining watching them stumble through what they thought they might need (20 lbs of clothes, and no sleeping bag- maybe they were going to just wear lots of layers?) So I helped them narrow it down to only packing camping essentials.

Explore these 20 amazing national parks and experience the unique eco systems, animals, and flora.

Explore my adventures through these amazing National Parks and experience the unique ecosystems, animals, and flora.

Getting to most National Parks from Michigan, requires a flight. Unless you want to spend 1-2 days driving there… No thank you. So how to pack, and what to pack make a huge difference on how the trip goes. Which is why I made this packing guide for what camping gear you need. My budget travel enthusiasts will appreciate the cash they’ll save by camping instead of staying in hotels.

Learn what you should bring for Camping Essentials when staying in National Parks. What to pack for camping - These are important items for your camping checklist: Tent | Sleeping Bag | Sleeping Pad | Camping Pillow | Headlamp| + all other gear essentials for what to bring camping for beginners.

What do you eat when you’re camping?

What food to pack for camping

But what do we do for food?!? The best part about camping outdoors means cooking meals in cool places. After all, what’s better than dinner with a view? The sky’s the limit on where you choose to eat your meals. Last year I went on dozens of camping trips- forgetting something when you’re camping can be a huge pain in the ass (this one time we couldn’t find fuel, so our meal depended on if we could get the water boiling over a fire- not impossible, just time consuming, and after 5 days- that’s a lot of work) – most times we’re in the middle of nowhere, so you’re out of luck if you do. When we go to the National Parks – there are typically no showers, stores, or restaurants so we’ll bring a couple freeze dried meals and stop at a local grocery store for non perishables / fresh fruit / veggies / snacks / canned soup / gallons of water + fuel for the road trip.

What to pack | Camping | Packing Guide | Packing List | Checklist Camping Gear | Best Camping Equipment

The Best Camping Gear for Your Packing Checklist

I’ve created a packing guide to avoid that, broken up into camping essentials that you cant be without- down to what is nice to have if you have the packing space/weight. I usually try to fit my gear in a carry on so I don’t have to check a bag on the flight. Helping me save money!

Download your FREE Camping Gear Checklist HERE!

What to Pack for a National Park Road Trip

What to pack | Camping | Packing Guide | Camping Gear | Best Camping Equipment

Tent

My REI Half dome plus tent is the perfect size for me and my travel companion. With a door on each side it makes it easier to enter + exit without disturbing my sleeping partner.

What to pack | Camping | Packing Guide | Packing List | Checklist Camping Gear | Best Camping Equipment

The towel I bring is ideal for backpack camping. The light weight, compact towel comes in handy for showers, swimming, travel, or backpacking. It dries fast and is designed for multiple uses daily.

Sleeping Bag + Pad

What to pack | Camping | Packing Guide | Packing List | Checklist Camping Gear | Best Camping Equipment
What to pack | Camping | Packing Guide | Packing List | Checklist Camping Gear | Best Camping Equipment

Sleeping on the ground isn’t always the most comfortable, a good pad can make a huge difference when it comes to a good night sleep- plus it keeps you warm when the temperatures drop. The sleeping pad I use is nice because it self inflates- and after a long day of hiking, I’m lazy and need all my air.  The marmot sleeping bag I use is awesome- it has a hood at the top that not only keeps your head warm- it keeps your pillow from sliding away at night.

Head Lamp

What to pack | Camping | Packing Guide | Packing List | Checklist Camping Gear | Best Camping Equipment

It’s always ideal to set up camp during the daylight hours- however somehow when we go camping, we always manage to end up at our campsite when it’s dark. Holding a flashlight (or your cell phone) while trying to set up your tent for the night is difficult- add this to your packing list because you NEED to get a head lamp. Yes it looks silly, yes you will be extremely grateful you brought one.

Download your FREE Packing List for camping here!

Pro Tip:

Study the park maps and pick out what hikes you’re going to do the day before so you can see if there are any restrictions before you get to the trail head.

Backpack With Removable Daypack

What to pack | Camping | Packing Guide | Packing List | Checklist Camping Gear | Best Camping Equipment

The backpack I take on my trips is better classified as a travel backpack than it is a backpacking backpack. What I love about it is it opens like a suitcase/duffel. PLUS the outer small daypack is the removable- great for carrying my water bladder or camera gear on my hikes.

What camping essentials to pack when staying in National Parks. Includes FREE camping checklist: Tent | Sleeping Bag | Sleeping Pad | Camping Pillow | Headlamp| + all other gear essentials to bring on your road trip. #campingessentials #freechecklist #camping #campinggear #campinghacks #campingoutfits #nationalparks #travel #destinations #free
What camping essentials to pack when staying in National Parks. Includes FREE camping checklist: Tent | Sleeping Bag | Sleeping Pad | Camping Pillow | Headlamp| + all other gear essentials to bring on your road trip. #campingessentials #freechecklist #camping #campinggear #campinghacks #campingoutfits #nationalparks #travel #destinations #free

Camp Stove/Cookware

What to pack | Camping | Packing Guide | Packing List | Checklist Camping Gear | Best Camping Equipment

Food is one of the largest expenses when traveling. Cooking your meals while camping will help cut down costs tremendously ($5 usd a meal vs $15 usd eating out). I bring my stove and cookware with me on longer hikes and cook my meal with a view at the summit- just don’t forget your spork (that’s happened to me several times). The cookware kit I have comes with bowls/pots/pans/spork and a stove. 

Pro Tip:

Tip: Conserve water and use the leftover water from cooking to clean your dishes. 

Footwear for Camping

What camping essentials to pack when staying in National Parks. Includes FREE camping checklist: Tent | Sleeping Bag | Sleeping Pad | Camping Pillow | Headlamp| + all other gear essentials to bring on your road trip. #campingessentials #freechecklist #camping #campinggear #campinghacks #campingoutfits #nationalparks #travel #destinations #free

Don’t forget footwear on your packing list! I have two different types of hiking footwear. My Tevas are designed specifically for a woman’s foot in order to provide unmatched comfort and performance in the water. I’ll also wear them in hot climates or sand hiking.

What camping essentials to pack when staying in National Parks. Includes FREE camping checklist: Tent | Sleeping Bag | Sleeping Pad | Camping Pillow | Headlamp| + all other gear essentials to bring on your road trip. #campingessentials #freechecklist #camping #campinggear #campinghacks #campingoutfits #nationalparks #travel #destinations #free

For more aggressive terrain such as rocky trails, I’ll wear my Salomon Women’s X Ultra hiking boots. These shoes are specifically designed for a woman’s anatomy. It holds your foot in place even during technical descents, and prevents slippage so you can enjoy more stable and safer descents.

Still Have Space?

If you are planning on backpacking and hiking to your campsite every oz of weight matters- you have to carry your bag for miles. These next items are SUPER NICE to have, but you can get by without them if you don’t have them or are trying to save space & weight.

What camping essentials to pack when staying in National Parks. Includes FREE camping checklist: Tent | Sleeping Bag | Sleeping Pad | Camping Pillow | Headlamp| + all other gear essentials to bring on your road trip. #campingessentials #freechecklist #camping #campinggear #campinghacks #campingoutfits #nationalparks #travel #destinations #free
What camping essentials to pack when staying in National Parks. Includes FREE camping checklist: Tent | Sleeping Bag | Sleeping Pad | Camping Pillow | Headlamp| + all other gear essentials to bring on your road trip. #campingessentials #freechecklist #camping #campinggear #campinghacks #campingoutfits #nationalparks #travel #destinations #free

Hammock & Slap Straps

There’s nothing better than kicking back in my hammock after a long day on the trails. I keep telling myself one night I’ll pull in my sleeping bag/pad and sleep under the stars (But then things like coyote’s howling at all hours of the night prevent that from happening- imagine that.) The slap straps I have are easy to use and make set up happen in seconds.

Pillow & Chair

I’m not gonna lie… camping without a pillow or camp chair can make for an uncomfortable night. I use my pillow on the airplanes (and sleep the entire flight 99% of the time). Sometimes I’ll forget the pillow, and I have to get creative for an alternative. Most times I make a ball out of clothes or the sweatshirt I’m wearing (I don’t recommend that). This lightweight camping chair takes up minimal space, and makes those nights around the campfire that much more enjoyable.

Pro Tip:

Some campsites don’t have picnic tables so when I get stuck sitting on the ground or finding a good “butt rock”. I always regret not bringing one.

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are perhaps the most genius travel invention ever. If you don’t have a set- pay the $10 and get yourself some. They will change the way you travel forever. The cubes keep your clothes separated, keep your bag organized, and make packing things up fast and easy.

Pro Tip:

Tip: Roll your clothes instead of folding them, you’ll fit a lot more in.

Cocoon & Lifestraw

I use my cocoon in the summer months- it’s perfect for warm nights and keeps my sleeping bag clean if it’s a dry shampoo type of day. The lifeproof straw is nice to have if you plan on doing longer hikes (6 + miles). My water bladder holds about 3 liters- and I get pretty close to running out on harder treks. I bring the lifeproof straw in case of emergency- it filters out 99.999999% of all the bad stuff, so you can drink from a freshwater source in a pinch.

Professionally Edit Your Camping Photos!

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The Ultimate Weekend Packing Guide

This ultimate weekend packing guide will help you know what to pack for your next getaway!

 

Have you ever gone on a trip and had no idea what to pack? That used to happen to me all the time. Which is why I decided to make this ultimate weekend packing guide. You need to know what to pack for your adventures. You do not want to make the same mistakes I did and forget to pack something important!

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The Ultimate Weekend Packing Essentials

Meet the perfect carry-on for the ultimate weekend! The Away carry on is unbreakable, and designed for travelers. The bags come with a lifetime guarantee. This may just be your bag ever purchased! You will save yourself money over the years and cause less waste. My away carry on bag is my go to for all my weekend adventures.

I adore everything about my Away carry-on, from it’s amazing storage compartments to the ejectable TSA-approved (safe to fly) battery. The Away carry-on is a great bag, be sure to add it to what you need for your ultimate weekend getaway packing list.

Click HERE to get $20 off any suitcase or bag!

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The best addition for any carry-on? The Away everywhere bag with laptop pouch. Its thoughtful design impressed me with features that keep what you need at hand. The bag attaches efficiently onto the Away suitcase, making airport travels effortless. I ordered mine originally to use as a “travel-laptop-under my seat bag”. I used it on one trip and it instantly became my everywhere bag. Click HERE to get $20 off any suitcase or bag!

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Stay Organized While Traveling

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Perhaps the most genius travel invention ever. These packing cubes will change the way you travel forever. The cubes keep your clothes separated, to keep your bag organized. These are a must for your ultimate weekend packing guide.

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Travel Toiletries

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My favorite part about the travel bottles is that they eliminate the need for single use travel toiletries. Give the gift of green, and help travelers contribute to sustainable travel practices.

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Naked bar soap will keep thousands of plastic body wash bottles out of our oceans. Bar soap is TSA friendly, plus they don’t leak like single use bottles. I use naked soap bars for all my shower needs. Pack them in a soap box and keep your bag dry!

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For more zero waste bathroom toiletry ideas, check out my post on Zero Waste Bathroom Products

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Snag a hemp, all natural pouf or hemp soap bag to give your skin a healthy glow. I prefer the hemp poufs to the plastic ones. They case a lot less waste and feel great on my skin! Don’t forget to get a Moon River soap to go with your hemp pouf.. They offer anti-inflammatory options that can replenish dry and sensitive skin, options to help balance troubled acne, eczema, and psoriasis. 

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Bites Toothpaste will change the way you think about toothpaste; you’ll never go back after you try them. Your first order will come with a full jar of the bites. After your bites are gone keep the jar. A refill for more will arrive in a biodegradable package. The best part? They travel well, without the worry of an exploding toothpaste tube. Be sure to add these to your ultimate weekend packing guide.

Read 13 Unique Eco Friendly Gifts for More Ideas

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On average, women use between 11 and 30 tampons per cycle. Over a lifetime, that adds up to between 5,000 and 14,000 tampons per woman. The environmental impact of this is vast. It’s estimated that a woman averaging 20 tampons or pads per cycle burns through 250 to 300 pounds of products, applicators, and wrappers in a lifetime. I stopped using tampons about 3 years ago now. I made the switch to the DivaCup and never looked back. The DivaCup is zero waste, reusable, cost-effective and can be worn for up to 12 hours! 

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Brushing your teeth shouldn’t be an activity that harms the environment.

These sets can come with bamboo toothbrushes, dental floss, and even a bamboo toothbrush holder for safe and hygienic storage. The eco-friendly toothbrush is made from sustainably sourced bamboo wood. That way you can opt out of having to use plastic toothbrushes! The set comes in recyclable packaging, and your purchase will help save the environment in several ways.

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Save Money $ Save Earth

There are 7.7 billion people on Earth. If we join together as a global community and each make small lifestyle changes towards being more eco-friendly and kindness focused – we can make a real and lasting difference. Reduce your plastic use AND carry your everyday essentials with this cute tote.

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Never spend money on plastic water bottles again. In Michigan, Nestlé Waters has been pumping vast amounts of groundwater out of Michigan’s springs to feed growing consumer demand for freshwater in convenient plastic bottles. That’s right, your Ice Mountain gets pumped for practically NOTHING out of Michigan’s rivers and lakes. It doesn’t come from a mountain… we have no mountains in Michigan.

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In 2018 Nestlé requested to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to increase pump amounts to 576,000 gallons of water EACH DAY. Draining fresh water fields from the White Pine Springs well in the Great Lakes Basin. The Michigan public communities opposed the increase, with 80,945 against and only 75 in favor. The request was approved by the agency.

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Airplane Travel Wear

There’s something about airplanes that just lulls me right to sleep. My body immediately goes into airplane mode. Sleep masks, ear plugs, and comfortable clothing help me stay cozy & rested. Great for time change from overseas or long summer nights in Iceland where it doesn’t get dark at night. Check out my 8 Day itinerary to Iceland HERE!

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Get Comfy & Relax

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Weekend Electronics

If you want to know what to pack for electronics, this packing guide will help!

Keep your electronics organized with this storage bag. It has enough space to hold your cables, USB drive, chargers, tablet + other electronic accessories.

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I have been shooting with my DSLR for years now. Logan recently purchased this Fuji Film X-T20 mirrorless camera. I fell in love after our first trip using it. This is the perfect weekend camera for optimal space and maximum quality photos.

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Be sure to ALWAYS pack a spare SD card and extra camera batteries to capture your whole adventure. You will be very sad and disappointed if you go to capture that perfect shot and your camera won’t turn on. Trust me – I’ve been there several times and I can tell you that it’s the worst.

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The ultraportable Mavic Air drone will open doors to a whole new world. Exploring the world from a limitless aerial view perspective has never been easier. The drone is installed with a 3-axis gimbal & 4k camera with up to 21 minute flight time, consistently providing crystal clear shots.

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Never miss an action shot again. This small compact adventure camera is great for any traveler, and takes up minimal packing space.

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Favorite Apple Products to Pack

The watch that does it all – and one of the best travel gadgets. For your health, it monitors your heart rate, high noise DB, cycle tracking, and it motivates you to move, exercise, and stand. The watch syncs directly to your phone, which gives you easy access to your phone. Plus it plays your music, and helps you to not get lost with it’s GPS.

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MacBook Pro is my favorite Mac I’ve owned. The drive speed is incredibly fast, and logging in takes almost no time. The Touch ID Bar is my favorite part – and makes blogging, editing, and running multiple apps easy and fluid. My MackBook Pro came with 250 GB of space available. I love that I don’t have to worry about large video or RAW files.

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Travel Entertainment

Play your way through flights with the Nintendo Switch gaming system. It’s perfect for on the go entertainment. At home it’s great for playing solo or with friends. The switch is great for your weekend entertainment.

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Stream movies, watch videos, or play games with the enhanced Wi-Fi. Enjoy downloaded content on the go with up to 12 hours of mixed-use battery life.

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This travel journal is the perfect companion for your next weekend trip. The inside pocket can hold your tickets, stubs, notes, photos, receipts, and other travel papers. I like to use a travel journal to write down notes or I will forget what I wanted to write. I’ll make notes about places and write down the names of trails, campgrounds, or other important names I want to remember.

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Challenge Yourself!

Wish you could travel more? Listen to this audio book that you can use to inspire your own travel challenge! Important steps to start a travel fund, the importance of travel conferences + communities, and travel hacks for FREE FLIGHTS around the world.

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Take a journey throughout the world to see beautiful pictures of over 230 countries. Your travel inspiration will be through the roof, and you’ll be adding more places to your bucket list.

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Global Career: How to Work Anywhere and Travel Forever is a step-by-step guide to have a career of traveling the world. Build a successful career doing the thing you lost most – traveling. Get empowered to buy a one-way ticket to your dream destination, and your global career.

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This travel coloring book has 47 different cityscapes and scenes from across the world. Most importantly, the illustrations are from pictures that were taken on the authors travels.

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Is this the best packing list or what?! I hope you found a piece of travel gear in my post to add to your own ultimate weekend packing guide!

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