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An Essential 3 Day Camping Checklist

Whether you are planning to go to a festival, off on a camping holiday at a popular site, or are heading off the beaten track, camping can be scary. This 3 day camping checklist covers the basic things you need to pack to have a safe and fun camping trip.

The things you will need can be divided into a few categories, starting with the tent:

Your camping equipment list should always include a tent, but beyond that it depends on whether you are driving to the site or walking, and need to save space and weight. Think about each of the following and whether you think you%u2019ll need them:

Tent (pick a bigger berth than you think you need, so you have space to store luggage) site or walking, and need to save space and weight. Think about each of the following and whether you think you'll need them:

  • Tent (pick a bigger berth than you think you need, so you have space to store luggage)
  • Porches, carpets, etc (for extra luxury)
  • Spare tent pegs
  • A mallet
  • Lantern
  • Electric hook up (if you are going to a fancy camp site)


  • A sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat or air bed
  • A camp bed (so that you're sleeping off the ground, and feel more comfortable)
  • Pillows
  • Ear plugs
  • Warm clothes to sleep in

Site Luxuries

If you're going to a camp site and want to turn your tent into a home away from home, consider the following:

  • Furniture
  • A portaloo
  • Windbreakers
  • Bin Bags (take these whenever you go camping. Always leave your site the way nature intended it)
  • String or paracord

Camping Cooking Equipment

In theory you could head back to civilization to eat, but where's the fun in that? Your 3 day camping checklist should include cooking tools. Find out what sort of fuel you can cook with at the camp site you're going to, practice some camp-site cooking at home to hone your skills, and then enjoy the independence of cooking in the wild!

You might not decide to take all of the above things, but having some idea of what you'll actually need (and are likely to use) will make all the difference.

  • A large water container
  • Camping stove
  • Portable BBQ
  • Fuel (likely gas or charcoal)
  • Portable pots or pans
  • Low wattage appliances (if you're taking an electric hook-up)
  • Camping kettle
  • Basic utensils
  • Plates
  • Cutlery
  • Small basin
  • Tin opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Cool-box (or collapsible cool bag)
  • A lighter or some waterproof matches
  • Wet wipes (for hygiene)

Simple Safety

Camping is pretty safe but you might get the odd cut, insect bite or rash. When you're away from home it's a good idea to make sure that you have everything you need. Safety is one area where you cannot compromise. So, add some basics to your checklist, including:

  • Any prescription medication you need to take
  • A fully stocked first aid kit
  • Sun cream
  • Hand wash
  • Appropriate insect repellent for the area you are camping in
  • A pocket knife
  • More toilet roll than you think you'll need
  • Spare batteries for any torches/other instruments
  • A long life mobile phone so that you can call for aid in an emergency
  • Maps and a compass

You will also need some day to day comforts as a part of your three day camping checklist:

  • Sensible shoes
  • Spare socks and underwear
  • A rain coat and waterproof leggings
  • Several layers of clothing so you can stay warm/cool down as required
  • A waterproof bag to store gadgets in

Beyond those things, how you pack for camping really depends on whether you are going for a short local trip or something much more isolated. Adult festival goers would pack differently to a family, and if you're driving to a civilized camp site with showers, shops and support then you'll not need as much as you would for a more remote trip. You will also have the option of taking more stuff with you, because you'll be taking a car, and can therefore justify packing the kind of creature comforts that you might not otherwise take with you if you were carrying everything under your own steam. Be wary of going overboard on taking things that you are unlikely to use, all the same, or turning a camping holiday into a "glamping" one where you don't enjoy the outdoors.

If you're going camping with kids, tell them to pack their own clothes and then put some little basics in their bags as well. Remember that they may not be as strong, compared to body weight, as an adult, so you will need to pack according to their fitness levels. Even adults sometimes over-pack, so think carefully about what you take with you; can you really be confident that you wouldn't get tired and need a hand?

If you're a novice camper, make sure you go on a short, local trip first of all before you go further afield. Pick a day when the weather forecast is good, but pack as if you are expecting bad weather so that you get a feeling for what it's really like to carry a full load of camping supplies. Over time, you will find out how much you can carry and how much you really need as well.

Make a list of the things that you use on each trip, and think about the things that you never use. There are some things (like your first aid kit) that are not disposable, but there are many things that are. If you discover that you're quite comfortable sleeping on a roll-out mat, then why take a camping bed with you? Those beds can be heavy and awkward, and there's not much reason to carry them unless you really can't get comfortable at night without one. Every pound counts when you're walking long distances, so why not travel light?

You can pick up cheap camping gear from most sports and outdoors shops. There are some things that you shouldn't skimp on, such as the quality of the tent and sleeping bag, but many other items you can always buy basic models of from a camping gear outlet, and then upgrade if you find that you love camping. Just make sure that you have the gear you need, and that you know how to use it before you leave. Consider doing a 'dry run' in your garden. If you can%u2019t make it through a night without running inside, then you know you%u2019ve messed up!

Your 3 day camping checklist should include everything that you need for a couple of nights under the sky. When you go to a camping store and you are looking for a new tent and the rest of your kit, think carefully about how much you want to spend, and about how big a tent you really need. Ask the store if you can go inside a few tents and test them out, to see which ones are comfortable enough for you and your family. Remember that you won't just be sleeping in the tent. You want something that you can take shelter in while cooking, and you will want something that you can spend time in to relax, read, and socialize in the evenings. A tent that is too small will be frustrating to spend time in, and could be too cramped for you to really have fun. A tent that is too big, by contrast, will be heavy, difficult to assemble, and cold with just a couple of people in it. For a festival, you might want to take a pop-up tent. For a longer trip, you will need a more robust tent, and you might need to make some modifications to your 3 day camping checklist so that you don't have to worry about assembling, securing and warming it.

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