Essential camping kitchen and cooking equipment.

Missinaibi River, Algoma

Camping packing list: What to bring on a camping trip

Essential camping kitchen and cooking equipment.

Missinaibi River, Algoma

Camping can be so much fun: living in the great outdoors, relaxation, sunshine and going as rustic as you choose. From provincial parks to Crown Land to privately owned campgrounds, there is a campground for everyone.

If you're camping for a family vacation, a couple's weekend getaway, a guy’s angling adventure or a girls’ escape to nature, to help you plan your fun we've put together some useful lists to make the packing task so much easier. 

We’re going to start with must-haves, then move on to more specific lists for your needs.

The must-haves for camping trips include: 

  • equipment 

  • cooking gear 

  • personal “stuff” 

  • First Aid and general everyday health needs 

  • clothing 

So let’s dive into each category!


  • tent, one that's big enough to comfortably sleep your group
  • pegs, enough to properly fit your tent and a mallet to secure pegs with
  • ground sheet, which should be about 2–3 inches smaller than the outside dimensions of your tent to avoid water pooling
  • piece of indoor/outdoor carpet or a mat for outside your tent
  • tarp: this is very important, as you'll still have to cook outside in the rain and you'll need to keep dry; some campers pack a dining tent in addition to their sleeping tent, but a tarp is still required for cooking in the rain
  • sleeping pad/air mattress and a sleeping bag; always ensure your sleeping bag is rated for the temperatures you expect during your trip
  • pillow(s)
  • extension cords, if your campsite has electricity
  • rope and clothespins
  • flashlight, battery-powered lanterns, extra batteries, candles, matches/lighter
  • broom, dustpan, axe/hatchet, pocketknife 
  • battery-powered radio
  • watch, alarm clock, solar powered/electric phone charger
  • backpack
  • garbage bags, rope, duct tape
  • map and compass, if you're planning to hike or explore—or better still, invest in a GPS unit; always be aware that in many areas, particularly in Northern Ontario, there is no cell service 
  • folding table and chairs, if your campsite does not have picnic tables
  • campfire wood: note that you cannot bring campfire wood into Canada from the US, but you can purchase firewood in Ontario; provincial parks in Ontario do not allow collection of firewood in the campgrounds
  • drinking water, as not all parks have access to clean drinking water

Cooking gear:

  • fuel-powered stove top with extra fuel
  • plastic or steel washable plates, bowls and cups
  • eating and cooking utensils, including a set of sharp knives
  • pots, frying pan, strainer, mixing bowl(s)
  • oven mitts and potholder
  • can opener
  • cutting board
  • dish pan, dish soap, dish clothes, tea towels, scrub pad/steel wool
  • cooler(s)
  • plastic containers 
  • wipeable tablecloth
  • paper towels, aluminum foil, plastic wrap
  • personal water bottles, one for each camper
  • kettle (electric, if you have electricity available, or a stove top kettle)
  • corkscrew
  • coffee pot
  • marshmallow/hotdog skewers

Personal “stuff”: 

  • shampoo, soap, hairbrush/comb
  • bath and hand towels
  • portable shower or shower bag, if your campsite has no shower access
  • toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
  • mirror
  • hand sanitizer, wipes
  • toilet paper
  • feminine products
  • body lotion, hand lotion, deodorant, lip balm
  • nail clippers, tweezers
  • Kleenex
  • prescriptions, enough for the entire trip
  • EpiPen
  • sunglasses
  • sewing kit
  • shower flip flops
  • camera and extra batteries

First Aid and general health needs for all camping trips:

  • First Aid kit
  • sunscreen and sunburn lotion
  • burn ointment
  • gas relief medication, antacids, laxatives
  • insect repellent, bug spray
  • Aspirin or ibuprofen
  • insect repellent with DEET
  • thermometer
  • antihistamine medication

Camping is such a wonderful way to spend your holiday or even just a weekend. Each adventure is full of smiles, laughter and, of course, relaxation. So remember to take your time to pack well, and then your only worry will be trying to pack in all the great things to do in Ontario.

Last updated: October 24, 2023

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