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For those of you not familiar with the different levels of camping:
Car Camping/Walk-In - easy, drive right up to the plot, typically restroom/showers nearby
Primitive/Backcountry/Secluded - moderate, typically without restroom/showers nearby
Backpacking - difficult, you walk miles from your car with everything you need on your back

Minimum When Camping With AOC

A Car, For Starters
Ground Cloth (Tarp)* & Tent (Weight Not an Issue) with Rain Flap!
Sleeping Bag, Pad, and Pillow
Eating Utensils, Mess Kit (Plate, Cup, Bowl)
Cooler with Ice
Flashlight or Headlamp
Lantern & Citronella Candle
Portable Chairs
Camp Soap, Washcloths, Sponge, and Towels
Shampoo & Bar of Soap
Antibacterial Hand Soap (Doesn't Require Water)
Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Dental Floss
Small, Hand-held Mirror
Nearby Swim Hole? Swimsuit, Towel, Water Shoes/Sandals
Sunscreen (which should be at least SPF 15 & applied 30 min ahead to be effective)
Lip Balm
Insect Repellent
Hat, Visor, and/or Sunglasses
Change of Clothes for Each Day, Plus Extra Set (Socks, Shirts, Sweatpants, Sweatshirt, Shorts, Underwear, Long Underwear, Pajamas, Hats or Gloves for Cold Weather)
Sneakers and/or Broken-In/Waterproofed Hiking Boots
Daypack with Water Bottles for Hiking
Windbreaker & Raincoat
Um, And, That Stuff You Have to Be 18 to Buy

*To protect your tent from accidental snags on rocks or roots, you should always use a tarp or ground cover under your tent! Be smart when selecting a tarp or ground cover if one is not supplied. You want your tarp/ground cover to be cut exactly to the size of the bottom of your tent. Why? Because, if it were to rain, you don't want to encourage rain to collect in pools on the tarp and roll right under your tent. You can buy a cheap tarp at a discount store and the first time you set up your tent - cut it to size. Another word to the wize - set up your tent on high ground, away from the fire pit, and not at the bottom of any slopes in the ground.

Additionally, What You Might Need When Going (Especially On Your Own)

Food (Snacks, Fruit, Cheese, Crackers, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Food, Butter, Cooking Oil, Condiments, Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate, Milk, Sugar, S'mores Ingredients, Juice Boxes)
First Aid Kit (Bandages, Hydrogen Peroxide, Benadryl, Antibiotic Ointment, Burn Ointment, Thermometer, Prescriptions, Fever Reducer, Tweezers, Moleskin, Bee Sting Kit)
Can Opener & Corkscrew
Stove & Fuel
Cooking Pots, Pans, Pot Holder, and Cooking Utensils
Cutting Board, Measing Cup, and Measing Spoons
Swiss Army Knife
Paper Plates, Plastic Silverware, Paper Towels, and Napkins
Baby Wipes
Aluminum Foil, Plastic Wrap, Zipper Lock Bags
Waterproof Matches & Firewood
Rope or Twine
Clothes Pins
Duct Tape
Lightweight Hand Saw
Hammer or Mallot, Screwdriver or Multi-Tool
Small, Hand-held Broom
Bin for Washing Dishes
Screenhouse and/or Portable Table
Harmonica or Guitar
Reading Material and/or Deck of Cards
Guidebooks & Maps
Mountain Bike, Canoe, or Kayak
Car Adapter, if You Need Electricity
Plastic/garbage bag to carry out garbage
Toilet paper (plus a plastic bag to carry it out)
Camera and/or Video Camera
Money for Campsite, Reservation Information

If Taking Your Dog Along

Don't forget to see if the place you are going permits their presence.

Water & Bowl
Scooper & Bag
Blanket or Bed

Ways to Make Camping Easier
  • Camp for at least two nights, if possible. There is a lot of work involved in packing and setting up and breaking down camp. The longer you camp, the more enjoyment you'll get out of your efforts.
  • Organize, organize, organize. Store all of your gear together, if possible, so you can haul it all at once.
  • Store small items together in plastic, lidded, tubs. Store them in organized fashion, such as all your cooking gear in one tub, camp tools in another, etc. Put together a small container of eating and cooking utensils.
  • Buy some things, such as dish towels, small dish detergent, spatula, cooking knife, etc., and reserve them only for camping. That way you don't have to pack them up each time you want to go; instead, they're waiting for you with your camp supplies.
  • Camp with others. If you forget something, there's a good chance someone else will bring along what you need.
Think we forgot something from one of our lists? Let us know.