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Best beginner campers packing list: tent edition equips you with what you need to know to prepare and have a much more comfortable adventure with nature.  This edition is all about rest from selecting the right tent to purchasing your first sleeping bag.

beginner campers packing list kelty tent

Beginner campers packing list is a great place to start preparing for your trip.  Maybe you have been thinking about camping for years and never had the nerve, or maybe the urge just hit you recently.  Regardless, you have decided to give camping a try.

Before you take off for an idyllic romp through the wonderful world of nature let me give you a few pointers that may make the difference between your trip being a wonderful and relaxing time or an absolute disaster.

There are certain items that should be on the standard packing list for any camping trip.  Some of these items are big things that seem obvious while others are small things that can make a huge difference. So, let’s look at seven essential items for a restful camping trip.


Unless you have a travel trailer or motorhome you will be sleeping in a tent.  Tents come in all sizes and shapes.  I have had great luck with what is called a “dome” tent.  As the name implies it is dome shaped.  They are simple to put up.  The poles fit together with cords and then are run through a sleeve in the tent.  Go ahead and pay the extra money for a quality tent.

beginner campers packing list colorado


LL Bean, Eureka, and Kelty are three good brands that I have had very good experience with and I highly recommend quality for the beginner campers packing list.  The tent will come with a separate rain fly that covers the top in case of bad weather.  Make sure you pick a size that is large enough for your family size.  If the tent says it sleeps four adults be warned that it will be tight with that many people.  It is a good idea to have a little extra room to move around than to be cramped.  Be sure that it is tall enough for you to stand up in.  One last note on tents.  Make sure you put the tent up a time or two in the back yard before you get out to the campground so that you are already familiar with setting it up. This will save you time and possible frustration.

Camper Packing list

Setting up the tent gear
Campers Packing List

The tent without the rain cover.
Beginner Campers Packing List Tent

Order this Kelty tent from Amazon.


Purchase a plastic tarp to put under your tent, or a ground-cloth made specifically for your tent size and another tarp to go inside.  You want it to fit the footprint of your tent.  If using a tarp, fold it under the tent.  You don’t want any of the tarp sticking out from under the tent.  The ground-cloth or tarp will protect your tent floor and will also keep the floor from getting wet.  On the inside of the tent, I have added another tarp, and/or a heavy moving blanket.  Both will give added protection to your tent floor and help keep moisture out.

campers packing list tarp

Order this Tarp from Amazon.


Sleeping comfortably is extremely important to most of us.  Nobody wants to go sleep on the hard ground and wake up the next morning stiff and sore all over.  Instead, go to Amazon and purchase an air mattress.  You can find ones that are self-inflating or buy a separate air pump.  (Be sure to have batteries for this kind.)  I have used Entrex, but there are other brands.  A single is big enough for most people, but you can find them in full and queen sizes also.   Air mattresses make a huge difference in the quality of your night in the great outdoors.

campers packing list air mattress

Order this Air Mattress from Amazon.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using the links below.  All opinions are all my own.


You can spend as little or as much as you want on a sleeping bag.  What you need to consider is the climate or season you are going to be exposed to.  If it isn’t going to be cold weather then you will not need a sleeping bag that keeps you warm down to -10°.  You will be HOT!  So, plan accordingly.  There are two basic types of sleeping bags we recommend for the beginner campers packing list.


One is called a “mummy” bag because it is wide at the top and tapered toward the feet. The other style is a simple rectangular bag which has more room down at the feet.  Sleeping bags can be made of nylon and filled with down or polyester, or they may be made of flannel or other fabrics.  Pick one that will keep you warm in the conditions you will be camping in.  I like to carry what I call a camping blanket and sometimes I just sleep on top of my bag with the blanket on top.  Last tip regarding sleeping…bring a pillow!  It doesn’t have to be full-sized but a pillow of some sort will really make for a better night’s sleep.

camper packing list mummy sleeping bag

Order this Mummy Sleeping Bag from Amazon.
campers packing list sleeping bag

Order this Rectangle Sleeping Bag from Amazon.


So to wrap things up here is a checklist for what you will need to get good nights sleep on your first camping extravaganza.  Thanks for stopping by the Best Beginner Campers Packing List: Tent Edition and stay tuned for more editions of this series.


  1. tent– Kelty 6 person tent is just one of our favorites because of its quality and durability.
  2. tarp
  3. air mattress
  4. “rectangle” sleeping bagsheet set or down comforter
  5. pillows
  6. fan (battery powered)
  7. ceiling fan light


  1. tent
  2. tarp
  3. air mattress
  4. “mummy” sleeping bag for warm weather, sheet set or cotton comforter
  5. pillows
  6. fan (battery powered)
  7. ceiling fan light

Campers packing list


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Candi Randolph

Wednesday 30th of May 2018

It's been many years since I went camping, but I remember those times quite well, and your list, advice and tips is quite sound! I agree that putting up the tent in your backyard a couple of times before the actual camping experience will make for happier campers!


Sunday 8th of April 2018

We had been married about six months and decided to tent camp at a park about three hours from home. I had camped in a pop up camper. The hubs in tents. We had one of those enormous Boy Scout style tents -long before the dome tents. Long story short -we forgot the poles! We managed to gang the ring by ropes. It was hilarious. Mostly lying in the tent listening to all the other campers laughing.

Linda McDonald

Sunday 8th of April 2018

That is a hilarious story! Probably not so funny at the time but funny to remember. Thanks for sharing!


Saturday 7th of April 2018

Thanks for the camping tips. When we first moved to Switzerland I wanted to go camping with the kids when they were young, but since I have a bad back we never did. Maybe I will try it if I can get one of those comfy air mattresses.

Linda McDonald

Saturday 7th of April 2018

Air mattresses make camping so much better. And camping in Switzerland would be awesome.


Saturday 7th of April 2018

We used to camp in a tent with the kids and the dogs years ago. Now we camp with the grandkids and the dog....but we have graduated to a fifth wheel. Anyway you do it...camping is the best. Have fun!

Linda McDonald

Saturday 7th of April 2018

Camping really is restful and a great way to spend family time.

Marty McDonald

Wednesday 14th of March 2018

Makes me want to go!