Having a camping gear list for first time campers will help you get all the essential things you need for that first camping trip.
If you are camping for the very first time you are going to want to keep your camping gear to just the necessities and then add to your gear each year.
Of course there are certain basic items that are must for any camping trip to be successful.
Here is a list of the basic and optional camping gear first time campers need to have.
Basic Camping Gear List for First Time Campers
The cheapest and more cost effective type of shelter for first time campers is a tent.
Tents are highly functional and provide you with shelter from wind, rain, and cold while giving you the advantage of being able to be extremely mobile. (Read our guide on choosing a tent for camping)
The type of tent you choose will depend on whether or not you are hiking (you want the lightest weight tent you can find) or car camping and how much space you want for each person camping with you.
#2. Sleeping Bags are Essential Camping Gear for First Time Campers
A sleeping bag will provide you with a minimum of cushioning from the cold ground. It will also serves as a cover to keep you warm during the night.
Choosing a 3 season sleeping bag gives you the most versatility when camping for the first time.
Please free to check out our article on choosing a sleeping bag for different ages and sizes of people.
#3. Clothing and Shoes – Camping Essentials First Time Campers Need
The clothing you choose for your camping trips is going to make a huge difference as to how comfortable you are when camping for the first time.
At a minimum you want to make sure that you have enough changes of undergarments. This will help make you feel cleaner and fresher even if wash water is at a minimum.
You also want to choose clothes suitable to the weather and time of year you are planning to camp.
For spring and fall camping you want clothing that can be layered. This will allow you add a sweater or long jeans to those shorts and tee shirts if the weather turns cool.
You will also be able to shed a layer or two as the day grows warmer.
In addition, if you are planning on hiking you want to include some long pants and a long sleeved shirt no matter how warm the temperatures may be to protect for ticks and other insects.
You also want to bring along a pair of sturdy walking/hiking shoes or boots.
No matter how good the weather forecast is you also want suitable rain gear.
At a minimum you’ll want a rain poncho with a hood to protect you from a sudden downpour or a long rainy day.
#4. Basic Survival Camping Cooking Gear
If you are camping for the very first time you are going to want to keep your cooking as simple as possible. Thus, you will need fewer cooking gear and eating utensils.
At a minimum you should have a stove, a pan to heat water that is also large enough to wash dishes in. You will also need a smaller pan for heating water and canned stews, beans and other easy to make food.
A couple of sharp knives, a spatula, a frying pan, a set of tongs, and a larger fork as well as a couple of cooking and serving spoons.
Of course you are going to need plates, bowls, cups and silverware to eat off of. And perhaps some large hot dog or marshmallow forks for cooking over the open fire.
#5. Food Storage
You’ll also need air tight containers to store your food. It is recommended if car camping that you have at least one good size cooler to keep cold food cold, and a container with an air tight lid for your canned and dry goods.
#6. Lights and Other Small Items
In addition you are going to want lights, something for making fire, and other small items.
See our small item checklist to ensure you have all the small necessity items that can make or break your camping trip.
#7. First Aid Kit
You’ll also need a first kit (see our camping first aid kit checklist to see what your first aid kit should contain.)
Optional Camping Gear List for First Time Campers
Some first time campers prefer to be a bit more comfortable than just the basics provide. So here are some additional gear you might want to consider.
#8. Sleeping Pad or Air Mattress
Having additional cushioning under your sleeping bag can add to your comfort. It will also help to keep you warmer if the ground is still cold.
#9. Folding Chairs
Folding chairs offer you a comfortable place either in or out of the tent and you are going to be spending some time around the campfire at night. Having a folding chair to sit is far more comfortable than sitting on the bare ground.
#10. Extra Tarps
Extra tarps can be used to provide extra rain proofing when hung over tent as well as shade over the picnic table.
Bringing two or three extra tarps with you can actually add to the functionality and the comfort of your camp.
Now that you have the basic and optional camping gear list for first time campers, you can start getting them together for your first trip.