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Your camping equipment list…what’s really essential?

You don’t need the kitchen sink, but there are some essentials to put on your camping equipment list. The tricky bit is leaving the all the other ‘stuff’ behind. There are so many specially-made camping ‘contraptions’ out there, it’s hard to know which ones you actually need.

Our typical set-up

I’ve listed below the pieces of equipment we couldn’t do without, plus some others that you might be considering for your camping equipment list. Please let me know if I’ve missed anything essential!

Basic essentials

  • Jerry cans – for water and fuel.
  • A camping shovel –The uses are endless!
  • Camping first aid kit/s – we kept one in the car, one in our camper, and one in our walking backpack.
  • 4WD / off-road equipment – This stuff requires its own list!
  • A gas match, lighter or ordinary matches.
  • Buckets / flexitubs – We had a dishwashing bucket, a laundry bucket, and multi-use flexitubs. They were in constant use.
  • A sturdy stool - you'll be amazed how often a step up comes in handy!

Creature 'comforts'

  • A lightweight camping table – just one is enough, preferably height-adjustable.
  • Camping chairs – the more lightweight and compact the better.
  • A camping shower – a basic set-up is all you need.
  • A ground cloth / outdoor mat - great for protecting your feet and keeping the camper a little cleaner!

Power needs

  • A deep-cell/cycle battery – For your basic power and lighting.
  • A camping fridge – Either in your caravan, camper trailer or car.
  • Camping lights / lanterns / torches – Choose bright, long-lasting, and energy efficient options.
  • A power inverter – Great for charging your mobile, laptop, and other small electronic devices.
  • A power-board – when you need to plug in a few things at once and you don't have enough power-points.
  • An Anderson plug – Basically a bigger, more powerful connector plug from your camper to your car.
  • Gas bottles – At least two (one main, plus a spare to switch to while you wait to refill the main).
  • A multi-meter / volt meter –Measures your battery usage, and highlights any power problems before it’s too late.

Maintenance must-haves

  • A basic tool kit – A few versatile camping tools will go a long way.
  • Gaffer /duct tape – Keep a roll in the car and a roll in your camper so you don’t run out.
  • A metal mallet – Use it to whack pegs into the ground, plus it doubles as a hammer. Ours was rubber, and we went through them. In hindsight metal would have been far more durable.

Other equipment to consider

Here are some extras that might make your camping equipment list:

  • A camping generator – Instant power, but with a price.
  • Solar panels – Drip-fed power, good for ‘topping-up’ your battery.
  • A camping toilet – if you get one with your camper, great. If not, I wouldn’t rush the decision.
  • A camping heater – I’d wait to see if you need it, it depends on whether you follow the weather.
  • A camping BBQ – They are great, but do take up valuable space. 
  • A small spirit level – Makes it easy to get your camper level (no benefit for tents though). We used ours for every set-up.
  • An axe – Good for cutting firewood. We did without or borrowed when we needed one.
  • A saw – Kumar said he would choose a saw over an axe, because you can also use a saw on large tree branches and other obstacles, maybe even for repairs. Again, we survived without one.

That’s it. Not that much to go on your camping equipment list, really!

Seriously, the list may seem long – but these are the most important items you’ll take. Of course, you still need to add your cooking equipment, camping food, plus your other camping gear and clothes.

So my advice is to choose wisely, and think of safety first. Question everything before you add it to your camping equipment list, because it all adds up…both in dollars and space. Plus, you can always buy the rest later.

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