Everyone has been there, you spend hours packing the car, head off on a long drive to an incredible remote destination, set up the tent, and go to pull out your …. Oh wait, you left it on the kitchen bench in the “do not forget to pack this” section, which should actually be named the “if you don’t put this in the car right now you will 100% forget it” section. 

Don’t worry, even the most seasoned campers always forget something. The key is to make that “something” an item that isn’t essential to your campsite comfort. That’s why this list of 8 things that are easily forgotten but sorely missed is so important. Seriously, print it out and stick it on your fridge, you can thank us later!

Let’s get started. 

1. Flashlight & batteries

It’s either going to be a long night in the tent or a frantic scramble to find the toilet in the dark if you forget your flashlight, and nobody wants that! Packing a flashlight should be near the top of your priority list if you want to make the most of your time outside. Once you have your flashlight in your hand and are ready to pack it away, check that it has working batteries and pack a few extra just in case. The only thing worse than trying to feel your way to a suitable toilet in the middle of the night is having your light die on you before you make it back!


Flashlight and batteries for camping

Photographer: Denis Nevozhai

2. Dustpan & brush 

This one is especially important if you are camping near the beach! If you’re heading out camping, chances are you will spend a lot of time outdoors, and like it or not, the outdoors comes with a lot of mess. As much as you may try to avoid it, dirt, dust, sand, and sticks will make it into your tent. While you may try and bear it for a couple of days, the #1 rule for living in a small space is keeping it clean. While dissembling your tent and shaking it out every other day is a viable solution, a simple dustpan and brush will do the job much more efficiently. Don’t forget it! 

3. Firestarter

Okay, this one is super important and possibly one of the most commonly forgotten, yet practically essential items for your camping kit. Matches and lighters are all well and good but even if you have a designated camping set, somehow, these common tools always seem to go missing, just when you need them most. If you’ve ever spent an entire camping trip eating nothing but cold muesli because you had no way to start your camp stove (guilty), you will understand. The secret is to keep a Fire Set in your car and/or camping kit at all times, as it’s perfect for starting an outdoor fire or camp stove.


Fire Starter for camping

Photographer: Teddy Costco

4. Mosquito repellent & sunscreen

More essentials that are incredibly easy to forget when you are packing from the comfort of your shaded, bug-free home. You are going into the wilderness, people! Even if you don’t personally get eaten alive by mosquitos, you never know when your luck may change and it’s important to protect yourself from the diseases they can carry. Plus, you will be the hero of the group when everyone else realizes they have forgotten to pack their own. This goes for sunscreen too, even if the forecast isn’t great, remember that you can still get sunburnt on an overcast day. Plus, it never hurts to be optimistic! 


Hiker wearing yellow backpack

Photographer: Holly Mandarich

5. Complete first-aid kit

While you’re in the bathroom grabbing your sunscreen, remember to throw in a first aid kit. It never hurts to be prepared when it comes to injuries and illnesses. Being prepared also includes making sure that your first aid kit is fully intact. Check that you have enough band-aids, bandages, antiseptics, pain killers, sterile wipes, and tweezers to last you the whole trip at a minimum. 

6. Toilet paper

Even if you are heading to a flashy campground with proper toilets and nice bathroom facilities... Always. Pack. Toilet paper. Do we even need to say more? Toilet paper may just be one of the most underrated pieces of multipurpose camping essentials out there and certainly, something not to be forgotten. In fact, why not keep a roll in your car at all times? 


Camping outhouse

Photographer: Marcus Ganahl

7. Dish soap, dishcloth & tea towel

It’s so easy to carefully plan out everything you need for your meals and figure out your ideal camping kitchen, only to forget that even when you’re camping there’s always going to be dirty dishes. Don’t forget to pack a small amount of dishwashing detergent, a dishcloth or sponge, and a tea towel in your kit so your hygiene doesn’t have to suffer just because you’re outdoors. If you have space, it’s always handy to pack it all into a convenient dish tub in case there’s no sink/plug at your disposal. 


Cleaning up at camp

Photographer: Scott Umstattd

8. Garbage bags

Last but not least another classic: garbage bags. This one is super important if you’re following the leave no trace practices (as you should be). Pack out all your waste and maybe even try to do a clean-up with your crew to help leave your campsite better than you found it. Garbage bags can also be super helpful for dealing with dirty clothing or as a waterproof sack in your backpack! 


pack out your trash camping

Photographer: Ethan Kuzina

So, 8 things that you absolutely shouldn’t forget when packing for a camping trip! While studying this list is a great start, if you want an even more foolproof method to ensure you are fully prepared, check out our complete camping trip checklist!

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