10 Items Commonly Forgotten for a Camping Trip

Type A people know what they’re packing weeks in advance. They have their go-to list of “must haves” for every overnight stay and likely have a few other lists of items for different types of vacations. Type B people are the ones packing the hour before they leave, hoping they have all the necessities and knowing they’ll wing it if they forgot something. Regardless of which type you are, or if you’re a little of both, we want to help make your camping trip as successful as it can be by identifying the 10 most commonly forgotten camping items. 


Not to be a broken record, but water is a must-pack for any camping adventure. Depending on where you’re camping, you may not have access to water. Not only will you need fresh drinking water, but you’ll also want to have extra water for cooking, dishwashing, and personal cleaning. Be sure to label which water is for which purpose so you can drink the clean water and re-use the dish rinsing water when possible. There are dozens of ingenious ways to store the water you need and ways to clean and rinse dishes with as little waste as possible, so be sure to take a look online and bring any extra supplies you may want.

Sun and Bug Protection

Even on a cloudy day, your skin can be damaged by the sun’s rays, and even when it’s not mosquito season, you can still get bitten. Don’t think you’re impervious; pack these two small items to avoid any burn or bite discomfort on your trip. Test out your spray nozzle before you head out to make sure it’s full and clear of clogs. And while you’re at it, grab a hat to help protect your face from the sun. 


If you’re camping anywhere in a wooded area, you may assume you’ll have ample access to firewood. However, some campgrounds forbid cutting down trees.  You can check with your site to see if they offer wood for purchase or if you have to provide your own. Some local residents know you’ll need firewood and will sell it a few blocks outside of the campground if you’re lucky. You’ll probably be able to find kindling around your site, but it can be helpful to pack a few spare newspapers to help get the fire started.

It is important to note that due to fire danger, fires are not permitted in much of the West. Check with your local ranger station to find out. If so, make sure to plan appropriately!


Your phone flashlight is great, but we all know things happen to phones that prevent them from working. Most experienced campers know to bring a flashlight to ensure they don’t run into a technology issue. Be sure to check the batteries and pack a spare or two before you leave. 

Duct Tape

The holy grail of many camper’s packs is a roll of duct tape. They say you can fix anything with WD-40 and duct tape. Duct tape can fix holes, mend tears, hold a chair leg together, and even act as a bowl. If you have a roll of duct tape in your bag, you’re probably equipped to handle a wide range of scenarios that nature may throw at you.

Cleaning Wipes/Paper Towels

Camping is dirty, but it doesn’t have to be filthy. You’re bound to need a roll of paper towels to wipe up a spill, clean your hands, or use as toilet paper in a jam. And if your mess needs a bit more cleaning power, just pack a small tub of cleaning wipes to wipe down your table or any other grimy surface. 


More than just a cool toy, a camping knife can be a lifesaver. Not only can you use it to open packages of hot dogs, but you can also use it as protection, as a way to prepare food, or as a source of whittling entertainment. Make sure you pack a cover for it so that it’s protected from accidental incisions and the blade can stay safe from water damage or grime. 

First Aid Kit

Right along with water, a first aid kit is extremely necessary. You never know when you may need a bandage, gauze, or an antacid. Most kits come with the basics but when you know you’re more susceptible to certain types of incidents, you can add a few extras like anti-itch lotion for a poison ivy run-in. Be sure you always have a phone available during an emergency and tell someone where you’re going in case you need medical attention. 


A small griddle is a wonderful addition to any camper’s gear. It can be used to make bacon and pancakes or any hot sandwich, but you’ll need a small canister of propane to power that baby. And if you have dirt bikes or ATVs, they’ll need to be gassed up too. 

Wash Bin 

As we mentioned with the water, you’ll likely have a few dishes to wash if you’re camping and cooking for more than a night or two. A great way to help conserve your washing water supply is to wash in a bin. This helps you use less water and reuse the rinse water rather than letting the extra water fall on the ground. A cool tip is to have two bins, one with slits to help rinse the clean dishes quickly and allow them to dry in one spot.

Camping is one of the great American pastimes that provides a way to connect with nature and your loved ones. Rather than stressing out about what you forgot, consult a few lists from camping experts to ensure you have everything you need to make your trip fun and safe. If you’re worried about packing too much, don’t fret! Our 15-seat passenger vans have more than enough room for your crew and all the necessary camping gear you may need. Once you’re ready for your next big adventure, pack your bags with these essentials and choose Rugged Van Rentals.