South East Car Camping Checklist (WIP)

Clothes (for each person)

  • 3 pairs socks total (1 is worn, all long enough to tuck pants into)
  • 3 pairs of underwear total (1 is worn)
  • 3 pairs pants/shorts total (1 is worn, at least one pair of pants for tick protection)
  • 2 or 3 of t-shirts total (1 is worn)
  • 1 pair of long underwear bottoms and tops
  • 1 sweatshirt/hoodie (for layered warmth and mosquito protection)
  • 1 rain jacket OR light jacket (for layered warmth)
  • Not Summer – Tube Neck Gaiter (thin as a t-shirt)
  • Not Summer – Synthetic Mittens for kids just in case (used more than expected)
  • Baseball Cap or Boonie Cap (to keep sun and rain off)
  • 1 pair of shoes (worn)

Rain Gear (for each person)

  • Minimum Rain Gear (If you can walk back to car in emergency)
    • Rain Jacket OR Poncho
    • Emergency trash bags for each kid for improvised rain protection
  • Ideal Rain Gear (more expensive)
    • Rain Jacket treated with Scotch Guard
    • Rain Pants treated with Scotch Guard
    • Poncho (worn on top of the jacket and pants in severe rain)
    • Baseball cap (good) or Boonie Cap (better) to wear on top of the hood.

Other Gear (for each person)

  • Small duffle bag or big backpack to hold most stuff
  • Small backpack/daypack for hikes (hold trash bag, poncho, snack, headlamp, …)
  • Dirty laundry bag (pillow case or plastic bag from supermarket)
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste (in a ziplock baggie)
  • Headlamp (We’ll never buy a regular flashlight ever again)
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Little Pillow
  • Sleeping Mat (e.g., thermarest)
  • Personal Water Container (empty pepsi bottle/collapsable bottle) in daypack – not too heavy
  • 2 small packs of pocket tissues (toilet paper for each person)
  • Poop kit for each kid (depending on where you are)
    • 2 diapers with 2 plastic bags inside a larger plastic bag
    • Used to poo in emergencies when you’re too far from a bathroom but can’t dig a hole (i.e., public trail on rocky ground filled with people everywhere) and carry it out.  Here is how it works:  Go behind a tree, lay diaper on ground, drop a deuce in the diaper, roll it up, put it in the plastic bag, carry it out.
  • Stainless Steel Cup (to heat water or eat cereal in the morning)
  • Spork
  • Flip flops & small towel (if there is a shower nearby)

Shared Gear (brought by parents)

  • Tent with rainfly
  • Bright light (used in tent and around camp at night)
  • Electric air compressor (if you brought an inflatable mattress)
  • Stove/Burner & Fuel
  • Pot(s) – to boil water/heat stuff up in
  • Trash bags for trash (as opposed to emergency ponchos)
  • Hatchet or fixed blade knife to turn fire wood into kindling
  • Lighter
  • Kerosene, small can (to help get the kindling going without proper tinder)
  • 1 bottle hand soap
  • DEET (for ticks and mosquitos)
  • Sun screen
  • Firewood from near camp – they don’t want us transporting firewood long distances anymore.
  • Piss cups/bottles – to pee in the tent at night without having to go outside.  We have a special drink cooler we use just to pee in.
  • 1-roll paper towels – to clean up any mess from trying to pee in the tent, to clean dishes, and to use as tinder.
  • Camping Chairs / hammocks

Safety Gear (brought by one person at least)

  • Decent first aid kit (not a minimalist first aid kit)
  • Pepper Spray (for dogs mostly)
  • Lighter
  • Knife
  • Map of location (even a cheap map print out is better than nothing)
  • Compass

Water (for the group)

  • Original Method (what I did for a long time)
      • One 2.5 Gal purified water container for each person from supermarket, the kind with a valve.

  • Current Method (what I do now)
      • One 7 Gal Aquatainer was enough water for a 1 week trip for me and my two kids recently.  I bring two of these sometimes.

  • We use most of this water rinsing our dishes, washing our hands, and preparing freeze dried food.


  • NON-REFRIGERATED  Container for food items that need protection that’ll keep a raccoon out
        • Cereal for breakfast
        • Oranges
        • Tortillas
        • Certain types of cheese (gouda, …)
        • thin bagels (I never bring enough of theses)
        • Peanut butter
        • Apple Strawberry Apple Sauce (used as jelly)

      • A few uncle bens instant rice pouches

  • SMALL COOLER for a short list of refrigerated food items
    • I don’t bring a lot of refrigerated food anymore.
      • Yogurt
      • Squeezes (frozen)
      • Steak or Chicken to throw in a burrito
      • Maybe hamburger and hotdogs (usually too much of a hassle)
      • Hardboiled eggs
  • DURABLE CANNED FOOD container or bag for:
      • Fruit cocktail
      • Refried Beans / Black Beans for burritos
      • Horizon Milk 8-oz Aseptic Cartons (non refrigerated)

Bug Spray (to keep most of the ticks off)

  • Every spring, I treat the following items with permethrin:
    • Inside my vehicle
    • Both kids car seats
    •  Inside of tent
    • Outside of backpacks and duffle bags
    • Several pairs of Socks, pants, shirts and shorts we expect to wear outside
    • 1 set Long underwear we expect to sleep in (camping)
    • shoes
  • Just before a hike, I also spray the outside of shoes, ankles, and pant legs with DEET.


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