Tent camping is a wonderful way to enjoy nature and take a break from everyday life. Whether you’re a veteran camper or just setting out on your first trip, it’s important to come prepared. Know what you’re packing and bringing with you and what you’re leaving behind. This is especially important because you’ll have limited space—so make the most of it!

Keep reading to learn what you need to pack, what you might want to pack, and what you definitely shouldn’t bring on your tent camping trip.

Necessities: Don’t Leave These Items Behind

These are items you don’t want to forget, so make your packing list and check it twice. You might be able to get by comfortably without a few of these items, depending on where you’re camping. For example, if you’re out in the wilderness of Santa Fe, you want to be prepared. But if you’re staying at a local campground, you could be more lenient about what you pack and what you don’t.

Shelter + Bedding
• Tent
• Sleeping bag or quilt
• Sleeping pad or mattress
• Camping pillow

Campsite Equipment + Furniture
• Camp table
• Camp chairs
• Lantern (w/ extra batteries)

Camp Kitchen + Food Preparation
• Coolers (1 for food + 1 for drinks)
• Large water jug/dispenser
• Stove + fuel
• Lighter or matches
• Cook pots + lids
• Frying pan
• Potholder
• Food containers, bags + foil
• Bowls/Plates/Cups
• Eating utensils
• Cooking utensils
• Cutting board
• Sharp knife(s)
• Dish-washing basin (or plastic bin)
• Biodegradable soap
• Sponge
• Quick-dry dish towel
• Garbage + recycling bags

Personal Gear
• Headlamp (w/batteries)
• Daypack
• Water bottle(s) or hydration pack
• Lightweight knife or multi-tool
• Whistle
• Lighter
• Map + compass or GPS
• Phone (w/ charger + case)
• Camera
• Cash or credit card
• ID
• Permits/reservations/fees/licenses
• Check weather forecasts
• Duffle bag + stuff sacks


Food + Beverage
• Water
• Ice
• Beverages (juice, milk, beer, wine)
• Coffee/tea/creamer
• Condiments
• Spices (salt, pepper, etc.)
• Cooking oil/spray
• Food

Shoes + Clothing
• Quick-dry pants/shorts
• Wicking shirts/tanks
• Wicking underwear
• Light fleece or jacket
• Hiking shoes/boots
• Wicking socks
• Hats (1 warm, 1 for sun)
• Sunglasses
• Long-sleeve shirt (for sun + bug protection)
• Rain jacket + rain pants
• Base layer top + bottom
• Warm insulated jacket (down or synthetic)
• Fleece or wool pants
• Gloves or mittens

Health + Hygiene
• Prescription Rx
• Toilet Paper
• Hand sanitizer
• Toothbrush, paste + floss
• Lip Balm
• Menstrual/urinary products
• Toiletries (soap, shampoo, etc)
• Quick-dry pack towel

First-Aid Kit
• Bandages
• Moleskin or tape (for blisters)
• Antiseptic wipes
• Antibacterial ointment
• OTC medicines + vitamins
• Ibuprofen (headache reliever)
• Antacids (stomachache)
• Antihistamine (allergic reactions)
• Insect repellent
• Sunscreen
• Aloe (for sunburn)
• Small multi-tool (w/ tweezers + scissors)

Optional Items: Do You Have Room to Pack These Things?

These lists contain items that are primarily for convenience. You might want to consider bringing some of them if you have space, but keep in mind that they aren’t necessities.

Shelter + Bedding
• Tent footprint/ground cloth
• Mallet (for tent stakes)
• Door Mat
• Sunshade, tarp, or screen house
• Duct tape + Tenacious tape (repairs)
• Small broom + dustpan
• Tent lights
• Cot
• Sleeping bag liner
• Extra blankets/sheets
• Air pump for mattress

Campsite Equipment + Furniture
• Hammock + tree straps
• Outdoor rug
• Tablecloth (w/ clips)
• Clothesline (w/ clips)
• Clear plastic bins to store items
• Insect-repellent
• Sit pads for insulation on chairs

Camp Kitchen + Food Preparation
• Paper towels
• Bottle opener/corkscrew
• Can opener
• Measuring cups/spoons
• Coffee pot or french press
• Griddle
• Grill rack
• Dutch oven

Personal Gear
• Portable power (battery bank or solar charger)
• Paracord + food hanging bag (for bear country)
• Portable camp shower

Shoes + Clothing
• Swimsuit
• Sandals or water shoes
• Camp shoes/slip-ons
• Sleepwear
• Umbrella
• Bandana or Buff

Health + Hygiene
• Cosmetics
• Quarters for showers
• Washcloth
• Eye masks/earplugs
• Baby wipes
• Comb/brush

Fun + Entertainment
• Games (dice, cards, etc)
• Music player (w/ headphones or speaker)
• Reading material, notebook, pen
• Hiking guides/maps/field guides
• Instruments
• Binoculars
• Dog gear (dishes, tether, pack, bed)
• Sports/fishing gear

• Hatchet or folding saw
• Firestarter
• Matches or lighter
• Firewood (if unavailable near campsite)
• Tarp (to cover wood + protect car)
• Roasting forks for s’mores

Things to Leave at Home: Don’t Bring These Items Tent Camping

Remember: when packing for a tent camping trip, you’ll have limited space, and you’ll likely have to carry everything you bring with you to your campsite.

Glass + Ceramics
• Cups
• Plates
• Bottles (including beer bottles)
• Mirrors

• Lighter fluid

Finally, don’t bring anything you don’t want to carry out with you.

Start Packing for Your Next Tent Camping Adventure in Santa Fe

If you’ve been searching for the perfect place to try tent camping, consider visiting Santa Fe and staying with us at the Los Suenos de Santa Fe RV Park & Campground. We’re conveniently located near several local landmarks and offer quick access to nature trails and other outdoor activities.

Call to reserve your spot today!