Ingenious Camper Checklist: Going Camping? 41 Gadgets You Will Need To Survive, Sleep Well, Keep Warm (and Entertain the Kids!) 

Ultimate Camper ChecklistUltimate Camper Checklist

Ultimate Camper Checklist | Sherry Trautman of Traveling Michigan

When it comes to camping, whether by tent or RV, it's super important to be prepared.  Camping with kids? 

We've got some tried and true camping tricks and gadgets to make it easier so everyone has a blast...

A few avid camping bloggers from all over the world and I put together a helpful RV and camper packing list of necessities we can't live without when camping. We have ingenious ideas for your RV or camping checklist and useful camping items you will definitely want to bring on your next camping trip. 

We hope this camper checklist is helpful while staying at Michigan's campgrounds or wherever your travels may lead you!

Camper Checklist for Families with Kids

Ultimate Camper Checklist. Photo: Backyard Travel FamilyUltimate Camper Checklist. Photo: Backyard Travel Family

By Jennifer Parkes | Backyard Travel Family: Active Family Travel Specialists in New Zealand

We camp with three young kids all in the mountains of Mt Cook and all around New Zealand and these are our top five suggestions at the top of the camping checklist

  • Zempire Inflatable Tent:  No more putting poles together and needing the whole family to put the tent up.  Zempire has an amazingly strong range of inflatable tents that one person can easily put up by themselves.  Just peg, inflate then peg the guy ropes and you are done!  It's that easy and some are huge - but it's still just as easy.  Highly recommended for parents who take kids away by themselves.  
  • Zempire Monstamats:  One of the biggest drawbacks about camping is that it is so uncomfortable to sleep, but not anymore.  Zempire's self inflating Monstamats (sleeping mats) are incredibly comfortable.  It is thick and you can't feel the ground even if you lie on your side.  Worth the money for a decent nights sleep.
  • Insulated Water Bottles: Camping in the summer can make for sweaty work so we always take our Montii water bottles.  They keep your drinks cold and the silicone bases help protect the bases against any drops.
  • Flexi Buckets:  This very inexpensive bucket that can be used for anything.  Washing basket, kids bath, dishwashing bucket, food container, toys container, you name it.  The bonus is that adding a few extras to your car takes barely any extra room. 
  • Zempire Megadome light:  We love our Megadome light as it is rechargeable, it's even glows after its turned off as a wee bit of a nightlight, and there is a USB port to charge your phone.  How is that for an all in one package?

LED Camping Lantern Rechargeable

We at Traveling Michigan absolutely adore these small LED camping lanterns! They have a USB interface and are small enough to pack into your backpack or bag! 

You can control the bright too. It lasts 5-11 hours and is easy to recharge. Awesome mini camping flashlight! Invaluable for your camper checklist!

【Compact & Portable】 Small but bright! Weighs only 0.39lb!

【Magnets & Hooks】 There are two magnets on the base so you can hang or attach this tent light to a metal surface like a vehicle or tent pole. It can be hung using two metal loops on the base also.

Solar Panels! Free Source of Electrical Power!

Need a way to power your phone and other devices when off grid or there is a threat of power outages?

Read the Complete Guide to the Best Portable Solar Panels for Camping for tips and everything you need to know! Be sure to add these to your camper checklist!

Survival Shovels, Cast Iron Cookbook, Coffee Tips and Campfire Entertainment 

Camper Checklist by Pauline of Mama Bear OutdoorsCamper Checklist by Pauline of Mama Bear Outdoors

By Pauline of

Our family goes camping every weekend starting mid-May through the last
weekend of October. We average about 50 nights of camping per year. Our
family has lots of camping stuff, but there are a few things we never
leave home without.

We always have at least one guitar around, even though there may not be someone who plays but it's there just in case.

Another item we always take is my 100-year-old cast-iron skillet with a copy of my "Cast Iron Camping Cookbook".

Every recipe in that cookbook was tested in that skillet so check it out!

The third item that always goes with us camping is my enamel coffee pot for cowboy coffee because Great-Grandpa always made coffee that
way, Grandpa always made coffee that way, and so did Dad.

From many years of camping, I know that if there is any tool to take, it's a good shovel and I love the Redcamp Military Camping Shovel because it folds right up. It's perfect for fishing tinfoil packets out of the fire, digging a
vehicle out of snow or mud and even digging a cat hole.  These are invaluable for your camper checklist!

And last of all, and probably the one thing we never, ever forget, is glow sticks for the kids. There's nothing like a campfire, guitar music, and laughing children with glowsticks, that makes me any happier than in that moment.

This Unbreakable Survival Shovel (Sahara Sailor Survival Shovel) incorporates 12 other functions and tools that we love:

  • Shovel, hoe, saws, bottle opener, cleaver, whistle, knife, fish scaler, emergency hammer, flat-blade screwdriver, and 4 size wrench. 

Collapsible and portable - It's perfect for camping, hiking, gardening, backpacking, hunting, traveling or car emergency.

Family Camping Must-Have's: Fun Flashlights, Solar Power Banks, Lalicups, First Aid

Ultimate Camper Checklist. Menstrual Cups. Photo: Itz a Family ThingUltimate Camper Checklist. Menstrual Cups. Photo: Itz a Family Thing

By Itz a Family Thing

We started camping when our son was a baby, so he is a kid that loves the outdoors!  One of the most important items we always have with us is his Kidco Peapod Travel tent.  

And the best part? It packs down to a flat disk.

He loves to play and sleep in his little tent, plus there is breathable mesh, so it is well ventilated and bug-proof. 

Now that our son is a toddler, we have to find interesting screen-free ways to entertain him, so flashlights have become our secret weapon for toddlers.

  • We use the Dorcy 55 flashlights for nighttime activities, but we also have headlamps for hands-free nighttime fun

Since our little guy gets scared outside at night, we use the flashlight as a nightlight until he falls asleep.

  • I always have my LaliCup, for that time of the month if it is near. 

It's not a fun topic, but a necessary evil we have to deal with as menstruators. What I love about menstrual cups is that they are environmentally friendly, cost-efficient, comfortable, and can work for up to 12 hours. If you have periods and love to camp, menstrual cups are a must-have on your camper checklist.

When we are camping, we use that as our family quality time, so we try to disconnect from the outside world, but we need our phones sometimes.

We use the Solar Power Bank to charge our phones when needed.

These solar power banks are light weight and compact size.  Comes with a flashlight & compass! 

  • As a former member of the Army, I always bring a first-aid kit with us. You never know when you may need something or hurt yourself.

The first-aid kit we use is made from things I've collected over time. There is pain medication, masking tape, band-aids, rubbing alcohol, 5/50 cord, D-rings, fabric, and we always collect two sticks just in case you need to make an improvised medical device. This came in handy when I twisted my ankle and used the fabric as an ankle brace. 

As a family that loves to camp, these are the things we make sure we pack for a few nights under the stars. Be sure to add them to your camper checklist!

Camping in Comfort: Camping Mats, Sweatpants with Feet (YEY!), Dishwashing Tips, Smores!

Ultimate Camper Checklist. Photo: Sea Salt and FogUltimate Camper Checklist. Photo: Sea Salt and Fog

By Sea Salt and Fog

Camping trips are made so much better when you have just the right things with you. Sleeping outside under starry skies is an amazing experience, but sleeping on the hard floor?  Not so much.

  • Thankfully, a great sleeping mat, like the Exped Megamat Duo allows me to camp in comfort! 

If you search around for the best sleeping pad on the market, you'll quickly see tons of positive reviews for the Megamat. It's pricey, but holy cow does this thing deliver!

On my latest camping trip, we didn't want to leave the tent in the morning, that's how great this mat is.  

Of course, part of staying comfortable while camping is what you wear.

  • My secret weapon for this is sweatpants with feet. Feejays, as they're called, are super soft, and will keep you nice and toasty through the night.  

Plus, they keep your feet clean, which is a nice respite from the dirt that seems to get everywhere when camping! 

For classic smores, I always pack long wooden skewers, the kind meant for kabobs. Soak these in water before using them to roast marshmallows!

When it comes to preparing meals, I love the classic Coleman stove. It's portable, inexpensive, and lets me whip up breakfast without having to make a fire in the morning.  We always have a cookstove on our camper checklist.

The least fun part of camping for me is always the cleanup. I make this easier by packing a collapsible dishtub that I can fill with hot water and do the dishes in without having to carry them to the sink. It's super convenient! 

Super Cool Crush Lights, Get Good Sleep, Keeping Clean and Kids Tents

Camper Checklist. Photo: Diapers in ParadiseCamper Checklist. Photo: Diapers in Paradise

By Dani of Diapers in Paradise

Camping with a baby and a toddler brings about a whole slew of challenges, but with the right supplies – and mindset – it can be a wonderfully memorable experience for the whole family.

When I am camping with two very little ones, comfort is key. If the babies don't sleep, nobody can sleep! That's why I love a strong, high-quality child-sized sleeping pad for the toddler.

  • The REI Kindercamp is properly firm while protecting from the hard ground, and it rolls up super compact. It is designed for kids who carry their own packs while backpacking, so you know it is lightweight.

For the baby, it is even more important that we provide her with a good night's sleep.

  • That's why we always bring our Joovy Gloo, a travel crib that contains the baby and keeps her from exploring the tent. 

She is used to sleeping in it because we always bring it when we travel with a baby. She sleeps best inside of her little tent within a tent!

Our favorite toys to bring camping are sand toys: a little set with a bucket, shovels, and watering can. These are perfect for digging in the dirt and getting muddy.

To make it through the night with happy children, we need a small nightlight that will last the night. This helps the baby stay calm when she can see that we're nearby, and is helpful for walks to the potty with the toddler.

We love the REI Goal Zero Crush Light because it packs very small (almost flat!), is solar powered, and easily makes it through the whole night. A must-have on your camper checklist.

The final thing we never camp without is baby wipes.

Not just for the baby... for everyone. They are so handy for wiping down all kinds of messes! Just be sure to pack them out, because baby wipes are not biodegradable.

Easy Pop Up Tents, Coleman Sleeping Bags, Blackout Tents (so cool) and Awesome Headlights

Ultimate Camper Checklist by Meander WanderUltimate Camper Checklist. Photo by Meander Wander

By Rachita Saxena of Meander Wander

In the past four years, I have traveled to a lot of places in India, explored a lot of hiking trails, and camped at several amazing spots too. And in that duration, there are 5 things that I never forget to take with me on my camping/trekking trips.

What I love about this tent is that it is easily portable, is a pop up and is really easy to assemble and dismantle. Furthermore, it keeps me warm during normal temperature, and with additional clothes and sleeping bags, it works well in minus temperature as well.

Problems Sleeping in A Tent As It's Too Bright? Need Complete Darkness to Sleep?

Guys, this tent is made with blackout material!! 99% darkness even in broad daylight!

Even better, this tent is a pop up! Takes 2 seconds! And it has good ventilation to keep you from getting too hot.

  • I also love carrying my Coleman Sleeping Bag that works well till -10 degrees Celsius and is quite warm and cozy to sleep inside.

The texture and the material of this sleeping bag are really soft and it can easily be packed up into a small backpack which makes it easy to carry it as well.

Apart from the tent and the bag, I do carry 3 power banks that have a total of 40000mAh to keep my phones, GoPro, and other gadgets completely charged. This allows me to click photos and videos without worrying about running out of battery.

We own and love this GoPro, it's easy to use, lightweight and portable.  Fits easily in a backpack!

  • I also carry my fleece innerwear with me at all times to keep me warm and cozy during camping. 
  • And with my trekking headlight, it is easier to find a water source or go to pee in the nighttime as well. 

These are the 5 important camping essentials that I just cannot survive without during a camping trip.  Be sure to add them to your camper checklist!

Camping Food Hacks and Food Ideas

When it comes to camping, we need all the ideas and ingenious hacks we can find! 

Camping Food Hacks and IdeasCamping Food Hacks and Ideas

Camping Necessities 

If you are camping with a vehicle (not hiking), we have a few helpful recommendations. The griddle is fantastic for so many types of food! Steaks, burgers, pancakes and eggs are a necessity!  Use your griddle over a Coleman stove or a grate.  

NOTE: Prices may change without notice. Check Amazon for product updates and info.

Coghlan's Two Burner Non-Stick Camp Griddle *16.5 x 10-Inches


Great griddle with a Coleman 2-burner stove or a grate.  Burgers, eggs, hotdogs, pancakes! 

16pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit, Lightweight Pot Pan Mini Stove with 2 Cups, Fork Spoon Kits for Backpacking, Outdoor Camping Hiking and Picnic


16 pieces camping cookware kit: 2 non-stick pots, 2 non-stick pans, 1 mini stove, 2 mugs, 2 spoons, forks, knives, 2 cleaning clothes, Carry bag.

Aokiwo 200Pcs Emergency Survival Kit and First Aid Kit Professional Survival Gear SOS Emergency Tool with Molle Pouch for Camping Adventures


Be prepared!  You never know when you will need first aid, scissors, compass, knives...Perfect for in the car or at home too

Marshmallow Roasting Sticks with Wooden Handle

$13.58 for set of 5

Perfect for grilling hot dogs, sausages, marshmallows!

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About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Words of Wisdom: “Never follow anyone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, then by all means follow that path.”

"Sherry & Chris"

We're Sherry and Chris the founders of one of Michigan's most comprehensive and Top Travel Blogs!

    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "" A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

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