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Primitive Camping Checklist: A Beginner's Guide

The modern-day definition of primitive camping would be a campsite without electricity and running water. Here is a primitive tent camping checklist with specific categories.


  • Tent, stakes, and poles (stakes and poles usually come with the tent). If you have never pitched a tent before I would suggest that you practice once in your backyard so that you are not struggling to pitch it once you are at your campsite. As a beginner, you should probably buy a cheaper tent.

  • Tarpaulin or ground cloth

  • Nylon ropes

  • Sleeping bags.

  • Sleeping bag pads, or air mattresses and air pump.

  • Sheets, blankets, and pillows.

  • Hammer

  • Axe (if you are allowed to chop wood at the campsite)

  • Flashlights/headlamp (don't forget the extra batteries!)

  • Lantern, fuel lantern hanger, extra mantles

  • Candles

  • A mat to place at the tent entrance, dustpan, and brush

Cooking and Eating

  • Cooking stove and fuel

  • Mess Kit

  • Firestarters, newspaper, lighter fluid

  • Firewood

  • Cooking oil or oil spray

  • Matches or lighter

  • Large water container. Make sure you have enough water with you as you may not find piped water or vending machines at a primitive campsite.

  • Water bottles

  • Coolers and ice

  • Thermos/flask

  • Paper towels

  • A few rags

  • Cooking utensils

  • A plastic tub for cleaning utensils

  • Dishwashing soap and scrubber (scotch brite)

  • Coffee pot

  • Non-perishable food items

  • Seasonings, sugar, spices

  • Camp chairs

  • Knives, peelers, can openers, bottle openers

  • Cutting board

  • Oven mitts/potholders

  • Zip-lock bags and airtight containers to store food

  • Trash bags. Always use trash bags to dump your leftovers and dump the trash bags in the space provided at your campsite. This is because bears or other animals could come and scavenge through your leftovers. Do not ever attempt to feed or pet the bears! And if bears do visit your campground you will see plenty of signboards telling you the same thing.

  • Shovel

  • BBQ grill with charcoal briquettes (Optional)

  • Folding table (Optional)


  • Shorts

  • Pants

  • t-shirts

  • Swimwear

  • Towels

  • Sleepwear

  • Sun Hat

  • bandanas

  • sunglasses

  • Shoes/boots (waterproof ones are recommended)

  • Flip flops

  • Rain jacket/raincoat/rain poncho

  • Sweatshirt/hoodie

  • jacket/puffy

  • Socks

  • Underwear


  • Sunscreen

  • Bug Spray

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash

  • Shampoo, conditioner

  • Body soap bar or body wash.

  • Shaving kit

  • Comb/brush

  • A small mirror

  • Deodorant

  • Wet tissues

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Toilet paper


  • First-aid kit

  • any required medications

  • Books/magazines

  • Deck of cards

  • Fishing equipment

  • Binoculars

  • Clothesline

  • Laundry detergent

  • Laundry bag

  • Clothespins

  • Notepad, pens, pencils

  • Umbrella

  • Cell phone and charger. You can use the alarm clock on your cellphone if your campsite has electricity or you can use a car charger. Otherwise, bring a battery-operated alarm clock with you.

  • Maps of hiking and biking trails. Get a printout of all the necessary documents that you may need during your stay.

  • Bicycle

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