There was recently a question about what equipment to pack for camping. The answer given was started as a community wiki. See What's the full list of equipment I need to go camping?

  • Both questions and answer (wiki) gathered downvotes so far. And I realise that the topic is very broad.
  • On the other hand I really like lists... :) And I guess others do too, and would find a resource on TGO to be useful...

Should we follow up on this and try to write a community answer to the question what gear is needed for camping? Obviously it would have to be framed in terms of big topics with many available options (e.g. "Shelter" with options tent, tarp, bivouac, ...) instead of absolute bring-exactly-3-pairs-of-socks answers.

  • 1
    I don't think this is possible with current technology, but an ideal answer would allow voting for individual items, with the most popular/essential items floating to the top. Commented May 5, 2021 at 13:54

5 Answers 5


"Full" and "Comfortable" make the question opinion based.

I have two approaches to this sort of thing, minimal and comfort, my comfort camping list used to include a campervan, though I recently sold that. It now includes a 5 man family tent, parking a car no more than a few feet from the tent, full sets of cooking equipment and crockery. Much of this is not required and it's perfectly possible to have a comfortable experience with a fraction of what I take on a comfort trip.

Asking for a minimal list for a safe trip would be a different matter.

WRT the answer

Half the gear listed is expedition and hiking kit, not camping kit. The two should not be conflated.


I don't see anything wrong with the question per se, in fact it is quite an interesting question, it's just that it is so massively broad and highly dependent on the person, location, season, experience, type of camping, etc. that it makes it almost impossible to list. The OP in question did give some specifics as to season, but not detailed enough location or even type of camping, making it very hard to answer. The answer they supplied (now closed) was missing a few items (e.g. cooking equipment) that would be essential, but had others that seem weird (to me at least), like the satellite phone - PLB would be better.

The list is very difficult for "luxury" items - a person going for a 10-day hike might forgo a large soft self-inflating mattress in the place of a much smaller inflatable, or even no mattress (terrain dependent, not so great on rock and a definite no-no on ice/snow), or even in favour of a hammock. Whereas someone going for an overnight or a couple of days might take these with them and a pillow too, just 'cause they don't care about the weight/volume for the short span.

Now I can see a place for minimum lists - "To be safe you must have at least these items for this sort camping" , but even that is quite broad, so would require quite a few separate answers (or one massive one, not that either are bad). Just think of the differences between going camping from your car and going for a 10-day hike in the same location/season/climate. Luxuries could abound for the first, but not for the second, while the minimum list should be roughly the same.

Edited to add: now that I think about it a bit, it should be possible to provide lists, kind of like a flowchart or key-based questions (e.g. dichotomous key) to get to the right one, with answers titled for each type.

  • I had a question like OP suggest ready to post with a possible answer, never used it. No need to break in make small questions, in my view, as many of those questions are already on the site, (and on other SE sites) and links to those Q&A would work. I might post my question and answer somewhere on an other site and see if I can link it somewhere useful.
    – Willeke Mod
    Commented Jul 18, 2021 at 16:39

I spent about an hour trying to write a sensible answer, and gave up for lack of time, and, frankly, for lack of interest, even though I am a list freak myself. Everyone with experience probably has her own master list, which includes items that they sometimes take and sometimes don't, e.g. for me, solar water heater, gaiters.

Let's remember that John Muir hiked and camped with only tea and bread for food. So many items on any list would be optional for some people, however necessary they were for other people. Add to that all the other variables, location, altitude, climate, season, critters, length of stay, fixed or moved camp, alone or with a companion(s) -- the list would have so many qualifications that it would be a book.

Before embarking on a master list of camping items, take a look at the What are Essential Items in an Emergency Kit? This is a more sensible question, and it answers the "safe" part of the camping question.


The only reasonable way to do a community wiki with a list of camping equipment would be to do a huge index of all possible camping equipment items linked to tag and questions. Something like 'XYZ List' in the Wikipedia. If those canonical questions would explain, when such item is useful and when not, than great.

But if such a list should be a canonical answer to the question "What should I take...", than it's a big no go.

In my opinion, the answer should be If you need to ask, then don't do this!. Because people with a lot camping experience will know, what to take, and if they have a specific doubt, they can ask a specific, targeted questions. People who don't have enough experience, should get a list of equipment from the experienced person, that is organizing the expedition.

If you have not enough experience, don't go solo, and don't organize camping with other people who also have no idea!


Unfortunately, as others have said, this as it currently stands is unanswerable. I think the only way you could do it, and this doesn't really fit the Stack Exchange model at all so it might not be possible, is to write a huge answer, in a CW style, with sections for different types of ability, experience, weather, climate, terrain, etc.

The problem we have is that everyone is different. For example, on the now deleted answer, I wouldn't take any of that list after the first 4 or 5, as I like to either camp very light, or I'd have the equivalent of a caravan.

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