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Summer Camping Checklist: Everything You Need To Know

Summer Camping Gear Checklist gear spread out on a table

Summer Camping Checklist: Everything You Need To Know

If you ask any seasoned outdoors person when the perfect time for camping is, most will say Spring or Winter. With colder weather and less crowded campsites during these seasons, it’s easy to see their point. 

To some of us, though, we prefer waiting for summertime to go camping.

Hotter temperatures and longer days mean having more time to enjoy hiking, fishing, cookouts, and cooling off at the beach. If you’ve never tried camping in summer before, you’re definitely missing out.

Summer Camping Essentials: Quick Checklist 

Don’t forget these essential items:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag 
  • Air Mattress 
  • Camping Pillow 
  • Hammock
  • Camping Clothes 
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses 
  • Summer Hat
  • Water Bottle
  • Cooler
  • Camping Stove and Cookery
  • Portable Shower 
  • Toiletries and Hygiene Products 
  • Tools
  • First Aid Kit 
  • Insect Repellent 
  • Headlamp or Lantern

Summer Time Camping Fun 

If you’re planning to go summer camping, then this article is for you. Here you’ll find our ultimate list of camping essentials tailored specifically for the summertime. At the bottom, we included a summarized version of this checklist that you can easily print out or save to your phone. 

1. Tent 

When you think of “camping” you usually think of a tent first. Your summer tent should be able to protect you from the harsh sunlight, wind, and sudden summer rain showers as well as have sufficient ventilation. Also, avoid pesky bugs by choosing a tent that comes with a second layer of mosquito netting at all openings.

2. Sleeping Bag  

A sleeping bag gives you a layer of insulation and comfort during those rainy summer nights, especially if you’re camping up in the mountains. Since you’re looking to get more comfort rather than warmth, you can get away with a roomy rectangular bag. Depending on the terrain you set your tent on, you can forgo bringing a sleeping pad.

3. Air Mattress 

If you’re camping at the beach or you just want that extra level of comfort, you can bring an air mattress on your trip. An air mattress is more comfortable than a sleeping bag (with a sleeping pad) and it keeps you off the hot ground. Most air mattresses can also be used as a beach or lake float, so you can chill out comfortably on the water. 

4. Camping Pillow 

Did you know that most North Americans can’t sleep with just 1 pillow? While you can get away with using your backpack as your pillow, we suggest instead that you bring a couple of inflatable camping pillows to avoid the risk of sleepless nights and possibly developing a stiff neck in the morning. 

5. Hammock 

If you’re camping alone or with friends at a campsite that you can’t set up a tent on, you can take a camping hammock with you instead. Your camping hammock should be lightweight, compact, and breathable, and come with a mosquito net to avoid bugs.  

6. Camping Clothes 

You can’t bring ordinary cotton or denim clothes while camping in the summer. You need clothes that are lightweight, breathable, and sweat-wicking to give you the most comfort amid the heat and sweat. You may also want to bring an extra set of clothes that you wear for sleeping only so you’ll always have a clean set of clothes for bedtime. 

7. Sunscreen 

Ultraviolet rays are no joke and you can get badly sunburnt if you don’t take the necessary precautions. The more layers of sun protection you get, the better. Your first layer of sun protection is going to be a sunscreen that’s at least 30 SPF.

8. Sunglasses 

Your second layer of sun protection is going to be a pair of sunglasses, preferably polarized. Polarized sunglasses reduce glare and protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. They also save you from premature wrinkling around your eyes, which is always a plus.

9. Summer Hat 

To finish off your sun defense ensemble is a summer hat. This doesn’t need to be fancy but it does need to have enough coverage to shade your face and neck as well as be breathable enough for the sweat to evaporate from your head, which will a cooling effect on the entire body. 

10. Water Bottle 

Drinking a sufficient amount of water a day is a universal truth, especially among people with active lifestyles. The exact amount of water you need is up for debate, though, and some argue at least 8 glasses or more a day or drink to thirst. Whatever method you choose, try bringing a little more to compensate for the summer heat. 

11. Cooler 

If you plan to fish and then cook what you catch, you’re going to need a softshell cooler to store your catch and keep it fresh. If you’re bringing your own food to cook at camp, a hard shell cooler is a better choice as you can also store beverages along with your frozen meat. 

12. Camping Stove and Cookery 

Depending on the campsite you chose, you may need to bring a camping stove and some camping pots and pans along. Whether it’s butane or wood powered, a camping stove lets you cook your food better while also letting you control the flames and avoid forest fires. 

13. Portable Shower 

If you’re camping somewhere with no restrooms or sources of clean water for bathing, you may want to bring a portable shower along. Nothing beats the heat of a full day of camping activities than a nice cool shower before dinner and bedtime. 

14. Toiletries and Hygiene Products 

We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again:

“Just because you’re camping in the middle of nowhere doesn’t mean you can neglect your hygiene.”

Don’t be THAT guy who goes camping with friends and has to mooch off them for toilet paper, soap, or toothpaste. 

Also, make sure to carry bin bags as well to avoid littering the campsite with your trash. 

15. Tools 

The tools you’ll need will depend on what you need to do at camp. If you plan to chop up some firewood and build a fire pit, it won’t do you much good if you only brought your camping knife. We usually bring along a multi-tool that covers most of our bases than an E-tool to take care of digging fire pits and latrines. 

16. First Aid Kit  

Camping is all about being prepared for anything while only bringing what you need. As such, it’s always a great idea to bring along a fully-stocked first aid kit to reduce the risk of small scrapes and bruises turning into trip-ending emergencies.

17. Insect Repellent 

Depending on where you’re camping, early summer is usually the start of mosquito season. Not only do these bugs pester you by flying into your eyes, ears, and nose, but they also have an itchy bite that can carry diseases like typhoid fever and malaria. To help avoid these pests, apply some insect repellent on all exposed areas of the skin. 

18. Headlamp or Lantern 

Summer nights are the shortest in the year but that doesn’t mean that they’re any less dark. Having a light source like a lantern or headlamp ensures you can move around your campsite at night without tripping over something.  


I'm David Aston, Founding Nomad of AdventureHacks, Inc. My mission is to inspire adventure on the ground, in the water and through the air. If I also happen to inspire you to purchase gear, my team and I plant a tree in its native environment for every order.

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