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General Camping Checklist: What to Pack for Your Next Road Trip

In this post we offer you our camping packing list for general road trips around the Southwest. You can also print this interactive GoogleDocs checklist (make a copy in GoogleDocs and it becomes interactive).

Note that this is a packing list for car camping. It includes many heavy and bulky items. If you're backpacking, refer to this Havasupai checklist.

Disclaimer: This is our personal complete list that we're sharing with you. You might need to add/remove items from this list in order to adapt it to your needs. Where applicable, we include links to our rental items, but you should research these items independently to make sure they will work for you.

Checklist for everyday hiking in the desert

Whether you day hike or going on a short walk, you should always have the following items within reach:

  • Day pack (20-30L and make sure it fits you well!)

  • Emergency food (ie trail mix)

  • 3L of water in Nalgene bottles or water bladder

  • Headlamp w/batteries

  • Small Lighter

  • First aid kit

  • Trail map

  • Sunscreen

  • Chapstick

  • Sunglasses with hard case

  • Mosquito repellant in small 4oz bottle

  • Sun hat

  • Trekking poles

Camping gear checklist

Consider the following items when setting up a base camp for multiple days:

Camping and general travel clothes

This is my recommendation of clothing and article quantities for a week-long road trip:

  • Bathing suit

  • Beach towel

  • Hiking boots (Vibram sole - break them in before the trip)

  • Sandals or comfortable city shoes to use around camp

  • Hiking socks (1 pair per day hike planned)

  • Favorite socks to use only around camp

  • Underwear (up to 7 pairs - hand wash if you run out)

  • Walking around town pants (2)

  • Walking around town shirts (2)

  • Hiking pants (2)

  • Hiking shirt (2 long-sleeve sun shirts)

  • Lightweight sweatshirt or fleece jacket

  • Long underwear top for camp and sleeping

  • Long underwear bottom for camp and sleeping

  • Winter hat

  • Fleece socks in all but the hottest months

  • Down jacket in all but the hottest months

  • Down mittens in all but the hottest months

  • Toe and hand warmers in all but the hottest months


You might use more items in your daily routine.

  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Floss

  • Contacts + case + solution

  • Glasses + case

  • Personal medication/prescriptions

  • Face towel

  • Deodorant

  • Shampoo/conditioner

  • Small roll of toilet paper

  • Tampons

  • Small trash bags (1 per day)

  • Zip lock bags

Other travel essentials

  • Phone + charging cord

  • Solar charger

  • Download audiobooks

  • Real physical book

  • Playing cards

  • Emergency cash ($100 per person)

  • Black light to look for scorpions (if you want)

Camping food

Stay tuned for some amazing recipe ideas!

grilling over campfire
Preparing a meal in the backcountry


For your road trip around the American Southwest, you'll need your personal items, overnight camping gear, cooking gear, and some delicious food. Our friendly and knowledgeable folks here at Basecamp Outdoor Gear have been to many places between Las Vegas and the surrounding national parks. We'll be happy to answer any questions you have.

Remember that you can rent complete camping gear packages from Basecamp Outdoor Gear in Las Vegas. Renting gear allows you to try out a product before committing to buying it. It is especially handy if you don't anticipate ever using the product again. If you don't need our full packages, you can rent individual gear by the item to supplement your gear.


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