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Camping Checklist

May 22, 2020  |  Permalink

Camping Checklist

Camping Checklist Tennessee State Parks

Many of our parks offer camping for tents and RVs, and some even offer hammock, primitive, and backcountry sites. Most tent and RV sites come with a picnic table, fire ring, electricity, access to water, and a central bathhouse. Find out more about the campsites we offer here or book a campsite here.

Some campers thrive with the bare necessities for a quick set up and takedown process while others prefer to add additional touches for an extra cozy campsite. As you continue to camp, you'll settle into a style and find what gear you need to add or leave at home to create the best experience for your time outdoors.

This list covers the basics of campsite gear, tools, cooking supplies, clothes, personal items, activity supplies, and even pet supplies. Use this list to help guide you as you pack for a prepared and comfortable camping experience. Don't forget to review the safety tips on our Keeping Visitors Healthy Page before heading out as well.


The Basics

Things you won’t want to leave home without.

  • Tent - plus poles and stakes 
  • Sleeping pads or air mattress (don’t forget the pump)
  • Sleeping bags
  • Pillow
  • Lantern or flashlights
  • Tarp (for underneath your tent)
  • Certified Heat Treated Firewood
  • Campsite reservation (if required)
  • Map of the park or trail


Campsite Extras

Things to make your campsite extra comfortable.

  • Foldable Chairs
  • Hammock
  • Blankets
  • Tablecloth
  • Doormat (helps keep dirt out of your tent)
  • Sunshade
  • Battery-powered fan 
  • Insect repellent candles



  • Mallet or hammer (to drive stakes into the ground)
  • Rope
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Multi-tool


Cooking & Dining Supplies

We recommend buying large clear bins to store your camping kitchen gear in for easy storage and quick access for spontaneous trips. 

  • Reusable Water Jug
    • Many of our campsites have access to water for drinking and dishes. If you’re staying at a primitive site, come prepared with your own water in a large refillable jug. There are normally areas within driving or walking distance where you can refill. For backcountry sites, bring enough water for your trip and pack a water filtration system.
  • Camp stove and fuel
  • Lighter
  • Pots and frying pan
  • Oven mitt
  • Multi-tool bottle /can opener
  • Kitchen knife
  • Reusable plates and bowls
  • Cooking utensils (spatula, large spoon, etc.)
  • Eating utensils (sporks are great)
  • Mugs and cups
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Trash bags
  • Bin to wash dishes
  • Biodegradable soap (please do not use generic dish soap when outdoors)
  • Sponge 
  • Dish towels or paper towels

Cooking Extras:

  • Non-electric coffee maker/ tea steeper
  • Roasting sticks for marshmallows
  • Dutch Oven
  • Tupperware 



When it comes to camping clothes, the main question is: is it comfortable and practical for the climate and activity you'll be doing? Always check the temperature of the location you’ll be camping at for the morning, day, and night. Temperatures can vary drastically from day to night depending on the season and location. It’s always better to be over-prepared!


  • Hiking boots or sturdy close-toed shoes
  • Quick-drying pants and shorts (avoid denim as it holds moisture)
  • Light jacket
  • Clothes to sleep in
  • Sock (synthetic or wool, bring two pairs per day)
  • Long-sleeve shirts 
  • Short-sleeve shirts
  • Moisture-wicking underwear

Cold Weather:

  • Heavily insulated coat
  • Long underwear or warm layers
  • A hat that covers ears
  • Gloves

Warm Weather:

  • Bathing suits
  • Sandals or water shoes
  • Sandals for relaxing at camp
  • Hat or visor 

Rainy Weather:

  • Rain jacket
  • Rain pants
  • Waterproof, close-toed shoes


Personal Hygiene and Items

  • Toilet paper 
    • If staying at a campsite with a bathhouse, toilet paper is provided, but it's still nice to have on hand.
    • Practice Leave No Trace. Bring a trowel and always pack out your toilet paper at backcountry and primitive sites.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Medications
  • Eyeglasses or contacts with solution
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Sunscreen
  • Body lotion
  • Shampoo and body wash
  • Lip protection
  • Insect repellent
  • Earplugs

First Aid:

We recommend buying a first aid kit. If you’re creating your own, pack these essentials

  • Bandaids
  • Alcohol or antiseptic wipes
  • Tweezers
  • Pain relief medication
  • Gauze


Activity Supplies

  • Notebook and pen
  • Camera and supplies
  • Guitar or musical instrument (no noise between 10 pm and 6 am)
  • Books and magazines
  • Cards and board games
  • Frisbee
  • Wildlife field guides (these can be purchased at most of our gift shops)



Dogs and cats must be kept on a leash at all times. Read more about our pet policies under dogs, cats, and other pets.

  • Leashes and collar
  • Water bowl (for camp and trails)
  • Food bowl
  • Pet food
  • Pick-up bags
  • Toys
  • Pet bed

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