For camping enthusiasts, there’s nothing giddier than getting the old sleeping bag out of where it’s been hanging and the tent ready for adventure. But a sleeping bag and a tent aren’t the only things you need. In this ultimate camping trip packing guide, we’ll go over everything you need to have the perfect weekend in the woods.

This guide will serve you whether you’re a summer, spring, fall or winter camper. Below, you’ll find seven of the most important items for your camping trip, no matter the season.

Camping Chair. This one is at the top of the list because it’s the item that always seems to be forgotten. Why? Probably because they tend to weigh packs down. No one wants to carry a pack, plus a chair. However, nowadays, chairs made of ultra-lightweight material are being manufactured not just for low weight, but for size. Chairs like the ones offered at can even fit on the side pocket of your pack. No more forgetting your chair when it’s so easy to pack! Learn more about camping & camping chairs at outingexpert.

A way to light a fire. You may rely on your buddy to always bring the fire-starters, but it’s a good idea to have a backup. Bring your own. Whether it’s matches, a lighter, or a pocket fire starter, be the backup plan. If you’re camping alone, this is a must have. Never get caught camping without some kind of way to light a fire. It’s a plus for cooking, keeping warm on cool nights, and safety.

Water. Immediately after fire, there must be water. Definitely bring water for drinking and for making coffee in the morning. But, we also recommend bringing a separate supply to put out your fire at night. It’s the safe thing to do. Of course, you can always opt to put out the fire in more “natural” ways, if you catch our drift.

Compass. Camping and hiking go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Unless you’re an impressive star reader, a compass will get you out of a bind when hiking. Many times, we don’t know the trails. And although most trails are marked, sometimes, especially if hiking at night, you may miss the signs. It’s always a good idea to bring a compass for when you may be unsure of your surroundings. However, don’t just bring a compass because it’s a good idea and hope that someone knows how to read it. Learn to read it yourself!

Camping Food. While this seems basic, it’s often forgotten. Be sure to bring a good amount of dried foods, such as jerky, dried fruits, or canned goods (and can opener). There won’t be a store close by, so be sure to pack an adequate amount of food. Our biggest recommendation here is to not make your pack too heavy with foods that sound good at the moment of packing, but that you know you may not eat. Overpacking is a big mistake, slowing you down on your way to your campsite. 

Flashlight. Nothing worse than going to the bathroom in the night without knowing where you’re going. Even if you’re a seasoned camper, take one for safety. You really never know when you’ll need it, and there are plenty of compact and light flashlights you can buy.

Multi-use Tool. There will be a point over the weekend when you’ll think, “Hmm. I wish I had a…” This is where this tool comes in. Believe it or not, it fills in the blank on many things you may not even know you’ll need on your camping trip. And, because of its size, it can always live incognito in your pack.

When it’s all said and done, you may forget a thing or two from the excitement of going to commune with nature. However, packing the seven items above covers the basics. Enjoy your time, be safe, and have fun!