Whether you are packing up for a weekend camping trip or sending your kids off to summer camp, be sure to pack away these five easy to forget camp essentials.  Certainly, the tent and a sleeping bag are easy to pack away with the camping gear, but more often than not toiletries are quickly forgotten.  But fear not, simply pack the following list of easy to forget camping essentials, and you will be sure to have a pleasant experience at camp.

Camping First Aid Kit

This may seem pretty self explanatory, but a good camping first aid kit is absolutely essential for the weekends away.  With rocks, bugs, dirt, and other hazards all around, you will want a small yet robust first aid kit to treat any wound that may come your way.  While you do not need to bring the entire medicine cabinet camping with you, be sure to pack away plenty of large and small bandages, Neosporin, gauze, and alcohol pads.  This is the absolute bare minimum you should pack in your first aid kit, but there are a number other medical items that will do you well with these camp essentials. Camp Essentials - First Aid KitCredit: Amazon.com

If you want a full and complete first aid kit with your camping gear, be sure to add along a sterilizer such as Bactine, which is very good at cleaning wounds and preventing infections.  A blister relief patch such as Moleskin will become very helpful if you plan to hike at all.  Additionally, tweezers, a nail clippers, and a small mirror will come in handy at camp and are quite essential for any thorough first aid kit.  

Camping First Aid Checklist

  • Large and Small Bandages
  • Neosporin
  • Alcohol Pads
  • Gauze
  • Sterilizer
  • Moleskin for blister relief


Sunscreen is so often forgot on camping trips that it deserves its own special section.  At camp, you will undoubtedly be outside quite frequently, making sunscreen absolutely essential for any camping trip.  UVA rays, which cause again, and UVB rays, which cause sunburns, will be beating down on you while you enjoy the hot summer sun. 

It is important to note a few things regarding sunscreens.  First, if you have old sunscreen that is expired, toss it, and purchase a new bottle.  Studies have shown that chemicals in conventional sunscreens break down over time, and since your body absorbs chemical sunscreens, these chemicals break down into free radicals, which are carcinogenic.  So, at the very least be sure to get some new sunscreen at the beginning of every summer!

Camp Essentials - SunscreenCredit: GoddessGarden.com

If you have ever asked are chemical sunscreens are safe, try testing out a natural sunscreen for your next camping trip.  While these sunscreens might be a bit more expensive, natural sunscreens do not use any of the harsh chemicals that your body absorbs.  Instead, mineral sunscreens simply sit on top of your skin.  Because of this, mineral sunscreens are effective immediately and they protect you from both UVA and UVB rays unlike chemical sunscreens.  If nothing else, be sure to pack an all natural kids sunscreen to keep your kids safe this summer. 

If you forget to bring sunscreen to camp, it is still essential for you to protect yourself from the sun.  Thankfully, you can wear a large brim cap or you can even apply the white powder of an aspen tree as good sunscreen alternatives.  Also be sure to read this article on how to choose your sunscreen as a helpful guide for this purchase. 


Camp Essentials - ToothbrushCredit: Amazon.com

Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Although it is nice to get away from the comforts of home at camp, a toothbrush and toothpaste are two essentials that everyone must pack.  Sure, it may be a hassle, but your dentist will love you.  Really, do you want to increase your chances for a cavity just because you forgot your toothbrush for a fun weekend away?

It is important to note that you do not actually need running water at camp to adequately brush your teeth.  Running water may be nice, but a simple water bottle should get the job done. 

Camp Essentials - Biodegradable SoapCredit: Amazon.com

Deodorant and Soap

Please, whatever you do.  Do not forget deodorant and soap.  Your friends and family will thank you later.  Again, it might be nice to get away from the comforts of while at camp, but these are two essential comforts that should not be left behind.  While camping does not require heavy exertion, sitting around the fire will make you smell… bad.  A little deodorant in the morning and washing of hands throughout the day will go a long way to keep your lovely body odor under control.

Unless your water system is completely contained (as in a trailer), be sure to use an all natural soap such as Dr. Bronner’s.  Soaps such as this will not cause any harm to the surrounding environment in waste water. 

Camp Essentials - Bug SprayCredit: Amazon.com

Bug Spray

If you are camping in the hot humid summer, chances are bug spray will be absolutely essential for a pleasant weekend.  Based on personal experience, bug spray is one of the easiest to forget items in my pack.  When getting ready for a camping trip, you will generally be concerned with the items you will need to survive, leaving bug spray oft forgotten.  Depending on the location of your camping trip, bug spray may not be entirely essential, but if you are near any water, whether in a lake or river, bug repellant is an absolute must. 

When choosing a bug spray, you may need to go through a bit of trial and error to find a kind you prefer.  Oftentimes, the smell of bug sprays can be overpowering and quite terrible.  However, a number of companies make quite good “outdoors” sprays, which have a scent somewhat similar to the earth smells of camping. 

Why Just These Camp Essentials?

While this list of easy to forget camp essentials might seem somewhat limited, it is meant to act merely as a guide.  In my own personal experience, I have forgotten these five items on various camping and backpacking trips, and I most certainly paid the price during my weekend away.  It is my recommendation to make a personalized camping gear list that you can refer to every time you go camping.  Add these five items to your list, and you can be assured these camp essentials will never be left at home again.