The Ultimate Packing List for Self-driving Camping with Family or Friends

The Ultimate Packing List for Self-driving Camping with Family or Friends

Self-driving camping trips are an excellent way to get the family or a group of friends together for the weekend without breaking the bank at the end of it all. For all their excitement, however, self-driving trips do come with one big catch—you can’t just pile in your car and hit the road whenever you want to go camping.

Instead, you have to prepare weeks ahead, which means packing and buying supplies beforehand. We’ve compiled the ultimate packing list for self-driving camping with family or friends, including everything from clothes to cutlery to wood supplies and everything in between.


What are the Essentials in the Ultimate Packing List for Self-driving Camping?

When going camping for only the weekend, you can imagine a ton of items that you’ll need. Even if you start preparing weeks ahead, without a guiding list, you can easily forget a couple of essentials. However, with the ultimate packing list categorized below, you’re set to have a memorable experience with friends or family.

Here’s the ultimate packing list for self-driving camping with family or friends

Tents and Clothing Essentials

Camping with family or friends isn’t possible without tents even if you’re going with a large camper van. Also, your clothing packing list should be determined by the current weather, while making provision for cold nights.


Kitchen Essentials

No matter how you choose to camp, you're going to need some kitchen supplies. If you're self-driving, you'll need a way to store and prepare food. Even if you decide to camp in your backyard, you'll want to have some basics on hand. Here's a list of kitchen supplies you should pack for your next camping trip

  • Camp Stoveand Propane
  • Can opener
  • Coolerand Ice
  • Cutting board
  • Baggies
  • Corkscrew
  • Deep frying pan
  • Bowls, cups, and plates
  • Camp Mugs
  • Cast iron pan
  • Dish bins for washing
  • Dish soap
  • Dish towels
  • Dish sponge / rag
  • Eating utensils
  • Frying pan
  • Grill brush
  • Folding table
  • Food storage containers
  • Heavy duty foil
  • Knives for steak
  • Grill skewers
  • Grilling rack
  • Knives to chop
  • Long handled spatula
  • Paper towels
  • Percolator
  • Long-handled tongs
  • Mixing bowls
  • Slotted spoon
  • Small pot for cooking (1.5 quart)
  • Tablecloth (for picnic tables)
  • Tablecloth clamps
  • Pot holders
  • Pot scraper


First Aid, Safety, and Toiletries Essentials

A first aid kit is a must for any camping trip, even if you're just going for a short hike. Safety should be your top priority when camping, and you should always be prepared for the worst. Toiletries are also essential, especially if you're planning on being in the wilderness for more than a few days. Here's a list of what to pack to make sure you're prepared for anything.

  • First aid kit
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lantern bug zapper
  • Insect repellent
  • Waterproof Backpack
  • Calamine lotion or After Bite
  • Pain reliever/medications
  • Razor
  • Contact solution, spare contacts, case, glasses
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo, conditioner, soap
  • Shower flip-flops
  • Sunscreen
  • Feminine products
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Lotion
  • Toilet paper
  • Tweezers


General Camping Essentials

When planning a camping trip, it's important to pack the essentials for sleeping, the kitchen, toiletries, and safety. But don't forget the little things that can make a big difference, like bug spray and sunscreen. And of course, don't forget the food! Make sure to pack enough for everyone, plus some snacks for the drive.

  • Firewood
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-operated camping fan
  • Axe
  • Small backpack
  • Fire starters (kindling and papers)
  • Fire gloves
  • Bikes
  • Books
  • Foldable camping chairs
  • Bungee cords
  • Camera
  • Hammock
  • Headlamps
  • Camping journal
  • Clothespins
  • Games
  • Lantern/lighting
  • Maps/area info
  • Matches or lighter
  • Notepad and pens (for games)
  • Tote bagsfor carrying miscellaneous items
  • Trash bags
  • Marshmallow roasting sticks
  • Pocket knife
  • Rope for hammock
  • Pop-up canopy
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Solar Charger


Tips for Family or Friends Camping Trips

When going camping with a group, supplies aren’t all you need; you’ll also want to ensure the spot you have in mind is free. You also need to know the area you’ll be camping in very well before setting safety guidelines, especially when you’re going with kids.

Reserve a camping spot beforehand

It is preferable to make a campground reservation rather than just turn there and run the chance of being dissatisfied. The majority of the time, you should be able to reserve and pay for camping spots online while also getting to pick your favorite location. Camping is significantly less expensive than staying in a hotel or bed & breakfast, allowing you to extend your vacation.

As soon as you arrive, set up your tent

Everyone can unwind more quickly the sooner you finish this. Make sure you don't have to set up camp at night because this can be challenging. Additionally, you'll be grateful when it becomes chilly at night and you want to climb into bed, but everything is prepared and comfortable. Another suggestion is to walk the kids to the restroom so they are comfortable with the location.

Set safety guidelines

Set some limits and safety precautions because excitement can cause kids to run off and explore the place. Remind children to notify an adult where they are going before leaving the house. Find out what kinds of snakes or wild animals are present nearby and warn children. They should tell kids not to eat anything that is growing in the wild and to keep away from open fires.

Maintain a basic diet

Breakfast should be simple, such as coffee, rusks, cereal, and fruit. An excellent supper for a camping trip is a potjie. To guarantee that there is enough time for the meal to be ready by dinnertime, start early in the afternoon. Make enough because the greatest part is the leftovers. The next day, potjie tastes even better!



Now that you know what to pack for self-driving camping with family or friends, all that's left to do is hit the road! With this packing list, you'll be prepared for anything and everything, ensuring a fun and safe trip for everyone. So gas up the car, load up the trunk, and get ready for an adventure!

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