I got to thinking the other day when stuck at work in my dump truck; what are the most important things I need to pack in my camping bag? After giving it some thought, this is what I recommend.

Mandatory Camping Accessories That You Must Have When it comes to a accessories list for a camping trip these necessary camping accessories are probably the most critical items minus the tent. I left the tent off of this list because it is not an accessory, rather a necessity. Read through this list and comment below if there is anything you would add to it.

Camping First Aid Kit

When you spend as much time camping as I do, you know you will come across specific activities that will leave you scratched, cut, sunburned, and just plain out dog-tired. Having a good, well-stocked first aid kit will help keep you on the positive. Just in case of an emergency, here is a small list of items that you should not go without in your first aid kit:

hydrogen peroxide – for cuts scrapes and keeping wounds clean

thermometer – to check for fevers

bandages – for covering cuts, scrapes, and bruises; if large enough can be used to cover  small lacerations, hands, feet, and head

cold compress – for bumps and bruises that have the possibility of swelling; sprained ankles, hands, feet, and toes

heat pack – for reducing pain for both acute and chronic injuries such as sprains, strains, whiplash, and arthritis

emergency blanket – for severe cold weather and to avoid hypothermia

pocket mirror – for reflection signaling when lost

neosporin – for antibacterial purposes on cuts, scrapes, and lacerations

scissors – to cut bandages down to size to fit injuries

sutures – in severe laceration emergencies for blood loss control

elastic bandage – for ankle, elbow, and wrist sprains

butterfly bandages – for light laceration closures

aspirin or acetaminophen – for mild pain relief or fevers

calamine lotion  – to relieve itchiness

Insect repellent/sunblock I hope that there will not be a situation where you will need many of these items on the list, but on nine out of ten camping trips, there are injuries. If you are well prepared for it, a minor emergency does not have to ruin your trip.

More: How to Camp in the Desert

CPR and first aid                              

CPR training is almost priceless information. If just one or two family members get certified in CPR safety training, it can save lives and more the merrier in this instance. If everyone is trained then the odds are higher for a good outcome during an emergency. Another useful item to have as a part of your first aid kit is an old smartphone that you might have lying around the house.

Make sure it’s fully charged and packed with a charger, solar if you can get one,(be sure the phone is off so it won’t lose its charge). Although service is turned off, or there is no service available at your campsite, an emergency mode can still be detected by emergency crews so they can come and save you if needed.


Are also a great addition to ensure the health and safety of the group. When my family is camping, it is a requirement for everyone to have a whistle around their neck if leaving the base campsite. A whistle can serve a huge purpose. If someone was to get turned around on a bathroom trip or something worse like a hike, It could be used to be heard for about a mile and a half away, depending on the topography. See whistle prices on Amazon

Always do a campsite set up a meeting. Find out if anyone in the group has a medical condition or emergency medications. Make sure that the group knows what to do in case of a severe allergic reaction. Ask if anyone knows the symptoms of hypothermia and stroke. As a group, talk about common injuries and what to do in case of an emergency.

Pocket Knife / Multi-tool

A pocket knife or multi-tool is a great on person accessory. I wear one every day of my life. I have bought my children one each and my wife. It is something that comes in handy on every recreational thing we do out there from fishing to kayaking, into rock hounding and gold panning. Pocket knives and multi-tools are used for anything when it comes to camping in the woods. They are camping essential!

Mandatory Campsite Accessories

A useful multi-tool is a precious asset in the campsite

Firestarter / Matches

Chances are you are not a professional survivalist, and you cannot start a fire with a stick, a rock, and some vines. Most likely, you need to bring with you some flame. If you cannot get a fire started, you could run the risk of getting hypothermia and going hungry. If you invest in some decent fire starters, they will last you for years.

Fire Building / Backup

Fires can be tricky to get started. Therefore, the skill is never really mastered. Many situations can hinder starting a fire because of moisture in the wood. Like recent rainfall or if there is snow on the ground making its way to wet. If it is too windy and dry, there may be fire restrictions in the region as well. Always check your local forestry dept. For up to date rules and regulations.

Campers sometimes rely on cigarette lighters and striker rods as a go-to for backup’s fire starters. These usually will do the trick but to be honest; if it rains the lighter will probably fail, or butane can leak rendering it useless.

Flint Striker

Flint fire striker rods are compact and easy to use if it is dry and not too cold. To start a fire with a striker tinder is needed. Very small moss or cottonwood seeds are excellent for this style of fire starting. Another form of tinder is char cloth, which can be made by slow cooking a piece of cloth in a metal can over a fire and not letting the combustion process happen. When hit with a spark from the striker will catch fire fast.

There is no promise that a fire will start every time an attempt is made. A set of extra warm clothes and a backup heat source, like a thermal blanket, are critical considerations when out camping during colder times of the year.

Camping Rope

The rope is another essential accessory that you can have in your camping supplies. We use it for everything from hanging up food from bears, hanging hammocks, tying up your animals, and pulling kayaks. The rope makes potentially tricky situations much more manageable.

Camping rope 

  • set up a trip wire rigged with bells to alert of incoming wild animal or unwanted visitors
  • hang from one tree to another as a line dry for wet clothing
  • secure down items
  • make a tourniquet during an emergency to stop bleeding
  • create a safety line from tent to tent for children to follow in the dark
  • build a snare trap for trapping game
  • replace a broken shoelace or belt if needed
  • haul canoes or kayaks from place to place

The rope is available in different styles, sizes, and materials. Some are better than others, especially in the camping world.

Twisted Rope

This rope is one of the most versatile. It has the most strands in its construction. When twisted together, the stronger it becomes, and you can keep adding to it. The more you add to it, the stronger it gets. One of the only drawbacks to the style of rope is that once it gets to a larger size, it is challenging to tie and hold knots.


The most common of this is the 550 cord, which has a tensile strength of 550 pounds per square inch. These ropes are thin and are great for hanging up hammocks, shelters, and tarps; you name it!

Baling twine:

With the breaking strength of 350 pounds, the brown baling wire that you see in any big box store is one of the most affordable, and it’s one of the most versatile. You can double it, triple it; add as layers as you’d like to give as much strength as you need. This type of rope is prevalent in the prepping community because it’s lightweight and inexpensive and you can pack a lot of it in a backpack. I do not recommend this line for any suspension or pulling.


I used tarps like crazy when I’m out camping. We use them underneath our tents, hang them over the top of our tents for rain shelter, cover picnic tables, and We cover the inside of our vehicles with them when we are out hiking or kayaking (get a dry bag here) and may have wet clothing. You can use your tarp to create an overhead shelter by Tying your rope from tree to tree and drape your tarp over it. This helps keep pine needles and other debris that fall from the forest canopy from falling on food and cooking surfaces.

Bad weather

In a lousy rainstorm, your regular old rain-fly that comes with your tent isn’t going to be enough protection. So you can set up your tarp to cover the top of your tent and keep it dried in between two trees. You can strap a tarp over the top of your car and store all your belongings underneath it to keep them dry during a storm. String a rope between two trees throw a tarp over the top tie it down with some rocks, and you got yourself an impromptu a tent to sleep in if necessary.  

Lantern, Flashlight or Headlamp

Lighting is a vital necessity for a campsite especially once the sun starts to go down. With the mountains in the trees around you, it will get dark reasonably fast. Having the right lanterns, headlamps, and tent lights are going to make a huge difference. My personal favorite is the propane lantern. It has done me great for the last ten years, and I have I recently bought my son one. In my opinion, paying a little extra on a quality lantern is well worth it in the end.


I have also picked up nine of the small collapsible lights I found at a Costco that we just put into our camping gear. Those things are awesome. I suggest that if you do go out to purchase some new lighting accessories, always be upgrading so that you get the most high quality and high lumens. I suggest a minimum of at least 250 lumens for headlamps and 1200 lumens or above for lanterns.

Maps and Compass

I know that we are living in a high-tech digital age, but when you get out to your campsite or up in your hiking area, most likely, you will not have a GPS signal. I know I’ve come across that many times and am always thinking I wish I had a map. Having a map and a compass as a part of your camping gear is a good idea especially if your family is like mine and likes to go hiking.

Forestry department and scientific researchers rely on Topographical maps and a compass. By finding a land feature that you can recognize then referencing the map for your location. It is possible to be walking on these Trails and never have to pull a map out. If you can see the terrain and make a mental note of where your camp is, you will be able to determine your whereabouts easily.

need a compass or check prices on Amazon I got mine fairly inexpensive

Maps can be found here


Better safe than sorry, that is what I say. It is inexpensive to go to your local college or community resource center and take it to an hour-long class on Compass navigation it is a fun little class and does not hurt to know.

Have Fun. Be Safe. Explore.

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Hi, Dennis and Shelly Jackson here, we are the faces behind Campsite Planning. We are parents of 4 great kids and a little dog. And we are sharing some of our experiences with the site. I hope you enjoy and please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.


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