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Camping 101: Packing Guide

What To Bring On Your Camping Excursions

A group of friends gathered around a campfire, playing guitar and chatting

Camping is something you can do all year long, although most prefer to camp in the summertime. 

That being said, how many times have you arrived at your destination (be it a campsite, a cabin, or a camper) only to realize you forgot … sunscreen. And your toothbrush. And toothpaste. Sometimes you can’t make it to a last minute stop at a convenience store, and you’re doomed to discomfort on your weekend.

To avoid all that, you gotta start with a packing list. There are lots to choose from online! But they don’t always cover everything. We tried our hand at crafting the ultimate packing guide, so that next time you will never be left stranded without the essentials. 

The ‘Campsite’ Items

A man wearing Vessi Storm Black Cityscapes while sitting in a camp chair next to his dog out in the wilderness

Some items listed here will be unnecessary if you’re staying in a cabin rather than a campsite – use your judgment! Here are some of the most essential items to bring with you to ensure a comfortable camping experience: 

  • Sleeping Essentials
    • Tent
    • Sleeping bag
    • Sleeping pad, inflatable mattress, hammock or cot – depending on how adventurous or fancy you want to get!
    • Camping pillow (you can get inflatable pillows that pack very small!)
    • Cozy blankets
    • Sleeping bag liners (optional)
  • Tools
    • Flashlight / headlamp
    • Multi Tool – bottle/can opener, corkscrew
    • Knife
    • Axe and hatchet to chop your own firewood
    • Patching kit for inflatables, mattresses, and tent
    • A rechargeable battery, power bank, or electric generator and USB cables for all devices needed
    • Duct tape
    • Scissors
  • Camp Sweet Camp: Make it Feel Like Home
    • Foldable chair
    • Camping table (if you’re going somewhere without picnic tables)
    • Carpet / Rug (increase your campsite’s aesthetic while making it feel like home)
    • A pop up canopy or tarp
    • Tablecloth
    • Multiple garbage bags for garbage and recycling. Make sure to always pack out what you pack in!
    • Battery operated lanterns and string lights
    • Mosquito repellent, aesthetic-improving Citronella candles

Campsite Extras, or Just-For-Fun Items

A woman wearing her Vessi Dusty Rose Everyday Sneakers while paddle boarding with two dogs


Now that you have the basics down, you want to make sure you pack a little extra to make the most of your time!

Here are some of the items to take your camping trip to the next level!

  • Navigation tools (compass, cell phone, GPS, or maps depending on how remote you go)
  • Everything you need to keep your pet happy, if you bring your pet!
  • Binoculars
  • Field guides (for the plants, wildlife, and bugs in the area!)
    • Similarly, star charts (or search results for what you might see in the sky)
  • Books/magazines/entertainment
  • Bluetooth Speaker (and headphones for nighttime use)
  • Outdoor games and activities like frisbees, balls, etc.!
  • Notebook and pen/pencil for journaling or sketching
  • Inflatable floaties, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards
  • Camera & extra batteries, film or SD card

Mealtime Must-Haves

Someone roasting a marshmallow over a campfire in the wilderness

Just because you’re camping, doesn’t mean your food options have to suffer! Check out our list of essential tools that will make your camp kitchen more fun, and your meals more diverse. Remember to pick up after yourself and dispose of things properly, because the forest isn’t going to clean itself.

  • Camping Stove
    • Fuel
    • Matches/light/firestarter
    • Charcoal
  • Pots & pans
    • Potholder
  • Utensils
    • Eating (forks, knives, spoons)
    • Cooking (spatula, whisk, tongs, etc.)
    • Bottle openers/can openers
    • Plates/bowls
    • Cups/mugs
    • Water bottles
    • Sharp knives/scissors for food prep
    • Cutting board
  • Wash bins/camp sink
    • Environmentally-safe soap (such as biodegradable soap)
    • Towels for drying
    • Scrubbers, sponges
  • Cooler (for food and drinks)
  • Ice/ice packs
  • A grill rack for the fire
  • A french press for gourmet camp coffee!
  • Fire pit skewers (for marshmallows, hot dogs, etc. – or you could find a nice branch and sharpen it with your knife!)
  • Small Tupperware, Ziplocs, and/or foil for food storage
  • Big jugs of water

Clothing & Footwear

A woman wearing athletic gear and waterproof slip on shoes as she walks on rocks in a body of water


Being prepared with the right type of clothing is really important when you are camping in the wilderness. You are less sheltered from the elements, so you need to make sure you pack the right things to keep you comfortable for your entire trip. Even if the weather says it should be sunny and clear the whole time, there’s always the possibility of an unexpected rain shower. Caught unaware, and without proper rain gear, you might get wet and miserable fast. You might have a change of clothes, but if your shoes get wet – you may as well go barefoot the rest of your trip.

When we go camping it’s important to pack smart and light, as usually we are crammed into a small vehicle with our friends and all of their stuff. Because of this, our space is limited. The best way to go about planning our camping gear is to make sure we’re taking multi-use things! For clothing, this means packing lots of layers, so you can just add and remove layers as the temperature requires. 

Footwear takes up a lot of space, and we know you’d really rather only pack one pair of shoes and a pair of sandals. To avoid getting caught with soggy socks, a pair of comfortable waterproof shoes would be the best! But we really would rather not lug our rubber boots camping. 

Thankfully, we can recommend Vessi, our 100% waterproof slip on shoes or knit sneakers that allow for all the creek hopping, puddle jumping, and even mud jogging that you might take on during your adventures. Here’s why Vessis are great for camping trips:

  • Vessis are 100% waterproof, so soggy socks are one less thing to worry about when unexpected weather hits.
  • All styles are easy to slip on without untying and tying laces – you can easily put the waterproof slip on shoes on or take them off as you exit and enter your tent! 
  • And finally, Vessis are super easy to clean, so you don’t have to worry about getting them dirty. 

Look to the forecast to see what weather and climate you’re expecting at your campsite to make sure you’re prepared for your trip! We’ve included things to pack for winter camping and rainy weather in addition to the typical spring-summer-fall scenarios: 

  • Quick-Drying Layers (+10 points for being full-on waterproof)
    • Underwear
    • Shirts
      • Short-sleeved
      • Long-sleeved for sun/bug protection
    • Hoodie/zip-up sweater
    • Leggings/pants
    • Comfy pants
    • Socks
  • Sleepwear
  • Sun protection
    • Hats
    • Sunglasses
  • Rainwear 
    • Poncho/rain jacket
    • Pants
  • Footwear
    • Waterproof walking shoes
    • Sneakers
    • Rubber Boots
    • Sandals
  • Winter Wear
    • Thermal underwear
    • Insulated jackets/vests
    • Warm layers – we love fleece! 
    • Thick pants
    • Thick socks
    • Jackets
    • Mittens/gloves
    • Hat/toque

Hygiene/Health Essentials

A woman walking along a path in the forest while wearing workout clothes and comfortable waterproof shoes 

Don’t know about you, but we find toiletries the easiest items to forget. And it’s not like we can stop by at the 7/11 around the corner from our campsite! 

Trust us, you do NOT want to forget bug spray or bug bite relief when out in the wild. It’s best to come prepared just in case! 

As a general rule of thumb, try to stick to things that are eco-friendly to not disrupt the natural environment you’re dwelling in. This means avoiding aerosols, unnecessary chemicals in soaps, sprays, and makeup products, and proper means for disposal. 

  • Toilet paper (try to find camping/biodegradable stuff, and use the outhouse when you can)
  • Hand sanitizer (a must-have nowadays)
  • Take care of your teeth!
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Mouthwash
    • Floss
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Prescription medications
    • Essential supplementary medications such as pain killers
  • First-aid kit and extra first-aid supplies
  • Sunscreen
  • Aloe vera in case of sunburns!
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • Bug spray
  • Afterbite
  • Extras
    • Brush/comb
    • Cosmetics
    • Contact lens supplies
    • Earplugs
    • Portable camp shower
    • Natural all purpose soap like Dr Bronners – use as hand soap, shampoo, and dish soap! You can also use this to clean your Vessis.
    • Mirror
    • Baby wipes for a camp shower – but make sure you dispose of this in your camp garbage and take your garbage with you.
    • Sanitation shovels (if no toilet is available)

Modern Must-Haves

A happy man jumping across giant red rocks while wearing his Vessi Charcoal Grey Cityscapes


You’re likely not going to leave the house without these things, but you might forget a charging cable, a certain type of battery, or emergency funds. We know you probably have it covered, but here’s the list just in case!

  • Extra cash
  • Credit cards
  • ID
    • License
    • Registration
  • Permits
  • Cellphones
    • Charging equipment
  • Reservation information – printed just in case there is no cell signal!

Your Vessis Are Made to Go with You Wherever You Go

A close up shot of a woman’s Vessi waterproof walking shoes splashing in puddles on pavement

As we mentioned, our waterproof walking shoes are made to withstand the elements! That means they’re ready to do whatever it is you like to do, especially out in nature and camping. 

Our waterproof slip on shoes are designed to be lightweight and breathable for maximum foot comfort, making them ideal for travel all year long, no matter the weather. They’re quick to clean (we recommend hand-washing them and again, using Dr. Bronners soap) so you can have as many adventures as you want with no fear! These shoes are meant to see the world, not sit in a closet. So, let’s get out there and explore! 

Still have questions about Vessis? Check out our FAQ page here!
Ready to jump in?
Browse our website to find the shoes that are your best fit!

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