Essential Camping Checklist

Read this handy dandy article? Check.
Read this handy dandy article? Check.

You know that satisfied feeling you get when you completely reorganize your closet? When you've finally discarded your collection of flannel from the '90s ("Been there, entertained that, Nirvana!") and carefully organized and replaced the rest of your gear? We think that completing a checklist inspires the same type of nerdy, satisfied joy.

Furthermore, checking off a camping checklist inspires glee in almost anyone because camping gear is just, well, cool. It's modular and miniaturized, like Legos. From tiny, lightweight stoves to collapsible cups and pocketknives with forks and spoons, camping gear is as delightful and full of potential for discovery as camping itself.

Checking off a list of essential camping do's and don'ts could also potentially save your life. Like stepping onto the world's biggest roller coaster with a weak stomach or driving a car on Interstate 95 for the first time, camping is one of those activities where it pays to be prepared. When you round a switchback and find yourself face-to-face with a bear, what should you do? When a thunderstorm sends lightning slashing down around your campsite, should you run into the open or stay amongst the trees? We'll tell you, and we'll also give you tools that will keep you from overlooking the essentials (and not-so-essentials!) that could determine whether your camping excursion is a dismal disappointment or a fun-filled frolic. After all, who wants to be waylaid by a stupid blister when simply remembering to pack the anti-chafe topical could have kept you hiking another day?

In this article, you'll find checklists for everything from wildlife to weather, as well as what to pack for the trip itself. Is it really necessary to pack a portable toilet? Find out next.