A friend asked recently for a list of supplies we usually pack for camping so I started writing things down as I thought of them. Shortly after that we went camping in our pop-up so I double-checked the list I was making for her against what we actually used on our trip and added some more things. When I asked on Instagram if you would like to see the list, the answer was a resounding yes – so here we are! Pop-up camping is near and dear to my heart since it was how we used to camp as a family when I was a kid (before we hit it big-time and got a small, used 5th wheel) and it’s what we started camping in as a family when our own kids were little.
Keep in mind that this is a very subjective list! Everyone likes/uses somewhat different things for camping – these are just some things we like to take for camping in the pop-up. If you don’t have these items you can grab nearly everything at Walmart, but I’m including some Amazon links for easy shopping, too.
I’ll also share some tips for packing the camper and storing supplies after this list so be sure to scroll down and check that out, too!
- Handheld vacuum or a dust pan and brush for keeping the floor cleaned up (I like to be able to vacuum around the beds if we are camping for more than a couple days – this is the one one we keep in our 5th wheel)
- Dish soap + a sponge or dish rag (if you don’t have a sink in your pop-up, you’ll also need a couple plastic bins for doing dishes/washing things)
- Dish towels
- Hand towels
- Washcloths + bath towels if you plan on bathing (also cheapo flip-flops if you plan on using the campground shower)
- Paper towels
- All purpose cleaner (my favorite one for the last seven years is Thieves Household Cleaner – non-toxic, works beautifully, cost-effective – I’ll drop a link at the end of this post if you want to check it out)
- Toilet cleaning stuff + disposable gloves for emptying the black water if your pop-up has a toilet (I prefer the addition of goggles, a face mask, a scarf, a hat, a rain suit, and rain boots for this task but you can also do it with just gloves if you like to live dangerously)
- Toilet paper
- A trash can and/or trash bag
- A drinking water-safe hose for hooking up the water (50 ft is way more than enough length)
- Pressure regulator for the hose (this is especially important for older campers and pop-ups)
- A hose splitter to attach to the water hook up so you can use more than one hose
- A portable waste tote container to empty gray water into (if there is sewer on your site you won’t need this, but having it will open up your camping options a lot)
- A set of wheel chocks
- RV leveling blocks
- A level (for setting the camper up)
- Tire pressure gauge + handheld air pump (this is the one we have) to check those camper tires before you hit the road
- Ziploc bags (for leftover food, treasures kids find, little pieces of your camper you find laying around that you know you should probably keep in case they are important)
- Whatever cooking supplies you will need for meals you are making (these will vary a lot, obviously, but in general we always bring a big mixing bowl and spoon, a couple of pots/pans, and sometimes our Blackstone)
- Eating utensils (we keep reusable forks, knives, and spoons in our pop-up and pack paper products for each trip)
- Cutting board (doubles as a serving tray, charcuterie board, etc) + cutting knife
- Coffee maker + filters + coffee or whatever you use to make your coffee (we keep a maker and filters in our pop-up)
- Drinking water or some sort of water filtration device (like this one)
- Matches (for lighting indoor stove if you have one and/or starting a campfire)
- Fire starter (our favorite is a blow torch but I grew up doing the match + newspaper method)
- Firewood for the best part of camping (campfires!)
- Skewers for cooking food over the fire
- Camping chairs to sit in around the campfire
- Tablecloth for outdoor picnic table + tablecloth clamps
- Flashlights + a battery operated lantern (to hang up outside or put on the picnic table)
- Outdoor/indoor floor mat for wiping shoes and cutting down on dirt inside
- Large outdoor mat (optional and not every camping site has space for one but it sure is nice to have)
- Sleeping bags (extra blankets if it will be cold) + pillows
- If camping in cold weather, a space heater is invaluable; a fan in the summer heat is also a great help to a hard working little A/C system
- First aid kit (we got one at Walmart and added hydrogen peroxide and Benadryl to it)
- Bug spray
- Hiking bag or backpack for carrying snacks/drinks on hikes
- Hiking clothes (for us that means hats for the kids + closed toed shoes and pants)
- White Christmas lights (totally just for fun but it makes the campsite look rather magical at night)
- Extension cord (we use this to plug in our Christmas lights)
- Hammock (again, optional; and again, magical, if the site can accommodate it)
- Ponchos in case of rain (I keep some of those floozy little ones in the pop-up at all times)
- Wet wipes (you will probably use them more than you think!We love the ones from Young Living – linked below)
- Some form of self-defense (this is totally a Kristin idea – just because pop-up camper door locks are a joke)
- Fun extras – games, fishing poles, dart board, balls for playing catch, craft supplies, etc.
That’s pretty much what we usually pack, along with food and clothes! I’m sure I missed a few things and I’ll come back and update if/when I think of them. Also, if you noticed something missing that you find invaluable for pop-up camping, drop a comment below so others can see what it is.
Now for some packing/storage tips! I don’t have many but these few things have been very helpful for us.
First, I’ve found it helpful to have a couple of large storage bins to pack supplies in. We can keep some things I know we will need for camping packed in them but mostly, I pack them before each trip. Boxes absolutely work for this, too, but I like the totes with lids because then we can put them in the back of the truck with no problems (no matter the weather). I also like the clear plastic storage bins because, though they are a bit spendier than solid-colored plastic bins, being able to see the gist of what is in them can be a time saver in the long run. And while we are on that topic, I suggest using bins that are airtight (or at least have latches on the handles) for storing things any time you can (#thingslivingina5thwheelhastaughtme).
I usually have two bins to pack in the car/truck for pop-up camping – one for food that doesn’t have to be refrigerated, and one for everything else we’ll need that isn’t already packed in the camper. Helps keep things simple!
I’ve also found it helpful to keep a master list of what we keep packed in the pop-up. It’s a short little list but it helps me remember what’s already out there so I know I don’t need to pack it. I don’t know about you but every time I think, “I’ll remember this is out here,” and every time, I forget, so I started keeping a list. It’s not completely fool-proof but it does help!
Second little group of tips are so simple they seem silly to share but I’m going to anyway in case it saves someone an unexpected mess. These pretty much all involve plastic ziploc bags (so if you’re anti-plastic, just skip this part)!
One thing I like to do is freeze the chili that we bring almost every camping trip in the freezer in a heavy duty freezer Ziploc bag before our trip. This acts as an extra ice pack to help keep the other contents in the cooler cold (we do have ice in there, too!) while it slowly thaws and is ready for us to eat on our second night (first night is always hot dogs). If you do this, make sure to double bag it – a cooler full of ice with beans floating around in it and water colored with tomatoes is not an appetizing sight. If you are making a meal that can easily be frozen beforehand, give this a try!
Another really simple hack that isn’t even really a hack is to use Ziploc bags to help protect cardboard from getting soggy in the cooler and to organize food items for meals. If you are packing anything that comes in a cardboard container, put it in a plastic bag for its trip in the cooler to preserve the cardboard (our almond milk always gets to ride upright in a gallon ziploc bag for its camping trips). Packing condiments or components used for the same meal in a gallon bag is really helpful later on, too (ie, put ketchup, mustard, mayo in a bag that’s easy to grab for hot dogs).
That’s all I got for today!
You can check out the process we went through to renovate our pop-up camper here.
To order Young Living, click here (and if you want to support a sister, you can enter member #1477910 as your rep! The only thing I don’t use it on is camper showers/tubs – it really is the best cleaner!)
FTC Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links that I earn a small percentage from when you purchase through them (at no extra cost to you!).