Tent camping checklist – print out before your trip

How many times did you rush in the morning packing all your gear, and later on the road asking yourself – What did I forget this time?

Tent camping is great in Australia. There are so many national parks and natural wonders to visit and enjoy in your free time. We prepared a comprehensive tent camping checklist based on our experience. Read what to take on your trip or even print out a few copies for later.

We were always forgetting some things, but once we made a tent camping checklist that covers all essentials we stopped worrying. As long as we ticked everything on the list we were covered.

We grouped everything in sections for easy navigation. If you think like printing a few copies of the camping tent checklist don’t worry – you can download it here.


With sleeping, everyone has their own preference. We used to take inflatable mattresses in the past but now we just take camping beds. It is easier for us as we don’t have to air up the mattress every time we stop. We know, however, that not everybody like camping beds so you can decide what is best for you.

Before going check your tent condition, especially if there is no damage to the canvas or holes that could happen in previous trips.

Make sure that all tent parts are packed and are in a good condition. This can sound obvious, but we once forgot our tent pegs. Also, check zippers, and make sure they work properly.

Taking a ground cloth is useful so you can put it under your tent so it does not get wet or dirty.

Consider taking shade cloth or proper awning. There are many options on the market from gazebos to simple tarps attached to the near trees.

  • Tent
  • Hammer
  • Ground cloth
  • Sleeping bags
  • Inflatable mattress or camping bed
  • Small pillows
  • Shade cloth, awning or gazebo
Cape Hillsborough - at the campsite
Cape Hillsborough – at the campsite


The kitchen list looks long but it only contains essentials. It is important to pack your kitchen the way you can access it easily every time. Most of the small items can be placed in a bigger storage box, so you can take them out when preparing the meal.

It is recommended to have at least 4 litres of drinking water per person per day. Consider taking additional water containers when you expect there is no drinking water at your destination.

We like to have a 5-litre water bottle always in our car for every trip that we take. If we go deep in the outback we swap it with a 10-litre container.

Keep in mind that the price of bottled water and soft drinks could be really expensive in the outback and buying in bulk is too expensive or even impossible sometimes.

Don’t forget to check if your gas bottle is full.

  • Camping table and chairs
  • Car fridge or Esky
  • Gas stove and gas bottle
  • Thermal pot or 2 pots with leads
  • Frying pan
  • Sharp knife
  • Small cutting board
  • Plates, bowls and mugs
  • Cutlery
  • Dishtowel
  • Kettle (electric or normal)
  • Can opener
  • 5/10L water container
  • Food storage containers
  • Collapsable tube/bucket
  • Mixing bowl
  • Food
Fern Flat Camping Area - our tent

Campfire cooking

Campfire cooking is our favourite type of cooking as we can sit at the fire and wait for the tasty meal while we tell stories.

  • Aluminium foil
  • Dutch oven
  • Trinket
  • Frying pan
  • Tongs
  • Protecting gloves
  • Matches/lighter
Dutch Oven Roasted Pork - cooking in the fire


One of our first rules of camping is – clean after eating. It is important to clean immediately after eating to avoid any animal intrusions like ants or flies during the day. Also, leaving dirty dishes for the night can bring some unwanted visitors like dingoes, kangaroos or even saltwater crocodiles.

If you stay in a caravan park, there is a camp kitchen where you can clean the dishes away from your camp. In the outback, you can use natural resources like bringing the water from the creek.

Travel Spiced Life

Never use chemical detergents in natural waterways or creeks. Instead, bring the water to your campsite and clean it there.

  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dish cleaning sponge
  • Rubbish bags
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Portable cloth line


We recommend having a separate toiletry bag for each member of the family. This way everybody can use it anytime they want. It is also better to pack 3 small bags instead of one.

We also make a rule to have all personal things colour-coded, so toiletry bags, towels, packing cubes are assigned a colour to every member of our family.

  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Tooth Brush
  • Toothpaste
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Tissues
  • Towel
  • Antiperspirant
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Nail clipper

Other essentials

Make sure to take some cash with you. There are still places where there is no payment terminal and the only way to pay for your meal or diesel is cash.

Also, take spare car keys with you. We have never done this until a wild turkey stole our car keys from our campsite and escaped into the bush. We were lucky to retrieve them, but this could lead to a very serious situation because we were in a secluded location in Eungella National Park.

Read about our wild turkey stealing our car keys.

  • Basic sewing kit
  • First aid kit
  • Headlamp
  • Table lamp
  • Batteries
  • Camera
  • Cash
  • Spare set of car keys

Maps & communication

Our tent camping checklist has to have communication devices that are essential, especially if you go to remote places. As a minimum always have a printed Hema map, but if you want to be in control of where you are all the time the GPS Navigator is the way to go.

Inform your friends or family where you heading and how long for. If you go to a remote area make sure you have a way of communication like UHF or satellite phone.

  • GPS
  • UHF radio
  • Paper maps of the area you are going to
  • Mobile with charger


There are some essential tools that can save you from unpredicted situations. For instance, you can use a shovel when you get bogged or use wire to fix some hanging parts for your car. The rope is useful in many situations like tying things or using it as a table cloth.

  • Shovel – for cooking or if you get bogged
  • Duct tape
  • Axe
  • Rope
  • Cable ties
  • Wire

Download tent camping checklist

Tent Camping Checklist
Tent Camping Checklist

I hope our tent camping checklist will save you a lot of time. Please leave a comment below if you have any other suggestions.

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