A well-equipped camping site featuring an orange tent, a backpack with a hanging towel, a lantern, a folding chair, binoculars, a rope, and a cooler in a natural, wooded setting

Whether you’re a first-time camper or a seasoned pro, there’s truly nothing like a camping adventure to bring the family or friends together! Camping is the perfect way to experience nature in a fun, safe way! You can hike, make delicious recipes over a campfire, fish, or visit a local village – the opportunities are truly endless!

The next time you visit one our amazing campgrounds in Cherokee, you’ll want to make sure that you have everything you need, which is why we’ve created the ultimate camping checklist guide that you can use on your next vacation!

Save or print this blog and use it as your official preparation guide when planning your next camping adventure!

How to Plan a Camping Trip: The Essentials

Before you even begin packing, there are important checklist items that need to take place in order to ensure that you have both a comfortable and stress-free vacation.

Here are our essential preparation checklist items that you should follow before you start the packing process.

Establish Roles

When you forget something, does it always start the blame game of, “well, weren’t supposed to bring that?” To make things easier, we always recommend delegating! Establishing roles early one will prevent any spats or blaming when something is forgotten.

We’ve made things easier for you below by adding a line directly next to each category below where the individual in charge of bringing these things can write their own name.

Understand Your Location

Before booking a campsite, it’s important to get acquainted with the area where it’s located. This will help in you immensely when it comes to packing. For example, if it’s generally a warmer area, you might not need things like extra blankets or sweatshirts. Do your research beforehand of the location and weather to guarantee that you’ll have everything you need to stay comfortable during your camping trip.

Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time

Meal planning while you’re on vacation can initially seem a bit daunting – especially if there is a large group of people. But, we assure you, this is the best way to make sure you’re not overbuying or underbuying food and that everyone will enjoy it.

The Complete Camping Checklist for Every Category

Follow our complete camping checklist when you begin packing to ensure that you have everything you need for a fun camping trip!

Use the empty boxes next to each item and mark it complete when you have packed it away. For larger camping groups, use the line next to the category name to identify who is responsible for bringing the item.

Campsite/Shelter:  _____________________________________

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Waterproof Sleeping mat/pad
  • Pillow
  • Blanket
  • Camping chairs
  • Battery-powered flashlight
  • Lantern


  • Camping table
  • Additional tent stakes
  • Hammock
  • Axe or hammer
  • Camping rug
  • Tarp
  • Multi-tool

Kitchen/Cooking Items: ____________________________________

  • Cooler
  • Ice
  • Utensils
  • Dish-washing supplies
  • Cookware
  • Matches/lighter
  • Fuel
  • Plates, bowls, and cups
  • Water bottles
  • Camping sink
  • Soap
  • Trash bags
  • Sponges
  • Dish towels


  • Portable Coffee/Tea maker
  • Firewood
  • Camping stove/grill
  • Marshmallow/hot dog roasting sticks

Clothing & Footwear: ____________________________________

  • Rain jacket
  • Base layer
  • Hiking pants, shoes, and socks
  • Sleepwear
  • Extra socks
  • Lightweight T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts
  • Shorts
  • All-purpose gym shoes/sneakers


  • Gloves or mittens
  • Long underwear
  • Hat
  • Sandals
  • Laundry bag
  • Belt

Health & Hygiene: ______________________________________

  • Skin care
  • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, body wash)
  • Tooth brush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
  • Towel
  • Menstrual products
  • Medications
  • First-aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Hair brush/comb


  • Baby wipes
  • Bug spray
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Portable toilet
  • Lip balm
  • Cosmetics
  • Mirror
  • Eyeglasses/Contact Supplies

Personal Items/ Miscellaneous: _____________________________

  • Credit card
  • ID
  • Cell phone
  • Charger
  • Campsite reservation
  • Map/Navigation
  • Extra batteries
  • Book
  • Games
  • Bear spray
  • Forest service/ Park pass
  • Notebook/paper
  • Pen or Pencil
  • Pet gear
  • Speaker/radio
  • Binocular
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Scissors
  • Bikes/helmets
  • Ear plugs/sleep mask
  • Alcohol or antiseptic wipes

Visit the Cherokee, NC Campgrounds for Your Next Vacation!

Ready to explore nature at its finest – with history, native stories, and exciting outdoor attractions? Then it’s time to plan your next trip to Cherokee, North Carolina where you can camp in one of our many amazing campgrounds.

Bring the family and friends and explore the best Smoky Mountain campgrounds near Cherokee today! Visit our Stay page for all accommodations in Cherokee.