By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Jun 29, 2022 at 2:01 PM

 Quick and easy access to nature has always been one of my favorite aspects of Wisconsin camping in general. Ninety minutes after the workday ended and I’m drinking a beer with the trees at Jellystone Park. Get there this summer! Make your own reservation here

Camping is a lot of prep work, but it never pays off to underpack. Unless you are backpacking and / or have very limited space, bring all the supplies. All. The. Supplies. (It may seem like a good idea to leave the pillow at home and just ball up a sweatshirt for a place to rest your head, but it's not.)

We compiled this list with the help of avid camping friends and readers who shared via social media what they have forgotten to pack in the past. 

So, if you're going camping this summer, remember to check for ticks, bring plenty of water and for the love of nature, don't forget the can opener. 

Prefer pen and paper? You can also download a conveniently printable version.

The ultimate checklist for Wisconsin summer camping:

  • Tent (check for stakes or, if new tent, consider setting up before trip.)
  • Sleeping bag / blankets
  • Sleeping mat or air mattress
  • Air compressor (for air mattress)
  • Pillow (!)
  • Flashlights/headlamps/lantern (phone flashlight is not good enough)
  • Extra batteries
  • Music playing device
  • Solar charger
  • Food/drink (make a meal menu?)
  • Camp stove
  • Cooler (with latch to keep out critters)
  • Ice/ice packs
  • Matches/lighter/fuel starter
  • Cook pots/pan
  • Pot holders
  • Eating utensils/sharp knife
  • Coffee maker or packets
  • Bottle/can opener 
  • Corkscrew
  • Plates/bowls
  • Mugs/cups
  • Cutting board
  • Camp chairs
  • Large water container/water bottles
  • Biodegradable soap 
  • Sponge/scrubber
  • Dishpans
  • Dish towels/regular towels
  • Tablecloth for picnic table
  • Trash/recycle bags
  • Clothesline 
  • Multi-tool
  • Mallet or hammer
  • Saw or axe
  • Small broom
  • Marshmallow/hotdog roasting sticks
  • Games/cards
  • Musical instruments
  • Books
  • Dog stuff 
  • Socks, long and short
  • Shirts, long- and short-sleeved
  • Pants, long and short
  • Swimsuits
  • Hoodie or sweatshirt
  • Comfortable shoes/beach shoes
  • Rain gear 
  • Rain tarp
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wipes
  • Toilet Paper
  • Medications/pain reliever/Benadryl
  • Duct tape
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Menstrual products
  • First aid kit
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent/bug bite relief
  • Brush/comb
  • Hat
  • Sunshades
  • Contact lens supplies/glasses
  • ID
  • Cellphone charger
  • Compass
  • Campsite registration info

Camping with kids:

  • Snacks
  • Diapers
  • Warm clothing
  • Extra blankets
  • Extra bandages
  • Sound machine
  • Screens
  • Favorite blanket/stuffed animal
  • Ice cream ball
  • "Nuk"
  • Glow sticks
  • Craft project/simple activities
  • Bikes/helmets


Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.