Camping Essentials Checklist for New Zealand

Thursday, July 20, 2023

It can be easy to get a bit overwhelmed when you are faced with the task of packing for a camping trip. Specifically, if you are camping in New Zealand you will need to consider the unpredictable weather and campsite facilities available. But don’t worry we have put together a comprehensive camping essentials checklist to help you pack everything you need for a safe and comfortable trip in this beautiful country. Whether you are a seasoned camper or a first-timer you can use this guide to take the stress out of packing for your next camping trip.

Shelter Essentials:

When camping in New Zealand, it is recommended to invest in a high-quality tent to stay protected from variable weather conditions such as wind and rain. Make sure to pack your tent repair kit and extra pegs and a dustpan and brush to keep your sleeping area clean. Lastly, practice setting up your tent at home before your trip, this will make your set-up much easier when you arrive at your destination.

  • Tent
  • Sleeping mat
  • Hammer/mallet
  • Tent repair kit
  • Extra Pegs
  • Ground cover/tarp
  • Dustpan and brush

Sleeping Essentials:

To ensure you have a good night’s sleep on your camping trip it is important to pack the right sleeping gear. It is recommended to pack sleeping bags instead of duvets for bedding as they will take up less space in the car. To make sure you stay warm during the night, check the temperature rating of your sleeping bag. You made need to invest in a sleeping bag with a higher rating if you are camping during the cooler months. Pack a pillow and sleeping pad/air mattress to sleep on and provide insulation from the ground.

  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat/ inflatable mattress
  • Air pump if you have an air mattress
  • Pillows

Camp Kitchen Essentials:

Depending on where you are camping you will need to consider what kitchen equipment you need to bring. If you are camping at a holiday park, campers usually have access to a fully equipped shared kitchen. However, if you are freedom camping or staying at a doc campsite you will be required to bring everything from cooking, kitchen, and cleaning equipment. Make sure you check what facilities are available at the campsite before you leave.

  • Gas stove/burner
  • Gas canister
  • Pot
  • Frying Pan
  • Cutlery
  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Can opener
  • Plates/bowls
  • Food containers
  • Mugs
  • Bottle opener
  • Water bottles
  • Eco-friendly washing liquid
  • Bucket for washing dishes
  • Scrubber
  • Tea towel
  • Chilly bin
  • Ice Packs
  • Paper towels
  • Aluminium Foil
  • Large Rubbish bags

Camp Furniture:

While not essential, bringing your own camp chairs and table can make your camping experience more enjoyable. A camping table is a great addition to help with meal prep, cooking and serving meals. Consider investing in furniture that is lightweight, compact yet durable so it will last for many camping trips.

  • Camp chairs
  • Camp table
  • Picnic blanket

Lighting Essentials:

Make sure you pack a lantern or head torches for your camping trip. If you are staying at a campground with basic facilities, there will be no lighting after dark. Don’t forget to pack extra batteries or a power bank to keep your lighting charged during your trip.

  • Headtorch
  • Lantern
  • Matches/lighter

Power Sources Essentials:

Remember to pack a power bank to keep your mobile phone charged in case of an emergency. Bring a portable battery pack or a cigarette lighter charge so you can charge your devices while driving to your campsite.

  • Battery Pack
  • Batteries
  • Charging cables for mobile
  • Cigarette light charger

Campground fees:

This is not camping gear, but it is important to have on the list! Some campgrounds in New Zealand require a reservation while others ask for cash payment on arrival.  It is best to research the campsite booking details before you set off on your trip.

  • Cash
  • Pen
  • Confirmation of campground booking


Consider packing all your toiletries and first aid items in a separate bag for easy access and organisation. Some campsites may not have shower facilities so it’s best to bring some wet wipes or hand sanitiser to keep your hands and face clean. Don’t forget to pack insect repellent, unfortunately, bugs like to stay at campsites too!

  • Toilet paper
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Soap/Shampoo/Shower gel
  • Hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • First aid kit
  • Insect Repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • After sun gel
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Personal medications
  • Towel


As mentioned already, the weather in New Zealand can be unpredictable, so it's important to bring clothing that is versatile and functional. Depending on what activities you have planned on your camping trip make sure you pack the appropriate clothing for example, if you are hiking, surfing, or fishing. A good idea is to pack an extra set of clothes, socks, and underwear in case your clothes get wet or take too long to dry.

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm layers
  • Pyjamas
  • Socks
  • Warm jackets
  • Woollen Hat
  • Sunhat/cap
  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Sandals
  • Trainers

Recreational Gear Essentials:

Spend your evening time at the campsite reading your book or playing cards and board games until the stars come out. These recreational items will also provide entertainment if the weather turns, and you are taking shelter in the tent.

We recommend camping in a place where you can enjoy your favourite activities. If you enjoy water sports, stay near a lake bring your paddle board or if you prefer to be in mountains bring your bike or hiking gear. While this gear is not essential it will definitely add enjoyment to your trip!

  • Books
  • Board games
  • Cards
  • Outdoor sports gear of your choice


We hope that you will find this comprehensive list helpful when you are packing for your camping trip in New Zealand. Before packing everything on this list, remember to do your research first. Check out the amenities available at the campground you are staying at such as shower facilities, toilets, and water. It is important the campsite you choose best suits your needs and budget. By following our tips and checklist you can ensure you will have an enjoyable and stress-free camping trip.

Happy camping!

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