Camping Essentials Checklist

Hello, hello, and happy Thursday! How’s your week been? We’ve got a mini Fall Break this weekend, so that’s got us all excited. Plus, Mr. College is coming to town for the big OU vs TX game, so that will be fun to see him!

We don’t have any plans as of now, but with the weather so gorgeous lately, I’m itching for another camping trip! And friends, let me tell you, those are not words I ever expected to pass my lips! I love being outside, but the whole sleeping on the ground part…. not my favorite.

But our trip to Big Sur in August changed all that. And do you know why? The Gear! (See all the snapshots from our trip HERE.)

Backcountry Tents

I mean, do these look like the faces of girls miserable about sleeping on the ground?! No ma’am, these girls are rested and fed, and happy to be outdoors!

on me: Sports Bra Tank | Cropped Leggings | Waterproof Hiking Sneakers | Sweatshirt (Similar HERE) | Hat | Sunglasses

Quarter Zip Pullover (Similar HERE) | Quick-Dry Shorts | Backpack | Hat | Sunglasses | Water Bottle

When our friends first invited us out, I was excited to spend time with them, hike the gorgeous coastline, and hopefully make a few s’mores. But honestly, wasn’t looking forward to the camping part. We used to camp all the time when we lived in Nashville, but I always capped it at one night. Plus, I was younger then, ha!

But Mr. Sugarplum has continued to camp since we moved to Texas, and even takes an annual backpacking trip. So as it turns out, our camping gear has really evolved and improved! He’s consulted Backcountry Gearheads countless times over the years, and we now have a camping set-up that’s actually comfortable… and dare I say it… FUN!

6-Man Tent | 2-Man Tent

Each couple brought their own tent to Big Sur, and believe it or not, the little one is perfect for couples. It had enough room to comfortably sleep two, plus space to stash bags, shoes, etc. Mr. SP is partial to North Face tents for their quick and simple assembly. We had it up in mere minutes!

2-Man Tent | Backpack | Hat | Waterproof Hiking Sneakers | Trail Shoes

The key to sleeping well is in the pad! You’d never know it, but this thin pad actually self-inflates to a really firm, yet still comfy, cushion. Our friends brought a huge air mattress, and our sleeping pads were just as comfy, if not more so! Plus, it deflates completely and rolls up small for easy packing.

You also want to choose a quality sleeping bag that’s suitable for a range of temperatures. This one is like being swaddled in a cozy cocoon!

Sleeping Pads | Sleeping Bags | Tent

You better believe I brought my ear plugs and sleep mask… and even slept through breakfast!

Sleeping Pads | Sleeping Bags | Tent

Quarter Zip Pullover (Similar HERE) | Quick-Dry Shorts | Waterproof Hiking Sneakers | Backpack | Hat | Sunglasses | Water Bottle

These portable lanterns are perfect for extra light at the dinner table, late-night walks to the bathroom, plus they even clip to the ceiling of your tent for a fully illuminated space! We laughed about the headlamps, but having hands-free light while cooking and cleaning up was clutch!

Hat | Waterproof Hiking Sneakers | Light | Water Bottle | Headlamp

Sleeping Pads | Sleeping Bags | Tent | Light

on me: Quarter Zip Pullover (Similar HERE) | Quick-Dry Shorts | Sunglasses
on Mr. SP: Rain Jacket | Shorts

Quarter Zip Pullover (Similar HERE) | Quick-Dry Shorts | Waterproof Hiking Sneakers | Sunglasses

As for our common area, our friends brought their Bliss Beach magic to Big Sur and created the most incredible set-up! We spent hours each day and night sitting around chatting. The Yeti cooler kept all our food fresh for days!

Yeti Cooler

Yeti Cooler

Of course I brought my trusty backpack, it’s been all over the world with us! A hat and refillable water bottle are key for spending all day outside, too.

Backpack | Hat | Water Bottle

on me: Sports Bra Tank | Cropped Leggings | Waterproof Hiking Sneakers | Sweatshirt (Similar HERE) | Hat

Gone are the days of canned beans and hot dogs, we ate like queens and kings during our trip! Each couple was responsible for a meal, and we kept all the food packed safely in the Yeti cooler. Big Sur has a no-burn ban right now, but we didn’t skip a beat thanks to the Coleman stoves!

Tabletop Stove | Camping Cookware (similar) | Folding Utensils

Tabletop Stove | Camping Cookware (similar) | Essential Spoon


Organic Cotton Quilted Pullover | Fleece Pullover (Up to 45% off!)

As for what we wore… it’s all about comfortable layers! I’ve learned over the years that quality makes a huge difference when you’re talking about outdoor adventures, and Backcountry has been my go-to spot for years.

Fleece Pullover (Up to 45% off!) | Sunglasses | Water Bottle

I put together this packing list of essentials to help ensure a comfortable and fun camping experience. I hope it comes in handy if you have any trips planned this season!

Tent | Reusable Water Bottle | Sleeping Pad
Sleeping Bag | Cooler | Camp Stove
Foldable Chair | Head Lamp | Lantern
Cookware | Cooking Tools | First Aid Kit


on me: Quarter Zip Pullover (Similar HERE) | Shorts | Sunglasses
on Mr. SP: T-Shirt | Trail Shoes | Shorts


It was a beautiful couple of days with some incredible friends, and we felt so lucky for the time together in such a beautiful place! Mr. Sugarplum is so excited my love for camping has been reignited and is already planning more adventures. Are you a camper? Where are some of your favorite spots? I’m sticking with car camping for now, but maybe Mr. SP will talk me into something more remote some day.

I can’t recommend Backcountry enough for all your outdoor gear! And don’t forget, first time Backcountry shoppers can use code SUGARPLUM15 to save 15% off full-priced items on your first purchase (some exclusions apply)! Not only do they have everything you need for your outdoor adventures this season, but the pieces to keep you stylish, too!

Their Winter Forecast Sale kicked off this week, with up to 60% off 100s of styles for the upcoming season. Everything from ski gear to camping essentials, there’s tons of deals! It’s a great time to grab our favorite pullovers and jackets for less, and get a jump on your holiday shopping.

[Favorites on Sale!]



*This post is created in collaboration with Backcountry and ShopStyle, but all product selections, opinions, and dirty French braids are my own. Thank you for supporting Hi Sugarplum sponsors!*

Leave a Comment


  1. Kate wrote:

    This looks awesome! Could you share a link or description of the table used with the Coleman stoves? Thanks!

    Posted 10.7.21 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      That was just a little pop-up folding table my friends brought!

      Posted 10.9.21 Reply
  2. Kristin wrote:

    When my husband wanted to camp when we had babies, I told him I would if he did the cooking. They’re in their 20s and out of the house, but he still does the cooking when we camp and I love it. He’s an Eagle Scout and a former Scoutmaster, so it only makes sense that he should do the cooking, and I do all of the cooking at home, so it’s only fair. My favorite place to camp is the Tetons! In Colorado, we really loved Mesa Verde…more for the trails and ruins…the campground wasn’t the greatest, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Black Canyon had very private sites and, when I went out of the tent after dark, I thought I was going to fall up into the Milky Way. I’ve never seen it so well. It was just incredible. If you want to head all the way to Pennsylvania, Black Moshannon and Ricketts Glen were our favorite state parks when we lived there. Oh, and then there are plenty of beautiful places to camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia and North Carolina!

    Posted 10.7.21 Reply
    • Cassie wrote:

      That sounds like a great compromise to me too, Kristin!!! And sheesh, the man’s an Eagle Scout, he should definitely be in charge!! xo, C

      Posted 10.7.21 Reply