Putting Together a Portable Toolkit for Backpackers & Campers

Self-reliance is the name of the camping game. You have to be prepared for unexpected obstacles.

This means you have to be able to fix stuff that breaks. And to be clear: Stuff. Will. Break.

Bet on it.

In fact, broken gear — the most common obstacle you’re likely to face — happens enough that you shouldn’t even call it unexpected.

In addition to fixing broken gear, you’ll also need a few tools for run-of-the-mill camping duties. You can hammer tent stakes in the ground with a rock, but an ax or mallet will work better.

All of this is to say you need a tool kit.

As with most other camping gear, you can just buy a pre-assembled kit with a fancy little carrying case, but we actually think it’s usually a better idea to put them together from scratch.

We’ll explain everything you need below.

Tools & Supplies for Your Toolkit

Before we get to the list, remember that — as with most other components of your backpacking gear — you can and should tailor your kit to suit your needs.

Just consider this a good starting point. Add things that you’d like to and leave out things you’re relatively sure you can do without.

Also, if you’re a car camper reading this, go ahead and bring everything you think you could possibly need — you don’t have to worry about weight. The same would go for RV campers or anyone else who’s trip doesn’t involve a long hike.

  • Knife
  • Duct tape
  • Flashlight  
  • Headlamp  
  • Lantern
  • Extra batteries and bulbs
  • Multi-tool
  • Axe
  • Saw
  • Shovel
  • Repair kit for air mattress
  • Small clamps or clothespins
  • Two to three types of cordage  
  • Bungee cords
  • Safety pins
  • Small sewing kit
  • Candles
  • Tent-pole repair sleeve
  • Vinyl repair kit
  • Small broom and dustpan

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