How To Fly With Camping Gear: Your Checklist

How to fly with camping gear: Your Guide for the next Flight

Are you ready to leave home to go looking for new campsites or trails, but don’t know How to fly with camping gear and how to pack your gear for the plane?

Every person who loves to camp with a tent wonders whether it is possible to fly with a tent, how to protect their backpack or they want to know the rule of flying with heating oil.

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With a little planning and using the tips below, you’ll soon be flying with camping gear into the mountains or to gorgeous beaches with your camping gear.

How do you transport camping gear?

The TSA may authorize the traveler to package some travel items, but remember that this is only half the battle.

It is necessary to clarify with the airline staff the restrictions on the size and weight of your things that tourists can definitely take with them. Often the irregular shape of objects can cause flight restrictions.

In this case, you may be required to pay additional money if you fly with certain items. In order not to get into trouble, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the following tips. If you don’t know how to fly with camping gear, you can even pack your things in a cardboard box and put it in your luggage.

Pack your backpacking gear as easily as possible

Multiple items that take up a lot of space in a traveler’s luggage can cause them to carry too much. This will affect not only how easy it will be to cover the distance between home and the airport, but also whether your luggage will be allowed on the plane.

If you want to pack clothes and other items as easily as possible, think about clothes for you that you can use more than once on a backpacking trips.

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When choosing clothes for the rest, it is best to use lightweight fabrics that do not absorb sweat and odors. The need for rent camping gear can be solved with the help of a search. Find out if this solution fits where you live. If there is a rental of tourist equipment near the place, then rent camping gear on the spot.

Backpack Protection

When depositing a backpack, it is not enough just to pinch the straps or belt, as they can be broken by the luggage carousel. Therefore, a safer approach is to fasten the straps as tight as possible before checking the backpack in the luggage compartment.

This prevents the baggage handler from grabbing only one strap, which often leads to breakage. Alternatively, the waist belt can be fastened around the back of the backpack at the back and tied to the backpack with cling film, and the shoulder straps can be secured with tape at the end.

You can also completely tie the straps to the backpack, leaving only the handle for which the loaders can move the backpack.

Think in advance about how you will get to the campsite

When planning a camping trip great outdoors, decide in advance whether you will need to take a taxi or other transport from the airport to your campsite. To get to the planned location, you may even need to transfer to another transport.

For a traveler going on a hike, this may not seem very convenient, however, if he solves the problem in advance, this will avoid unnecessary difficulties with transport. Therefore, take on camping trip great outdoors only what you can carry with you to the camping site.

Packing all your camping gear in your car or rental car and heading out into the countryside seems more convenient than loading it on a plane and flying with camping gear to a campsite. What makes flying with camping gear even more difficult is that you can’t take everything you want with you.

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However, if you need to take heavy things, without which the camping cannot be as comfortable as you want, make sure that you can get to the campsite from the airport in advance, especially if it is a long flight.

Don’t forget to bring a tent, blankets, and other items to make your days in nature more comfortable. You can save time if you arrive at the camp by bus or rented car.

Be mindful of baggage weight restrictions

When checking the TSA recommendation, you must confirm the size and weight restrictions. Each carrier has its own opinion about the size, shape and weight of luggage.

Know the weight limits for your flight and do not exceed the weight of your luggage. On cheap flights, checked luggage allowance can be very limited or non-existent. In such cases, you may have to pay the airline for extra baggage or its weight. So plan your luggage accordingly, being aware of the restrictions in advance. Otherwise, you may be charged an additional fee.

Airlines are allowed to charge additional fees to passengers who carry sporting goods and camping equipment. If you are going on a trip with tourist equipment, it is better to check with the airlines for all these points.

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Considering the carry on bag size restrictions of the three different airlines, it can be concluded that only carry on luggage can be included on the aircraft, the size of which does not exceed the following:

  • Delta Air Lines allows to carry on bag of 9x14x22 inches.
  • American Airlines carry on bag allowance is 10 x14 x22 inches.
  • Frontier Airlines encourages passengers to carry the following hand luggage in the cabin with them: 10x16x24 inches.

Depending on the policy of the airline, there may be different conditions for flights. Therefore, you need to be aware of the policy of the airline before you start packing your hand luggage.

Tents and sleeping bags are likely to be the heaviest items in your luggage. Therefore, choose this equipment carefully.

Choose light bags

Once you know how much luggage you can take on the plane, try to lighten your luggage as much as possible. Take only what you really need. When buying camping equipment, be sure to check how much the equipment weighs.

It is recommended to purchase the lightest equipment for tourism, since its weight most often falls on the heaviest things – sleeping bags, tent, food, etc. If you are going to travel by plane, then you should not take heavy backpacks and suitcases with you, as the packaging itself also increases the weight of the luggage. It is worth choosing the lightest of them as possible.

If possible, you should put your travel equipment in a bag or case. A lightweight plastic bag or fabric bag will make it easier for you to fit within the baggage weight limits set by the airline.

Soft bags are better than hard ones

You might think that hard shell bags are safer than soft shell ones, they often crack or break easily when hit or collided with other luggage on the belt. So choose soft-shell bags or nylon bags that are more resistant to drops and bumps.

In addition, hard-shell bags tend to take up more space in luggage and carry more weight.

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Consider dimensions

In addition to weight characteristics, consider limiting the number and size of luggage. Check if the airline has given recommendations regarding baggage dimensions. Vacuum bags or compression sacks are a good way to seal luggage. You can use them to reduce the amount of clothing you take with you on a hike and even a blanket.

Make sure you learn how to properly fold your tent. If not folded according to the rules, it can take up much more space in your luggage.

Take as few clothes as possible. You don’t have to change clothes every day while hiking. This way you can only take a few items and save space in your luggage. In addition, several layers of clothing can be worn directly on the plane. For example, a couple of T-shirts, a sweatshirt or jumper on top, etc.

Small and heavy items can be kept in the pockets during the flight. For example, if you have hiking pants with pockets, you can put a go pro camera, phone charger, power bank, etc. in them.

Part of the equipment must be placed in the bag you check in

At the moment, most airlines and TSA have restrictions on the transfer of equipment that may pose a threat to other passengers. For example, canes or poles for a tent cannot be taken as hand luggage. These items can only be carried in checked luggage.

To avoid restrictions, put in your checked luggage what you need. At the moment, the most suitable option for transportation in the cabin is clothing, you can definitely take it with you into the cabin.

Take Precautions

Despite the owner’s best efforts to protect checked bags as much as possible, anything can happen. Therefore, before leaving for the airport, it is recommended to take a picture of your luggage in order to be prepared for any circumstances.

In the unlikely event that your bag gets lost, airport staff are more likely to be able to find it if you show transportation security administration a photo. It is also recommended that you place a double tag in your luggage in case the outer tag comes off and gets lost. This will help the traveler find the bag if it gets lost and prove that it belongs to you.

Portable camping equipment that you can take on a flight



The weight and dimensions of the tent should be taken into account in the same way as the weight and dimensions of other luggage. Tent pegs, tent stakes and trekking poles must also be included in your checked luggage. You should check with your airline to see if your tent will fit in the aircraft hold or under your seat.

Sharp objects

Knives, tent pegs, hiking poles and tent stakes can be taken with you, but they must be checked in the luggage compartment.

For safety reasons, any airline will definitely prohibit these items from being carried in carry-on baggage. It will be necessary to wrap sharp objects in secure packaging to avoid injury to baggage inspectors or loaders.


Torches and firearms are not allowed on board, but you can bring a box of strike anywhere matches or a reusable lighter. They must be taken with you on board the aircraft, and not in hand luggage. Arc lighters, plasma and electronic devices are allowed.


You can take any hand-held flashlights in your hand luggage or put in a backpack or bag that you check in your luggage.

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Camping tent

Depending on the size of the tent and the conditions provided by the airline, it may be possible to take the tent with you as hand luggage. If the airline does not allow tents to be taken on board, they can be checked in as checked luggage.

Camping stove

You can travel with a camp stove if it doesn’t have stove fuel in it. Drain the fuel beforehand or dispose of the gas cylinder before flying.

Sleeping bags and mats

Both options are allowed. Sleeping bags can be placed in hand luggage or checked bags. As for sleeping mats, the instructions for them are similar to the rules for transporting air mattresses. The TSA has determined that such items may be checked in or placed in the aircraft cabin as carry on bags.

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Can I fly with a sleeping bag?

You can take your sleeping pad on board the aircraft. Both parts of the camping gear and the mat can be carried as hand luggage or as checked luggage if you are going to camp on an airplane.

Most airlines allow you to take only one large backpack with you into the cabin, and put everything else compactly in the luggage compartment.

Secondly, the sleeping bag can be folded into a sports bag; it does not take up too much space. The travel mat takes up much more space, but it can be rolled up and securely tied to the outside of the pack, even use a hip belt backwards.

This one strap will come in handy to tighten the backpack or tie something you need to it when not wearing it. Such a life hack will allow you to understand how to fly with camping gear without suffering.

Is tent allowed in carry on luggage?

Camping tents are usually allowed in both checked and carry-on baggage. However, trekking poles and tent poles must be checked in as checked luggage. If you are carrying your tent in hand luggage, make sure you pack camping gear it in a compact bag.

If the tent is very large, it may not fit in the salon, then it will definitely have to be checked into the luggage compartment.

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It is possible that TSA allows you to take a tent on board, but you need to check this issue with the airline from which you buy a ticket. However, walking sticks and tent pegs are considered sharp objects and must be checked in as checked luggage. Hammers for tent stakes should also be in your luggage. Don’t forget about it.

What is forbidden to take on a plane

Stove fuel and bear spray are highly flammable and cannot be taken on board an aircraft, so they must be brought to the campsite by another means or left at home. It is recommended to give preference to safer items such as matches and ultrasonic whistles.

The question of how to fly with camping gear may seem daunting, but it turns out it’s not impossible if you follow the rules. There are many things that you should never take on a plane with you. All known airlines include bear spray on their list of prohibited items.


To comply with airline regulations and protect yourself from bears, there are a few ways, you can buy bug spray or pepper spray near the national park where you make a campsite.

Any kind of fuel

In the process of cooking, most travelers who prefer to camp in a tent require fuel. Fuel of any kind is prohibited in both carry-on and checked luggage. Therefore, if you are cooking on the camp stove, you will need to purchase fuel upon arrival at your destination. You also cannot carry fuel to heat the tent.


This is a necessary material for making fires. It cannot be carried in carry-on or checked luggage. Therefore, be prepared in advance to kindle a fire without it. Alternatively, you can buy a fire starter upon arrival at the campsite.

Bear spray

Never bring bear sprays or fireworks with you. Although they are essential camping destination equipment for outdoor adventures, airlines consider them dangerous and harmful items and do not allow them to be carried on board aircraft. So if you don’t have an alternative to bear spray, you might have to look for one when you get to your destination.

Gas bottle

With the exception of personal medical oxygen, gas cylinders are not allowed on board. However, if the cylinder is empty, it can only be carried on board when the end of the cylinder is open. The airport inspector will visually inspect it and give permission for transportation. If the safety of the cylinder is confirmed, it can be placed in checked bags.

Remember that even if the rules allow you to do this, the final decision remains with the TSA officer who checks your baggage directly at the airport. Therefore, if the TSA is suspicious, they may open and search your bag or confiscate some items that are not allowed on board the aircraft.

Therefore, it is not a good idea to fly with items that you are not prepared to lose (expensive camping gear, expensive camping stoves etc.), especially sharp knives and flammable items that are often not allowed to be carried.

Now you know how to fly with camping gear on vacation and fly home. In the end, all the camping gear can fit into a large duffel bag by wrapping the gear you’re worried about in bubble wrap or make a heavy duty trash bag with camping gear.

In case you want to know how to store your camping gear at home, read this article. For women camping essentials read this article.


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