Your tent, sleeping bag and foam pad are the essential items of your sleeping gear. If you are at a drive-in campground you will want a tent that is roomy, but also one that can be quickly set up even on hard ground, where you may not be able to drive a tent peg. You will also need a plastic groundcloth to go underneath the tent. Mosquito netting is a must in summer, and make sure you bring a hefty sleep pad for a comfortable night's rest. The sleep pad also provides much needed insulation between yourself and the ground. This could be the difference between a warm rest and a cold uncomfortable night. The sleeping bag should be geared toward both season and climate. A mummy-style sleeping bag adds extra warmth, while a bug-tight tent will let you unroll the top half of your bag on a warm night and enjoy the cool mountain air. And don't forget the pillows.
First thing here is your camp stove. Gas is a preferred choice because of its ability to quickly boil a pot of water for coffee or oatmeal, but a few campers seem to do well just using charcoal briquettes. The key to pleasant campground cooking is the ability to prepare enjoyable meals without lengthy preparation. Don't forget to bring all pots, cups, plates, silverware, knifes, spatulas, pans, dish soap and scrub pads. A night lantern is a wonderful addition to a kitchen, as is an ice chest or cooler. Plan you meals so that you avoid having a lot of perishable food on hand.
Every camping activity has its own set of equipment requirements, but there are some general items that should always be present, starting with the first aid kit. Don't leave home without it. Maps, compass, pocket knife, flashlight, day pack, trail guide, canteen, water purifier, waterproof matches, insect repellent, sun screen and rain gear are also things you will want to have. And finally the most important item of all, the lawn chair. If you are going to the state park for the weekend you don't want to come home with sore backs from sitting around a picnic table. And another tidbit of commonsense is to plan some activities for the weekend, so you can save your time around the campsite for the evenings, when a campfire might be just the right activity.