What to Pack If You’re Camping at EAA AirVenture

Packing for a camping experience at EAA AirVenture can be a challenge. Experts shared their bare minimums with FLYING.

A decked-out airfield camping spot at AirVenture is a sign of proper planning and packing. [Photo: Coyle Schwab]

While the folks at EAA do their best to provide campers at AirVenture with the basic amenities, for most people it still feels like “roughing it.” FLYING asked a few seasoned AirVenture campers what ranks the highest on their list to pack for the week and a-half aviation experience. 

Coyle Schwab, who has camped at AirVenture for 32 years, suggested bringing the basic items you’d take to the flightline, as well as clothing that can be layered. The weather in Oshkosh can be variable and unpredictable, even in July, he said. “There’s been heavy weather…hot days, cold days; I don’t think it’s ever snowed but we’ve had just about everything else you could have.” 

“For more information about camping at EAA AirVenture, click here.”

Schwab’s daughter, Lori Schwab, who started camping at AirVenture when she was 10 years old, recommends bringing bug spray—as the mosquitos can be bad at times—and “buckets of sunscreen,” if you’re a “pale person” like she is. While AirVenture has lots of food vendors and different chapters take turns cooking breakfast each morning at Camp Scholler, for fundraising purposes, Lori said she prefers to cook out. “I’m still kind of a hard-core camper, where we cook every meal at the camp,” she said. If you’re like Lori, bring a cookstove and cooking gear too. 

If you’re flying in and weight-constrained, Phillip Johnson, of Ottawa, Canada, recommends asking a friend or fellow chapter member who’s driving to Oshkosh, to haul some extra gear for you. That’s what he typically does for fellow EAA Chapter 245 members. 

Here are a few other AirVenture camping gear suggestions, listed in no particular order. 

  • A bicycle to pedal to showerhouses and the main gates
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Camp chair
  • RV awning or pop-up/screened-in tent for shade
  • Waterproof/wind-resistant tent or RV
  • Camping cot
  • Three-season sleeping bag
  • Raingear
  • T-shirts (lots of them)
  • First-aid kit
  • Proper aircraft tie downs (if flying in). Check the EAA website for details.
  • Charging devices for electronics (there are free recharging stations) and an extra battery pack
  • Tarp for shade and/or moisture barrier
  • Portable camping table
  • Umbrella (for rain and/or shade)
  • Extra socks and towels 
  • A showerbag for toiletries, etc.
Sara is the former copy chief at FLYING. She fell in love with aviation over a decade of working as editor of Lift, the flagship magazine for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She holds a M.S. in Mass Communication and is passionate about authentic storytelling—and making sure that “every I is dotted and every T is crossed.” Follow Sara on Twitter @sarawithrow.

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