Assemble your amenities
Next, consider what items will keep you comfortable and amused.
Heat and light. If you're planning a campfire, bring dry split wood, kindling (or newspaper), and plenty of matches. Lighting fluid, charcoal briquets, and even artificial logs can help you ensure a quick, steady flame. A good flashlight is essential for finding things in the dark (the bathroom, your shoes); lanterns and candles add atmosphere.
Comfort and entertainment. Camp chairs, folding camp tables, hammocks: If you're car camping and have the space, you can make your campsite luxurious. Books, a radio, playing cards, your journal, art supplies, board games, and musical instruments all add to a cozy domestic camping style. Remember to bring batteries.
What else are you going to do all day? List what you'll need: camera and film, field guides, fishing tackle, binoculars, bikes, kayaks. If you're leaving the campsite during the day, add a daypack or fannypack to your list.
The unexpected. Things break, spill, and start to smell. These items can help you cope. A multi-use pocket knife is an obvious choice. Rope, twine, or bungee cords can secure items to your car or help you construct a bear bag. An axe or saw will help you gather firewood (if it's permitted where you camp); a shovel puts out a fire with ease.
Plastic bags of all sizes are very handy. You can seal trash or wet socks in them, use them to protect clothes from toiletries, and even fashion an emergency raincoat for you or your backpack out of a big black trash bag.