It’s winter time now, however I am sure you are already planning your family camping trip for next year. You don’t have to be an outdoors expert to pack for a successful trip. There are lots of ways to get prepared, and make sure that you take along the right stuff. Make sure to check out this camping with kids checklist, which contains must haves to help you have the best camping trip.
Camping With Kids Checklist – What To Pack
I took my kids on our first camping trip ever earlier this year, and I wasn’t able to find a comprehensive checklist that listed everything that I would need, so I decided to put one together to make it easier for families going on their first camping trip.
Camping With Kids Checklist – The Basics
- Tent – If you plan to tent camp, you want to make sure that you find the best tent to fit your family. Don’t forget to practice setting it up before going on your family camping trip.
- First Aid Kit – Don’t leave home without a first aid kit and take it with you on any hikes or excursions while you’re camping. Cuts and burns can happen, so make a first aid kit one of your top priorities when packing.
- Rope – A solid piece of rope can go a long way so make sure you take some with you. You can hang it to dry wet clothes and even bail someone out of the water with it should the need arise.
- Pocket Knife – A pocket knife, or a Swiss Army Knife is a camping essential and is so easy to pack. You will have not only a knife, but small scissors, a corkscrew, and of course a knife.
- Tarp – Whether you need to place it under your tent to keep dry or as a shield from inclement weather, a tarp is a must have. An interlocking floor mat is also a great option.
- Box of Matches – Although a lighter does the job, you should always have a full box of matches as a backup in case the lighter doesn’t work.
- Maps – Even though our smartphones have GPS, but there is nothing wrong with having an old-fashioned paper map available as well just in case. There may not always be a signal in the camping area you end up in.
- Sleeping Bags – This may seem like a no brainer, but they can be an oversight. Make sure to pack sleeping bags as well as extra blankets.
- Air Mattress – In addition to sleeping bags and extra blankets, it’s nice to have an air mattress or sleeping pad for extra comfort.
- Headlamp or Lantern – You don’t want to be roaming around in the dark to go to the bathroom, so take some light!
- Insect spray – There will be bugs, so make sure you are prepared by packing bug and insect repellant, either in a spray form and/or citronella candles.
- Chairs – You can really rough it and sit on the ground or a log, but foldable camping chairs work wonders for comfort.
- Solar-heated Shower Bag – Not all campgrounds have bathrooms, and at some point, you’ll need to shower and this solar heated shower bag will come in very handy.
- Glow in the Dark Accessories – Glow in the dark Rope and Glow in the dark Tent Peg are both important when setting up your tent so that no one trips over the tent at night when stepping out to use the bathroom.
- Solar Powered Charger – You will need to charge your phone, and whatever other electronics you pack, so make sure to pack a Solar Powered Charger.
- Bluetooth Speakers – What’s a camping trip without some fun and music. A waterproof portable Bluetooth speaker will do the trick and keep the camping fun going.
- Other Camping Basics
Camping With Kids Checklist – Personal Care Items
- Clothes – When packing clothes for camping, make sure not to pack anything that you don’t want to get dirty or stained. Expect your kids, just like mine to spend a lot of time playing in the dirt, grass, outdoors and their clothes will get very dirty. Make sure you pack enough clothes.
- Pajamas – After playing all day, the kids will need clean pajamas to change into after their bath.
- Shoes – Make sure to pack a variety of shoes for your camping trip, most importantly hiking shoes, a pair of sandals and water shoes.
- Outerwear – Even though it may be summer, it can get cold because most camping spots are located by lakes or at a higher elevation, so you’ll need to pack a jacket or sweater, hat and gloves.
- Toilet Paper – Campground bathrooms do not generally come stocked with toilet paper. Make sure to take your own.
- Toiletries – Just like with any trip, pack all of your toiletries but in smaller bottles so that they can stow easily and make sure to pack enough for everyone.
- Sunscreen – It doesn’t matter if it’s bright and sunny or not, a good sunscreen is necessary to apply everyday while in the outdoors.
- Other Camping Personal Care Items
Camping With Kids Checklist – Camp Kitchen
- Camping stove – No matter what time of year you decide to go camping, always take a camping stove and be prepared to make a few meals. We loved using the Coleman Classic Propane Stove. Make sure to buy enough propane so you don’t run out. We ran out of propane on our last day mid making breakfast and it was no fun’ hungry kids = a disaster.
- Eating Utensils – Pack up a set of plates, forks, spoons, knives, and cups so you are all set for meal time like this Coleman 24 Piece Enamel Set. It is easy to wash and you don’t have to worry about it breaking.
- Cooking Utensils – A frying pan, cast iron skillet, pot and this Camping Cookware Kitchen Utensil Organizer are must haves if you want to enjoy a good meal. Don’t forget the marshmallow roasting sticks and stove coffee pot for your morning sanity.
- Sealed containers – Be sure to pack up any leftover food inside sealed containers and put them away so the critters and bear don’t get to them. Rubbermaid makes really good Tupperware that I use at home too.
- Cooler – Remember that there are no refrigerators when camping, so a cooler with ice is an absolute must have to keep all your food fresh.
- Cleaning supplies – It’s important to have biodegradable soap, sponges, and dish rags along with a few basins for washing and rinsing dishes.
- Other Camp Kitchen Must Haves
- Reusable Water Bottles
- Paper Towel
- Trash Bags
- Portable high chair or booster seat
- Table cover
Camping With Kids Checklist – Food
- Food – Meal prepping is extremely important and will help you spend less time cooking meals while camping with kids. Buy meat/fish/chicken and veggies and make grill packs. You can also cook things like pasta and spaghetti sauce, rice before hand and freeze so it’s easy to warm up.
- Snacks – Pack lots and lots of snacks. Not only for the road, but also to eat in between meals when camping. A few great ideas are chips, crackers, nuts, fruit – carrots, grapes, yogurt, popcorn, granola bars, trail mix, jerky, boiled egg, string cheese, tuna, sardines, gold fish crackers, bread, fruit pouches, dried fruit, gummy bears.
- Spreads – Nutella is great because it goes with everything. Also, not only is peanut or almond butter a great source of protein, but a jar has a really long shelf life.
- S’Mores – What’s a camping trip without s’mores? This was the highlight of our trip, so make sure to pack marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.
- Water – If you are not camping near a water source, you will want to have an ample supply of water jugs and some reusable water bottles too.
- Other Camping Food
- Formula for babies
- Powdered milk
- Powdered hot chocolate
- Check out this list of great food items to make on your next camping trip
Camping With Kids Checklist – Fun For Kids
- Kids Toys – Always make sure to pack a few toys for the kids to keep them entertained during down time while on your camping trip. This Outdoor Exploration Set has lots of kid sized camping gear to keep your kids busy. The Kids Adventure Set is packed with lots of kid sized camping gear and the is for kids to look under water which is great when camping by a lake.
- Books – Make sure you pack books for your kids to read. Bedtime stories are even more interesting when camping. This list of camping books are perfect for camping with kids.
- Writing Materials – During down time, or while waiting for dinner to be ready, your kids will love practicing their writing skills; so make sure to stock up on writing materials.
- Outdoor Toys – You’ll also need to pack outdoor toys that the whole family can enjoy playing together.
- Other Camping Fun For Kids
- Squirt Guns
- Balls (soccer, football, hand toss)
- Glow sticks
- Play tent
- Scavenger hunt list
- Card games
- Kids Camera
- Kids fishing gear
- Pretend play camp set
Your kids will love camping just as mine did, but in order to make the trio memorable, make sure you have everything you need from my Camping With Kids Checklist – What To Pack.
You can read more about our camping trips below:
Tips & Tricks For Booking Your Next Budget Trip
- Activities / Excursions
- Rental Cars
- Find good deals on Cruise Direct
- Travel Insurance
- Purchase travel insurance through Allianz