An outdoorsy activity like camping with your family offers the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

However, even such a fun getaway can get ruined due to poor preparation.

If you plan to take kids on a camping trip, you must double the planning. Essentially, you need to buy online and then pack the right gear and supplies to make the experience enjoyable for everyone.

Whether it’s your first camping trip or not, this article is your ultimate guide to happy camping. Let’s discuss the vital things to pack when you take kids camping.

What to Take Camping With Kids
What to Take Camping With Kids

The Full Family Camping Checklist

How to Pack for a Family Camping With Your Kids

Kids Checklist: Tips for Camping With Family

Family Camping Essentials: Final Words

The Full Family Camping Checklist

Camping with kids can be an unforgettable experience for the whole family. The items on this list will ensure you have successful and enjoyable camping trips.

We’ve divided this camping with kids checklist into segments for clarity.

Basic Camping List

Whatever you do, the camping gear on this list is non-negotiable. So don’t leave home without packing the following:

Camping Tent

A tent is the first and most obvious item for your camping trip, especially when tent camping. However, choose one big enough to accommodate your family comfortably, with enough room to move around and store your gear. Make sure to practice setting up the tent before camping to avoid surprises.

Sleeping Bags and Pillows

Another must-have is sleeping bags and pillows for everyone in the family. Pick sleeping bags appropriate for the weather conditions you will be camping in. Remember that temperatures can drop at night, so opt for a sleeping bag rated for colder temperatures than you anticipate.

Camping Chairs

This camping essential allows you to relax and enjoy the outdoors. In this light, choose chairs that are lightweight and easy to pack. It’s even better if it has cup holders and built-in coolers for convenience.

Cooler and Ice Packs

Of course, you can’t take a cooling unit on a camping trip. But what you can do is throw in a cooler to keep food and drinks cold during your camping trip. This only works if you pack plenty of ice packs to keep your cooler cold longer. We recommend you take a big cooler with a tight-fitting lid to store all your food and drinks.

Cookware and Utensils

When camping with kids, having the right cookware and utensils is vital. Bring pots and pans, a camping stove or grill, and utensils such as forks, knives, and spoons. Remember to pack enough plates, bowls, and cups for everyone in the family.

First Aid Kit

Accidents can happen when camping, so getting a first aid kit is crucial. Throw in some bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, and other necessary medical supplies. And ensure to bring any prescription medications that your family may need.

Lanterns and Flashlights

Your outdoor camping is incomplete without some lanterns and flashlights to light up your campsite at night. Lanterns are great for lighting up a larger area, while flashlights are more portable and can be used to navigate in the dark. So, grab as many as necessary– kids don’t love staying in the dark!

Insect Repellent and Sunscreen

You must also protect your family from insects and sunburn by packing insect repellent and sunscreen. Choose insect repellent that is safe for children and effective against mosquitoes, ticks, and other pests. Apply sunscreen regularly to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Appropriate Clothing

Endeavor to pack clothing suitable for the climate you’ll be camping in. Bring warm clothes for cool nights and rain gear in case of inclement weather. In fact, ensure that you have enough alternative clothing for younger and older kids. You sure don’t want the children to end up wearing wet clothes in the worst-case scenario.


A multi-tool is a versatile tool for various purposes, such as cutting rope, opening cans, and fixing gear.

Picnic Table

Foldable picnic tables are handy for family trips. You can easily pop them up wherever you are and fold them back when unused.

Other Basic Camping Supplies

  • Sleeping pads
  • Air mattress
  • Portable crib for kids
  • Extra blankets
  • Spare batteries
  • Baby wipes

Camp Kitchen

Camp Stove

A camping stove is essential for any camping trip. It allows you to cook meals and boil water quickly, even though you’re outdoors. You may invest in camping stoves like portable gas, wood-burning, and multi-fuel stoves. Depending on your preference, you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

Cooking bacon on a propane stove


When it comes to cookware, you’ll need pots, pans, and utensils that are durable and easy to clean. Consider packing nesting cookware, including a frying pan, a pot with a lid, and utensils. You can also bring a versatile cast-iron skillet to cook meals over an open fire.

Cooking Utensils

Ensure you have a set of cooking utensils, like a spatula, tongs, and a ladle, for cooking and serving meals. Don’t forget a can opener, a sharp knife, and a cutting board.

Plates, Bowls, and Cups

Bring durable plates, bowls, and cups that can withstand the rigors of camping. So, choose items that are lightweight and easy to clean.

Campfire Tools

Campfire adds more fun to your trip. But you’ll need campfire tools like fire starters, matches, and fire poker to build a campfire. You can also bring a Dutch oven, which is great for cooking stews, chili, and other one-pot meals over the campfire.

Coffee Maker

If you’re a coffee lover, consider bringing a coffee maker, such as a French press or a pour-over coffee maker. This will allow you to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee in the morning, even in the great outdoors.

Cleaning Supplies

Don’t forget to pack some cleaning supplies, such as dish soap, a sponge, and a towel, to clean your cookware and utensils after use.

Trash Bags

You’ll need trash bags for your garbage and to clean the campsite. Consider bringing along biodegradable trash bags to reduce your impact on the environment.

Games to Pack for Camping Fun

In addition to other camping supplies, you need some games to keep the trip thrilling, especially for your kids. The following games will help you achieve that.


A Frisbee is a classic game that is fun for all ages. It’s lightweight, easy to pack, and perfect for playing on the campsite or at the beach.

Board Games

Board games are a great way to pass the time when the weather isn’t cooperating or in the evenings after dinner. Consider packing classics like Monopoly, Scrabble, or Checkers.

Playing Cards

A deck of playing cards is essential for any camping trip. With endless games, from Go Fish to Poker, it’s a great way to bond with your family and pass the time.


Cornhole is a fun and competitive game perfect for the campsite. It’s easy to set up and can be played by all ages.

Soccer Ball or Football

A soccer ball or football is a great way to exercise and have fun with the family. It’s also a great way to meet other campers and make new friends.

Bocce Ball

This classic game is easy to play and doesn’t require a lot of space. It’s perfect for playing on the campsite or at the beach.

Hiking Guidebooks

Hiking is a great activity to do as a family while camping. Bring along guidebooks to find the best trails in the area and learn about the local flora and fauna.

Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is a great way to explore the campsite and surrounding area. Create a list of items to find, like pine cones, rocks, or leaves, and see who can find them all first.

Kids playing treasure hunt

Bubble Wand

Bubble wands are a fun and simple way to entertain kids. They’re also perfect for blowing bubbles in the early morning dew.

Glow-in-the-Dark Toys

Glow-in-the-dark toys are ideal for night-time fun. So, pack glow sticks or a frisbee that glows in the dark.

Food Items for Camping Trip

One of the most important things to consider when planning a camping trip is what food to bring. Proper nutrition is crucial for maintaining energy and staying healthy during outdoor activities. Here are some essential food items for any camping trip:

Non-perishable Food Items

Non-perishable food items are a must for any camping trip, as they won’t spoil and can be stored easily. These include canned food, dried fruit, nuts, and trail mix. Instant oatmeal and cereal are also good options for breakfast.

Protein Sources

Protein is essential for maintaining energy and muscle function. Beef jerky, canned tuna, and canned chicken are good protein sources that won’t spoil quickly. Peanut butter and hummus are other good choices and can be paired with crackers or bread.

Fruits and Vegetable

Fresh fruits and vegetables may not last long, but many options are easy to pack and won’t spoil quickly.

Apples, oranges, and bananas are good choices for fruits. Carrots, celery, and bell peppers are good options for vegetables. Dried fruits and cups are also great for quick and easy snacks.

Grains and Carbohydrates

Grains and carbohydrates provide energy during outdoor activities like camping. Crackers, bread, and bagels are good options for sandwiches or snacks. Granola bars, rice cakes, and energy bars are simple snack choices for kids.


Staying hydrated during a camping trip is vital, so pack plenty of beverages. Water should be the main priority, but it’s also good to pack some sports drinks for electrolyte replenishment. Love coffee? Here’s your chance to pack coffee and tea for a morning pick-me-up.

Cooking Essentials

If you plan to cook during your camping trip, don’t forget to pack oil, salt, and other seasonings for flavoring your meals.

How to Pack for a Family Camping With Your Kids

Many families are eager to pack the car and head out for a weekend camping trip. However, with young children in tow, the packing process can quickly become overwhelming.

The first step in preparing for a family camping trip is researching the campsite and weather conditions. Knowing what to expect regarding temperature, terrain, and available amenities helps streamline the packing process.

Additionally, checking for hazards like bears or poisonous plants ensures a safe and enjoyable trip.

When it comes to packing for a family camping trip, it’s imperative to consider the needs of each family member. Appropriate clothing is necessary, but parents should pack extra layers and rain gear, as weather conditions can be unpredictable. Children should have comfortable shoes for hiking and playing, extra socks, and underwear.

Mother and daughter packing clothes

You also need to get the food list right. Parents should plan by creating a menu and packing non-perishable food items that would cook over a campfire or portable stove.

Bringing along snacks like trail mix or granola bars may also keep hunger at bay between meals. Pack enough water for each family member and a water filtration system or purification tablets in case of emergency.

Entertainment is another critical consideration, especially when camping with young children. Parents should invest heavily in games, books, and toys to occupy little ones during downtime. Outdoor activities like hiking or fishing can also be great family bonding and exploration opportunities.

Furthermore, trash bags can separate dirty laundry and garbage, while camp chairs can be easily packed and set up at the campsite. Parents should also consider packing a backpack for each family member containing essential items like sunscreen and a map or compass.

Finally, remember that proper packing doesn’t end after the trip. Disposing of the trash correctly and leaving the campsite better can help preserve the area’s natural beauty for future generations.

Don’t forget that camping is all about making memories. So, capture those memories with a camera or journal to make the trip more enjoyable and memorable!

Kids Checklist: Tips for Camping With Family

Going camping with your children requires adequate planning and attention to detail. Thus, keep these camping tips in mind if you have kids around.

Choose the Right Campsite

When camping with kids, you have to opt for the right campsite. Look for a family-friendly campsite with playgrounds, hiking trails, and swimming areas. Ensure the campsite is not too far from the nearest town, in case you need to restock on supplies or medical help.

Prepare Your Kids

Before heading out on your camping trip, preparing your kids is important. Talk to them about what to expect and teach them basic camping skills, from pitching a tent to building a fire safely.

You can also practice camping at home by setting up a tent in the backyard and spending the night outdoors.

Excited little kids camping in backyard

Pack Plenty of Snacks and Water

Kids get hungry and thirsty quickly, especially when running around and playing outside. Pack plenty of snacks and water to fuel and hydrate your kids throughout the day.

Bring healthy snacks such as fruit, granola bars, and trail mix. And try to avoid sugary drinks and junk food.

Bring Activities and Games

Camping can be a great opportunity to unplug and spend time in nature, but it’s important to bring activities and games to keep your kids entertained.

Dress for the Weather

Weather can be unpredictable, especially when you’re camping. That’s why you must dress your kids in layers and bring appropriate clothing for the weather. Bring rain jackets and boots if rain is in the forecast, and pack warm clothing if it will be chilly at night.

Have a First Aid Kit

Most kids are prone to accidents. Hence, pack a well-stocked first aid kit with band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.

Set a Routine

Kids thrive on routines, even when they’re camping. Set time for camp meals, activities, and bedtime routines to help your kids feel more comfortable and relaxed.

Stick to a regular sleep schedule, and bring familiar items such as stuffed animals or blankets to help your kids feel more at home.

Family Camping Essentials: Final Words

Packing for a family camping trip with kids may seem daunting, but it’s a fun and rewarding experience for the whole family. By packing the right gear, clothing, and food, you can ensure that your camping trip succeeds and that your kids have a great time outdoors.

Remember to involve your kids in planning and ensure they have the appropriate gear and clothing for the trip.

With some preparation and careful packing, you’ll be ready to hit the trail and create memories that will last a lifetime. Go ahead and get packing for your next camping trip. The camping packing list above will help you get ready!

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