No matter how much your kids may complain when they hear about camping, you all know that you’re going to enjoy it the second you get there. Camping gives you the chance to decompress and leave your other worries behind.
Even if camping with kids doesn’t necessarily eliminate all worries and responsibilities, it doesn’t mean you cannot have fun while changing the theme J
For many, camping is a lot about the simple life, so the list of essential items may be concise. Until you learn on your own skin which items you need and which you may skip, you should check our list. At least, it’s a starting point for making your very own list of essentials for the next camping trip.
- The very first thing to do
- The necessities
- The clothes and gear you need
- Pack personal camping comfort gear!
- What do you need for the kitchen?
- The items that you may/may not consider when packing
- The essentials for making camping fun!
- Want a fantastic camping trip with your family? Here are 10 tips to follow!
The very first thing to do
Make a list with your route, all the places you want to see what you think you’re going to need on your next camping trip.
You may think that you’re not going to forget anything, but why take any chances?
Some items are fundamental when camping, so here are things you cannot do without:
- Tent- After all, it’s camping, and it’s useless to go when you don’t have a tent. Look for one that features a plug-in electric port and is spacious enough.
- Sleeping bags and sleeping pads
- Family first aid kit
- Camp chairs
- Camp stove
- Parachute cord- You can use it for a gazillion of things when camping.
The clothes and gear you need
The following items aren’t fundamental, so feel free to decide for yourself which one to get:
- A bag/backpack/hard-sided suitcase for packing your clothes
- Layering is essential when camping. Get the wool or synthetic clothes for keeping your family warm, but not sweaty.
- Warm fleece for lounging
- Wool socks- get as many as you can as you never know when your feet get wet
- Raingear- every member of your family should have a raingear. The fastest way to catch a cold is when you’re wearing wet clothes for some time.
- Warm gaiter, hat, and liner gloves for various activities
- Reliable footwear that provides traction grip on slippery surfaces and stays dry at all times, without causing blisters or strain on your feet. Break in the camping boots/shoes before the camping trip.
- A dry bag for storing the dirty laundry or wet gear
- Several outfits for your kids. Yes, they will get dirty, as that happens while camping!
- Gear for sun protection.
Pack personal camping comfort gear!
Everyone in your family (apart from babies) should have:
- A pack for the short hikes. Lumbar packs and fanny packs are quite comfortable.
- Headlamp for the night
- Does your kid have a favorite toy? Don’t leave it at home- you don’t have a place to shop in the middle of nowhere!
- Weather band radio, especially if they’re solar or crank/manual powered
- Compass and maps- Now it’s the perfect time to teach your kids how to follow North while in the woods
- Water bottles and energy bars
- Sun protective garments, swim gear, and sunblocks for the summer camping trips. You also need sun protection in the winter!
What do you need for the kitchen?
Should your camping trip last for a couple of days, some cooking may be necessary. Here’s what you need to pack:
- Camp stove
- Enough fuel for the stove
- Storage bags and aluminum foil
- Multi-tool and can opener
- Percolator or French press for coffee. Don’t forget to pack the ground coffee and beans, as well.
- Some seasonings to your liking in ziplock bags
- One set of utensils for every member of your family
- A collection of cooking tools, sharp knives included
- Matches and lighters. Store them in a ziplock bag to have them dry at all times.
- Bowls, plates, cups for everyone
- Frying pan or pot. You should go to various sizes if there’s enough storage space.
- Washcloths and sponges. Towels are also on the list, with paper towels as a standard option when camping.
- Duct tape- for everything
- Oven mitts (you can also use the towels, though)
- Trash bags and some grocery bags
- An eco-friendly soap
The items that you may/may not consider when packing
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s entirely up to how long is the list of essentials. Here are some suggestions to check from our part:
- Parachute hammock for taking a nap. They’re insanely comfortable, and you get sleepy only when thinking of it.
- Screen tent/sun awning- it’s entirely up to you
- Tablecloth- Do you like having comfort from at home while camping or not? If having dinner on a beautiful tablecloth is essential to you, there’s no reason for which you shouldn’t pack it.
- Solar charging stations- if you’re bringing solar-powered devices. And you should consider using solar-powered gadgets too!
- Insect repellent- It’s camping, so a lot of insects are going to be around. Don’t skip the insect repellent, especially if someone in your family is allergy-prone!
- Is your dog camping too? Get everything he needs to feel comfy when camping away from home!
- Glow sticks- They’re efficient, and kids really go for them!
- Firewood- You should buy it from a local area so that you don’t spread any diseases or insects.
- Solar shower- Once again, some like camping, but also love the comfort of a hot shower at any time.
- Water purifier- No matter how much water you have with you, you should always pack a water purifier!
- Batteries, batteries, more batteries- Do we need to say why?
The essentials for making camping fun!
Camping is all about exploring nature, but kids need a lot of variety even when outdoor. Here are some suggestions:
- Fishing gear- Why not teach your kid how to fish?
- Field guides and binoculars- It’s great to see the details that are far away!
- Camp games- everything that your kid likes and can be played when camping
- Activity books- coloring books or something that they like
- Scavenger hunts
- Spike ball
- Notebooks – we forget pretty fast, so encourage your kids to write down all the new and unusual experiences they live when camping.
- Books- Make reading more fun by using some headlamps while camping.
- Maybe a tablet so you won’t miss your favorite game.
Want a fantastic camping trip with your family? Here are 10 tips to follow!
If you’re a new parent and think that your children are too young to take them camping, you should think twice. It’s actually never too early (or too late!) To start camping with your kids. From babies to teens, children of all ages find many things to like when camping. You need to take the leap of faith, plan to the most minute detail, and follow our tips!
1. Start with practicing camping at home
If you have never been camping with your children, help them get the idea by pitching a tent in the backyard. Let them sleep in to get the picture about sleeping outdoors in a tent. Spend a half-day at a park or lakeshore and observe if your kids are into it or not.
2. Find the best campsite for your family
We recommend choosing a campground with amenities that match your family’s needs and preferences. You can find campgrounds with streams, rivers, swimming areas, playgrounds, picnic tables, hot showers, and flushing toilets. Start small and don’t go too far from home. Opt for a developed campground with amenities for increased comfort. If any of your family friends have been camping before, ask them for suggestions.
3. Pack the food your kids like
Let your children select the food you will pack for camping. When you go camping for the first time, you shouldn’t try out a new meal. Pack ready-to-go snacks so that it’s easy for you to feed your kids until the campground. The chances are that they will get bored on the road and get hungry.
4. Involve your kids
The more you involve your children in the planning, packing, organizing of the trip, the higher the chances for them to enjoy camping. Check out the bags they packed to ensure that you have all you need at the campsite. Tell your children to organize their things into duffel bags and remind them always to return the items to the duffel bag. Have duffel bags in various colors for effortless use if you have several kids.
We know that you probably cook or pitch your tent faster as adults, but why not involve your children? Now it’s the perfect time to teach them how to pitch a tent, cook a camp meal, or level tent side. Needless to say, you should match the tasks to your kids’ age and skills. Ask your young children to fill up water bottles, pump up the sleeping pads, or roll out the sleeping bags. The older kids can wash the dishes, cook dinner, etc.
5. Pack a Favorite Toy
If you have young kids, they will probably want to take their favorite toys on the great adventure. However, be firm and don’t leave the house with all the toys. Have your kids choose just one toy to play with at the campsite. Young children will probably spend time digging in the sand or exploring and forget about their toys anyway. Should they pick one toy, encourage them to select something that works with the environment: a ball, a kite, a magnifying glass, binoculars, a flying disc, etc.
6. Do you have teens?
Even if it’s not always possible, we recommend you pack two small tents to give your teens the privacy they need. You can also buy a large tent with a separate screened room. Teenagers love their privacy and space, so you can try giving them the same comfort they have at home in a particular area. Also, you can let them bring a friend on your camping trip. They like hanging out with their peers rather than you!
Don’t discourage your teenagers if they want to pack skin, hair, other cosmetic products they cannot “live without.” Instead of nagging them, relax and let them enjoy the camping on their terms. If they cannot leave their smartphones at home, you should at least set some boundaries about the hours to spend on electronic devices.
7. Stay safe
One of the many reasons parents avoid camping with children is the high number of risks they have to manage. However, it can all be easy if you set ground rules from the moment you get to the campground. Tell them what to do in case they get lost. Decide if they can go beyond the parking lot or close to the water. Can they go to the bathroom on their own, or do they need you? It’s a good idea to give them whistles and teach them to blow if they get lost.
Make sure that every family member has a flashlight/headlamp at night. Some features at the campground can pose a risk for children’s safety (a steep bluff, fast-moving streams, a nearby road), so make your kids aware of it.
8. Put on a big smile
It doesn’t make sense to go camping with your kids if you are not on board with it in the first place. Be prepared for the unexpected—something unplanned can always happen, but you should at least reduce the damage to a minimum. Lead by example and have a can-do attitude so that kids know who to follow.
9. Be flexible
Regardless of how well you plan your camping trip, things may not always go as planned. Try to get the best out of it and make it a pleasant experience for your children. Take a deep breath and be patient when you go camping. Now it’s a good time to slow down and forget strict rules. It doesn’t mean that you forget about safety rules, though. When you go camping, you should forget about the tight schedules and adapt your decisions to their preferences. Don’t force everyone into going on a hike if nobody likes the idea.
10. Create a comfy sleep environment
If you have toddlers or young children, they will probably want to use their blanket, pillow, or stuffed animals at night. It’s easy to give them the things that matter to them. If you really like a soft mattress when sleeping, consider using a thick, high-end camp pad. We recommend you use a portable crib or a play yard for babies, as long as your tent is spacious enough. The more you camp, the more your children will discover what they need/don’t need for best comfort when away from home.
Even if we advise you to be flexible about your camping schedule, we don’t recommend you forget about your bedtime routine (if you have one). Children, especially young kids, love routine. So do the same things you do at home: brush teeth, change into pajamas, unwind and read some books. If you have young babies, you want to change their bedtime routine as little as possible.