Family Camping Checklist: A List of Camping Essentials

Camping with family is different than camping with friends...
(Pixabay photo)

Camping with your friends and with your family are two completely different things. While with your buddies you could wing most of the things and it wasn’t the end of the world if you forgot something at home, spending time in nature and sleeping underneath the stars with your spouse and kids requires a lot more preparation. Which items are essential? Which ones you can live without? When you think you have it all figured out, do a test run in your backyard and see whether you need to add some things to your checklist. Spending a night in a tent behind your house can be a great way for your little ones to get a sense of what real camping can be like and help you better prepare for your trip. If you are not sure whether you will kids will like this type of vacation and will you go camping ever again, instead of buying expensive gear try borrowing it from your friends. This way, even if you decide that camping should become a family tradition, you will know whether the type of equipment you used was the best choice for your loved ones. Keep in mind that every family is different, and what others may find essential, you won’t. However, there are several camping items that should definitely find their place on your camping checklist.

Clothing and useful equipment

Regardless of where or when you will go camping, there are some things that need to find their place in your bags. When packing clothing make sure you bring plenty of extras for the kids since little ones have the power to get wet or dirty in a blink of an eye. If your kids still use diapers, don’t forget to pack them because there aren’t many stores around campsites. On the other hand, baby wipes always come in handy, even if your children are not babies anymore. Also, make sure you pack camp chairs, a first aid kit, toiletries for each member of the family, toilet paper, as well as flashlights and insect repellant.

Sleeping equipment

Don’t even think about going camping if these items are not packed. The first and most important thing you need to bring is a tent. If you want to invest in a quality one, useful reviews on resourceful camping sites will help you find camping tents ideal for your family. You will also surely need a ground cover, sleeping bags (regular sheets and blankets will also do if you don’t want to buy sleeping bags), sleeping pads or air mattresses, pillows and a portable crib if you have younger kids. If your little ones have a favorite toy they cannot sleep with, don’t forget to pack it or you will find yourself in a tricky situation.


Camping is not the time to experiment with French cuisine and try out complicated meals. Instead, keep it simple and you will make trip planning easy. Unless you want to cook every meal over a campfire bring a propane camp stove so you will be able to quickly make lunch for you and your family. Also make sure you pack reusable plastic plates, cups and utensils, as well as reusable water bottles for everyone. This way you will do yourself a favor (picking up broken dishes from the ground is not a walk in the park) and act in an eco-friendly way as well. Cooler with ice will keep your drinks cold and groceries fresh, so make sure you put it on your list. Aside from food items for meals, make sure you pack plenty of snacks (s’mores are a must!), as well as water, other beverages and baby food if needed.  Paper towels and trash bags are also something you will use on a daily basis.

Most children find being outside in nature very exciting and love coming up with new games and keeping themselves entertained. However, just to be on the safe side, pack their coloring books, camping bingo, a deck of cards or books they love to read. Now that you are all packed up, prepare yourself for an unforgettable outdoor vacation! welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on