Packing to go camping can take some serious planning. I always start my list with the must have items to pack for family camping. Next, add in the extras where it is needed. We really focus on ditching the modern conveniences and coming together closer as a family to spark curious adventure!
It has certainly taken us several years to really narrow down the list of what is or isn’t necessary to bring along when camping with children.
It doesn’t help that we have camped with all ages either and if you’ve ever been a parent you know certain ages require…A LOT.
We are big advocates for not being completely surrounded by stuff when camping. Otherwise, letting nature guide us and entertain us.
So we bring along some items to help boost that mission and then relax and go with the flow the rest of our time together.
Camping is our favorite…hands down!!
9 Must Have Items To Pack For Family Camping
Disposable tin pans of all sizes!
These are the perfect thing to have on hand for easy warming. Firstly, we cook as much as we possibly can pre-trip. We focus on a lot of one pan dishes like casseroles or stir fry style dinners.
Things like pre-cooked breakfast meats, homemade hash, potatoes, corn on the cob or even pasta, red sauce and meatballs can easily be poured into a tin pan covered and simmered over the fire without much more attention than a stir now and then.
Camping back packs for kids!!
Get these loaded up with all the adventuring necessities. A flashlight, binoculars, an outdoor nature identification book, scavenger hunt cards, explorers vest, an insulated water cup and walking stick.
A versatile first aid kit
Yes- important to have your basic one that can be purchased easily, anywhere. However, camping with a family sometimes calls for some needed extras on hand.
Make sure to pack things like Neosporin spray, tweezers for splinters, itch relief cream for bug bites or aloe for those days the littles get pink cheeks!
Games with minimal pieces
Board games are wonderful to pass time. You want to look for games that have little pieces or are ultimately flat. For instance, camping BINGO!
A plastic tote
This simple item is multi use.. believe it or not. It can be used to store food in and sealed up to put away in the car to stop from unwanted wild visitors coming to your campsite at night. During the day? Fill it up and let the kids cool off from the heat AND use it as a quick tub for washing off the sunscreen, bug spray and dirt from all the play!
It can get hot while camping. As a result, sometimes there is little to no relief. Having little ones with you can make it a challenge to keep everyone properly hydrated. We pack in foods that assist us with that as they are water rich and naturally hydrating foods. Examples are: watermelon, cucumbers, peppers, oranges and celery. All of these are easy to store and don’t go bad quickly in a cooler if bagged correctly as some other foods do.
Easy family engaging items
Some examples of these would be a Frisbee, ball and glove or sidewalk chalk. They do not take up much space and are sometimes long forgotten items. These items can engage all ages. Additionally, encourage some time away from the campsite itself.
Glow sticks, head lamps, firefly catching nets and s’mores kits are a must! It gives the entire family something to look forward to as the sun sets. Make a challenge of who can catch more fireflies or a nighttime critter scavenger hunt is easier to maneuver equipped with head lamps!
Need I say more about the s’mores part? Pro tip: ditch the graham crackers and have a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies on hand to sandwich that mellow in!
Camping literature for children
Disconnecting from technology and your daily conveniences can be difficult sometimes. Altogether, when you use it as an opportunity to reconnect with some of the more simple pleasures it really makes it all worth it. We try to find 1-3 new pieces of nature, camping or exploration literature to add to our collection each year and take a few on each trip.
Here are some of our favorites:
You can pack in whatever you decide but the best thing to pack up to head out with is the memories and adventure made as a family!
I hope some of these ideas will leave you one happy camper!
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Love, light and little grace…
Olivia Whalen is mama to three young girls who is devoted to creative learning, exploration and free range imagination. Olivia enjoys thinking outside of the box when it comes to preparing homemade baby food or meals for her family. She most enjoys allowing the little minds in her life to flourish and with that you will see her write about creative kid crafts, recipes that fit a family budget and keep everyone asking for more, tips and tricks for a tiny babe, and beginner homesteader fun! Some of her hobbies include gardening, hiking, reading, cooking or just basking in motherhood.