If you are a seasoned pro at camping with your kids or it’s your first time camping with family, this is the perfect camping with kids checklist to get you ready for your next camping trip!
We’ve camped all of our lives, ever since I was a kid I had always been out camping with my family and with my outdoorsy friends when I was a little girl. I absolutely love it and my kids love camping too!
We try to go out as much as we can but it seems every time we go I am always creating a list, so instead this time I’ve created this easy camping checklist printable for anyone (including myself for every time we go).
We do all different kinds of camping from tent camping, trailer / caravanning / RVing camping, to renting cabins or unique rustic places. So from this list, pick and choose what will work best for your type of camping you plan on doing with your kids.
This family camping gear list is the basics of what to bring camping and outlines the necessities of what we bring. All your camping essentials making it easy for you to pack for camping.
What You'll Find in This Post
- Camping Sleeping Gear
- Camp Kitchen Gear
- Campsite Gear & Camping Equipment
- Clothing Camping Items
- Health & Hygiene Camping Items
- Camping Food Essentials
- Fun Items for Camping with Kids
- How to Pack for Family Camping
- Tips for Camping with Kids
- Camping with Kids Printable Checklist
Camping Sleeping Gear
A camping checklist wouldn’t be complete without the proper sleeping gear for camping. This is one area that if you are going to spend more money on, this is the equipment that should last you a very long time and foundational camping gear. These camping items are what keeps you dry, warm and lets you sleep.
Tent Camping Checklist
- Camping Tent – Depending on the size of your family and the type of camping you are wanting this could vary. We have this Coleman 8-person tent (just in an older model) and absolutely love it. Easy to set up and we like to be able to stand up in the tent for changing and when it’s raining we like to play cards and hang out inside the tent.
- Air Mattress – We have upgraded to this Coleman air mattress and we love it. We also use this at home for any extra company sleeping at our house.
- Air Pump – Sometimes air mattresses come with an electric one, from a lesson I learn sleeping on rocks. Have one that is a manual pump!
- Sleeping Pads – We have these Therm-a-Rest sleeping pads and they are an easy way for setting up for sleeping. They self inflate with minimal breaths to firm them up so you don’t feel any rocks or tree roots below us. We use these for when we are packing light and when we go on independent camping trips.
- Sleeping Bags – A sleeping bag is probably one of the most important items for camping. There are a ton on the market, so check for the right one for you – do you prefer to sleep warm or cold, do you need it for certain outside temperatures, etc. These are the Coleman sleeping bags that we have for us (-1°C to 30°C), and these are a similar type of kids sleeping bags we have for the kids. We like the mummy-style of a sleeping bag, more because we do lots of camping in the mountains and these tend to be warmer for us.
- 2 Tarp – Have a tarp for underneath (tent footprint) the tent to keep the bottom of your tent free from rips and keeps the dampness away from the tent. Purchase a size just a bit larger than your tent dimensions. The other tarp can be used to cover your picnic area (hopefully if there are trees) to keep it dry or shade from the sun.
- Camping Pillow – We love these Therm-a-Rest camping pillow ones because they roll up to much smaller, take up less space but very comfy. (Medium for kids and Large for us adults). We actually took these pillows our entire 1 year trip around the world!
- Dustpan & Brush – Great little tool to keep your tent clean from dirt during your camping stay and also for sweeping it out before you pack it up at the end of your trip. We like to get this size of dustpan and brush to make it easier.
Trailer Camping & Glamping Checklist
For those who are renting or borrowing a trailer for a family camping trip here are some items that should be on your RV camping checklist. We also take only these items for sleeping when we are glamping or staying at a cabin on the lake.
- Sleeping Bags – We always bring our sleeping bags for when we borrow a trailer or rent one. It’s just easier for storage and we know it’s our sleeping gear.
- Pillow – Bring along your pillow too for a good night’s rest!
- Fitted Bed Sheets – We bring these along to cover the trailer mattress and to keep it clean.
- Camp Rug – We like these for when renting a trailer that we can leave just outside the trailer to prevent the dirt coming into the trailer.
That’s about it for all you will need for sleeping when trailer camping or staying at a cabin!
Camp Kitchen Gear
- Propane Camp Stove – We never just depend on the fire for cooking our meals. Plus, this is the quickest way to get my coffee in the morning! We have this 2 burner Coleman classic camp stove and love it!
- Propane – A couple of extra small propane tanks for cooking.
- Cooler or Ice Box– Keep your food and items cold. We have one that has wheels, but honestly, anyone you can find on sale works for us. We use this for when we take day trips to the beach so having wheels is helpful with the kids.
- BBQ – We like to grill on an actual BBQ. We’ve been left camping in the rain so many times and unable to get a fire going long enough to cook food properly, so we splurged last year and bought this Weber portable BBQ. We also use this all the time in the summer for picnic and lake BBQ after school, so we figured if we use it more than for just camping that’s a win for us!
- Dry Good Bin – We use a storage container with a lid for all our dry goods.
- BBQ Lighter or Matches
- Pot with lid
- Frying Pan
- Plates, Bowls & Cups
- Cutlery – forks, spoons, knives
- Cooking knives & paring knives
- Cooking Utensils
- Can Opener, Bottle Opener & Corkscrew
- Coffee Pot
- Water Jug & Pump – We bring a water cooler 5-gallon jug and a portable pump. These are easy to refill at any place for water coolers. One of our best camping hacks, because it’s easy for the kids to help themselves to water!
- Dishpan – We buy 2 one for washing dishes and the other for rinsing. We prefer the ones without the drain, they always end up leaking anyways. The collapsable dishpans are great for saving space.
- Dish Soap – If possible find some biodegradable soap.
- Dishcloths & Pot scrubber
- Cutting Board
- Extra Storage Containers or Plastic Ziplock Bags – Containers for leftover food.
- Tablecloth & Tablecloth holders – Always a good idea without knowing the condition of the picnic tables that will be at the campsite
- To Go Cups – Coffee cups and other cups so dirt and leaves don’t end up in your drinks
- Water Bottles – Needed for everyone in the family – hikes, bike rides, around camp, etc.
- Firepit Roster – Great for marshmallows and hot dogs around the fire.
- Paper Towel
- Garbage Bags
- Portable High Chair or booster seat – This was our favourite Lobster clip high chair when our kids were babies and toddlers.
Campsite Gear & Camping Equipment
This list of camping supplies is sometimes the camping items that get forgotten about but are critical to having a better and more enjoyable camping experience.
- Camp Chairs
- Small fold-up Table – Just in case there is no picnic table, having a small fold-up table is always a good idea. We use ours for keeping the camp stove and BBQ on so we have space on the picnic table to eat.
- Clothesline – This is the travel clothesline we have and used it all the time for drying beach towels, dish towels or any wet clothes.
- Extension Cord
- Duct Tape – Fix just about everything with this stuff!
- Lantern – We have lanterns like these which are great for the kids to have inside the tent.
- Fly Swatter
- Insect Repellent Candles
- Firepit starter & Firewood (if needed)
- Headlights – One of my favourite items, great for when you are cooking in the dark, starting a fire in the dark or late night walks to the bathroom with the kids.
- Axe – Firepit must
- First Aid Kit – Just buy one and leave it in with your camping gear!
- Malet/Hammer & Tent Stakes – Usually the tent stakes come with the tent but make sure you have them. Bring a hammer or rubber mallet to secure the stakes.
- Spare Batteries
Clothing Camping Items
Pack any of the clothing that you anticipate will be needed when camping. Be prepared that your kids are camping, so things are going to get dirty, and possibly ruined since they are going to be active.
Use clothing if possible that dries quickly and moisture-wicking.
- Warm Sweater
- Runner or hiking shoes
- Flip flops – Not only for the beach but can also be used if you have to use a public shower facility.
- Water shoes or Water Sandals
- Pants / Shorts
- Mitts / Gloves
Health & Hygiene Camping Items
We each have a travel toiletry bag which is great for camping because they hang up and keep off the ground with all your essentials.
- Toiletries – Shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, brush, deodorant, etc.
- Lip Balm
- Insect Repellent
- Toilet Paper
- Hand Sanitizer
- Baby Wipes – Great for cleaning kid’s hands!
- Spare Glasses
Camping Food Essentials
I don’t know about your family, but we tend to eat more when we are camping. There is something about eating outside that everything tastes better.
We write out what we want for camp meals ahead of time and then we grocery shop for those items. Trying to also consider using leftovers for the next day’s meals or using the same ingredients for multiple meals.
- Coffee / Tea
- Salt, pepper & spices
- S’mores – Marshmallow, graham crackers and chocolate
- Food Items for meals
- Water & Other drink choices
Tip: For any of the meat that we are taking I freeze them to help keep them last longer and colder.
Fun Items for Camping with Kids
Honestly… dirt, rocks and sticks should be the main toys the kids play with but sometimes it’s good to have a few other tricks up our sleeves as parents. Here are some ideas:
- Backpack for hiking
- Bikes & Helmets
- Kids’ favourite item for sleep time
- Camera – This is all the camera gear that we take with us.
- Cards or travel games
- Beach toys
- Beach Blanket
- Glow Sticks
- Scavenger Hunt list or Camping Bingo
- Books or magazines
- Colouring books & crayons
- Frisbee, ball, bocce set or other fun family games.
- Fishing gear (Including bait and license)
- Life Jackets – If you are going boating or the lakes are unpredictable deep by the beach.
How to Pack for Family Camping
- Storage Containers are best for keeping things organized and dirt, bugs and animals out.
- We use packing cubes to keep clothes free from dirt and organized.
- Get the kids involved with packing and helping organize them. Cut up the Camping List Printable into sections and have them gather the items.
- Have each of your kids plan a camp meal if they are old enough – this will get them engaged and they will have to write out the ingredients.
- Packing a few days before – there is always something that slips your mind and as I run through my days I add things that I have used that I need to add to my list.
- Keep your packing items together after you are done using them. We have dedicated bins that are for camping so the next time we go we do a quick double-check with the camping printable and off we go!
View this post on Instagram
Spent the past few days explore Herald Provincial Park in B.C. Made it through setting up a new tent⛺️in the dark and rain! Success!!! Kids getting their legs stretched out with some more hikes in the area with some beauty views. We have missed camping so much and excited to be back out in the wilderness again. @yourbcparks #hellobc #bcparks #campingwithkids @colemanusa
Tips for Camping with Kids
- Buy kids camping gear as gifts for Christmas or other special days throughout the year. This is one of my favourite camping tips and best camping with kids hacks! My kids love to get camping gear for gifts!
- Look to see if there are any apps for the camping area that you are going to. Sometimes either states, provinces or areas have dedicated apps. You can find out all the travel apps that we use including the one that we used for booking all our campsites while in New Zealand for 4 weeks.
- If you are just getting started camping, look for camping gear that is used or buy at the end of the season for the best deals. You can also search and find some great deals on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca with easy delivery this is a great way to shop and compare prices.
- If you are buying a previously used trailer from someone privately, ask if the kitchen gear and any other camping items can be included in the price.
- When booking your campsites think about the location for bathrooms, distance to the beach, distance to playground, location of firewood source, location of the campsite, etc. If you have the option, choose one that suits your family’s needs for camping.
- If booking more than one family, there are often double sites that can be booked together at the time of booking to offer multi-families to be close.
- Book your campsites, cabins or trailers early in the season and whenever they open bookings, if possible, for the best options.
- Check out National Parks websites for inspiration and places to visit – Parks Canada or US National Parks are great places to start. I always like to follow their Instagram sites too!
- Turn electronics off when camping to truly step away from it all and enjoy the wilderness.
- Have some fun! Go for hikes, go swimming in the lakes and go explore all around where you are staying. Camping with kids can also be great for them to meet new friends and just be a kid. You will meet so many families camping and everyone is always helpful if you forget something too!
Family camping trips can be some of the best moments that you spend with your kids and build some life long memories doing the simplest things.
Camping is great for children of all ages from babies, toddlers, school-age kids and even older kids love camping too!
Camping with Kids Printable Checklist
Print this camping checklist off before your next camping trip and easily check things off as you pack them up so you don’t leave anything behind.
Looking for some other Camping Ideas?
Is there anything that we missed? If so, add them in the comments below!
PIN IT FOR LATER!