Family camping packing list and tips


Family camping trips are a perfect way to spend time together in the great outdoors and enjoy a vacation on a budget. It’s always nice to have some extra hacks and tricks up your sleeve, so you can make the best with what you have while you’re on your journey. Here are some essential family camping packing tips that can make your life easier.

The camp kitchen


Packing and organizing the camp kitchen is probably the most complicated part of the entire camping adventure. Focus on the things that you would need out there in your improvised kitchen and use the following packing list.

Kitchen packing list

  • Camp stove: Get a lightweight backpacking stove or traditional car camping stove.
  • Fuel: Make sure you have the right propane fuel for your stove.
  • Plates, cups, and eating utensils (1 per family member): Use paper products or opt for reusable mess kits, which are available in outdoor stores.
  • Tablecloth: Get a cheap one at a dollar store.
  • Dishwashing tub: Get a plastic tub.
  • Dishwashing supplies: Dish soap and sponge.
  • Matches
  • Firestarter
  • Ice
  • Cooler
  • Tarp
  • Grill (optional): Most campsites provide a grill over the fire pit.
  • Camp table (optional): Not really necessary, but it helps to organize things.
  • Kitchen tools/utensils: Spatula, all-purpose knife, potholders, butter knife, long skewers for s’mores or meat-on-a-stick, and tin foil.

The camp bedrooms

Tents in the woods
Tents in the woods

No matter where you sleep, you need to feel cozy and comfortable. Good-quality sleep is what’s most important for all family members. To make sure you won’t forget about any essential item you need for perfect camping rest; check out the following list that will make everything easier for you.

  • Tent(s): Get one large family tent or 2–3 smaller tents. Larger tents have the advantage of space, but small tents are cozier, and maybe your small kids will enjoy them more.
  • Sleeping bags: Buy sleeping bags rated at 20 degrees F, unless you know you’ll be camping in colder climates. A 20–40 degrees F bag works for most camping experiences. Down or down-alternative bags pack down smaller and are lighter and warmer than cotton or nylon/polyester bags.
  • Sleeping pads: Get a thick, inflatable mattress for car camping.
  • Ground tarp: Don’t try to skip the ground tarps. They protect your tent floor from the moisture and the cold.
  • Towels and personal hygiene items: One per family member!
  • Flashlights or headlamps: Everyone should have their own light source for safety and convenience. Headlamps are the best choice when you are camping because they are potent and you always have both hands free.
  • Lantern: One lantern will do for all of you. Use it in the kitchen area, and then move it to the tent.

Campfire area packing list

  • Firewood: You can always get the firewood on site and spare yourself from carrying it from home.
  • Matches and fire starter: You’ll already have these in your camp kitchen supplies.
  • Axe or hatchet: Useful for breaking down firewood. Store away from children.
  • Camp chairs: Collapsible camp chairs. To save space in the car, opt for the smaller, lighter versions sold in backpacking stores.
  • S’mores: Be sure to bring the ingredients for this tasty campfire treat!
  • Deck of cards or board game: Everyone enjoys playing a game around the fire.

Family camping is one of the most amazing things you can do with your kids in the great outdoors. Make sure you follow all of the useful packing tips from above in order to have an easy and pleasant wilderness stay. Don’t forget to bring a bunch of plastic bags as well. They are light-weight, and you can use them multiple times. Enjoy your camping and good luck!

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival