I married into sweet tea and camping when I said “I do”, to my amazing husband. Before marrying him I thought I loved camping but after going camping with his family for the first time I realized I was only a nominal fan of camping. His family knows how to camp and they love doing it. One of our wedding gifts from his father was an enclosed white trailer filled with camping gear.
I told you they love camping. I hope that this list is helpful even though I am sure my father in law would add 50 other things to it.
This Camping with Kids: Packing Check List does not cover all types of weather camping. It’s the basics for your average camping trip and not your “roughing it”, off the trails camping. Honestly, I am not a list maker, in fact, I like to brag about how I don’t need to make list but for camping and traveling I have found that it’s better to be safe then sorry.
Make a list and check it twice. Also, if you are camping for the first time do a trial run in your backyard or short drive from home.
Here are some of the details that I didn’t have space to add to our Camping Check List printable above (just right click image and copy and paste into your document):
If you are camping with a baby: I would add to bring along:
- diaper rash cream
- tarp or shower curtain to lay on the ground for them to play
- if bottle fed:extra bottles
- extra onesies
- baby carrier
- extra diapers
- pack and play (those are great for indoor sleeping and to set up outdoors to let them play)
- johnny jumper
- bedtime story book
- Stuffed animal- If they have a blankie or special stuffed animal make sure to bring it along.
Camping with a toddler – I would add bring along some of the things mentioned above plus:
- Bright/noticeable string or tape to set boundaries for them to know where they can’t go pass.
- Lots of toys -For extra entertainment if they get bored with dirt, rocks and branches.
- healthy treats and snacks (apples, carrots, oranges, cheerios, trail mix)
- Let them pack a back pack with whatever toys, coloring books, books they want to take once it’s filled that’s it.
- Once again don’t forget that comfort sleeping blanket or stuffed animal they need to fall asleep.
- Let them get dirty. Camping is all about getting dirty, so let them. Seriously, if there is ever a time to wander around with dirt on your face and no one thinks twice about it, it’s at a camp site.
- In a large ziploc baggie -place their clothing for the day so they don’t have to dig everything out of the duffel bag to find socks and undies.
- Whatever you do don’t forget extra clothing. The picture above is exactly why you should pack extra clothing. We have regretted each time we have forgotten to pack extras.
- Make sure to pack the medicines you need, plus extra. I always get headaches on car rides so it’s a must that I have some Advil when I get out of the car. Don’t forget that first aid kit.
- We forgot toilet paper this last time so we were rationing out the napkins. Pack extra just in case it gets dropped in the toilet.
- We have a nice big family size tent, all 5 of us fit comfortably in it and there is even room for a pack and play. It’s an affordable one we got as a gift, you don’t need a big name brand to keep the water out. The features I really like: room divider, the mesh around the sides of the tent that zip up, the tent cover, little hooks inside to hang things, pockets to store stuff and it’s easy to put up even though it’s big.
- My father in law likes to take hay and place it under the tents for padding. You can also by inflatable pads (not to be confused with inflatable mattress, though this also works) these are easy to store and not as big. The picture below my son is laying on a sleeping pad.
- If it’s cold in your neck of the woods purchase good sleeping bags we have down feathered sleeping bags and I will never go back. When I was in college I camped in a cheap sleeping bag, in North Carolina mountains, in the winter, it was the biggest mistake of my life. Our boys sleeping bags are cute Transformer bags but they are not warm at all. So we usually have to take their down blankets with their sleeping bags. When purchasing those cute sleeping bags make sure you check out how warm they will keep you based on the weather you camp in.
- It’s important that you pack a camping chair and a flashlight for EACH child. Otherwise, you will spend your whole time breaking up arguments on who gets to use it next.
- Fun things to pack: binoculars, compass, insect jars, hammock, family outdoor games like: bocce ball, frisbee, bicycles. We have a bike trailer so we put our baby in it and enjoy the paths.
- Ice chest is good if you have lots of food that needs to stay cool. Place ice in large baggies (for a large cooler) and freeze to avoid a mess. This way you can also reuse the water.
- Plastic trash bags are great to use for trash, dirty and wet clothes and for those little ones who can’t stay dry at night. We place the bags under them so if they have an accident at night it doesn’t get everywhere.
- We have a single burner camp stove that is small and we have used at outdoor concerts and camping. It’s a great little light weight piece of equipment. We use it a lot for heating hot water for hot drinks when camping or other outdoor fun. We have made all sorts of meals on it with our little metal cooking pans. Our new favorite for cooking is the Hobo Pie Iron I bought one for my husband for fathers day, such a great gift idea for my camping man. They are amazing to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner on. Make sure to bring cooking spray. The above picture is french toast, roasted apples with berry sauce all made in our pie iron (not the sauce).
- Kindling: There are lots of things you can use to start a fire-newspaper, lint, twigs, pine needles, potato chips (I read this but never tried it), pine cones…. just to name a few.
- For mom: I take a good book, running shoes, my bible, magazines and yummy tea!
If you forget toys don’t worry they will figure out how to play with nature.
What are some of your camping with kids tips?
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