The Ultimate Packing List for Kids Camping
Camping with kids sounds simple, but if you’re a parent, you know it’s anything but. Taking kids anywhere requires planning and prep.
Luckily, this post is designed to make your next camping trip a lot easier!
Plus, the big difference between this site and many others is that we’re giving responsibility to the kids too. So, you’ll find a free printable camping list for kids to pack themselves.
This post contains affiliate links, and I may earn a commission at no cost to you. See my disclaimer for more.
What to Pack for the Family
First, this master list helps make sure you have everything your entire family may need to have an amazing time in the great outdoors. Then, keep reading for the kids camping checklist.
Camping Basics For Family
These are the things you don’t want to forget! Lots of other things can slide, but these are your must-haves.
- Sleeping Bag for each person
- Pillow for each person
- Lanterns and lights (extra batteries)
- Camping chair for each person
- First aid kit
- Repair kit for tent
- Hand sanitizer
- Trash bags (for trash, dirty clothes, etc.)
- Sunscreen and bug spray
- Warm clothing or extra blankets (for when it cools down at night)
Other Great Camping Packing for Families
These are definitely “nice to haves”…
- Firewood (often you can buy this when you get there if you don’t want to bring it)
- Duct tape
- Cell phone battery or charger in your car
- Toilet paper
- Campsite reservation number (or campsite phone number)
- Rain gear
- A safety whistle
- Hand soap
Kitchen Supplies List for Family Camping
Now, for this list, you probably won’t need all of these items. Pick and choose what will work for your situation, and add it to your personal list.
- Camping stove (fuel if needed)
- Matches or lighter
- Good quality cutting knife
- Cooking pot
- Frying pan
- Forks, spoons, butter knives
- Large serving spoon, spatula, other large utensils
- Can opener, cork screw/bottle opener, cooking scissors
- Salt, pepper, sugar
- Tinfoil, plastic wrap
- Food storage bags (ziplocks)
- Coffee maker
- Grill grate
- Grilling utensils
- Paper plates, bowls, coffee cups
- Water bottles, coffee thermos
- Marshmallow roasting sticks
- Cutting board
- Dish tub, dish soap, towel, scrubbing sponge, wash rag
- Paper towels
- Disinfectant Spray
- Coffee, tea, hot chocolate
Don’t forget about specific food items you’ll need! Plan your menu, then add your food to the packing list!
Tip: Chop, marinade, and prepare what you can at home before leaving! It can be messy trying to do a lot of cooking while camping, plan ahead and spend your time relaxing instead.
Kids Camping List Extras You May Need
A Toddler Potty Seat
It can be a real pain walking long distances to take your toddlers to go potty. So, a potty seat can be a lifesaver if you have a young one!
Kids Camping Gear
There’s a lot of kids stuff that comes in handy when you’re camping with your children (Ex. baby carrier for hiking). See the full post of great kids camping gear here to make your life easier >>
Extra Clothes and Blankets
Often, camping weather will surprise you. It’s always good to have an extra blanket in the car for that person in your family who’s freezing.
What if you don’t have everything?
Don’t forget that some camping supplies are easy to borrow from a friend or family member.
What Kids Can Help Bring
All of these are on the kids camping checklist below! Make them responsible for packing or helping with them.
- Tops and bottoms (clothes)
- Shoes/hiking shoes
- Bug spray
- First aid kit
- Sandals for showering (if you’ll be there multiple nights)
- Sleeping bag
- Camping chair
- Water bottle
- Safety whistle
- Games (see ideas at the end of this article!)
- Books/coloring pages
- Fishing pole
- Bug collector (or box)
- Telescope (for older kids)
GRAB THE KIDS CAMPING CHECKLIST PDF!
Grab access to the free kids camping list printable in my free resource library below!
Let Kids Help Set up Camp
Even if your children are small, they can still be helpful. Let them help you unpack the car, set up their sleeping area, or get the picnic table ready for eating. They’ll feel comfortable in their new surroundings and have something to do while you get the bigger items in place.
If you still feel like they’ll be more work than help, have them collect all the sticks in your area for a campfire later.
Camping Activities for Kids (And What to Pack)
Now, for the fun and games that help your family connect. Here are simple activities that you may want to add to your kids camping checklist as well.
Throw your telescope in the car for an epic night of watching the stars.
Pack Cornhole, Ladders, and any other easy-to-pack outdoor games your family loves.
Card Games for Your Kids Camping Checklist
No packing necessary, unless you want to throw in the free printables from this site (if so, grab access below). Otherwise, use your phone to pull up fun games like kid-friendly Family Feud and Kids trivia questions. (Grab hard trivia questions for teens too)
Find Nature’s Treasures
Not very sophisticated, right?! But you know what, kids can spend all day collecting sticks and rocks and be as happy as clams. So, bring a bucket with you and let them go to town finding the best treasures on the campsite.
Sports / Active Activities
Keep the kids entertained with a simple ball, frisbee, or rope. A glove and baseball can also start a lot of fun.
Camping gives a prime opportunity for fishing, so be sure to include your fishing rods in your packing list.
Camping Journal or Scavenger Hunt
Enjoy the outdoors by getting to know nature.
Toddlers, especially, are visual people. Print off pictures ahead of time or draw items on paper for them to use on their hunt. Items can include: pine cone, bird, flower, bug etc. This is a great activity to keep little ones occupied if you’re on a walk or hiking where they might get tired easily.
For older kids, buy a camping journal and let them draw and write about what they see.
Get up close and personal with the creepy crawly. Bring a fun container to hold your new “pets” while you are out camping. You can also bring a cheap magnifying glass or net to save space.
Reminder: Do NOT let them bring the bugs inside the cabin/camper/tent (a prisoner break inside is the last thing you need!)
Whether you need a midday break with some quiet time or you have the campfire going and are ready to tell stories, a few camping-themed books are sure to be a hit.
Check out Llama Llama Loves Camping, Pete the Cat Goes Camping and Curious George Goes Camping. Make it an extra fun time by hanging up a hammock to read in or using fun headlamps during a bedtime story.
To Consider With the Kids Camping List
Camping is an amazing way to connect. Leave those devices at home and just have fun!
The biggest tip for the camping list with kids is to keep it simple. Don’t stress about bringing so many things to keep them entertained. The new scenery, routines and adventures will be more entertaining than you think!
More kid and family posts you’ll love…
- 75 Good Stay at Home Kid Activities you’ll love!
- Best Kid Dares for Truth and Dare
- 7 Year Old Book Series Kids Love