Travel Travel Tips

The Ultimate Family Camping List (+FREE Printable)

By
on
February 12, 2020

This article will provide you with a family camping list to make sure that you don’t forget anything important when going camping!

Though we do not expect that you are going to bring along everything on this list, our family camping list will guide you in creating a comfortable and convenient campsite suitable to your needs.

Along with our camping list, we include helpful links to our favorite family camping products.

And last, stick around to the end for our FREE “Ultimate Family Camping Checklist” printable that covers each and every camping essential that you won’t want to forget.

The links on this page are Amazon affiliate links. If you click on links and purchase them, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Family Camping List

Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and experience fun camping activities that you can’t necessarily do elsewhere.

You can go camping in state and national parks, at private campgrounds, or even in your own backyard.

If you’ve never been camping before, the idea of gearing up for your first family camping trip can be a bit overwhelming, however.

Luckily, most campsites include a picnic table, a fire ring, and a cleared spot to pitch your tent.

Many also have shared bathrooms, running water, and firewood to purchase onsite.

Food, shelter, clothing, and personal items…these are the things to include on your camping checklist.

Family Camping List: Packing Supplies

The first thing to consider when making your family camping list is to determine how to transport and store your belongings.

The basic packing essentials include duffel bags for clothing, storage bins, and a cooler for food.

With that said, start by using packing cubes, and placing your clothing into soft-sided waterproof duffel bags that can be easily stored in a tent while camping.

Next, I recommend that you divide up your remaining camping items by category into portable storage tubs.

Our absolute favorite storage tubs for camping are the ones by Plano that have molded grooves for stacking as well as include tie-down points.

In addition, they are sturdy enough to double as bench seating at the campsite.

Items to remember

Click here for our Ultimate Family Camping List that includes everything from the basics, to the essential camping tools and camp kitchen items that you need for a successful outdoor adventure.  Top U.S family travel blog Travel With A Plan also share their free packing printable!  #familycampinglist #familycampingchecklist #whattobringwhencampingwithkids #campingessentials #familycampingessentials

Family Camping List: Shelter

Assuming that you are tent camping, the most important that you should remember to include on your family camping list is a waterproof tent.

The biggest factors to take into consideration when choosing the best family tent are size, price, construction, and ease of assembly.

For sporadic camping in ideal weather situations, an inexpensive tent will likely meet your family’s needs.

For tougher weather conditions or when purchasing a tent as a long-term investment, consider purchasing a better-built and more expensive model.

Additional planning tip: Be sure to check out this guide on how to rent an RV if you’d like your camping shelter to come in the form of a park model, motor home, or travel trailer!

Items to remember

Bedding (for each camper)

Click here for our Ultimate Family Camping List that includes everything from the basics, to the essential camping tools and camp kitchen items that you need for a successful outdoor adventure.  Top U.S family travel blog Travel With A Plan also share their free packing printable!  #familycampinglist #familycampingchecklist #whattobringwhencampingwithkids #campingessentials #familycampingessentials

Family Camping List: Weather-Appropriate Clothing

One thing that I cannot stress enough when preparing your family camping list is to be sure to pack weather-appropriate clothing.

Choose lightweight fabrics that are moisture-wicking so you can reuse the same top and bottoms a few times.

Likewise, be sure to pack layers of clothing in anticipation of cool evenings and/or unexpected changes in temperature.

Items to remember

  • Shirts (long and short sleeve)
  • Shorts
  • Pants
  • Sweatshirt/Jacket
  • Underwear
  • Socks/Extra socks
  • Swimsuit/Towel
  • Sleep clothes
  • Shoes/Boots
  • Flip flops for taking a shower in

Personal Items

Be selective with your personal care items and bring only the basic necessities.

  • Toilet paper
  • Towels
  • Portable shower caddy
  • Soap (in a plastic case)
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Comb/Brush
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Razor/Shaving cream
  • Contact lenses/Eye solution
  • Make-up
  • Chapstick
  • Feminine products
  • Medications
Campfire at the family campsite

Family Camping List: Cooking

Chances are that while camping, you’ll be preparing your own meals.

Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced camper, it’s always a good idea to carefully think through what you will need in your ‘camp kitchen’.

What you bring will vary depending on your cooking style, food preferences, and how easy vs. gourmet you want your camping meals to be.

Items to remember

Dishes & Utensils

  • Pots/Pans/Skillet/Frying Pan
  • Plates/Bowls/Mugs
  • Forks/Spoons/Knives
  • Napkins/Paper towels
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener/Corkscrew
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Tongs
  • Wooden spoon
  • Extra-long skewers/Grill forks
  • Tablecloth (We love these 8-foot fitted plastic tablecloths!)
  • Potholders/Oven mitts

Food & Drink

  • Food
  • Snacks
  • Bread
  • Fruit
  • Sauces
  • Butter
  • Cooking Oil
  • Salt/Pepper/Spices
  • Milk/Juice/Soft Drinks
  • Coffee/Fliters
  • Drinking water

Food Storage

  • Aluminum foil
  • Storage bags/Baggies
  • Containers for food storage
  • Food locker (if in an area with bears)

Clean-Up

  • 2 collapsible dish tubs for (one for washing and one for rinsing dishes)
  • Dish soap/Dishcloth/Dishtowel
  • Garbage bags
  • Scrub pad
  • Small broom/Dustpan
  • Hand wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
Kids at the campground with the family camping list

Family Camping List: Miscellaneous

When it comes to miscellaneous items on your family camping list, less is better.

In the same sense, without the right miscellaneous items, a camping trip can become quite miserable rather quickly.

Here are my recommended camping miscellaneous items that you shouldn’t forget.

Items to remember

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Camping first-aid kit
  • Duct tape
  • Travel clock
  • Clothesline
  • Money/ID/Credit card
  • All of your dog’s needs

Lighting

Camping tools

  • Compass
  • Binoculars
  • Saw/Axe
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Scissors
  • Work gloves

Furniture

Family Camping List: Entertainment

One of the best things about camping is spending quality time with family and friends away from electronics and high-tech distractions.

“Getting away from it all” is also one of the reasons that many families choose to camp in the first place.

Maximize your screen-free fun by checking out the list of our favorite portable yard games, as well as bring along the following:

Items to remember

  • Bikes
  • Books/Magazines
  • Cards/Games/Toys
  • Frisbee/Football
  • Fishing rod/Bait/Net
  • Radio
  • Travel hammock
  • Camera/GoPro

Camping in Cold Weather

Camping in cold weather has its own separate challenges if you’re not adequately prepared.

In addition to the items on the above checklist, be sure to bring the following gear to account for the cooler temperatures.

In addition, aim to pitch your tent in a spot that is sheltered from the wind.

Items to bring

  • Cold weather jackets
  • Hats/Gloves/Scarves
  • Thermal layers
  • Extra Socks
  • Sleeping bags rated for cold temperatures
  • 2 sleeping pads to create a barrier between the cold ground
  • Hand warmers
  • Hot drink mixes

Camping in the Heat

Many will argue what’s worse, camping in the cold, or camping in the heat?

After all, they are two different weather extremes that require varying measures to stay comfortable.

Along with consulting various tips to stay cool while camping in the heat, be sure to add these additional supplies to your family camping list.

  • Screen tent
  • Tarp/Canopy/Sun awning (to create shade)
  • Swimsuits/Towels
  • Sun hats
  • Additional drinking water
  • Hand-held fans
  • Spray bottles for misting
  • Sunglasses

Camping in the Rain

Now, most people will not knowingly camp in the rain, but if the unexpected or highly anticipated should happen, you won’t want to find yourself without the following.

  • Camping rain gear/Raincoats/Ponchos
  • Rain boots
  • Umbrellas
  • Additional towels (to wipe chairs, tables, etc.)
  • Rain canopy for camping (to keep firewood and other supplies dry)

Our Best Family Camping Tips

1. Pack by using storage bins that can double as campsite seating.

2. Choose a campsite that is near the public restrooms if you’re camping with children who may need to use the bathroom during the night.

3. Arrive at your campsite before dark to get set up.

4. Add special touches to your campsite such a battery-powered, or solar-powered string lights.

5. Set up a handwashing station at your campsite that includes a water jug, soap, paper towel, and hand sanitizer.

6. Bring a rug for inside and outside of the tent to stop the spread of dirt and to have a landing zone for shoes when entering and exiting the tent.

7. Bring extra blankets and foam pads to place beneath your sleeping bag to create a barrier between you and the cold ground.

8. Pack layers and be prepared for all types of weather.

9. Plan for simple meals and do as much food prep at home as possible.

10. Bring along games and activities as well as plan ahead for rainy-day activities.

11. Involve your kids and find plenty of teachable moments.

12. Campgrounds can fill up quickly so plan ahead to get a spot.

13. Have a positive attitude and be flexible.


Be sure to download and print our family camping checklist to ensure that nothing gets left behind!

Click here for our Ultimate Family Camping List that includes everything from the basics, to the essential camping tools and camp kitchen items that you need for a successful outdoor adventure.  Top U.S family travel blog Travel With A Plan also share their free packing printable!  #familycampinglist #familycampingchecklist #whattobringwhencampingwithkids #campingessentials #familycampingessentials

Before leaving, check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

If you like our Family Camping Checklist, click here to check out our Related Posts:

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Click here for our Ultimate Family Camping Checklist that includes everything from the basics, to the essential camping tools and camp kitchen items that you need for a successful outdoor adventure.  Top U.S family travel blog Travel With A Plan also share their free family camping list printable!  #familycampinglist #familycampingchecklist #whattobringwhencampingwithkids #campingessentials #familycampingessentials
Click here for our Ultimate Family Camping Checklist that includes everything from the basics, to the essential camping tools and camp kitchen items that you need for a successful outdoor adventure.  Top U.S family travel blog Travel With A Plan also share their free family camping list printable!  #familycampinglist #familycampingchecklist #whattobringwhencampingwithkids #campingessentials #familycampingessentials
Click here for a practical list of absolutely everything you need to bring camping!  When heading to the wilderness, don't forget these items that will help with food, comfort, and safety!  This is a complete family camping packing list!  #camping essentials #packingchecklist #campingprintable #campingpackinglist #itemstobringcamping #outdoortravel #familytravel
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12 Comments
  1. Reply

    Claudia

    February 21, 2020

    Great tips! We love camping too. 🙂

    • Reply

      Jen

      February 22, 2020

      Can’t wait until summer to go again!

  2. Reply

    Astrid Vinje

    February 19, 2020

    Over the years, we’ve tried to minimize the amount of camping gear we bring. But one of the things that’s really helpful are the self-inflating mattresses/camping pads. They definitely make camping on hard ground much more comfortable! Thanks for this list!

    • Reply

      Jen

      February 20, 2020

      Yes! You’re right! Sleeping pads/air mattresses are essential, especially for us parents as we get older!

  3. Reply

    Jody A Robbins

    February 17, 2020

    What a lifesaver that printout is going to be. I’m always forgetting something. I had to laugh (in a good way!) at the sections on camping in cold weather or rain. I live just outside of Banff National Park and so many campers from the US or overseas don’t realize you really do need winter gear as it gets so cold at night – even in summer.

    • Reply

      Jen

      February 17, 2020

      Thanks for your reply! Actually that is a good point to mention…that even though weather may be warm during the day, nights can get ‘cold’ when camping in certain destinations such as Banff.

  4. Reply

    Amanda

    February 17, 2020

    I have the best memories of camping from growing up and can’t wait to take my son. This is such a great family camping list!

    • Reply

      Jen

      February 17, 2020

      Thank you! I may even print it off to use myself 🙂

  5. Reply

    Julie

    February 16, 2020

    We haven’t done a lot of camping so this is a fantastic resource for newbie’s like us!! Saving!

    • Reply

      Jen

      February 17, 2020

      Thanks for reading! I hope that it comes in handy the next time you guys might decide to camp 🙂

  6. Reply

    Nancy

    February 16, 2020

    Thanks so much for the comprehensive post and printable checklist! I’ve saved it for the 2020 camping season.

    • Reply

      Jen

      February 17, 2020

      Thanks for your kind words! I’m glad that you’ll be able to use it and refer back to the checklist!!

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Welcome Friends!

We are the Brommer family from Minnesota, and I'm Jen - the travel planner for our family of 5! We are passionate about traveling together for it's what keeps us happy and healthy at home. The free family vacation itineraries and tips you'll find here are crafted with love to be shared with you. We hope our experiences inspire you to start planning your next family adventure!

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