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.
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
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)
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)
- Socks/Extra socks
- Sleep clothes
- Flip flops for taking a shower in
Be selective with your personal care items and bring only the basic necessities.
- Toilet paper
- Portable shower caddy
- Soap (in a plastic case)
- Razor/Shaving cream
- Contact lenses/Eye solution
- Feminine products
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
- Camping Stove
- BBQ Grill
- Newspaper for lighting a campfire
- 5-Gallon water carrier with spout
- Fresh press/Percolator for coffee
Dishes & Utensils
- Pots/Pans/Skillet/Frying Pan
- Napkins/Paper towels
- Can opener
- Bottle opener/Corkscrew
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Wooden spoon
- Extra-long skewers/Grill forks
- Tablecloth (We love these 8-foot fitted plastic tablecloths!)
- Potholders/Oven mitts
Food & Drink
- Cooking Oil
- Milk/Juice/Soft Drinks
- Drinking water
- Aluminum foil
- Storage bags/Baggies
- Containers for food storage
- Food locker (if in an area with bears)
- 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
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
- Bug spray
- Camping first-aid kit
- Duct tape
- Travel clock
- Money/ID/Credit card
- All of your dog’s needs
- Swiss Army knife
- Fire extinguisher
- Work gloves
- Folding tables
- Camping chairs
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
- Fishing rod/Bait/Net
- Travel hammock
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
- 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)
- Sun hats
- Additional drinking water
- Hand-held fans
- Spray bottles for misting
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
- 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!
Before leaving, check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*
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