This article will provide you with a comprehensive 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 absolutely everything on this list, our family camping list will guide you in creating a comfortable and convenient campsite suitable to your needs and desires.
Along with our general list and discussion, we will include helpful links to our most recommended family camping products that have proved their convenience and durability time and time again!
And last, stick around to the end for our FREE printable “Ultimate Family Camping Checklist” that covers each and every item listed in this post! You don’t want to be left packing without it!
Family Camping List
Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends! You can go camping in many 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 the experience can be a bit overwhelming, however.
Basic packing essentials include a tent bag, duffel bags for clothing, storage bins and a cooler for food. And another important thing, especially for us mothers is a high-quality women’s backpack.
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.
Finally, checking the weather forecast and reviewing some other general packing guidelines are very important steps in ensuring a successful family camping trip.
*Following guidance from the CDC and recommendations from state and local public health authorities, some national parks and campgrounds have temporarily closed.
Visit this state-by-state campground closure list that includes National Parks, RV parks and campgrounds, campground chains, and more.
Family Camping List: Packing
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 a tent bag, duffel bags for clothing, storage bins and a cooler for food.
I recommend that all of your other camping items be divided up by category into portable storage tubs that can easily be brought back and forth from home.
Our absolute favorite storage tubs for camping are these ones by Plano that have molded grooves for stacking and 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 tent.
The biggest factors to take into consideration when choosing the best family tent are size, price, construction, and ease of assembly.
Keep in mind that the majority of tent campers take only a few trips a year, usually during the summer months.
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 text as a long-term investment, consider purchasing a better-built and more expensive model, however.
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 will be preparing your own meals.
Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced camper, it’s always a good idea to carefully think through, and replenish, the items in your ‘camp kitchen’.
What you bring for your camp kitchen will vary depending on your cooking style and food preferences.
If your personal hobbies include cooking, grilling, or culinary shenanigans, setting up your personal camp kitchen might be one of the highlights of your trip.
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 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 the fun by reading up on and purchasing some of these awesome portable yard games, as well as bring along the following.
Items to remember
- Portable yard games
- Fishing rod/Bait/Net
Camping in Cold Weather
Camping in cold weather has its own separate challenges if you are 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 Underwear
- 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 adaptation and comfortability measures.
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.
Likewise, research the best tents for rain and consider your initial purchase to be a waterproof tent in the case that you should ever get stuck in a downpour.
- 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 15 Favorite 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 batter-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.
12. Find teaching moments.
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, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*
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