Camping is challenging. It’s even harder if you decide to bring your little troublemakers along for the ride. Knowing what to do isn’t enough to survive in the wilderness. You also need the right equipment. Lucky for you, we made this camping with kids checklist to help soothe your camping-induced headache. Keep reading to learn which products to get to make sure that you and your kids have a safe and fun camping experience.
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Camping with Kids Checklist for 2023 Product List and Buying Guide
You can find our pick for the best products to bring when going camping with your little troublemakers. From tents, sleeping bags, and ground pads to grills, stoves, and utensils, we have it all in our what to take camping with kids checklist below.
Shelter and Sleeping Essentials
Of course, the first thing you need when camping is shelter. Tents are the best weapons against the sun and rain. Couple a good tent with great sleeping bags and heating pads, and you become the ultimate camper!
Since comfort and convenience outdoors can easily make or break your adventure, these must-haves require some investment. Although fighting against heat, rain, and the ever-present problem of back pain, these items don’t have to cost you a fortune.
|GigaTent||● 25 sq.ft.|
● 2 lbs.
● Fiberglass pole
● PE waterproof floor
● Comes with carry bag
|Abco Tech||● 2 person tent|
● 3.7 lbs
● Mesh windows
|REVALCAMP||● 87” x 55” x 43”|
● 6 lbs
● Waterproof & Windproof
A tent is your primary shelter when camping. It serves as your protection from the elements but also from bugs. Find a good tent and you’ll inspire your family to plan for more camping trips in the future. Fail and that’s probably the last time you’ll ever spend outdoors.
Camping is now part of our yearly getaway list. Our neighbors next door weren’t as successful. The mom told us nobody got any sleep and everyone woke up to sore backs and eyebags!
There are several product features to examine when you’re shopping for a tent. Decide if everyone stays in the same tent. Or, if the kids will get their own. Once you’ve made a decision, check out the available products for the tent size you have in mind. It’s imperative you make sure all occupants will not only fit in but fit in comfortably.
Also, check that the tent is windproof and waterproof. Check the tent compatibility to your campsite. Not many people are aware that there are tents made specially to withstand specific weather conditions and terrains. If you’re going out in the wilderness, it will be best to pick out those that come with sturdy poles so they won’t get easily blown away by the wind. It will also be nice to get a tent with windows and that keeps you warm inside.
|Coleman||● 14” x 7” x 7”|
● 2.40 lbs
● Temperature as low as 50ºF
● Keeps body heat from escaping
|Clostnature||● 86” x 31” x 3”|
● 4 lbs
● Outer material is polyester
● Comes in six colors
|SWTMERRY||● 86” x 29”|
● 3 lbs
● Made from cotton and nylon
● Can be used during different seasons
● Comes in seven colors
Choose a comfortable sleeping bag where you can conveniently snuggle in, stay warm, and dream under the stars. Make sure that it has good cushioning, especially if you plan to sleep outside your tent. Make sure that it is also made with water-resistant material, like nylon and polyester.
Again, size matters. Check that there’s enough space inside for each intended occupant. An insulated sleeping bag will keep everyone warm when the chill of the night or frost comes crawling in.
|INVOKER||● 77” x 28” x 3”|
● 6 lbs
● Silent and waterproof fabric
● Rapid Inflation Technology
|Clostnature||● 13” x 15” x 2”|
● 3 lbs
● Compact and Lightweight
|ALPS||● 20” x 72”|
● 0.50 lbs
● Easily rolls up
● Made from foam
A ground pad can be the difference between a good night’s sleep, and a painful one. Make sure that your ground pad has sufficient cushioning. If you plan on camping in colder weather, investing in insulated heating pads would be a good idea. Make sure that it is also waterproof to avoid it getting drenched if it rains.
Food and Kitchen Essentials
After a long trek up the ol’ hiking trail, the whole crew will have worked up a huge appetite. The quality of food you bring to camp indeed has the power to create wonderful memories of outdoors and happy family times.
That’s why food, like shelter, takes front and center when your goal does not include making camping a living nightmare. Beyond planning your meals, there are products that can help you make simple yet delicious and nutritious meals while you’re out camping.
|DeWalt||● 22” x 15” x 14”|
● 13 lbs
● Can store up to 25 quarts
● Reinforced insulation
● Heavy duty handle
|YETI||● 30” x 18” x 16”|
● 34 lbs
● Extra thick walls for insulation
● Walls are coated with Polyurethane foam
● Comes in four colors
|TOURIT||● 16” x 11” x 10”|
● 1.5 lbs
● Can hold up to 32L
● Collapsible and compact
|Rubbermaid||● 12.5” x 12.5” x 19”|
● 4 lbs
● Can hold up to 18L
● Well insulated
● Screw-tight lid
When camping, make sure to always bring a cooler. It keeps your food fresh and warm, and your drinks cold. What’s not to love?
However, make sure to buy a separate cooler for fresh, uncooked meat. You want to separate these from your drinks and other food in your list for hygienic purposes.
Coolers come in all sizes. Consider the size of your traveling party and how many days and nights you’re staying in camp. Choose a cooler with enough space for everything you need to pack for your camping trip. If you’re staying overnight or several nights, make sure to get a rotomolded cooler. These coolers are engineered to retain ice for several days so your food won’t get spoiled.
Make sure you also get a cooler that’s leak proof, to avoid spills. Try choosing a cooler with good insulation technology, such as the YETI Tundra 65 cooler. Its thick walls are coated with Polyurethane foam for good insulation.
Cooking Stove, Grill & Accessories
|Traeger||● 37” x 18” x 36”|
● 62 lbs
● Electric powered igniter, wood-burning
|Sear & Steel||● Strong enough for thicker meat cuts|
● Can be used by a bonfire
|Allwin||● Can handle extreme heat up to 500ºF|
● Non-stick silicone
● Non-slip material
We always travel with these items. They make preparing food away from home easy breezy, and extra fun! Making the wrong decision about the stove and grill you bring to camp can easily spell disaster. We learned about these products from friends and family who have been camping for years, and now we’re sharing them with you.
We hope these products give you a wonderful time prepping food in camp in the same way that they’ve helped us serve up food and happy times for many camping trips now.
When shopping for cooking equipment, it’s best to first decide whether you want a grill, stove, or both. If you’re only staying overnight, perhaps it would be better to choose just one — for your sanity’s sake! Make sure to check the power source. Find out if it runs on electricity then, you’ll need a generator. Sometimes these things require LPG or propane. Make sure to bring along the power source as well.
Utensils & CookWare
|UCO||● 8” x 8” x 3”|
● 0.6 lbs
● Rubberized grips
● Includes a plate, bowl, cup and kitchen utensils
● Extremely compact and lightweight
|WeeSprout||● Food grade silicone|
● Leak-proof seals
● Microwave and freezer safe
Accessories like tongs, pans, utensils, and cups are just as vital. Our top consideration is that they should be easy to clean. We figured those made with silicone are easily stripped off of grease so that’s what we bring along.
We like using color-coded camping kits assigned to each member. Make sure to get BBQ skewers if you plan on roasting anything—meat, marshmallows, etc.—over a campfire. This is one activity our son enjoys so much and we always make a point never to miss it.
|US Organic||● 2 fl.oz.|
● Provides 4 hours protection from bug bites
|Lighting EVER||● Brightness up to 1,000 Lumens|
● Long battery life
● Water resistant
● Removable cover
|Kizen||● 1.8” x 3.5” x 5”|
● Solar powered and USB chargeable
● Compact and collapsible
● Features three light modes
|Renogy||● Supports USB-C|
● Capacity of up to 72,000mAh/266Wh
● Can be recharged via a solar panel
● Wireless charging
|Glow Mind||● 9” x 5.5” x 2”|
● Lasts up to 12+ hours
● 4 years of shelf life
|Verifygear||● Comes with lightweight backpack|
● Gear for foraging, hunting, fishing
● Gear for starting fire in the wild
● Includes emergency blanket
● Multi-use tools inside
There are other items that help ensure that you and your family will stay safe during your camping trip. One of the key factors to camping success is to anticipate every possible emergency you might encounter in camp and on the way, and making sure you’re prepared for any eventuality.
A first-aid kit should be on top of your list but we also highly recommend you bring a survival kit. If anybody in the family is taking maintenance medication, make sure there’s enough to last the entire trip with extras. Also, have emergency numbers on speed dial. Apply sunscreen and bring insect repellent to keep bugs off your skin.
Bring along rechargeable or solar lamps to brighten up your campsite at night. Assign glow sticks to each of your little ones to help guide their path. It also comforts them to have a light source while inside the tent.
Buy only high quality products. Avoid entrusting your safety to low quality, and unreliable rip-offs. Keep in mind that whatever you bring in camp would be the only ones you have for the full duration of your stay. Make sure that you get glow sticks with a lengthy shelf life and a first-aid and survival kit with complete gear. A solar lantern can help you extend your light power source and recharge everyday.
Some other items that you can bring are pillows but these can be very personal so we’ll leave that up to you. For off-grid campsites, a GPS is a must-have. Although, we don’t recommend going off-grid when you’re camping with kids.
Nice to Have
|G4Free||● 4” x 1.5” x 4”|
● Full optical glass lens
● Versatile and portable
● Up to 10x magnification
|Sougayilang||● Portable design|
● High conductivity guide ring
● Sturdy reel
|RoyalBaby||● Aluminum frame|
● Safety pads and soft seat
● Wheel size: 12”
|Wilson||● Faux Leather|
● Butyl rubber bladder
● Comes in six colors
|LINNSE||● 4K/30 fps video resolution|
● 52mm lens
● Supports USB
● Continuous shooting
These items, while not essential, can help make your camping trip much more fun and memorable. A pair of binoculars can help you watch beautiful birds near your campsite. If you’re camping near a lake, bringing along fishing gear will be nice. Who’d say no to free lunch?
To make your camping trip even more fun, we included these things that are nice to have on our camping with kids checklist. Keep your kids busy in camp and chime in the fun. Play ball, kick some ball, fly a kite. Plan this part of your trip with your kids to make sure that everyone’s buying-in.
You can also bring coloring books for your kids or for you — you can never be too old for coloring books too!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I keep my kid warm in a tent?
Put insulated ground pads on the floor of your tent to keep them warm. Put your toddler inside a warm sleeping bag. If your kid is still cold, try dressing him up with a jacket or a sweater. If you don’t have a sweater, a blanket is a good alternative. Dress your kid in warm PJs. Make sure to also bring a bonnet and a pair of mittens for your kid. Lastly, try to consider going camping during the warmer months of the year.
What age is good for camping?
With children, it is best to start as early as possible to help them get used to camping. Even babies can be kept safe in camp. Just make sure to select a favorable campsite that isn’t too remote from the nearest town.
Camping with a toddler is slightly more challenging. Not only because you have to worry about them crawling around in dirt but also because they might wander off without letting you know. Whatever age your kid is when you decide to take him/her camping, make sure that you bring the proper equipment with you on your trip. You should also brief them about safety rules long before your camping trip.
How do we prepare for camping?
Pick a good campsite. It can be on a mountain or near a lake, just make sure that it’s safe. Tune in to the news and research local weather forecasts in the area. Make a camping checklist with kids at home, to make sure you don’t forget to bring anything. It’s also a must to agree on camp rules and to brief your kids in preparation for your trip.
Exercise and eat healthy at home to condition your body for camp. Try scheduling your trip during a season that will be easier for camping, like summer, for example. Practice camping in your backyard with your kids. You’ll learn how to set up the tent, and also have a fun bonding time.
How do I keep my kid busy while camping?
Bring some of your child’s favorite toys along for the ride. You can also rekindle the age-old tradition of telling spooky campfire stories. If your child doesn’t like scary stories, bring some books along and have a family bedtime story inside your tent instead. Pack chocolates, marshmallows, and crackers, and roast s’mores together with your kid. Bring fun board games like snakes and ladders. Explore the wild together and steal shots with your cameras.
What should we eat/drink while camping?
Drink only clean and purified water. The safest way is to bring your own water from home inside an airtight cooler.
Plan your meals ahead and make sure you have everything you could possibly need to cook good food while in camp. Keep meals simple and easy to prepare. Pre-season your meats before your scheduled trip. Seasoning helps extend the shelf life of your meats. A rotomolded cooler will keep your fresh meat fresh and protected from bacteria.
Don’t forage for berries and nuts. You never know if they’re safe to eat or not, and I recommend that you don’t try and find out the hard way.
How do we stay safe while camping?
Choose a campsite that’s away from any dangerous wild animals beforehand. Read up on dangerous plants that are in the area beforehand, and steer clear of them. Bring insect repellent to avoid getting any of the disgusting diseases that mosquitoes and bugs carry around with them.
Lastly, teach your kids what to do. Educate them on what is safe to consume, and what is not. Teach them to stay away from dangerous places such as cliffs or lakes, and teach them what to do in case they ever get lost.
Don’t forget to tell someone you know that you’re going camping with your family. That way, somebody will be able to anticipate when you’re back and sound the alarm if you’re out of reach when you’re supposed to be back but not. Also, check the news and the weather forecast before your trip, to avoid camping through bad weather. We hope that our camping with kids checklist helped you in finding what you need for your big trip.