From tents to sleeping bags, here's what you need for a comfortable and enjoyable family camping experience!
A family camping adventure is a great way to get back to nature, bond with your family and friends, and enjoy some quality time in the outdoors. It can also be a fantastic opportunity for kids of all ages to experience new things like fishing or hiking. But before you pack up the car and head out on an adventure, there are a few family camping essentials that you should bring with you. Whether you're going solo or taking your whole family along for the ride, it's always good to be prepared. (For more info, read: Why camping is good for you?)
Having a good family camping essential checklist can help make your first trip as a family go smoothly. The best way to enjoy camping is with the right gear. It can be challenging to know what items are necessary and which ones aren't, so we've created this blog post as a guide for you. Check out these family camping essentials before packing up your car!
Here’s a list of family camping essentials to help you prepare for your next camping holiday.
Family Camping Essential #1: Tent
This one’s obvious. One of the first things you should pack in for your family camping trip is a tent. Tents are portable means of shelter that will protect you and your kids from the elements. It is the most important gear for any camping trip. Invest in a high-quality family camping tent that is not only durable and weatherproof but also very easy to set up and take down. Because no one wants to spend hours on end setting up a tent. Also, consider bringing a tent carpet so as to make the tent floor more comfortable.
The size of your tent will depend on how many family members you plan to bring. Most camping tents can only accommodate 3 to 7 people. We recommend buying the ‘CORE 9 Person Instant Cabin Tent’. It can easily accommodate 9 people if needed and takes just 2 minutes to set up.
Family Camping Essential #2: Sleeping Gear
Making the right sleeping arrangements is a must if you’re camping with your family. Packing an inflatable sleeping pad like our 3-inch Foam Bed Ultra can help you stay comfortable and sleep well at night. For added warmth, you should also bring some sleeping bags that offer a warm and cozy escape from the cold. A good sleeping bag is an investment that will pay off in spades. Not only does it keep your body warm but also invites a peaceful slumber into all its folds. Don’t forget to bring pillows and blankets.
We recommend buying the ALUFT Deluxe Inflatable Camping Pillow! It is light, comfortable, and comes with a double-decked air valve that lets you fully inflate the pillow with just 3-5 breaths. These are not absolutely necessary but you will sleep better & wake refreshed if you have these sleeping gears with you. It's best to test these items before your camping trip. And always keep a repair kit packed right next to your tent.
Related: How to choose the best sleeping pad?
Family Camping Essential #3: Weather-Appropriate Clothing
Don’t overlook this vital part of packing. Figuring out what to wear while camping outdoors is very important. What you choose to wear can make or break your family camping experience. The weather and outside temperature will probably change multiple times during your camping trip. So, you and your family members need to be dressed up adequately to cope with these changes. Choose something that is durable, breathable, and light. Don’t try to bring your entire wardrobe. We suggest packing in some t-shirts, shorts, jeans/pants, socks, underwear, pajamas, bathing suit, jacket or sweater, a rain jacket, closed-toed shoes, sandals, and flip-flops. Prioritize bringing varieties of clothes that can handle hot days and cold nights.
Family Camping Essential #4: Camp Stove & Cookware
You will need to cook meals at the campsite. That’s why you shouldn’t forget to bring cooking essentials like a camp stove and cookware, especially if you see yourself as an outdoor chef. Just head into any outdoor retailer shop and you’ll find tons cooking supplies – plus an outdoor kitchen sink. Bringing a camp stove and cookware will make cooking outdoors easy and delicious. Before buying any cookware such as pots and frying pans, make sure they are compatible with your camping stove. You should also bring metal tongs, cutting board, knife, plastic cutlery, and plates. Plus, a cooler will be of great use if you choose to bring one.
Family Camping Essential #5: Water Containers and Filtration
Staying hydrated is essential when camping. So it pays to bring water containers and purifiers. Most campsites have easy access to water but you will need containers to collect and bring the water to your camp for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. Keep in mind that not all campsites have access to clean drinking water. And you should never drink untreated water. That is why you need to bring some sort of water filtration device which can remove all harmful contaminants from the water. We recommend buying the Platypus Gravity Works 4 Liter Water Filter System which can filter large quantities of water at once. You can also bring the Aquamira Water Purifications Drops just in case your water filter breaks down.
Family Camping Essential #6: First Aid Kit
This is extremely important. A first aid kit is a must-have for all types of outdoor adventures. No matter how well-planned your trip is, you should always bring a fully stocked first aid kit. Your first aid medical kit should have the following items.
- Adhesive bandages of various sizes
- Eye drops
- Anti-diarrhea medicine
- Butterfly bandages
- Triple antibiotic ointment
- Sunburn relief spray
- Hand sanitizer
- Sterile wipes and rinse solutions
- Gauze pads of various sizes or gauze roll
- Antiseptic creams and ointments
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Prescription medicines
- Tweezers, scissors, safety pins, and knife
- Pain and anti-inflammatory medicine
- Antihistamine for allergic reactions
Note: Learn how to properly use all of the medical items in your first aid kit. Don’t forget to check and replace expired medications.
Family Camping Essential #7: Headlamp or Lantern
Remember to bring camping headlamps and lanterns if you don’t want to sit in absolute darkness inside your tent. A good headlamp is quite simply one of the most important family camping essentials to pack whenever you are out camping. No matter how much light there is outside at night, it's always good to have a backup in case any power sources go out or if it gets too dark. Headlamps help you move around camp while you look for your food and set up your tent. They also make nighttime cooking a lot easier. Whether it’s to help pitch your tent in the dark or find your way back to your site once the sun has gone down, having some sort of light source is a must. We recommend the
- A folding chair and table
- Insect repellents
- Multi-tool for quick fixes
- Maps and guidebooks
- Biodegradable soap
Every camping trip is different. But bringing these family camping essentials will definitely help you get the most out of your camping trip outdoors. So, borrow or invest as needed. Just be sure to purchase quality gear even if you’re on a budget because it’ll last longer. And always test every single piece of equipment before heading out.
Do you have any checklist of family camping essentials? What gears and equipment do you normally bring on a family camping trip? We’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment below.
Hungry for more?