Camping with the family may not be for everyone and it is definitely a learning curve – what works for you on one trip may be totally different on the next!
I’ll start by sharing a few of our must-have camping items with the family and then if you scroll below, you’ll see our checklist of what we take on each of our trips. Let us know if we’ve forgotten anything!
A few tips / ideas for family camping essentials
I know everyone has different budgets and prefers different sizes of tents. There are so many out there it can be like a minefield! We have a 4-man family tent which is great for both me and Lily with the air beds and living space for us too.
I also love the darkened bedroom to keep Lily to her bedtime routine without the late nights/early mornings. I do dream of an air tent, but then they can be heavier!
Tent rug / picnic blanket
Whenever I share tent photos, people always ask about the rug! I use a picnic blanket from Amazon as a cheaper and more colourful version of a tent rug. It has a waterproof base with a tiny bit of padding, and rolls up to store for the drive. It lives in the car but keeps us a bit warmer from the ground at night time and can also be used outside thanks to its silver base!
I’ve found our trailer great for our camping trips, particularly at festivals or where the car is far away from the tent. It really helps to be able to get back and fore so much easier with a little one!
Storage is now an essential on our camping trips to help me organise things a bit more. I’ve a small camping cupboard where I keep all the food and utensils zipped away, as well as a car book organiser that folds flat, where I store shoes in one side and toys in the other, so Lily knows where to find everything, or we can grab some footwear at the last minute!
Talking about footwear, wellies and flip flops or slip-on shoes (for the shower or when you need to nip outside quickly) are definitely on my essentials list!
For rainy days or quiet time in the tent, I take along books, colouring, paper for drawing and puzzle books. For outdoors I always take some outdoor toys including a ball, as Lily always seems to make friends by asking other kids to play ball with her!
I bought our windbreaker for less than £10, but it is great not just for the wind, but also to give us a bit of privacy, a little bit of shade, as well as protection for my little stove so I can make my tea with less exposure 🙂
Family camping checklist
Not all of these will be relevant, but hopefully I’ve included enough for you to get started 🙂
- Tent & pegs
- Bedding/Sleeping bag / pillows
- Air pump
- Picnic rug
- Camping table
- Folding chairs
- Wind breaker
- Picnic rug / tent rug
- Camping cupboard / storage
- Towels (you can never pack too many!)
- Wipes – either reusable or wetwipes
- Wellies & flip flops or slip-on shoes
- Bowls/ cups/ plates / cutlery
- Reusable mugs such as a KeepCup
- Camping pan
- Kettle (camping or electric – or both!)
- Electric sockets (if needed)
- Charger bank
- Spare batteries
- Charger plugs
- Water container
- Hats – sun caps and beanies!
- Indoor activities, eg colouring/puzzles
- Outdoor activities, eg ball
- Toilet paper
- Potty / portable toilet
- Bin bags – several, for separating recycling/rubbish as well as for rainy day emergencies!
- Collapsible washing up bowl
- Kitchen towel and sponge/cloth
- Washing up liquid
- Antiseptic wipes
- Cooler box
- Freezer packs
- Hot water bottles
- First aid kit
Long life camping food ideas
- Cereal bars
- Squeezy jelly
- Ready-made custard
- Porridge pots
- Juice cartons
- Long life milk
- Hot chocolate powder
- Tea bags (herbal or normal) / instant coffee
- Rolls, such as brioche / long life
- Fruit such as pears or apples
- Dried fruit / fruit bars
Clothing ideas for camping with kids
- Onesies (for kids!)
- Warm socks
- Sweaters / hoodies / fleece
- Warm pyjamas
- Waterproof coat / trousers
Remember, when it comes to clothing, you can never pack too much as you’ll often find you go through so many clothes!!