If you’re just camping for yourself, all you really need is a sleeping bag, a tent, matches, and a couple of hot dogs to roast. But when you’re camping with your family, it’s a completely different story.
There are very specific needs when you’re going with kids, and there are a few items you’ll definitely want to bring.
#1 Screened Canopy
You can’t count on perfect weather, unfortunately. Depending on when you go, you might encounter a hot sun or cold rain. There are also plenty of bugs, including pesky mosquitos that will bite and keep your family up all night with the itching. A screened-in, pop-up canopy is an absolute necessity for your camping trips!
#2 Easy Snacks
You won’t realize how much you and your kids snack until you’re in the wilderness without anything extra to eat. Your energy will be down, your kids will be grumpy, and nobody wants that. The solution is to pack easy-to-grab snacks like muffins, snack-size bags of trail mix, dried fruit, granola bars, and PB&J sandwiches.
#3 Portable Phone Charger or Car Charger
Camping is one of the best ways to escape the constant demands of technology, and it’s a great way to keep your kids off their devices and spending quality time as a family. However, you don’t want to be without a phone completely. In the event of an emergency, you’ll be grateful you brought along a spare charger to call for help.
Much of your day will be spent hiking, fishing, or napping in a hammock, but there will be a lot of downtimes. Board games and cards can help fill that void. It brings your family back to a simpler time without electronics for entertainment. Check out some newer party games that will bring out your best fun and competitive sides.
Your family might also enjoy a few yard games, like bocce ball, ladder golf, frisbee, or croquet. These are best if you’re camping near a large section of grass.
#5 Propane Stove
When camping with the family, it’s simply not feasible to cook all your meals over the fire. (Although, a weenie roast and s’mores are musts!). If you want to eat well and without fuss, bring along a propane camping stove. You can cook on Dutch ovens, griddle pans, or cast iron skillets, to enjoy the best camping dishes without the mess or hazard of fire.
#6 Plastic Bins with Lids
Too many unwitting campers wake up to their food contaminated or scattered around the campground as critters chew through boxes and bags to eat it. If you live in an area with bears or larger predators, you also risk attracting them to your camp if your food isn’t properly stored.
Plastic bins with tight-fitting lids protect your food items. If you’re camping in a region with bears, remember to store your food in your car or in provided bear bins. Plastic containers are also great for keeping items dry if it rains. Plus, they’re easy to pack.
#7 Swimsuits and Swim Shoes
Some of the best camping memories are made when you camp near a body of water. Splashing in a nearby creek or swimming on a lake’s shore make the whole outdoor experience a joy for your family. Make sure you have your swimsuits, shoes, and beach towels ready for the trip!
#8 Extra Blankets
It’s surprising how cold it can get in the middle of the night when you don’t have four insulated walls to protect you. Even if you’re sleeping in a camper, you might experience a chill in the middle of the night that makes it impossible to sleep. Keep extra blankets near your kids’ sleeping bags to help everyone get a better night’s sleep.
#9 Wash Station Kit
Whether you’re trying to save on paper goods or you’re cooking a feast, there will be plenty of dishes. It’s essential to wash your dishes right away to prevent a larger mess later and to ward off insects and critters.
This task is much easier to complete if you bring along a washing kit. Two plastic storage containers make great makeshift sinks, one for washing and one for rinsing. Bring along dish soap, washcloths, and drying cloths to make this chore a cinch.
#10 Rope and Duct Tape
There are unlimited uses for duct tape and rope when camping. They can be used in their own right to create a drying rack for swimsuits, patch holes in your tent, secure a hammock, fix a broken fishing line, and more. Never go on a camping trip without them!