25 ESSENTIAL Items for Your Camping Packing List

Posted By Allison on Sep 1, 2016


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Welcome!

Camping is a FUN way to get close to nature and strengthen family bonds. Once you buy the essential gear, it can last for years. This makes camping a great, inexpensive alternative to hotels and vacation rentals. You can find family-friendly campgrounds in the mountains, on the beach and even at theme parks!

There are several ways to camp, including backpacking, RV, and glamping. Tent camping in an established campground is how we usually do it. I confess that while we love the outdoors, we are not frequent campers. However, my husband and I have been camping all our lives and still enjoy the occasional camping trip with extended family and friends.

Here are the ESSENTIAL items and tips for nearly any camping packing list.

25 ESSENTIAL items for your camping packing list | tipsforfamilyrips.com | camping checklist | camping supplies | summer | tent camping | camping stuff | what to bring camping

Sleeping

Some people sleep better outdoors than anywhere else. The rest of us have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep on a camping trip. Having quality gear can make a BIG difference.

A good tent can protect you from wild weather and last for decades if you take care of it. My parents still use the Springbar tent they bought more than 30 years ago. It’s the same tent our local scout troop uses for their all-weather camping adventures. My own tent is less expensive, but it has served us well for backyard and fair weather camping.

Be aware that a 6-person tent will be a tight squeeze for 6 people and leave little space for luggage. Some families prefer to use 2 or more smaller tents instead of one big tent.

MUST HAVE items

25 ESSENTIAL items for your camping packing list | tipsforfamilyrips.com | camping checklist | camping supplies | summer | tent camping | camping stuff | what to bring camping

Photo credit: Dinner with Julie

Eating

Eating around the campfire is one of the BEST parts of camping. You burn a lot of calories when you play outdoors all day, which makes having plenty of good food and snacks key to the success of a camping trip.

Buy cookware, dishes and utensils especially for camping and store them in a bin so they are always ready to go. Buy them second hand, or buy new things for your home kitchen and put your old stuff in the bin. This will make packing SO MUCH EASIER!

MUST HAVE items

Campfire

Whether you share family stories, sing silly songs or talk about nothing important at all, the campfire is where enduring camp memories are made. It’s also an easy way to cook meals and desserts!

Check fire restrictions at your destination before you leave home, and follow the rules. Find out whether you can bring your own fire wood or collect it at the campground. Local restrictions may require you to purchase wood at your destination. Teach children about fire safety and ALWAYS extinguish your fire completely.

Lighting a good campfire is not as easy as it looks. The key is to get it going with dry newspaper (tinder) and small branches (kindling) that will keep the fire burning long enough to ignite larger logs. A hatchet is handy for cutting logs into tinder or kindling.

MUST HAVE items

25 ESSENTIAL items for your camping packing list | tipsforfamilyrips.com | camping checklist | camping supplies | summer | tent camping | camping stuff | what to bring camping

Clothing

It’s hard to have fun on a camping trip if you’re too hot, cold or soaked. Pack versatile moisture wicking layers for every member of the family. Beware of cotton fabrics when temperatures fall because they do not insulate. Long pants and long sleeve shirts will protect from insects and sun. A sturdy and comfortable pair of shoes will keep you on your feet all day.

Know the climate and weather forecast for your destination. Don’t overpack! Quality matters more than quantity and getting dirty is part of the fun.

MUST HAVE items

25 ESSENTIAL items for your camping packing list | tipsforfamilyrips.com | camping checklist | camping supplies | summer | tent camping | camping stuff | what to bring camping

Recreation

Many families love camping because it’s a fun way to unplug. When the wifi is gone, you’ll want to pack a few ways to play around the campground.

MUST HAVE items

If you don’t have much camping gear, you don’t need to buy everything at once. Quality matters, and a good piece of equipment can last many years. Get what you need over time and rent, borrow or share the rest until you get your own. Camping equipment makes great birthday or Christmas gifts!

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Allison
Hi there! I am the founder of Tips for Family Trips. I am a married mom of two children, ages 10 and 12, living near Salt Lake City, Utah. We took our first child on a two-week road trip when she was four weeks old and we have been traveling as a family ever since. We love to get out of the house to see and do fun things, both far away and in our own neighborhood.

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