Parenting Tips For Camping With Kids [Perfect For First-Time Campers]

Are you a veteran camper looking to pass your survivalist skills to your little ones? Or is this your first time camping with the entire family? Regardless of where you fall, the most important thing is that you bring all the essential camping equipment and gear. 

Your kids may be excited to explore Mother Nature. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be open to the idea of “roughing it out” or “improvising” to make up for the gear you forget. To help you, I have compiled a list of the most essential gear to carry when camping with kids.

Tips to Choose Camping Gear for Kids 

Backyard Camping Trial Run

Oftentimes, you won’t know what you need until you get to the campsite. I recommend having a trial run camp in your backyard to avoid such a situation. This allows you to test out different gear. Most importantly, you can figure out the specific camping equipment you need to carry. 

Borrow Some of the Supplies

Do you have friends, family members, or colleagues who always go camping? If you do, there’s a good chance that they can lend you some of their camping gear. 

Using this approach offers two fundamental benefits. The most obvious is the fact that it saves you money. Secondly, it helps you figure out what’s important and what’s not. For instance, if you borrow a hanging cupboard and end up not using it, perhaps you can do without it. 

Determine Your Camping Style

Still unsure of what to bring when you go camping with kids? First, establish the type of camping you prefer. 

Do you prefer to camp in your RV? Or do you want the real deal where you camp in the wild? Answering these questions can help you figure out the supplies you need. 

Check the Weather Conditions

Another factor to consider when choosing your camping supplies is the climatic condition. Check the weather forecast a day or two before your scheduled trip just to be sure. 

Usually, the best time to plan a camping trip with kids is when it’s warm. If this is the case, pack enough sunscreen for everyone. Also, don’t forget to carry a sun hat and sunglasses. 

However, if you prefer to camp in the colder season, you’ll need to carry a different set of items. Pack additional warm clothes, socks, mittens/gloves, and blankets.

What to Bring to Camping

And now to the fun part! Here’s a list of things that you should carry when camping with kids:

Sleeping Gear

  • Camping tent - one of the first things you should buy is a tent. It should be spacious enough to fit the entire family, easy to set up, and durable. 
  • Tarp/ ground cover - getting a tarp for placing underneath the tent is also good. It minimizes the risk of the tent ripping and helps keep it dry. Quick tip: buy a tarp that’s slightly bigger than your tent for adequate coverage.
  • Sleeping bags, pads & pillows - anytime you’re camping with kids, you’ll want to invest in both sleeping pads and sleeping bags. A sleeping bag provides a cozy area to sleep in. But it might not protect you from the cold ground underneath. 


When it comes to clothes, pay attention to the fabrics they’re made of. Ideally, the material should be quick to dry and have moisture-wicking capabilities. Here are some of the clothing items you should bring:

  • Long and short sleeve T-shirts - carrying both short and long sleeve T-shirts is a great idea. This way, the kids can wear short sleeve shirts when it’s too hot and long sleeves when it’s cold.
  • Fleece jacket - great for keeping your kids warm.
  • A waterproof layer - a waterproof jacket or kid’s raincoat is also necessary. 
  • Convertible trousers - for versatility, look for kids’ convertible trousers. This way, you can zip off the trousers’ legs and turn them into shorts. 
  • Flip flops - just in case you need to use a communal shower facility.
  • Hiking shoes - if you’re planning to take the kids hiking.
  • Socks - preferably ones made of wool 

Kitchen Equipment

Whether you’re planning to hunt or fish, you’ll need a means of cooking. To achieve this, consider carrying the following:

  • Camp stove and fuel 
  • Matches or a firestarter
  • Sharp knife
  • Cook pots
  • Cooler
  • Can opener
  • Plates and mugs
  • Water bottles


These aren’t mandatory. But they can make your camping experience a little bit easier. These items include:

  • A camp grill
  • Tea or coffee maker
  • Roasting forks
  • Griddle
  • Water jugs
  • Storage containers 

First Aid and Toiletries

A first aid kit is one of the most important things to carry when camping with kids. While your little ones will enjoy rolling in the mud and climbing trees, there’s a high probability that they’ll get into trouble too. To be on the safe side, carry a first aid kit along with these toiletries:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Prescription medications
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Shampoo and body wash
  • A toddler potty

Bug and Sun Protection

In addition to toiletries, look for products that offer protection from bugs and harsh UV rays. 

  • An insect repellent
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen

Entertainment Items

Camping isn’t just about teaching your kids survival skills. It also allows you to bond with them. And, there’s no better way to achieve this than by playing games. To ensure they have round-the-clock entertainment, add these items to your checklist:

  • Beach toys
  • A backpack - in case you go hiking
  • Bikes and helmets
  • Scavenger hunt list
  • Coloring books
  • Binoculars and camera equipment
  • Frisbee
  • Life jackets
  • Fishing gear


Planning a camping trip with kids? If you are, you should be mindful of what you pack. To make your selection easy, plan a backyard camping trial run. 

You should also determine your camping style ahead of time. Is it RV camping or wild camping? Finally, don’t forget to check the weather forecast for the area you’ll be camping. 

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