The Ultimate Camping Checklist: 14 Must-Have Items When Camping with Kids

Embarking on a camping adventure with your kids with the must-have things needed for camping? It’s a perfect way to ignite their sense of wonder, love for nature, and unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

Family camping trips have been on the rise, with a 64% increase in camping participation among households with children over the past decade. According to a survey, 74% of parents believe that camping helps their children appreciate and understand nature better.

But before you head out into the wilderness, make sure you're armed with the must-have things needed for camping that will turn your camping trip into a roaring success. From spacious tents to cozy sleeping gear, we've got you covered with the essentials for a family camping experience like no other. 

So, grab your backpacks, gather your little adventurers, and let's dive into the wild world of camping with kids with the most important things that are needed for camping

  • Spacious Tent

Invest in a spacious tent that offers enough room for the entire family. Look for a tent with separate compartments or dividers, allowing parents and children to have their own sleeping areas. Additionally, choose a tent with an easy setup and strong weather resistance.

Tip: Practice setting up the tent in your backyard before the camping trip to familiarize yourself with the process and avoid any surprises.

  • Comfortable Sleeping Gear

Ensure your kids have comfortable sleeping arrangements. Sleeping bags designed specifically for children, along with cozy sleeping mats or air mattresses are important things needed for camping. It will make a world of difference in your kid’s camping experience. 

Tip: Choose bags with bright colors or fun patterns to make them more appealing to children.

  • Insect Repellent

Keep pesky bugs at bay by packing a reliable insect repellent. Choose a child-friendly repellent with a gentle formula that effectively repels mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects. Apply it to your kids' exposed skin and clothing to prevent insect bites.

Tip: Opt for insect repellents with natural ingredients or DEET-free alternatives, especially for younger children, and reapply as recommended to maintain protection. 

  • Outdoor Clothing

The next must-have thing needed for camping is outdoor clothing for your kids to stay comfortable throughout the camping trip. You can include items such as waterproof jackets, hats, gloves, and sturdy shoes. Dressing in layers is a smart approach to accommodate changing weather conditions.

Tip: Let your kids choose their own camping outfits to get them excited and involved in the preparation process.

  • Outdoor Safety Gear

Safety should always be a top priority. Pack essential outdoor safety gear, including a whistle, a compass, a map of the area, and a multi-tool. When faced with emergency or unplanned circumstances, these objects can be useful.

Tip: Teach your kids how to use these safety items and educate them about basic navigation skills. 

  • Portable Camping Chairs and Tables

Portable camping chairs and tables are the most important things that are needed for camping. It will make your kids comfortable to relax, play games, or enjoy meals. Look for lightweight, foldable options that are easy to carry and set up.

Tip: Bring a child-sized camping chair to make your little ones feel special and included in the camping experience.

  • Camping Stove and Cookware

Cooking meals over a campfire can be a fun part of camping. Invest in a camping stove and cookware suitable for family use. Ensure you have pots, pans, utensils, and plates suitable for kids' meals. Additionally, don't forget essentials like matches or a lighter.

Tip: Involve your kids in simple cooking activities, such as making or heating pre-packaged camping meals, under adult supervision.

  • Water Bottles and Hydration Packs

It's important to stay hydrated, especially when spending time outside. Equip each family member with a sturdy water bottle or hydration pack to ensure they have access to fresh water throughout the camping trip.

Tip: Encourage your kids to drink water regularly and set a good example by staying hydrated.

  • First Aid Kit

Accidents can happen, even during a camping trip. A first aid kit is one of the most vital things needed for camping. So be prepared by carrying a well-stocked first aid kit that includes band-aids, antiseptic ointment, gauze, tweezers, and any necessary medication your children may need.

Tip: Take a basic first aid course before your trip to ensure you have the knowledge and skills to handle common camping injuries.

  • Camping Lantern or Headlamp

Provide your kids with their own camping lantern or headlamp to navigate around the campsite at night. This will not only help keep them safe but also make nighttime adventures more exciting.

Tip: Teach your kids how to use their camping lanterns responsibly and remind them to conserve battery power when not in use.

  • Entertainment and Games

Keep your kids engaged and entertained with a variety of activities and games. Pack items such as frisbees, balls, board games, cards, and coloring books. Outdoor activities like scavenger hunts or nature walks can also be a great way to keep them entertained while exploring the surroundings.

Tip: Encourage your kids to disconnect from screens and embrace the outdoor experience. Engage in storytelling sessions around the campfire or stargazing at night.

  • Portable Power Bank

In today's digital age, having a portable power bank is essential. It ensures you have a backup power source to charge your devices, such as smartphones or cameras, in case the campsite doesn't provide electricity.

Tip: Use technology sparingly during the camping trip and prioritize spending quality time together as a family.

  • Portable Camping Shower

Maintaining cleanliness and hygiene is important, even in the wilderness. A portable camping shower is also a must-have thing needed for camping to make your kids stay fresh and clean throughout the camping trip.

Tip: Set up the portable camping shower in a private area to ensure privacy for your kids while they shower.

  • Camping Books and Storytelling Materials

Encourage reading and storytelling by bringing camping-themed books and storytelling materials. This can be a great way to wind down in the evenings or during rainy days inside the tent.

Tip: Have a designated storytelling time where each family member takes turns sharing their favorite camping story or creating an imaginary adventure.


Now that you're armed with the knowledge of the must-have things needed for camping with kids, it's time to start planning your next outdoor escapade. Take a moment to create a checklist incorporating all the essentials we've discussed, and customize it to suit your family's specific needs and preferences.

Remember, the key to a successful camping trip with kids lies in preparation and organization. Gather all the necessary gear and involve your children in the process. It will surely nourish your children's spirits, deepen family bonds, and ignite a love for the great outdoors that will last a lifetime. Happy camping!

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