Camping With Kids Checklist (Gear, Clothing,and Safety)

Family camping might be a common pastime, or perhaps you’re trying it out for the first time. Either way, you’re reading this article because you want to know exactly what to pack for you and the kids. Below is a simple checklist that covers everything you need to pack for camping with kids.

When camping with kids, remember 6 groups of items that will make packing much simpler. This includes camping equipment, sleeping gear, kitchen gear, clothing, and health and hygiene. The last and most important group of items to pack is for fun. Prepare fun activities to entertain your kids!

This checklist has 33 camping items you don’t want to forget. We’ve organized them into 6 groups to make the packing process easier!

Camping Equipment

Camping equipment you need to tick off includes a tent, tarps, camping furniture, lights, and fire pit supplies!

1. Tent

Forgetting your tent might sound crazy, but it might be so obvious to pack that it slips your mind! Ensure your tent is in working order by putting it up before you take it camping.

This way, you can ensure you have all the stakes, poles, and pegs you’ll need to construct it. Some campers even take an extra play tent for kids.

This can be filled with toys and activities to keep them occupied while you tidy or relax.


2. Tarps

Tarps can be handy if the weather is looking unpredictable. To keep things dry, you can tie a tarp to some trees above your cooking area or over a blanket to make a dry space outside.

Instead of spending all day in your tent, tarps can keep you and the kids outside even when the weather is poor.

3. Camping Furniture

Camping furniture includes foldable tables, chairs, and even inflatable sofas! Camping furniture makes it easier for you and the kids to spend more time outside.

You can purchase kid chairs so everyone will have somewhere to sit around the fire!

My articles on the best foldable tables and foldable chairs offer top recommendations that can help you choose the right ones.

4. Lights

Your main camping equipment should always include lights for the evenings and nighttime.

Solar-powered lights are a great option because they’ll charge during the day and then keep your campsite illuminated by night.

This prevents any kids from tripping over guide ropes and hurting themselves.

5. Firewood and the Fire Pit

If you plan to set up a campfire, don’t forget firewood and a pit (unless your campsite provides it). Campfires can be a great way to cook meals and keep warm when it gets colder in the nighttime.

Fire starting is also a great skill to teach older kids, so as long as you bring the supplies, the kids can learn to set it up and light it.

6. Tools

Don’t forget essential tools such as a hammer or mallet. These can make it much simpler and quicker to put up your tent, especially if the ground is reluctant to take in your tent’s pegs!

It’s also handy to pack a swiss army knife. You won’t need to pack a bottle opener or screwdriver separately.


Sleeping Gear

Don’t forget to pack sleeping gear for the family. This includes inflatable mattresses, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, camping pillows, and blankets.

You can check my articles for some good sleeping pads and sleeping bags suggestions.

1. Inflatable Mattress (+ Air Pump!)

Inflatable mattresses bring an alleviated comfort to camping, which can be a blessing for you and the kids. Making sure the kids sleep well at night means you have fewer grumpy faces in the morning.

If the kids share a double mattress, ensure it’s big enough! Also, don’t forget the air pump, or someone will spend a long time blowing these up!

2. Sleeping Pad

A deflated air mattress can be irritating and sleep-depriving. If air mattresses aren’t your thing, you may be packing sleeping pads instead.

Perhaps you’re even packing both for added comfort! Make sure you pack a sleeping pad for each kid and that they have enough room to move around on it at night.

3. Sleeping Bags

One of the icons of camping is the sleeping bag. Make sure everyone has a sleeping bag packed, and also check that the sleeping bags will keep everyone warm throughout the night.

You can check how cold it will get at your campsite and match this with the temperature rating on everyone’s sleeping bags.

4. Camping Pillow

Your little campers may have camping pillows, or they may even prefer their pillow from home. Whichever it is, make sure you pack one for everyone.

A pillow can make camping more comfortable and help your kids sleep all night.

5. Blankets

Pack some extra blankets if you’re unsure how cold it will get at your campground. It’s better to prepare for the cold than to get cold and not be prepared.

If your kids have a favorite blanket, check this off your camping list.


Kitchen Gear

Pack this list of kitchen gear below to keep those hungry kids from tearing down camp. This list includes a camping stove, fuel for the stove, kitchenware, utensils, a cool box, air-tight containers, and a BBQ!

1. Camping Stove

Don’t forget the camping stove unless you want hungry, angry kids! It’s best to ensure it’s in working order before you pack it.

It’ll be more annoying to take it on your trip only to find out it doesn’t work at dinner time than to quickly set it up at home.

2. Fuel

If you’re taking a camping stove, you’ll want to pack enough fuel for your trip. Some gas canisters do not show how much fuel is left in the canister, so you’ll want to take extra if a canister is close to running out.

Also, if you plan to camp in cold temperatures, consider how long fuel will last or how effective it will be in the cold. 

3. Kitchenware

Kitchenware includes any pots, pans, plates, bowls, mugs, or cups that you might need to take camping. You don’t need to pack the silverware.

Just remember to count out a separate set of kitchenware for every family member.

It’s best to take kitchenware that won’t be broken easily, so avoid packing glass or porcelain (especially if you have little kids!). Don’t forget a chopping board if you plan to do your cooking prep in camp.

4. Utensils

Make sure you pack all the utensils you and the kids will need for eating. This includes knives, forks, and spoons. If the kids are smaller, opt for plastic cutlery instead.

You’ll also need utensils for cooking, such as a chopping knife, a wooden spoon, a spatula, or even a big soup spoon. Think about what meals you’ll be cooking and what utensils you’ll need to cook them!

5. Cool Box

Camping in the summer can get seriously hot, and prevent you and the kids from catching a tummy bug. Make sure you keep all refrigerated goods in a cool box.

You’ll want to keep any fresh meat in the cool box alongside fresh vegetables and fruit that will go bad in the heat.

A cool box is also a good way to keep your favorite drinks cold, which can be a real treat for you and the kids when it’s boiling outside.

Cool Box

7. Air-Tight Containers

Air-tight containers are essential for keeping your food fresh and preventing animals from poking around in your tent.

If you are aware that bears or coyotes inhabit close to your camping area, ensure you keep all food in air-tight containers for your safety and that of your kids. 

8. BBQ

What’s a family camping trip without a BBQ? There’s nothing that the family likes better than lighting a BBQ on a hot day and cooking up a summertime feast.

Make sure you pack fuel or coals for the BBQ. If you don’t have a BBQ, consider investing in a long-term one instead of a single-use one.


You can’t go camping without clothes. Ensure the family has everyday clothes for camping, layers, swim gear, shoes, and waterproofs.

You can check out my detailed article on camping clothes, to help you pack better for your camping trip.

1. Everyday Clothes

Everyday clothing for you and the kids should be adapted to your climate and what weather you predict. Pack lighter clothing like shorts, skirts, t-shirts, vests, and dresses in the summer.

If you think it’ll be cooler, pack long trousers, jumpers, or thermal long-sleeve tops. Make sure you have a couple of different outfits for each kid. Clothes can get dirty quickly when you’re camping.

2. Layers

If you are camping in the cold, instead of packing one thick jumper for each family member, pack you and the kids a couple of extra layers. It’s easier to regulate temperature with layers.

Even if you expect cooler temperatures at nighttime, pack a couple of layers for everyone, just in case.

3. Swim Gear

You may not be camping near water, but for some unknown reason, it’s always helpful to pack swimming gear! This can be helpful as well if showers at your campsite are communal.

You also never know when a campsite water fight might break out.

4. Shoes

Make sure you pack shoes suitable for the terrain at your campsite. If it’s summer, pack sandals and if you’re likely to be hiking, pack walking shoes.

You want to ensure everyone has a comfy pair of shoes for your camping trip. 

5. Waterproofs

The weather forecast is never 100% foolproof, so it’s best to prepare for rain even if you don’t think you’ll get it. Make sure you pack waterproof coats and pants.

The last thing you need is soggy, grumpy kids!


Health and Hygiene

Taking care of your family’s health and hygiene is essential to every camping trip. Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit, bug repellent, sunscreen, toiletries, baby wipes, and lots of toilet paper.

1. First Aid Kit

You never want to forget to pack your first aid kit. Make sure you have all the essentials inside it, such as antiseptic wipes, assorted bandages, waterproof plasters, gauze pads, and antibacterial cream.

If the kids are small, colorful plasters can be a good distraction from any injury. 

2. Bug Repellent

Bug repellent is a must, especially if you plan to camp near water. Make sure you check what type of bug repellent will benefit your kids before purchasing it.

DEET is toxic if ingested, so it’ll be best to avoid it if your kids are young.

3. Sunscreen

Camping usually includes more outdoor activities, so it’s a good idea to put sunscreen on and avoid that sunburn. There are two main types of sunscreen: chemical and mineral or physical.

It is recommended that kids wear lower-chemical sunscreens and opt for a more mineral-based product. This will help them to avoid any nasty skin reactions.

4. Toiletries

Toiletries you must remember include toothbrushes, toothpaste, towels, shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel. Make sure each family member has the toiletries that they need.

If anyone needs prescription medication, you can pack it under their toiletries list.

5. Baby Wipes

Baby wipes are a gift from the heavens! They clean up messy kids quickly and are also great to use for a dry shower, wiping down dirty sides, or freshening up after a busy day.

A bonus tip, once you’ve used a wipe, let it dry, and you can use it to help light your fire at night.

6. Toilet Paper

Campsites are notorious for toilets that don’t have any toilet paper! Remember you’re sharing these facilities with others, so don’t expect toilet paper to always be available.

Make sure you pack more than you think you will need. Best to be prepared than buy some toilet paper at the campsite.

If your campsite does not have toilets, you’ll need to pack a small shovel to bury your business.

Toilet Paper

7. Hand Sanitizer

It can be difficult to stay clean when camping, but with hand sanitizer, you can make sure you are still hygienic.

Particularly when kids might find it difficult to wash their hands thoroughly throughout the day, hand sanitizer can be a quick fix.

Fun Items

Finally, wherever you plan to camp, you’ll want to ensure you have an abundance of indoor and outdoor activities to keep the kids entertained!

1. Indoor Activities

Indoor activities are great for when the weather is bad, and you need to keep the kids occupied. You can pack books and magazines for the kids or prepare a wilderness art class with coloring pencils and paper.

If this doesn’t interest your kids, pack some board games (monopoly is always a winner!) or prepare for camping bingo.

2. At the Campsite Gear

Other fun items you can pack fall under the category of activities at the campsite. These may include a frisbee, a football, a badminton set, or a bowl set!

These are good activities for your kids if you need a bit of downtime in the afternoon, but they still have plenty of energy.

3. Activities Out of the Campsite

While you can pack for activities at the campsite, think about what you can pack outside. Are you likely to take the kids fishing, hiking, or cycling? If so, then pack the gear you’ll need!

For fishing, you’ll need rods and bait. For hiking, you’ll need a compass and map for cycling, bikes, and helmets. If a beach is nearby, don’t forget beach gear such as a beach ball, lilos, or parasol!

Make Sure All the Six Groups are Covered…

We hope this comprehensive camping with kids checklist prepares you for your family camping expedition!

Make sure you have these six core groups covered: camping equipment, sleeping gear, kitchen gear, clothing, health and hygiene, and fun items.

If you remember to pack these items, you will surely have a memorable trip! Enjoy!

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with his pet bunny when not out in the woods, exploring the infinite beauty of mother nature.

Recent Posts