Family Camping Tips (How to Have a Stress Free Experience)

Family camping is about diving into nature and enjoying the outside world with those nearest and dearest. It’s exciting and fun but it can also be hard work. If you’re looking for a way to make family camping straightforward, we’ve got some tips you need to read.

Some of our top family camping tips include packing lots of snacks, choosing your campsite wisely, keeping a bedtime routine, planning campsite activities, prepping food beforehand, and remaining positive no matter the challenges. Most of all, remember to chill out and enjoy yourself!

Our family camping tips focus on making life easier for you. Whether you are car camping, tent camping, or RV camping, this article has a tip for you. Read below to find out how to make your family camping experience stress free.

32 Family Camping Tips

Below we’ve got 32 family camping tips. You don’t need to follow all these tips to have a good time, but this list can help you iron out any stresses you might be having about your upcoming trip. 

1. Follow a Packing Checklist

To avoid forgetting any essentials make or follow a family camping checklist.

If you’re worried about buying a load of new camping gear, consider borrowing from friends or renting from camping outlets. This will ensure you and the family have everything you need.

I’ve curated a family camping checklist that goes into detail on all the essentials you need, feel free to check it out!

Follow a Packing Checklist

2. Pack Clearly

Pack everything in see-through or cardboard boxes with labels to make it easier when you arrive at your campsite.

You can put the gear into assigned boxes such as kitchen gear, waterproof clothing, and activities. You’ll be more organized, and it’ll be much simpler to find something in a hurry!  

3. Pack on the Bug Repellent

Bug bites can be a serious downer on a camping trip, but you can avoid them by packing bug repellent.

Bug repellent also decreases the risk of infection from diseases carried by ticks and mosquitos.

Although DEET is considered safe for children, it is toxic if ingested. For this reason, we’d advise using a DEET-free bug repellent if you have small children.

4. Prep Food Beforehand

Prepping food for your camping trip can make dinner time a breeze. Instead of worrying about cutting all the veg and making a mess, you can enjoy mealtimes by organizing these meals beforehand.

For example, you can take pre-made chili-con Carne that just heats up in a pot or prepare a cut-up fajitas mix ahead of time and store it inside plastic sealed bags. 

You can check out my article on camping food ideas to find some quick recommendations to save your time.

5. Set Up Camp Before Dark

Setting up camp with the family at night can be much more challenging than during the day. Imagine trying to put up a tent with your kids holding torches for you to see.

As well as this, setting up camp in the dark can be dangerous, especially if you can’t see what kind of terrain you’re pitching up on. You don’t want to wake up on the side of a hill or cliff.

Sometimes setting up camp in the dark can’t be avoided, but if it can be, set up in the daylight!

Set Up Camp Before Dark

6. Toys

Whether your kids are young or teenagers, you’ll want to pack some kind of toy so they can keep themselves entertained. For teenagers, that could be a book or game.

For younger kids, pack their favorite toys.

Make sure these toys are not electronic (you don’t know what might happen to them!) and they serve as good distractions when you need to tidy up or have a moment’s peace.

7. Plan Family Activities

If you know a little about the area you’re camping in, you can plan some family activities before you get to your campground.

Perhaps your campground has a lake nearby where you can go swimming, or maybe there are family-friendly hiking trails. Planning these activities can make days simpler and less stressful. 

8. Get Ready for Nighttime

Nighttime in an unfamiliar place can present its challenges. Kids may find it stressful to sleep or settle down when they’ve sleeping somewhere new, especially when they’re sleeping in a tent.

Get the family familiar with the campground and nighttime noises, this will make sleeping less stressful.

9. Make a Cozy Bedtime Nest

Another handy tip is to make your sleeping area in your tent as cozy as possible. Take some pillows and blankets from home to make the family’s sleeping area warm and relaxing.

This will help little ones feel safe and secure, hopefully sleeping the whole night. 

10. Choose Your Campsite Wisely

While choosing a campsite with good tent pitches is a must, you’ll also want to consider what amenities and activities it will offer.

Depending on your family’s needs, you may want to choose a campsite with hot showers, a kettle, or a common roofed area. Choosing a campsite with a range of family-friendly activities is also wise.

11. Prepare For Any Weather

While you could be forecasted sun for the entirety of your camping trip, it’s best to be prepared for rain. Pack waterproofs, indoor games, and meals that can be made without a campfire.

You will leave nothing up to chance!

12. Make Campfires Easy

From my experience, getting a campfire going can be time-consuming, especially if it’s windy! Make it quick and easy by purchasing fire starters or making your own out of toilet paper rolls.

Either of these will get a fire crackling in no time!

Make Campfires Easy

13. Snacks

Pack those snacks! Be aware that during your camping trip, your kids will most likely be burning off some serious energy with campsite activities.

You’ll need to make sure you have high-energy snacks and lots of them! Snack ideas include trail mix, bananas, popcorn, energy bars, or crisps.

14. Share out the Chores

Sharing out the camping chores will depend on how old your children are. You don’t want to assign meal prep to a toddler.

However, most kids can help with cleaning up after meals or making the bed in the morning. Take some of the pressure off yourself by sharing smaller chores.

15. Pack Those Baby Wipes!

Always remember, when you’re camping, baby wipes are a lifesaver. Baby wipes are handy for cleaning up your kids quickly and can also be used to wipe down surfaces.

Once the wipes are dried out, they can be popped onto your campfire.

16. Bring Torches, Fairy Lights and Glow Sticks

Make sure to bring enough lights to light up your campground when it gets dark. You can use fairy lights, solar paneled lights, glow sticks, or torches.

Fairy lights can make your campground feel homier, while glow sticks can be tied to your tent’s guide ropes. Lighting up your tent at night can make it much safer, as nobody will be tripping over a tent peg!

17. Be Flexible

If the weather isn’t perfect or a family activity isn’t available at the campsite, be prepared to be flexible. Not everything can be planned, and it’s good to be ready for changing circumstances.

Don’t be tough on yourself if everything isn’t how you imagined!

18. Extra Tarps! 

You might be hesitant to add more camping gear to your packing list, but taking extra tarps is worth it.

If you’re experiencing persistent rain, it’ll be wise to put tarps above your cooking area and create a common area with them.

These will shield you from the rain and prevent you from spending all day inside your tent.

19. Extra Layers are a Must

Layers are the best way to beat cold or cooler weather. Instead of packing one thick layer for everyone, consider packing extra layers.

This makes it easier for family members to regulate their body heat instead of sweating and, in turn, getting colder!

Extra Layers are a Must

20. Don’t Forget Coffee

With all the activities and fun, family camping can be pretty tiring. A good way to knock back that fatigue is to load up on coffee (or tea!).

Although you don’t need to rush your caffeine injection, we recommend taking some filter coffee or a tub of nice instant granules so you can get your fix quickly when needed. 

21. Stay Safe

When camping, it’s good to identify dangers that could be hazardous to your family. This might include an open campfire, poisonous plants, and insects, or drinking unpurified water.

It can be helpful to educate your kids about these dangers so they know how to react in case of emergencies. They might end up keeping you safe!  

22. Keep a Bedtime Routine

A good way for everyone to wind down after a fun-filled day is to have a good bedtime routine. This could look like hot chocolate, brushing teeth, and then a story.

A bedtime routine helps the kids to know it’s time to calm down and sleep. Remember, keeping a routine makes it easier for you and them.

23. Bring Family Camping Friends

Taking some friends along for a joint family camping trip can make the experience less stressful and even more enjoyable.

Firstly it’s great because you won’t need to entertain your kids all the time and secondly you can share some of the cooking and cleaning! 

24. Pack Home Comforts

Packing home comforts like a favorite blanket or comfy pajamas can make camping easier for everyone.

Like my first aid kit, home comfort is a crucial piece of camping gear that I could not leave home without.

My home comfort is my coffee percolator. I always feel at ease when I have a nice coffee. This is what your home comfort should make you feel. Prepare to take at least one home comfort for everyone!

25. Get the Family Excited About Nature

The best thing about camping is being out in nature. You can make the most of the outdoors by encouraging your family to explore its natural beauty.

The good idea is to take along a nature book that names the wildlife around you. This means the family can learn about the natural world in an exciting and hands-on way!

26. More Toilet Paper

Not all campsites will provide toilet paper, so be prepared! Packing a couple of extra toilet rolls for your trip is better than not having enough.

Make sure you check if your campsite even has toilets! If they don’t, take a small shovel so you can bury your paper and fecal waste.

More Toilet paper

27. Sunscreen

First, pack enough sunscreen for your trip, and second, make sure everyone has put it on before you start your day.

You’ll most likely spend most of your camping trip outdoors, so the risk of sunburn is much higher.

Remember to top-up everyone’s sunscreen throughout the day and reapply immediately if someone has been swimming!

28. Make Dinner Time Fun

Who doesn’t like roasting marshmallows or cooking sausages over an open fire? The family can get involved with roasting sticks and cooking their food over the fire.

My personal favorite is making s’more sandwiches. You just need to roast a marshmallow till it’s sticky and melted, and then put it between two biscuits and enjoy!

Just make sure little ones are observed if they are anywhere near an open campfire.

29. Remember the First Aid Kit

If you’ve read several of our articles, you are probably sick of hearing us say, ‘remember the first aid kit!’ but seriously, remember it! You never know when you might need a plaster or some antiseptic cream.

This is more than a tip. It’s a camping essential! If for some reason, you have forgotten your first aid kit, locate one on your campsite in case any accidents occur.

30. Be Optimistic

Create the best vibe for your family camping trip by maintaining an optimistic attitude.

Rain can make a doom-and-gloom camping atmosphere, but you can turn this negativity around by finding the silver lining.

If it’s raining outside, at least you’ll have more time for board games all day or listen to ghost stories! Remember, your mood can brighten the day, and you’ll surely have a great trip. 

31. Prepare for Challenges

Not everything will go to plan, and there will be challenges on your camping trip that you just can’t predict. That could include a hole in your tent or some family member having an accident.

It’s best to go easy on yourself and understand that not everything is within your control. See challenges as an inevitable part of family camping, and recognize that you can learn from them! 

32. Chill Out!

Family camping isn’t just for the kids, remember this is meant to be enjoyable for the adults too. Some campsites will offer kids programs for a whole or half day.

This can be a great time for you to chill out and relax. If you’re not interested in this, just remember that your family camping trip must not be packed with exciting camping adventures and activities 24/7.

You can take breaks and relax as a family. You can find some fun camping activities in my article.

Chill out

Making Family Camping a Breeze…

Family camping may seem like a lot of preparation and energy but with these tips, you can be sure to have an enjoyable trip. If everything doesn’t go to plan, so what?

Remember that you can’t prepare for everything that might happen on a family camping trip, but you can stay positive!

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.

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