Equipment you need for your next family camping trip

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It’s that time of year when you start planning your family camping trips. An exciting and adventurous time. Before you head out into the wilderness, be sure to grab these family camping essentials:

Sleeping essentials

The real camping experience includes pitching a tent and sleeping under the stars. Don’t forget your tent and tent accessories like tent stakes, tent rain fly, and tent footprint. 

There are many options when picking the perfect tent. You’ll first want to consider the style of tent best suited for your family. Cabin-style tents with vertical walls maximize headroom. Dome-style tents with sloped walls tends to be stronger in inclement weather. Buy a tent big enough to fit your family size. A four-person tent averages 65 square feet. When determining required square feet, don’t forget to allot space for your equipment.

Other sleeping essentials include sleeping bags, ground pads, air mattresses (and air pump), pillows, and extra blankets for chilly nights. 

Living essentials

You’ll need to make sure you have enough equipment for the ultimate camping livelihood. Things you’ll need are camping chairs, headlamps, flashlights or lanterns, and a cooler with ice.

Toiletry essentials 

Let’s face it, camping might be more fun to rough it for a few days, but you’ll still need a few essentials. Toiletries to pack include sunscreen, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant, flip-flops for showering, toilet paper, towels, and daily medications. 

Cooking essentials 

There’s nothing like cooking on an open fire. You’ll first need to plan a camping menu and pack a few essentials. You will need plates, cups, bowls, silverware, cooking utensils, oven mitt, dish towels, dish soap, paper towels, kitchen knife, mixing bowl, can opener, Dutch oven, griddle, saucepans, cooking stove, and cooking fuel. 

Planning a family camping menu doesn’t have to be difficult. To ease the burden of cleanup, stick to one pot meals or skillet meals –stew, soup, chili, pasta – so you can pack (and cleanup) less. To make sure everyone is happy, make a shopping list of favorite proteins, carbohydrates, condiments, and snacks. Choose foods that can be multi-purpose like peanut butter. 

You’ll also want to make sure you pack trash bags, plastic zipper bags, drinking water (if water isn’t available on site), and refillable water bottles.

Other essentials 

Be prepared for accidents with a fire extinguisher and first aid kit. 

You’ll also want to prepare to have fun with things like bicycles (and helmets), binoculars, books on nature identification (i.e. bird books), books of campfire stories, and sports equipment (i.e. balls, bats, baseball mitt, sidewalk chalk). 

Other essentials you might consider packing include clothesline, hammock and hammock ties, tablecloth, duct tape, and a backpack for family hikes. 

Infant essentials

If you’re camping with an infant under the age of one, you’ll need to pack some extra essentials like a baby monitor, warm blankets for sleeping, toys, blankets for playtime, a thermometer and medicine, a baby fence, bottles/sippy cups, snack containers, diapers, wipes, a diaper disposal bag, a breast pump (if applicable), and a baby sling. 

Cold weather essentials 

If you dare to embrace cold weather camping, you’ll want to pack things like coats, gloves, hats, thermal underwear, extra socks, cold weather rated sleeping bags, extra blankets, thermoses, hot drink mixes, and activated warmers (i.e. hand warmers). 

Hot weather essentials 

If you’re camping in a hot climate, you’ll want to pack things like a tarp/canopy/awning, bug spray, swimsuits, beach towels, hats, drinking water, sunscreen/sunblock, and portable fans. 

Rain essentials 

There’s rain in the forecast and you’re determined to go camping. No problem! You’ll need to pack things like raincoats/ponchos, rain boots, umbrellas, extra towels, tarps, board games, cards, and art supplies for indoor activities. 

The most important equipment you’ll need on your family camping trip is a sense of adventure. Get out there to explore and make memories to last a lifetime.

Heather Cherry has been writing for 11+ years. Currently, she works as a Communications Specialist, and part time as the Food Editor for the Nanny Magazine, (with the occasional byline). She has written feature articles for several online publications, freelanced, and worked as a Journalist.