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Family camping checklist

Before you head out on your family camping trip this summer, print out this list and check it off as you pack.

Travel time

During the travel to and from your camping destination, make sure you prepare the car for the trip before the trip. Regardless of the ages of your children, if you’re traveling with kids you can expect quotes like “Are we there yet?”, “I’m bored” and “I have to pee!” coming from the back seat. Make the trip as pleasurable as possible for all with these must-haves for the car ride.

  • Portable (less mess) snacks like mini carrots, raisins, Goldfish crackers, etc.
  • Water?
  • Car games/coloring books/handheld games/iPad?
  • Extra batteries or car adapter plug-ins for the electronics
  • Pillows/blanket

Check out these simple tips for road tripping with your kids >>

Around the campsite

Setting up your site with the luxuries of home may not be entirely possible, but you can ensure you have most of the creature comforts your family needs to “survive.”

  • Extra food (both perishable and non-perishable) — always bring more than you think you’ll need in case of an emergency. Plus if your kids are anything like the ones we know, you’ll go through the food faster than you think! Don’t forget roasting sticks so kids can make their own fire-roasted hot dogs as well as marshmallows for the obligatory campfire side s’mores. After all, what’s a camping trip without them?
  • Water and ice
  • Kitchen utensils — silverware, pots/pans, cups/plates
  • Paper towels
  • Flashlights/headlamps
  • ?Toilet paper
  • Trash bags (large and small)
  • Resealable storage bags (large and small)
  • Can opener
  • ?Flares/emergency signal
  • Portable potty/disposable liners
  • Air mattress or extra sleeping bags and pillows
  • Pop-up tent/sun shade
  • Folding chairs/portable tables or picnic bench

Kids aren’t stoked on camping? Check out these tips to help them connect with nature >> 


  • Binoculars
  • Camera/phone
  • Maps
  • Child carrier
  • Bikes
  • Hiking poles
  • Fishing gear (check if you need a license to fish in the area and obtain one before your trip)
  • First-aid kit

In the backpack

  • No matter the weather forecast, pack at least one extra outfit (as well as extra undies and socks) that goes against the predicted weather in case Mother Nature gets wild!
  • Water-proof/skid-proof shoes
  • Tennis shoes/hiking boots
  • Sunglasses/hats?
  • Swim gear
  • ?Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Lotion (non-scented)
  • Wipes — whether or not you have kids in diapers, baby wipes are one of the best all-purpose items around.

Don’t forget! Check out these 7 items that likely get left behind >>

More family travel

Take a family vacation on a shoestring budget
Top 10 Memorial weekend trips
?Top camping vacation destinations for families

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