Before you head out on the open road for your summer family camping trip, make sure you've got the essentials to make your trip a success.
Your portable kitchen
Camping with the family means meals around the clock, so be sure to pack some cooking essentials — and more food/water than you think you'll need. Pack plenty of basic utensils, pots and pans and a mini grill or griddle to put over the fire.
Don't forget mugs or Styrofoam cups for coffee or hot chocolate, and metal prongs for roasting hot dogs or marshmallows over the campfire. And make sure you pack food that doesn't need to be cooked or prepared like granola bars, trail mix and turkey jerky that you can pack with you on a hike.
Make sure the coolers are packed with plenty of ice and pack an extra cooler of just ice to dole out as the ice melts in the coolers that are being used.
Protection from the environment
In addition to your standard first-aid kit, pack some must-haves to protect yourself from the sun as well as nature's other environs. Sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, bug repellent, nets, hats and UV protectant clothing are all musts for your camping trip. Remember that even if you are camping in a cold locale, the sun can still cause skin damage.
Supplies for family fun
One of the best parts of camping with your family is the lack of technology that's available. Take advantage of this time where your kids are not glued to their iTouches to have some real family bonding moments. To ensure some real family fun, bring an activity bag of fishing gear, bikes, balls, corn hole, board games/cards — anything your family is into or has been wanting to try. Camping is a great time to foster a new family interest.
Batteries/cords and more
Bring back-up batteries for everything from your lanterns to your kids' battery-powered games. Bring along power cords/adaptors to cell phones, etc. that you can plug into your car.
Extra clothes and shoes
Be prepared for anything when you're packing your clothing for a camping trip. Pack extra in case a day's worth of clothes gets dirty, muddy or wet. And don't forget to pack jeans, sweatshirts and even rain gear in case inclimate weather dampens your camping trip.