Family Camping Checklist: A Complete List of Essential Gears

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Camping with family members is a beautiful way for outdoor adventures. Before going on a trip like that, you have to check the family camping checklist and ensure that you have included all the additional items.

As must-have items, you have to pack camping tents, sleeping bags, toilet paper, water containers, cooking utensils, trash bags, and first aid kits. Make sure to take suitable footwear, outfits, and toothbrushes. You can bring games like UNO, binoculars, scavenger hunt, fishing gear, etc. And don’t forget to bring maps and a compass unless you want to get lost in the middle of nowhere!

So, check the following list and don’t leave anything behind to enjoy a trouble-free family camping experience.


Getting the Right Camping Gear

When you are going on a trip with your family, you should follow some family camping tips and make a camping supplies list. You must look over the list and pack all the items.

Do you know about the most obvious thing that can ruin your entire family camping trip? It’s NOT having the essential equipment you might need while you’re setting up a camp. Nothing ruins the mood of the campers more than leaving the proper camping gear at home.

So, let’s take a few minutes to talk about the family camping gear checklist and see if you have all the essentials with you or not.


The Ultimate List of Family Camping Gear

You can divide the family camping packing list into five categories to make things easy for you.

  • Must-have Items
  • Clothing & Camping Gear
  • Convenience Items
  • Fun & Games
  • Secondary Items

You might want to tweak it a little bit here and there based on your personalized family requirements. But with this checklist at hand, you’ll be up to speed about the most common camping essentials in no time.


Must-Have Items

From this section of the camping checklist, you should bring all the equipment with you. Otherwise, you may end up not having any water to drink or any bandage to treat simple wounds. Let’s see what you should bring as must-have items.

Camping Tents

Obviously, without tents, you can’t set up a camping spot. It’s the foremost priority for a successful camping experience. Learn how to properly pitch up a tent and get the proper tools to do so.

If not, you have to spend the whole time camping in an open place under the sky!

Read more: Best Family Camping Tents: Top 12 Reviewed

Sleeping Bags, Mattress, And Sleeping Pads

Sleeping bags usually come with different temperature grades. You have to choose the most suitable one depending on the weather.

For example, during humid summertime, you can choose to get something lighter. While in the winter, warm sleeping bags will be your best friend. So, make sure you add them to your camping essentials list according to the number of family members.

Hammocks and Camp Chairs

Camp chairs are a must if you want to host different camping activities throughout the day. Hammocks are pretty good leisure furniture as well.

Your family can’t stay in tents all day long. They have to go out, but they can’t stay on their feet all day too, especially children. That’s when chairs and hammocks will come in handy.

Paper Towels and Toilet Paper

The rolls of toilet tissue can be a lifesaver, especially during emergencies, and save you from a lot of embarrassing situations. When you bring kids camping, the situation may worsen because children aren’t used to other alternatives.

Always carry a little extra if you can. That’s because you may need paper towels more than you anticipated!

Light Sources

When the sun sets, you want to ensure you have enough light from flashlights, glowsticks, and other stuff. Ensure your safety so that you don’t get ambushed in the dark at night.

These can be good for kids as they wouldn’t want to feel afraid of the dark, especially in the wild. So, bring quite a few flashlights while camping with kids.

Trash Bags

Trash bags come in handy as family camping gear when the camping trip ends. Make sure to carry enough for the whole family.

You should pick up every piece of trash with you before you pack up and leave the campsite. Don’t leave anything behind so that it may discomfort the next camper.

Portable Toilets

While camping in the wilderness, a small port-a-potty will help you more than you can ever imagine. Just don’t forget to pack enough toilet paper along with it.

If you think about what to bring while camping with kids, portable toilets will be one of the top-rated items!

Coolers, Bear Bags, And Plastic Bins

You don’t want all your food to get spoiled, do you? Pack enough thermos equipment and coolers for the food and snacks you carry.

You can even get a mini-fridge for the beverages. These come in handy for storing your snacks and other food items as well.

Water Containers

Bring as much water with you as you can. Otherwise, you’ll get dehydrated if you can’t find a clean source of drinking water near the campsite.

Other than drinking, you’ll need water for all sorts of stuff like taking baths and doing the dishes. Make sure you carry enough water bottles in camping, or else you might have to stay without water.

Cooking Utensils

You should decide beforehand what kind of food you’re planning to cook at the campsite and plan accordingly. Carry all the required cooking apparatus and prepare the ingredients ahead.

Usually, we recommend you take iron skillets, utensils, stoves, large pots, grills, etc. These essential cooking gear should be enough for preparing a decent camping meal.

First Aid Kits

Many people forget to take the first aid kit while camping. But that’s what separates an amateur from a pro.

You should always be careful about cuts and scrapes during camping. Learn about some basic first-aid techniques to treat them effectively. Add these essentials while camping with kids, especially when you have naughty kids, so that you can perform the basic treatments immediately.


family camping tips


Clothing and Camping Gear

It’s also another major sector to look over. You will need special camping lists for kids because they will make their clothes dirty pretty quickly, and it’s not wise to wear the same dirty ones all day long.

Here are some other things that you should also carry with you on a family camping trip.


Wool or synthetic layers can be helpful to stay warm if you are camping in winter. They are also handy in damp weather as they can resist moisture too.


Camping in the rainy season isn’t the best idea, to begin with. But what will happen if the weather gets moody while you’re camping and it suddenly rains?

That’s why you should add umbrellas and tarp to the family camping list. Also, remember to include at least one rain jacket for everyone.

Wool Socks

You may think wool socks aren’t necessary to carry along. But you will notice its importance when you are hiking or camping beside a river. It will help your feet stay dry from sweat and moisture.

Kids have sensitive skin, so they must avoid wearing sweaty socks all day long. So, add some extra socks to the camping checklist for kids.

Comfy Footwear

How can you enjoy your outdoor family adventure if you’re not wearing the right shoes? They keep their feet warm or cold based on the weather and protect them from injuries.

You can bring winter boots to keep your feet warm, rubber boots to protect your feet from sharp edges, sandals to keep your feet open in summer, or get whatever the weather demands.

You can’t walk miles or hike or even walk around the campsite while wearing uncomfortable footwear.

Toothbrush & Shampoo

It’s one of the primary needs if you are going to spend a couple of days with your family out in the wild.

Kids need to brush their teeth and wash themselves frequently during camping. So, you should definitely add basic toiletries and grooming supplies to the list of camping necessities for the family.


One of the standard rules of camping is one outfit per day. So, count your young family members and bring outfits based on how many days you are going to stay in the wild.

In the case of little kids or toddlers, the rule of one outfit per day won’t apply. They may need two or three pairs of fresh clothing every day as they can get dirt on their clothes very quickly.


Convenience Items

We know you are going on some adventures, exploring the wild outdoors, and getting in touch with nature. But having some convenience won’t hurt much, right?

Alongside the amenities, you need to stay alert when you are camping with family and kids. So, here’s few items related to this category.


A good headlamp is an ideal tool while heading towards the tents in the dark. It also gives you enough access to work with two hands at night.

What will you do if you or the kids need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night? Yup, a headlamp is that much help on a camp!

So, make sure to add one headlamp per member when you are making a camping list for family members.

Compass and Maps

It’s a bit old-school but 100 percent effective!

In the wilderness, cellphone signals can be very unstable. Then you have to rely on maps and a compass to find your way back to the tents or the campsite.

Weather Band Radio

A weather band radio is yet another great device and reliable source while going on a camping trip with your family.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a device that can instantly warn you about several natural calamities like tornados, storms, & wildfires? You bet it is!

Sunblock & Swim Gear

If you are camping in summer, don’t forget to bring sunblock to protect your skin from sunburns. We all know about the sensitive skin of children. So, you should add some sunblock or similar face cream to the checklist while camping with toddlers.

The same goes for swimming gear if you are camping beside a river or waterfall. Don’t forget to bring swimsuits for everybody!


board games

Fun & Games

What can make your family adventures better than some fun camping activities? They are on the top of the list of supplies while camping with kids and youngsters. So, make sure that none gets bored when they are on a camping trip.

The right equipment for fun and games is a must so that everyone can enjoy themselves.

Uno, Dice, Ladder Ball, Spike Ball

These are the most popular games while camping in the wild. All the members can participate in UNO and dice games. However, smaller kids might prefer ladder ball and spike ball games more than the UNO.


It’s an excellent accessory to have when you are exploring nature. You can watch the birds flying around or their nests in the trees.

It’s helpful to warn your family members if any wild animal is approaching your tents or patrol the area while others work. You can also enjoy the beauty of nature using binoculars, even if they are not that up close.

Notebook or Journals

If any of your family members don’t like games or is not really a nature fan, they can just sit and enjoy scribbling in a notebook or journal their beautiful camping experience.

Fishing Gear

Fishing is an excellent reason to put your tents beside a river or waterfall. Catching fish with your family members is a one-of-a-kind experience. You can also teach your kids the basics of catching a fish on a camping trip.

Some families are even crazy about fishing, and in fact, they only go on camping trips together to catch fish! If your family is one of them, don’t forget to add fishing kits on your camping with the family checklist.

Scavenger Hunts

A scavenger hunt is probably the most famous fun game for the outdoors and an excellent way to enjoy camping time with the family. Members can form small teams and have a fun time chasing around clues. The kids love to go on a hunt and find treasures.

So, you should carry the necessary tools and equipment for arranging scavenger hunts with your family members and kids.

Bubbles & Chalk

Mainly, these are for kids, especially when their age is 3 to 10 years.

They can just draw some boxes or circles with chalk and enjoy bubble games while you are busy setting up tents or campfires or cooking meals.


Though it’s not very popular and not recommended by everyone, you can bring some toys for the older kids and adults. All members of the family can enjoy playing with a frisbee.


Some Nice-to-have Camping Equipment

Besides what we’ve listed, here are a few secondary camping stuff that you might need. Remember that these are not essential. But there’s no harm in being prepared!

Hiking Shoes: If you are going to explore the mountain, you need a pair of hiking shoes. Otherwise, the roads won’t go easy on you. Bringing some speakers won’t be harmful to enjoy some music or news while hiking or setting your camps.

Firewoods: Sometimes a torch or headlights are not enough to light up the whole campsite. You have to make some fire and feel warm. The fire will also keep the harmful animals away. So, bring an ax and cut some dry branches to start a campfire.

Ax or Hatchet: If you forget to bring the ax or can’t cut the wood, you can use some firewood to set the fire. They are available in shops.

Shovels: Use the shovels to bury the ashes and other biodegradable wastes. The shovels are also handy while setting the tents to dig holes or making a separate area for the fireplace.

Roasting Sticks and Dutch Oven: Bringing roasting sticks and a Dutch oven depends on your food habit. If you want to make some grills or some quick meal while camping, you can bring them along.

Inflatable pillows, buckets, extra sacks, Portable Speakers are your personal choice whether you bring them or not.


What Will You Do If You Forget Something?

Even after making a checklist, you may forget to bring some essentials, and now you are in trouble. In such situations, you should be smart and think of innovative solutions rather than panicking.

For example, you forget to pack the toys or games for the kids, and now they are not enjoying camping or disturbing you during work. You can sing some songs or teach them how to make tents and set up campfires. Try to innovate new kinds of scavenger hunts and play with them.

Again, suppose you forget to bring some extra diapers. What can be the solution then? You can use some dirty t-shirts to manage the situation somehow.


Final Words

Going camping with your family is a fun thing to do. And we assure you that would be one of the best experiences in life. But before all that, you need to pack all the necessary items from the family camping gear checklist and ensure none of them is left behind.

There are some differences between group camping and family camping. We hope you won’t mix them up and enjoy your family camping with all the essentials. Happy camping with your family!