Family Camping Checklist

Family Camping Checklist | What to Bring Camping for Beginners

Taking a camping trip is great family fun. But if you’re not prepared, it can also lead to some moments that make for hilarious stories later, but aren’t so funny when you’re living through them! That’s why family camping should always start with “family camping planning.”

Thankfully, none of it is all that complicated. But it helps to have a reminder of the things that you need before packing the family into the car and heading out to popular hiking spots. You might also want to check out this road trip checklist if you’ve got a long drive ahead.

The following checklist applies to camping for beginners. But it also provides a handy reminder for even the most veteran campers.

The Family Camping Checklist

Before getting to what you need at the campsite, remember to check ahead and see if you need reservations for the campground. You’ll also want to designate a special case to carry ID, cash, credit card and cellphone.

For the Campsite

This list covers the basic stuff you need for a campsite. Keep in mind that most campsites don’t require too much - they’ll typically have running water, picnic tables and many have bathrooms nearby.

  • Tent 
  • Sleeping bags
  • Sleeping pads
  • Flashlights with fresh batteries
  • A camp table (if no picnic table is available)
  • Camp chairs
  • Lantern
  • Hammock (great for outdoor naps)
Moisture Wicking Socks

Clothing and Footwear

Bringing the wrong shoes is a family camping classic! But wet socks and sore feet aren’t so funny when you’re in the middle of a camping trip. Here are some tips for what clothing and footwear to bring on a camping trip.

  • Moisture wicking underwear and t-shirts
  • Recovery compression socks to lower the risk of aching legs and feet
  • Long-sleeve t-shirts (to protect from sun and bugs)
  • A light jacket (it gets cold at night)
  • Weatherproof boots suited for hiking and being outdoors
  • Separate sleepwear

Moisture Wicking Ankle Socks

Health and Hygiene

Everyone forgets to take their toothbrush on a trip at some point in their lives, but don’t make it this trip! You can maintain good health and hygiene even though you’re in the woods. 

  • First aid kit (this includes antiseptic wipes, antibacterial ointment, Band-Aids, blister treatment, anti-itch ointment, etc.)
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • A toiletry kit with everything you need (razor, combs, brushes, medications, etc.)
  • A quick dry towel
  • Bug repellent
  • Sunscreen

Tools and Repairs

Stuff will break, tents must go up and firewood must be chopped. Those facts alone require tools at the family camping site. Consider packing a separate toolkit. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

  • Mallet or hammer (for driving tent stakes)
  • Saw or axe (for cutting firewood)
  • Tent pole repair sleeve
  • Duct tape
  • A multi-tool
  • Extra cords 

The Family Camp Kitchen

You’ll need quite a few items to prepare and eat your meals. Consider the following ideas.

  • Something to light fires
  • Cook pots
  • Frying pan
  • Utensils to cook and eat
  • Bottle opener, can opener
  • Sharp knife
  • Plates, cups and mugs 
  • A cutting board
  • Cooler 
  • Plenty of water bottles

Family camping has been a tradition in the United States because of the plentiful parks and beautiful settings for camping. In a digital age, it’s more refreshing than ever to get away from electronics and enjoy nature. Keep this checklist for your next trip and don’t forget the most important thing: have fun!

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