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Kid-Friendly Camping: What To Bring When Camping With Children


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Arlinda Arambula



Welcome to the exciting world of kid-friendly camping! Camping with children can be a remarkable experience filled with adventure, bonding, and creating lifelong memories. Whether you are an experienced camper or a first-timer, planning a camping trip with kids requires some additional preparations to ensure a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable experience for the whole family.


When camping with children, it’s essential to consider their unique needs and interests. From selecting the right gear and clothing to keeping them entertained and nourished, this comprehensive guide will equip you with everything you need to know to have a successful kid-friendly camping adventure.


Spending time outdoors with little ones offers numerous benefits. It not only encourages physical activity and exploration but also promotes mental well-being and appreciation for nature. Camping presents an opportunity to unplug from the digital world and reconnect with your family in a natural setting.


Before you embark on your camping journey, it’s crucial to plan ahead and pack accordingly. This guide will take you through the essential camping gear, clothing, personal items, as well as comfort and entertainment supplies for kids. We’ll also share useful tips and insights to ensure your camping trip with children is a memorable and enjoyable experience for everyone.


Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or an extended camping trip, this guide will assist you in navigating the world of kid-friendly camping. So, pack your backpacks, grab your tents, and let’s dive into the exciting world of outdoor adventures with your little ones!


Essential Camping Gear for Kids

When it comes to camping with kids, having the right gear is absolutely crucial. The right equipment can make their camping experience safer, more comfortable, and more enjoyable. Here are some essential camping gear items to consider when camping with children:

  1. Tents: Make sure to choose a tent that is large enough to accommodate the whole family comfortably. Look for a tent with easy setup and consider a separate tent for older kids who want their own space.
  2. Sleeping Bags and Pads: Invest in high-quality sleeping bags and sleeping pads for each child. Sleeping pads provide insulation and cushioning, ensuring a good night’s sleep even on rocky or uneven surfaces.
  3. Camp Chairs: Give your kids their own comfortable spot around the campfire with kid-sized camping chairs. These lightweight chairs are easy to transport and provide a cozy place for little ones to relax.
  4. Flashlights and Headlamps: Light up the night with flashlights and headlamps for each child. These are not only practical for navigating the campground during nighttime but can also make the camping experience more exciting for kids.
  5. Backpacks: Encourage your kids to carry their own backpacks containing their personal items and snacks. Age-appropriate backpacks will give them a sense of responsibility and contribute to their overall camping experience.
  6. Bug Repellent: Keep those pesky insects at bay with child-friendly bug repellent. Look for products that are safe for kids and provide effective protection against bugs and mosquitoes.
  7. First Aid Kit: It’s always important to have a well-stocked first aid kit, especially when camping with kids. Include essentials like adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications.
  8. Camp Kitchen Set: Get your little ones involved in meal preparations with their own camp kitchen set. Child-sized cooking utensils, plates, and cups will make them feel like true camping chefs.

Remember, safety should be a top priority when camping with children. Teach them how to properly use and handle camping gear and emphasize the importance of staying hydrated, wearing sunscreen, and following any specific safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer.


By ensuring you have the essential camping gear for your kids, you’re setting the stage for an unforgettable camping experience that is safe, comfortable, and full of adventure.


Clothing and Personal Items for Kids

When it comes to camping with kids, packing the right clothing and personal items is essential to keep them comfortable and prepared for various weather conditions. Here are some tips and suggestions for clothing and personal items to pack for your kids when camping:

  1. Layered Clothing: Dress your kids in layered clothing to accommodate changing temperatures throughout the day. Opt for moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics that provide comfort and protection.
  2. Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Check the weather forecast before you head out and pack accordingly. Bring rain jackets and waterproof pants for unexpected showers or cooler temperatures, and pack hats and sunglasses for sun protection.
  3. Sturdy Footwear: Make sure your kids have sturdy, closed-toe shoes or hiking boots to protect their feet during outdoor activities. Packing an extra pair of socks is also a good idea for longer camping trips.
  4. Sleepwear: Don’t forget to pack comfortable sleepwear for your little ones. Consider the nighttime temperatures and choose sleepwear that will keep them cozy and warm during cooler nights.
  5. Swimwear and Towels: If you’ll be camping near a lake, river, or swimming pool, pack swimwear for your kids. Also, don’t forget to bring towels for drying off after a refreshing swim.
  6. Toiletries: Remember to pack personal hygiene items for your kids, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and any other necessary toiletries.
  7. Sunscreen: Protect your kids’ skin from harmful sun rays by packing plenty of sunscreen. Choose a sunscreen with a high SPF rating and apply it regularly, especially if you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors.
  8. Bug Spray: Keep bugs at bay by packing insect repellent specifically designed for children. Look for child-safe formulas that provide effective protection against mosquitoes and other insects.
  9. Extra Clothes: Accidents can happen, so it’s always a good idea to pack extra clothes for your kids. Whether it’s spills, muddy adventures, or unexpected weather changes, having spare clothing on hand can save the day.

Encourage your kids to take responsibility for their personal items by having their own backpack or duffle bag. Teach them how to organize and pack their clothing and personal items, fostering a sense of independence and ownership.


By ensuring your kids have the appropriate clothing and personal items for camping, you’re setting them up for a comfortable and enjoyable outdoor experience.


Comfort and Safety Items for Kids

Ensuring the comfort and safety of your kids during a camping trip is of utmost importance. It’s essential to pack items that will provide them with a sense of security and support their well-being throughout the adventure. Here are some comfort and safety items to consider when camping with kids:

  1. Sleeping Comfort: To ensure a good night’s sleep, consider bringing items that promote comfort, such as pillows, stuffed animals, or favorite blankets from home.
  2. Sun Protection: In addition to sunscreen, provide your kids with hats, sunglasses, and lightweight, long-sleeved clothing to protect them from the sun’s harmful rays.
  3. Baby Essentials: If you are camping with a baby, items such as diapers, wipes, baby food, formula, bottles, and a portable changing pad are essential for their comfort and well-being.
  4. Portable Toilet: For families camping in remote areas or without easy access to restroom facilities, a portable toilet or a toilet seat adapter can provide convenience and peace of mind.
  5. First Aid Kit: Pack a well-stocked first aid kit with essential items like band-aids, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers, tweezers, and any necessary medications to address minor injuries or illnesses during your camping trip.
  6. Child Locator Devices: Especially if you’re camping in a large or unfamiliar campground, consider using child locator devices like GPS trackers or wearable ID bracelets that can help you keep track of your kids.
  7. Campsite Lighting: Ensure the safety of your campsite by providing adequate lighting. Pack lanterns, flashlights, or battery-powered string lights to help navigate around the campground during nighttime.
  8. Extra Batteries and Chargers: Don’t forget to bring extra batteries for flashlights and any other battery-operated items you’ll be using during your camping trip. Additionally, consider packing portable chargers to keep electronic devices powered up.
  9. Comfortable Camping Chairs and Hammocks: Along with their own camping chairs, consider bringing comfortable hammocks for your kids to relax and unwind during downtime.

By including these comfort and safety items in your camping gear, you can ensure that your kids are well taken care of and can fully enjoy their camping experience with peace of mind.


Entertainment and Activities for Kids

Keeping your kids entertained and engaged during a camping trip is essential for a successful and enjoyable experience. From exploring nature to playing games, here are some entertainment and activity ideas to keep your kids entertained while camping:

  1. Nature Exploration: Encourage your kids to embrace the wonders of nature by going on nature walks, observing wildlife, identifying plants, and collecting rocks or leaves for a nature-inspired craft project.
  2. Scavenger Hunt: Create a scavenger hunt by making a list of items that can be found in the campground or surrounding area. This activity will keep your kids engaged and excited as they search for treasures.
  3. Campfire Stories and Songs: Gather around the campfire and share spooky stories or sing campfire songs. This classic camping activity creates a memorable bonding experience for the whole family.
  4. Outdoor Games: Pack outdoor games like Frisbees, balls, or a kite for hours of active fun. These games can be enjoyed individually or with other campers in the area.
  5. Arts and Crafts: Bring along a portable art supply kit or craft materials to unleash your kids’ creativity. They can create nature-inspired crafts, paint landscapes, or make friendship bracelets.
  6. Board Games and Card Games: Pack a selection of board games or card games suitable for your kids’ age range. These games are perfect for entertaining them during downtime or in case of inclement weather.
  7. Star Gazing: Take advantage of the nighttime sky and teach your kids about constellations and the wonders of the universe. Bring along a star chart or download a stargazing app to enhance the experience.
  8. Camping Cooking: Involve your kids in the cooking process by letting them help with easy camping recipes. This hands-on activity not only keeps them entertained but also teaches them valuable skills.
  9. Campfire Cooking: Roasting marshmallows and making s’mores is a must-do camping activity. Let your kids experiment with different flavors and combinations for a tasty campfire treat.

Remember, the key to successful camping entertainment is to cater to your children’s interests and abilities. Allow them to have a say in choosing activities and let their imaginations run wild in the great outdoors. Embrace the simplicity of nature and create magical moments that your kids will cherish for years to come.


Food and Cooking Supplies for Kids

One of the highlights of camping is enjoying delicious meals around the campfire. When camping with kids, it’s important to plan and pack food and cooking supplies that will cater to their preferences and dietary needs. Here are some tips and suggestions for food and cooking supplies for kids:

  1. Easily Portable and Packable Foods: Choose foods that are easy to transport and require minimal preparation. Some examples include granola bars, fruit cups, individual snack packs, and pre-packaged single-serving meals.
  2. Nutritious Snacks: Pack a variety of healthy snacks such as trail mix, dried fruits, veggie sticks, and yogurt pouches. These snacks will keep your kids energized throughout the day.
  3. Kid-Friendly Breakfast Foods: Consider packing instant oatmeal packets, cereal cups, or pre-made pancake batter for a quick and easy breakfast. Don’t forget the milk or non-dairy alternatives!
  4. Simple Lunch and Dinner Options: Opt for easy and versatile meal options that can be prepared over the campfire or on a portable stove. Some ideas include hot dogs, sandwiches, wraps, pasta salads, and foil-wrapped grilled vegetables.
  5. Campfire Cooking Accessories: Make sure to bring the necessary cooking accessories such as a portable grill, cooking utensils, pots, pans, and aluminum foil for cooking over the campfire.
  6. Reusable Water Bottles: Hydration is crucial when camping, so pack reusable water bottles for your kids. Encourage them to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
  7. Cleaning Supplies: Remember to pack biodegradable dish soap, sponges, and towels for cleaning utensils and cookware. Teaching your kids good hygiene practices while camping is important to ensure their well-being.
  8. Specialty Dietary Needs: If your child has special dietary needs or food allergies, make sure to pack appropriate alternatives and clearly label them. It’s important to prioritize their health and well-being during the camping trip.
  9. Treats and Desserts: Don’t forget to bring some fun treats and desserts for your kids. Marshmallows for roasting, chocolate bars for s’mores, or pre-packaged sweets can add extra enjoyment to the camping experience.

When camping with kids, involving them in the meal planning and preparation process can make it more exciting and enjoyable for them. Let them help with simple tasks like mixing ingredients or setting up the outdoor dining area. Encourage them to try new foods and flavors while catering to their preferences.


Remember to practice proper food storage and food safety measures while camping to prevent spoilage and contamination. Keep perishable foods in a cooler with ample ice or frozen gel packs to maintain their freshness.


By providing a variety of delicious and kid-friendly food options, you can ensure that your kids are well-fed and satisfied during your camping adventure.


Tips for a Successful Kid-Friendly Camping Trip

Planning a kid-friendly camping trip requires some extra considerations to ensure a fun and safe experience for the whole family. Here are some tips to help you make your camping adventure with kids a resounding success:

  1. Choose a Family-Friendly Campground: Look for campgrounds that offer amenities and activities specifically designed for families with children. Check if they have playgrounds, swimming areas, nature trails, or organized kids’ programs to keep your little ones entertained.
  2. Involve Kids in the Planning Process: Let your kids be part of the planning process by involving them in choosing the campground, activities, and meals. This will make them excited about the trip and give them a sense of ownership and responsibility.
  3. Practice Camping at Home: Set up a backyard camping experience before your trip to familiarize your kids with tents, sleeping bags, and campfire cooking. This helps build excitement and confidence for the real camping adventure.
  4. Pack Extra Clothes and Essentials: Accidents and spills are bound to happen, so packing extra clothes for your kids is essential. Don’t forget to bring extra diapers, wipes, and any other essentials your child may need.
  5. Create a Kid-Friendly Campsite: Set up a designated play area near your campsite with toys, games, and activities for your kids to enjoy during downtime. This will help keep them entertained and engaged throughout the trip.
  6. Establish Safety Guidelines: Set clear safety rules for your kids and ensure they understand them. Teach them how to identify and avoid potential hazards in the wilderness, such as poisonous plants and wildlife encounters.
  7. Plan Activities for Various Weather Conditions: Be prepared for changing weather conditions by having a contingency plan. Pack some indoor activities, like coloring books or board games, in case you encounter inclement weather.
  8. Allow for Flexibility: Embrace the spontaneity of camping and allow for some unstructured playtime and exploration. Let your kids roam and discover the wonders of nature at their own pace.
  9. Emphasize Leave No Trace Principles: Teach your kids about the importance of leaving the campground as pristine as they found it. Encourage them to respect the environment by properly disposing of trash and minimizing their impact on nature.
  10. Encourage Unplugged Time: Use camping as an opportunity for your family to disconnect from electronic devices and enjoy quality time together. Encourage your kids to appreciate the beauty of nature and engage in outdoor activities without distractions.

Always prioritize the safety and well-being of your kids during the camping trip. Stay vigilant, supervise their activities, and ensure they are properly dressed and protected from the elements.


Remember, the goal of a kid-friendly camping trip is to create lasting memories, foster a love for the outdoors, and strengthen family bonds. Enjoy the adventure, embrace the challenges, and savor the precious moments together!



Camping with kids can be a truly rewarding and unforgettable experience. It offers an opportunity to connect with nature, create lasting memories, and foster a sense of adventure in your children. By following the tips and guidelines in this guide, you can ensure a successful and enjoyable kid-friendly camping trip.


From packing the right gear and clothing to keeping your kids entertained and well-fed, every aspect of the camping experience should be tailored to their needs and interests. Remember to prioritize safety, involve your kids in the planning process, and encourage them to embrace the wonders of the great outdoors.


Allow your kids to explore, play, and connect with nature, while also imparting important lessons about respecting the environment. By instilling a love for nature and outdoor activities in your children, you’re nurturing their curiosity, independence, and appreciation for the natural world.


So, gather your camping gear, embark on an exciting adventure, and create lifelong memories with your kids in the great outdoors. Whether it’s roasting marshmallows around the campfire, embarking on nature hikes, or simply enjoying quality time together, the joys of kid-friendly camping are boundless.


Remember, the best part of camping with kids is the opportunity to bond with each other and detach from the distractions of daily life. Cherish the moments, embrace the simplicity of nature, and create memories that will last a lifetime.