What To Bring On A Camping Trip: Checklist For A Family Outing

What To Bring On A Camping Trip: Checklist For A Family Outing

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What to bring on a camping trip

What to bring on a camping trip

So you’ve decided to take advantage of the perfect weather and your kids’ school break. What better way to experience the great outdoors and get away from the digital world than a camping trip. But what if you haven’t been camping in ages and your kids have NEVER been camping? This can be a challenging family vacation, but definitely one worth tackling.

How do you begin to decide what to bring on a camping trip with the family?

First, decide how “hardcore” you’re going to go. Is your trip going to be totally unplugged, miles into the wilderness, or are you going to stay at a campground with hot and cold running water, wifi, and a convenience store?

For the former, your camping checklist will be a bit more, shall we say, basic. Things like a camp stove and folding chairs are out of the question if you’re going to be lugging everything on your back to the middle of nowhere. That said, I’ll start the list of what to bring on a camping trip with necessities for any kind of camping and then add two more categories: rustic camping and modern campground camping.

The first thing you’ll want to do is check the date you’ll be going. Are the national or regional parks open? Is it the high season for family camping? Can you reserve a space at the campground or is it okay for you to pitch your tent anywhere on the park on that date? There’s nothing more disappointing than “winging it” and finding that all spaces are full or the gates are locked.

Once you’ve got that out of the way, you’re ready to start checking off the rest of the list.

*Note: food is not on this checklist. You need to plan for every meal and pack accordingly. Remember – canned food is heavy and you have to haul out the empty cans with you if you’re hiking. Think light!

All camping:

  • Sleeping bag for each camper
  • Tent(s), poles, stakes
  • Ground cloth(s) for under your tent
  • Extra tarp, ropes, poles, and stakes for daytime shade
  • Basic eating utensils, plates (paper if possible), cookware (and pot handle)
  • Matches/lighters
  • Maps
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlights/headlamps and extra batteries
  • Prescription medications
  • Toothbrush and toiletries, toilet paper
  • Small day packs for short hikes

“So now you know what to bring on a camping trip… If this is your only vacation for the year, I would strongly recommend the less challenging campground camping, during which it is easier to maintain harmony among the campers.”

Campground camping:

  • Cash
  • Pillows
  • Folding chairs
  • Cooler and ice
  • Extension cord
  • Table cloth
  • Folding table
  • Sleeping pads/yoga mats for each camper
  • Repair kit for inflatable pads, etc.
  • Chargers for cameras and other electronics
  • Coffee maker or French press
  • Camp stove and fuel
  • Corkscrew
  • Telescope
  • Bikes and toys
  • Firewood
  • Tool kit
  • Lanterns

Rustic camping:

  • Duct tape
  • Biodegradable soap for dishes and personal use
  • Clothes for hot and cold temps
  • Rain gear
  • Insect repellant
  • Hats
  • Small shovel
  • Satellite phone for emergencies
  • Compass
  • 2 liters of water per camper per day or personal water purifier/purifier tablets

So now you know what to bring on a camping trip. I won’t call it the most exhaustive list, but you’ll notice how short it is for the rustic, “off the grid” camping. If this is your only vacation for the year, however, I would strongly recommend the less challenging campground camping, during which it is easier to maintain harmony among the campers.

Happy camping. Oh, and and watch out for bears!

  • Mike Sheehan

    This was very timely since was are planning a camping trip. Thank you

  • mike zacher

    I now camp at camp sites. read your article on what to bring on a camping trip.. I use most of whats on the list you wrote anyways.. for new campers with young kids this article would have some good advise

  • Brandy Barajas

    Some great advice for a camping checklist. It’s always a good idea to have a list and check it off as u gather and pack because if not you’ll likely forget something and be sorry you didn’t have it

  • Mike

    Doing a lot of camping this year! Can’t wait!

  • Kristin Kauth

    Perfect, thank you for the advice

  • Tom Price

    Perfect my daughter just asked me for a list. This is great

  • markcousino

    love the duct tape suggestion. Love camping and anything that might help make it as pleasurable as possible. thanks!

  • Joe Krogman

    We just cut up a 3″ memory foam topper to fit under two sleeping bags that are already on cots. Guess we don’t qualify as hard core! LOL!

  • Lorrie Bracaloni

    Great article for campers , my sister camps all the time.

  • Troy Rudd

    I love the #1 item under campground camping – CASH. Because if the camping suck too bad, you can always go to a nice hotel! :)

  • Shawna Gibson

    Loved this list!!! I am planning a camping trip (and I am not a camper!), so this list is a godsend. Can I add a luxury RV to the list? :)

  • Gary Pildman

    Love the list and recommendations. Look forward to comparing my list with this one in preparation for our next camping trip.

  • Arild Folgerø

    Thanks for the tips and list that I can use when we go camping.

  • Mike Gilligan

    Thak you CashBack Authority for the great tips and checklist. Not good if I forget something. Love the cashback I got when I bought the item I needed this year for our camping trips’

  • Dave Edwards

    Hey your list was rather timely since I just found out I was going camping this weekend and was trying to think of all the things I need to do before I go. Including making a list of things for camping. Well … at least one list is now taken care of. Thanks for sharing.

  • Greg Hammond

    Nice starter list, of course my wife may add an unfortunate amount of things to the list:)

  • Stacey Jo Price

    Can’t wait to go camping this summer!!!

  • Bryan Morgan

    Memorial day camping this week end!

    Thanks for the list guys!!

  • http://www.wildcashback.com CashBackQueen

    Bears? Who said anything about bears? I’m rethinking my vacation…No, really, you’ve given us some great tips here, and I’m all for winging it, but it would really be good to check ahead of time to see if you can camp anywhere or need to reserve a spot!

  • Steven L. Rhyner

    I never was much of a camper fighting the mosquitoes and such. But, if I could get a small generator and my flat screen I might reconsider! :)