Family camping trips are a great tradition from generation to generation; the best part is that there is no age limit! Bring your babies, toddlers, older kids, tweens, and teenagers along for outdoor adventures they are sure to remember.
Just be sure to checklist the best kids camping gear as they grow up. Camping essentials change along with safety guidelines, national park regulations, and what will personally provide the best camping experience for everyone involved.
Planning your trip location, drive time, and gear is essential to ensure everyone is prepared to relax, have fun, AND not forget the tent in the garage!
Planning the Right Gear for Your Kids
Camping with the kids can be so much fun! Just make sure to plan accordingly in order to avoid stress once you arrive at your destination. Here are a few tips to make sure all your camping trips go smoothly from now on.
- Make a list- Write down all the camping essentials like sleeping bags, tents, chairs, food, water, and extra clothes. What I found works the best for me is to go to each room in the house to see if there is something that triggers an “I need that” moment.
- Bathroom essentials are necessary camping gear- towels, soap, shampoo, and cheap flip-flops for park shower stalls.
- Kitchen supplies will transfer to the camping cooking essentials- pot and/or pan to cook over an open fire, utensils, cups, and plates for eating, and don’t forget the napkins.
- Bedroom- clothes that are ok to get dirty, hiking shoes, and an extra pair of socks in case of rainy weather hikes.
- Sleeping gear- some kids don’t sleep well away from home, so consider including their bed pillow in the kids camping gear pile. Also pack bedding that is warm and easy to use and carry.
- Pack early! – Aside from essential household items everyone will use, pack camping- specific gear like sleeping bags, tents, and games in the back of the vehicle so, all you need to do on travel day is grab the basics, load the kids, and start your family camping trip.
- Know your destination and what activities you can do there- You don’t have to have every day or every minute planned out. Still, if you know you are staying at a national park or a campground with many provided recreation activities, you may not need to pack as much. Also, if there are water activities, you will need to adjust what you pack.
Take a look at all the kids camping essentials you need to cover daytime, nighttime, and every type of camping experience you and your kids enjoy! If you are gathering your own gear, or looking for a great camping gift for kids, this list is pure gold!
Setting up Camp with your Kids
Every family camping trip starts with unpacking the car and setting up camp. Doing this with kids can get a bit tricky, so why not let them help. They can get their gear out and pick their spot around the campfire, set up their own area to hang out, and unpack any games they want right away.
Check out this great gear that makes it fun AND easy to set up camp with your kids.
Kid-sized Camping Chairs
This camp chair comes in pink or gray and has a rocking feature that allows for full relaxing evenings by the fire. It is easy to lean forward and eat from, or for those fidgety kids that don’t like to sit still even when they are sitting, they can rock away.
When the kids are done, it easily folds up to be out of the way. It always makes storing it at home a breeze. It holds up to 125 pounds, so it is great for toddlers all the way up to the older kids, so they will get many years’ use out of these comfy campfire rocking chairs.
Whether you use a mattress for sleeping at night, a base to put sleeping bags on top of, or a comfortable spot for the younger kids to play on outside, these mattresses are great! They have an antimicrobial top to help avoid mildew and mold, so don’t worry about putting it right in the grass.
It is thin enough for babies and toddlers to crawl around on without fear of falling to the ground but durable enough for older kids or your “bored” teenager to lounge on and read a book.
Size options come in twin, full, or queen, so you can get one big enough for the whole family to hang out together!
Micro Camping Towel Set for Kids
Grab this 3 pack of microfiber towels and be ready for every occasion. There are 2 sizes to choose from and many color options, each with 3 sets of fast-drying towels. They are super soft and absorbent, and will quickly become essential camping gear each year.
The uses are endless with these camping towels. The sand brushes right off; they are soft enough to fall asleep in the sun, and because they dry fast, you won’t have to wave them out the window on the way home to dry them!
What better experience than lounging back in a hammock between two trees? The kids can swing gently in the breeze while looking up at the sky and stars. It is easy to set up, with heavy-duty straps and carabiners to keep them off the ground.
Not only are they easy to set up and take down, but storage space is nothing but the compact bag it comes in. Toss it in the back of the vehicle and toss the worry of fitting it with the rest of the camping gear out the window. Super light and portable!
Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
The clip-and-carry JBL speaker is not only waterproof but so easy to carry around that anyone can take it with them wherever they decide to go. It can clip onto your camping chair near the lake, the campfire, or a belt loop while going on a family hike.
On one charge, they have up to 10 hours of playtime and come in an array of bright colors. They are rugged and sturdy; great for camping!
Setting out to Explore the Great Outdoors
What better way to create memories on a family camping trip than having outdoor adventures! Here are some of the most popular camping essentials for the younger kids to learn on the go and the older kids to continue exploring nature.
Magnifying glass, Binoculars, Compass
Snag this kit, and the kids will be ready for any outdoor adventure that comes their way. A compass to find their way, binoculars to catch birds from afar, and a magnifying glass to spot nature’s smaller creatures.
Catch and release easily with these telescoping nets. Easy to spot from afar and better to attract butterflies with the same bright colors as the flowers they seek to find. The adjustable handle makes it easy to stow away when not in use.
A fun way for little ones to learn about nature first hand.
Field Guides and Small Kids Action Camera
Grab this field guide for kids before heading out on your future family camping trips, and encourage the kids to explore and find various things in nature. These activities will have kids learning without even knowing it!
Don’t forget the camera to capture all the memories!
Don’t get caught without the number 1 camping essential gear for everyone. Having a Swiss Army knife handy provides a tool for all occasions and a safe way for older kids to learn responsibility while enjoying nature. Plus, many serve as a handi multi tool.
Camping Water Bottle and Hydration Packs
As part of the essential camping gear, grab an easy-to-carry water bottle for each family member to stay hydrated. These hold 12 ounces, have a straw for spill-proof drinks, and a loop to attach to a bag.
Keep some hydration packs handy to get those electrolytes back in your system to avoid dehydration while hiking and exploring.
A great way for the kids to tell each other what they find during their outdoor adventures and for parents to stay in touch for safety. Each handset also has a channel lock to prevent children uses other channels, such as the emergency line.
For kids, they make a great gift and add a level of extra protection while they are out and about.
Camping Mess Kit
Clean-up is simple, and this pack comes with everything one needs to enjoy meals during your camping trip. BPA-free and packable, grab one for everyone and add this to your camping essential gear list.
Kids’ Trekking Poles, Paracord Bracelets, and Outdoor Footwear
Be sure to gear up with these camping essentials before hiking on your next adventure. A trekking pole ensures safe footing.
These paracord bracelets also include a whistle, fire starter, and a compass- the ultimate camping gear.
Get each kid in a high-ankle pair of hiking boots to help avoid twisted ankles and ensure a comfortable adventure on any hiking terrain.
Instead of lugging around a stand and bag, snag a couple pocket telescopes. The kids can share and check out nature everywhere with ease. Plus, they come in cool colors for each kid.
Insect Repellent Bracelet
Every family camping trip should have a pack of deet-free bracelets to keep the bugs away. No one wants to spend their day swatting at bugs. Snag a pack before heading out and enjoy up to 72 hours of bug-free fun!
Camping Adventures After Dark
The essential camping gear list doesn’t stop when the sun goes down; it just changes a bit. Don’t forget to pack these kids’ camping gear items for indoor and outdoor nighttime adventures.
What better way to enjoy the campfire than dual tang forks to roast 2 marshmallows at once! The stick also has a telescoping feature to keep the kids far away from the fire to avoid burning themselves like they do the marshmallows.
Kids Sleeping Bags
Be sure to pack one for each kid. They can snuggle in for a warm night’s sleep inside the sleeping bag or unzip and share them for extra padding and a blanket to share body heat.
Each has a 50-degree temperature rating and an interior pocket for sticking warmers or flashlights inside.
Camping Headlights, Lantern, Glow Sticks
These headlights are easy to store with your camping essential gear and fit in your pocket when you don’t use them but will need them to head back to camp after an evening hike at dark.
This lantern has an SOS option for emergencies and can fit in your pocket.
Kids LOVE glow sticks. They are fun to run around with but also serve as a great night light for nighttime bathroom breaks.
Books of all ages and adventures are available for kids to learn about nature, how to be safe while camping, or what to explore near their campsites. Be sure to grab some for all ages. Books are also a great way to wind down before bed.
Like mom and dad have, this tent for kids has screened windows to let in the breeze and a rain cover to keep out the wet, wind, and bugs. It measures 4 ft by 7 ft, so it easily fits 2 small kids or 1 older kid, so its use continues for years.
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The great thing about camping at national parks or campgrounds is that you don’t have to bring all the entertainment.
However, depending on your own likes and dislikes, it is nice to bring your own so that you have what you need. Here are some of the most popular camping toys and recreation items.
- Inflatable Paddle Boards
- Inflatable Kayaks
- Corn Hole
- Board Games
- Fire Sparkles
- Bocce Ball
- Ring Toss
- Slack Line
- Axe Throwing
Bikes are a quintissential RVing accessory. There are places to ride absolutely everywhere and you can’t get better excercise. That being said, most bikes are large and cumbersome to transport.
This folding bike model is just the opposite. It rides great, with loads of gears and squeeze brakes, and folds down to be easily stored on a rack or in a storage compartment.
Archery is a great way to spend time with your kids at camp. It helps to develop hand-eye coordination, responsibility, and its just plain fun!
This beginners set has everything you need for a yound person to begin to learn archery. It includes bow, arrows, arm guard, targets and quiver. The bow is designed for either right or left hand use.
Inflatable Paddle Boards
Stand up paddle boarding is one of the most popular past-times these days, but the sheer size of paddle boards have made them a bit difficult for RVers when it comes to transport.
Now we have these inflatable models that solve the transport issue and work just as well as the solid body models. Great exercise and a wonderful way to enjoy nature.
For the same reasons as the inflatable paddle boards, inflatable kayaks allow us to transport these traditionally large and cumbersome vessels to lakes and streams anywhere.
Portable Corn Hole
Corn Hole is a fantastic game, and very popular at tailgates, picnics and all sorts of other gatherings.
This portable cornhole set allows campers to bring along the fun as well. The set completely breaks down and fits into a convenient carry bag.
Always have some for your kids’ favorite board games along for the trip. Any evening or rainy day can be turned into wonderful family memories.
Horseshoes is the quintessential campground game. However some campgrounds you will find do not have horseshoe pits.
Solve that problem by bringing along this easily portable set of horseshoes. The complete set has everything you need, including the handy carrying bag.
To liven up your campfire experience , throw in some fire sparkles. These crystals creats amazing colors in your flames. Great fun for the kids and adults as well.
Don’t forget to bring along a frisbee. A frisbee gives you some of the best potential for fun per square inch, of any item you can bring along.
Badminton is a great way to pass the time while relaxing at camp. Fun for the whole family, or challenge some of your neighbors to a match.
This portable set is very easy to transport and set up. Very few kids wouldn’t love this game. They can play with family or invite other kids from the campground.
Bocce Ball can be played anywhere you have a bit of grass. We have this set and have used it very often. It is always a good time.
Croquette is another wonderful game that can be played nearly anywhere. This portable set is easy to transport and easy to set up in just a few minutes.
Our kids love to set up challenging courses to try and beat us old folks!
This portable ring toss game is hours of fun- especially for the littles. The portable set is easy to bring along and simple to set up. Great fun!
Two trees and this slack line kit and you have an instant high wire. (not too high, ok?) Work on your balance and fitness while having hours of fun. See who can go the farthest.
Whether your family camping trips are at a national park, a local campground, somewhere new, or even your backyard, pack all the kids’ essential gear PLUS the gear that keeps everyone safe and warm.
Make a plan, create a packing list, and enjoy your outdoor adventures with all your essential camping gear!