15 Essential Camping Supplies for Families

You always want to make sure you have the most essential camping supplies for families packed before you leave for the campground. Not having the vital items you need can cause you to suffer on your trip. Below, we will take a look at 15 essentials for camping you need to have, plus you can download the handy camping packing checklist!

15 Essential Camping Supplies for Families

1. Spacious Tent

You must have enough room for everyone to sleep comfortably. Consider the amount of family members taking the trip with you when purchasing the right camping tent.

2. Sleeping Bags

Even if you are tent camping, a sleeping bag ensures everyone stays as warm – or cool – as they need to be. It provides individualized comfort so you can rest easily after your busy days in the woods.

3. Flashlights

Everyone camping member should have their own flashlight, along with at least one set of new batteries in case they need to change them. Keep your flashlight on you anytime you leave the camping area, but especially at night.

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4. Lanterns

Unless you are pulling in a camper with electricity, you will want to have a few lanterns to set around to give off a little light before bedtime. Even with a camper, a lantern or two can come in handy when you need to fetch more firewood or look for a missing person or pet.

5. First Aid Kit

If you are camping with children, you must have a first aid kit on hand. Make sure the box is stocked with bandages, ointment, peroxide or alcohol, and pain medication. Being prepared can help to reduce everyone’s discomfort, especially if an emergency arises.

6. Bug Repellent

It’s virtually impossible to go camping without attracting the pesky mosquitos and other bugs. Bring along some natural bug spray to keep bites to a minimum. Citronella pots or torches are also good to set around your camping area to help reduce the unwanted insects.

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7. Tarp

Heavy duty tarp may come in handy if you need to cover your camping area to prevent rain from soaking everything. It can also be used as a ground cover, should you find yourself camping right after a big storm. With so many uses for tarp, it is seen as an essential for camping families.

8. Rain Gear

Even when there’s no wet weather in the forecast, having a raincoat in your camping duffle bag is a good idea. You never know when you may experience an unexpected summer shower. Be prepared so you aren’t water logged, cold, and wet!

9. Sunscreen

On the flip side, you should also take care when camping out in the hot sun. Sunburn is no joke, and it can happen even on overcast and cloudy days. Keep the kids lathered up with SPF 30 sunscreen while camping, and don’t forget to put some on yourself too!

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10. Maps

Having a map of the area in which you are camping is golden if you should find yourself lost from your tent and supplies. Keep this map on you with your flashlight any time you leave your campsite. If you plan to hike, a map is essential to locate trails and help prevent entering dangerous areas.

11. Hiking Backpack

There are a few things you should take with you every time you go on a hike while camping. A small hiking backpack is a great way to store these items until they are needed. Inside the pack, you can carry your flashlight, batteries, matches, a compass, and whistle.

Essential Camping Supplies for Families - Learn more about what your family needs for camping and grab the FREE printable camping packing checklist!

12. Firewood

You can’t guarantee you will find good firewood when you get to your campsite, so pack a few logs with you. It’s also a good idea to get some kindling so you have no problem getting a fire started each night.

13. Kitchenwares

If you plan to cook over your fire, you will need a grate, pots and pans, and dishes to serve the food on. Utensils, a can opener, and a few other essentials may also be needed for camping families. Try to keep these kitchen tools to a minimum so you don’t end up with very heavy baggage.

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14. Swimsuits

If you are camping near a lake or river, make sure you bring swimwear! It’s important you kids wear a rash guard in order to help protect their skin from the sun while in the water. Water shoes are also helpful to prevent injuries on rocks and other sharp objects that may lie at the bottom of the water. Oh, and don’t forget plenty of towels!

15. Hygiene Products

Of course, you don’t want to forget all your toiletries! Most campgrounds have public restrooms with showers. Pack your shampoo, soap, and toothbrush. If you don’t have shower access, it can still be helpful to bring extra deodorant and hand sanitizer for your camping trip.

Ready to get packing for your camping trip? Download this free Camping Essentials Checklist!
(click the image to open PDF in a new tab for printing)

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