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The Ultimate Camping With Kids Checklist

Are you taking a family vacation to a national park? Or perhaps you're taking an RV road trip to explore multiple great campsites throughout the country. Knowing what to bring along can be a challenge, especially with kids in the mix.

Let's look at your camping essentials and talk about how you can have the most comfortable camping experience with your kiddos.

How Much Should I Pack?

You might be wondering how much you should pack into your car or camper. What you bring ultimately depends on a few things. How long is your vacation? For quick stops, you may want to pack easy meals and avoid going overboard. However, if you plan on staying for weeks in a specific location, it's a good idea to be well prepared for yourself and your kids. 

Let's take a look at some items to bring for any camping trip and some extras you may opt to take along as well. Customize this list to fit the length of your trip and the size of your family.

Camping Essentials for you and Your Kids 

These are the must-have items to pack for fun outdoor camping with your family!

Grab Your Tent and Sleeping Bags 

One of the most important factors of your trip is your sleeping quarters. Next to your tent, your sleeping bags or blow-up mattresses are must-haves for your time in nature. Above all else, ensure you pack each piece necessary to set up camp and sleep through each night peacefully.

Bring Safety Tools Along 

We know you don't want to spend too much time thinking about worst-case scenarios. Still, there are a few items you can bring to be prepared for unexpected challenges. A rope, pocket knife, and tarp are all fantastic articles to bring on your trip just in case you run into trouble. 

Add Materials for Building a Fire 

Do you plan on roasting hot dogs during your trip? Perhaps you'll be staying in a cooler climate than you're used to, and you plan on building a fire to keep warm. In any case, matches and starter logs are essential to making a campfire that's usable. 

Put Some Light on the Subject 

It's a good idea to bring a flashlight and lantern along for your camping trip, even if you're just staying for one night. At night, the light of your phone is hardly enough to see through trees, and when you're camping, you should always be able to see your surroundings. Keep these on hand for an easier time seeing when the sun sets. 

Have a First Aid Kit Nearby 

We hate to think of you or your kiddos getting hurt. Unfortunately, nature is a force to be reckoned with, and sometimes accidents happen. Keep a first aid kit and local emergency numbers readily available so that you can keep your family safe. Bringing this along can help you to have peace of mind while you explore the great outdoors. 

Clothing and Personal Items To Bring Along 

Pack these clothing articles and personal belongings for your trip. Doing this can ensure your kiddos have uninterrupted fun.

Durable Shoes for All Your Activities 

Flip flops may be the comfiest choice of footwear when you dress your kids to get in the car for your trip. Before you settle for one pair of sandals, think about the activities you'll be doing. Will you be hiking, swimming, or walking for extended periods? If so, pack water shoes, hiking boots, and tennis shoes for you and your kids. 

Toiletries, Wipes, and Towels 

Perhaps you're lucky enough to stay at a campsite with nice indoor bathrooms nearby. If not, you'll want to prepare for how you and your kids will take care of business. Try not to forget toilet paper, wipes, or diapers, so you can go comfortably even in the great outdoors. 

How will you and your little ones clean up after each day? While luxurious showers may not be an option, you can bring a few items to keep clean as you make nature your home for a few days. Pack miniature shampoo and conditioner bottles along with washcloths and towels to maintain some cleanliness while you're away. 

Appropriate Clothing for Every Type of Weather 

Will you be going to a snowy area on your trip so your little ones can have their first snowball fight? Or perhaps you'll set up your RV camp near a southern marshy area to go fishing with the kids. When you're traveling to a new environment, research the site before you finish packing. 

Informing yourself about the typical temperatures can help you choose the proper swimsuits, outer coats, socks, tank tops, or beanies to pack for the weather. 

What To Bring for Food Preparation 

Depending on how long your trip will be, you might be planning to cook most meals. In that case, you'll want to bring enough cooking ware and utensils to make successful meals for you and your family.

Let's look at the must-have kitchen wares and a few bonus items you may want to bring.

Kid-Safe Forks, Knives, and Spoons 

Regardless of the meals you plan, you'll need something to eat with. Make sure to pack easy-to-wash forks, knives, spoons, plates, bowls, and cups for each person. You may consider thinking through each meal to determine what utensils each person may need. Ensure each piece is kid-safe or keep sharp knives in a protected area away from little hands. 

A Cooler for Juice and Water 

Are you going somewhere with warm temperatures? In that case, you'll want to prioritize hydration for yourself and your children. Bring a cooler along with you to store bottles of juice, water, and other beverages for your trip. Don't forget to stop and get ice near your campsite to keep your drinks refreshingly cold.

Pots and Pans for Cooking Meals

Perhaps you've planned on having a full Saturday morning campfire breakfast spread, complete with eggs, bacon, and silly-shaped pancakes for the kiddos. If so, you'll need to consider how many skillets to pack for your group size. The same goes for pots. If you plan to make chili or some kind of soup, think about who in your family will eat that dish to determine what size pot to bring.

Kid-Friendly Snacks 

When you're in the wild, the adults may be content with eating beef jerky and carrots for snacks. However, your kiddos might want to have a few snacks that feel familiar to them while you're away from your home. You may wish to pack fruit bars, gummy snacks, chips, and fruit that they like for easy-to-reach kids' snacks.

Reusable Water Bottles 

Your kiddos may prefer to drink juice or soda on your trip, and it's a fantastic idea to pack a reusable water bottle for everyone. This way, you can pack family-sized beverages and reduce your waste. These are also terrific to have during hand for outdoor activities. Fill each person's bottle with fresh water to keep them well-hydrated during your activities.

Sandwich Supplies 

A well-done camping trip always includes a few sandwiches. For a quick, easy meal that you can't mess up, bring bread, lunch meat, condiments, peanut butter, and jelly along in your cooler. Sandwiches are the perfect fix to a lazy post-hike afternoon or a lunch to bring along for your day trip to swim in the creek. 

Fun Games for Kids To Make Unique Memories 

After you've packed all the essentials for your trip, you might think about adding some games and crafts to your luggage! At the end of the day, your kids want to have fun. If you have room, packing these items can make for terrific rainy day activities. Keep your family laughing with games, and keep your creative kids engaged with nature-themed craft projects.

Let's take a look. 

Card Games For Rainy Days In Your Camper 

Here's an activity you can pack that won't take up too much room. A deck of cards can be the perfect cure for rainy day camp blues or evening fun if the sun sets early. Teach your kids to play Go Fish or show off a few magic tricks. 

A Camera Your Little Ones Can Use

As you spend time in nature, your kids will be amazed by the unique sounds, smells, and sights. Let them record their favorite visions with an old digital camera. If you don't have an old digital camera lying around, grab a disposable camera for them to practice their photography. You never know if this camping trip photoshoot may lead to a passion for wildlife photography as they grow older. 

Craft Supplies To Use in Nature 

Do you have kids who enjoy crafts more than hiking or fishing? Think about how they might like to spend their trip. Consider packing construction paper, glue, and paintbrushes. Whenever you have a rest day, your creative kiddos can try making paint out of leaves, mud, and flowers. They can also glue leaves and sticks into a nature collage. With these few supplies, your kids will feel like Michaelangelo despite being in the middle of a campsite.

Final Tips for the Most Enjoyable Trip 

Your camping trip has the potential to be an experience your little ones remember for their entire lives.

Here are a few final tips for making the most of your camping adventure: 

Get Good Rest 

Perhaps you already have a detailed itinerary covering your family's plans for each day of your trip. Don't forget to add nine to 11 hours of rest time for your kiddos as you plan. While you may be comfortable with six hours of sleep, kids need a little bit more to feel rested and ready for action the next day. 

Use the Buddy System 

Depending on the size of your family or group, you may want to implement the buddy rule. If one child wants to explore a nearby creek, they should always do so safely. Decide which activities are buddy-system appropriate and which ones require adult supervision. This way, everyone stays safe to have the best camping trip.

Don't Forget Protection from Bug Bites 

Let's talk about something important. As you pack for your camping trip, there's one pest that could be especially prevalent at your campsite: mosquitoes

While adults can sometimes deal with a few mosquito bites, kids have a much harder time handling these itchy bites. Some bites may turn into wounds if your child scratches them too much. How can you prevent bug bites during your trip?

Our BuzzPatch mosquito repellent stickers provide an easy, fun way to keep bugs at bay. Simply stick the smiley face repellent patches onto your child's shorts hem, sleeve, and socks to prevent nasty mosquitos from landing on them.

How BuzzPatch Stickers Keep Mosquitos Away 

Our scientists designed Buzzpatch repellent stickers with essential oils and specific compounds that prohibit mosquitos from finding your child's skin. With several stickers in place, your little one will be safe to play for hours without interruption from these pests. You can let them play for hours outdoors with peace of mind.

The Great Outdoors 

As you pack for your trip, there are so many items to consider bringing! A good practice is to think through each day's schedule and write down the clothing items, snacks, and utensils that are necessary to make that activity most enjoyable, comfortable, and safe. 

After you've packed the games, food, and other camping essentials for your kiddos, don't forget protection from icky bug bites. At The Natural Patch Co., we want your camping trip to be the most fun, which is why we want to help you make it mosquito-bite-free. 

 

Sources:

Camping with Kids Checklists (Is lazy-mom camping possible?) | Take Them Outside

Make a First Aid Kit | Red Cross

AAP Supports Childhood Sleep Guidelines | Healthy Children

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