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The Ultimate Family Camping Checklist

Are you planning to go on a family camping trip? Are you worried that you might forget something and be underprepared for camping adventure? Are you confused about how to prepare a family camping checklist?

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If you have these questions burning at the back of your mind, then you’re at the right place for answers. I am a picky camper so I will share just my favorite tricks and must-haves for family camping trips. Read this article and you’ll be ready for your big trip to enjoy the fun of camping season.

There’s nothing more wholesome than bonding on a family camping trip. Just about everyone from big city dwellers to folks who live way out in the country get roped into a camping trip at least occasionally. Hence, this blog aims to guide people on how to be fully prepared for a family camping trip by helping you make a family camping checklist.

The best way to devise your camping trip packing is by making a camping checklist. This will ensure that you don’t forget anything important. It’s such a bummer to drive way out into the boonies only to realize that you’ve forgotten to bring a lighter for example!

Before we jump into the camping checklist, let’s first examine the things you need to take care of ahead of time.

Family Camping Checklist: Pre-planning 

1. Brainstorm your destination

This is the most important step. Choose different places you want to go and choose by priority. Then you could see which one fit best with your schedule. It is the first step for planning, and it’s one you’ll want to take way ahead of time. You’ll find that the most popular camping spots are often booked six months or more in advance!

2. Mark the camping date on your calendar

Now that you choose the place see how much time you can take to spend there. Think carefully how long you can be away. See which trip fits in your schedule with the time you have available.

This is one of the first things you need to decide about a camping trip is when you plan to take it. This will give you a very smooth idea of what essentials you need. 

So, if you plan on going to a place where the temperature is chilly, especially at night, ensure that you pack your warm coats, sweat pants, and the like. You’ll also want to know what precipitation is like in the time of year you’re planning your trip. This will give you a fair idea if the place you are going to has a safe road in that season. You should steer clear areas with risks of land sliding, floods, and heavy snowfall that might block roads and access to that place.  

For more information, check up on the campsite’s website and keep track of all their updates before leaving. 

3. Decide how many people are going along

It’s always more fun when there are more people but make sure to abide by the campsite’s group size limitations. Also keep in mind there are different planning challenges when a group is bigger.

If you’re going with family and friends, make sure to have a headcount of the people you are taking along and divide meal preparations. This will help you decide on the amount of food you need to take and the essential gear for camping.  

4. Pick a campsite

One of the most crucial factor of enjoyment in camping depends on which place you decide to camp on. Even with mediocre shelter systems and full camping gear, it is still difficult to enjoy a low-quality campsite. Make sure you’re not too close to a busy road, or the campground’s bathrooms for example.

First, decide which general area you want to visit and then pick a specific spot for camping. Ensure you have access to level ground which you can pound some tent stakes into, it’s not too rocky (nobody likes sleeping on rocks!), and with some good privacy to screen you off from other campers. Some sites will have running water, electricity, and maybe even some good cell signal if that’s important to you.

5. Decide what route to take 

What you will be packing needs to take in consideration what route you are taking and the length of the trip. It is needed to have something handy in the car and how many hours will take to get there. Are there gas stations, charging stations, restaurants, and markets along the way? Will you be able to buy some of the things you want closer to your destination, where prices might even be cheaper?

6. Research the events at the campground

Events at campgrounds include bonfires, musical nights, guided nature walks, and many more outdoor activities. 

Once you know what activities you plan on doing, you will get a clearer idea of what stuff you need to take and add then to your packing list. One thing you shouldn’t forget is to bring is stuff for s’mores! It just isn’t camping without capping it off with some sticky gooey s’mores.

7. Make a Budget

Have a budget goal for food and activities. Usually This is something easy during camping trips because they are the most economically way to travel with family. However there are some extra expenses like renting a boat or kayaks when you go close the lakes or rivers. So keep those expenses in mind to have a fun trip, it really does help to set aside budget goals.

8. Have a plan for the meals

This is something that is always helpful and necessary when you start making your packing list. Plan your meals for everyday and get them packed. if there is frozen food make sure to get your cooler and calculate if they will be okay. usually you want to make a meal plan with food that don’t need to be cold for long period of time. Be practical!

Think about which meals you’re like to eat out and which ones you’ll make, then shop and pack any foods you’ll need to take with you.

Once you have done this pre-planning, you can move on to the camping checklist!

RV Camping

RV camping is becoming more famous day by day as it increases the camper’s ease, especially if you’re planning on taking a family trip.

A new generation of RVers is drawn to the open road, the ease of driving, and the opportunity to visit the country’s many national parks and scenic routes.

Furthermore, the RV travel will be cheaper than your normal family travels as it will include no hotels, no airfare and very few to none restaurant visits. Furthermore, it gives you a lot of flexibility to move your base camp around to wherever you want to go.

Family camping checklist

We have assembled the following handy and concise family camping checklist for you. Make sure you check all of these things before you leave.

Family Camping Checklist: Tent essentials

1. Camping tent

There are various sizes of tents available. Depending on your group’s headcount and privacy factors, you can get two-person tents, four-person or larger, depending on your needs and priorities.  

If you don’t have a camping tent already or want to update here are few suggestions according to your group size:

Camping tent for 2 people:

Coleman Sundome Tent is good quality and perfect for just two. however there is plenty of option in the market. If you want to get this one check here

Camping tent for 4 or more people:

This tent is for 4 people and it desing is very open and what I like is how high the ceiling is. So less bending. This is the Yuoko 4-Person Waterproof Pop up Camping Tent

Another option more economical option for 5 people is this Amazon Basics Outdoor Camping Tent. You can see the here

Coleman Rocky Mountain 5 Plus Family Tent, 5 Man Tent, Blocks up to 99 Percent of Daylight, 2 Bedroom Family Tent, 100 Percent Waterproof Camping Tent for 5 Person, Also Ideal to Camp in The Garden. Check this here

10% off entire order with code: CGEAR10


2.Sleeping bag or air mattress

Every trip can get hectic without a good night’s sleep. Hence, it’s essential to have a comfy sleeping arrangement.

You can arrange for sleeping bags that allow one-person space. Some people find sleeping bags uncomfortable and want something roomier, so they can opt for sleeping mattresses.

Depending on the temperature of your camping spot, you can either go for warm sleeping bags or cold ones. Moreover, if you have kids going along, make sure to buy the kids size for them!

  1. The Kelty Cosmic is a great choice. You can see it here. It is good for 20 degree and has down fill. It is great for 3 season camping with premium Thermal efficiency and soft to touch. This is a great investment as a good sleeping bag is crucial in camping trips. It is for me!
  1. Another important sleep element is a good mattress. Like this mattress. I always like to choose self inflating camping mattress. This QOMOTOP is ultra thick and self-inflating Camping Mattress. It is 4 inches thick and there is single and double sizes. Check it out here


A good tarp is important to keep the tent warm and clean. This is the ground cover for under your tent and usually comes with the tent but in case you are taking separate components, make sure you have this too.

4. Pillows

The use of pillows should go without saying. 

  • Wise Owl Outfitters Camping Pillow Compressible Foam Pillows – Use When Sleeping in Car, Plane Travel, Hammock Bed & Camp – Great for Kids – Compact Small, Medium & Large Size – Portable Bag. Here

TREKOLOGY Ultralight Inflating Travel/Camping Pillows – Aluft 1.0 Compressible, Compact, Inflatable, Comfortable, Ergonomic Pillow for Neck & Lumbar…


Headlamps would come in handy for people who like to read at night before drifting off or have Nyctophobia (phobia of darkness).

Here is one: The Headlamp Cobiz. It is very Brightest u to 6000 High Lumen LED Work Headlight,18650 USB Rechargeable and Waterproof. It is good to have some that you can use during rain. This also are adjustable to fit everyone. I like that head lamps gives you hand free so you can use it while watching dishes in the night or more situations during camping. This one also has Zoomable Light and 4 modes use.

Another option is this headlamp. That has 2 beam patterns wide and focused and other lighting modes.proximity or distance vison and rapid movement. However this are just few suggestions since there are many examples out there.

6. Lanterns:

Having good light during camping s important so it is a good idea to get a big set of lights to hang out during the bonfire and find stuff afterwards. Here are some suggestions:

  • Anfrere Camping Lanterns, 4 Pack Battery Powered Camping Lights Flashlight for Outdoor Camping Here
  • Another eco friendly option is RUNACC Solar Camping Lantern Rechargeable

Inflatable Portable Battery Powered Solar Light 2000mAh Power Bank IP66 Waterproof LED Camping Lantern Lamp with Bluetooth Speaker for Camping & Outdoor

7. Solar Charger

Solars Chargers are a great option for camping so you won’t need to worry about recharging and spend in batteries that harm the environment.

The Durecopow is a Portable Outdoor Waterproof Solar Power Bank, 20000mAh and Battery Pack Dual 5V USB Ports Output. It also has 2 Led Light Flashlight with Compass. It is great for camping. Get it here.

8. Extra blankets

Keep extra blankets just in case someone gets sick, or prior bedding arrangements get dented. 

Camping Blanket. It is a good idea to have a camping blanket as well. This REDCAMP Down Camping Blanket, it is water resistant Warm and Lightweight for Camping Hiking, 650 Fill Power, Blue/Black.

9. Air Pump

While sleeping out in camping, there is a high chance that your mattress gets deflate and the air from inside it leaks. Air pump will be extremely handy at the at time as you can refill the air mattress with it. To fill up footie, boats, toys, raft, swimming rings or more. There are timesavers!

So Electric Air Pump that you can connect to your car like this are very important to bring to camping trips. Pre-equipped with 3 nozzle sizes, S, M and L, to cater for most types of inflatables. I always prefer Lightweight and Portable air pumps. Check it out Here

8. A Tent Whisk Dust Pan:

This is a must bring for camping trips. believe me you don’t want the unwanted dust get in your tent and spend countless ours trying to get that out. Prevention can saved you time. Conghlan’s had a nice Tent Whisk with dust Pan with Whisk handle snaps into dust pan for easy storage and saved space. Check it out there.

Polypropylene bristles, Sturdy thermoplastic construction

9. Camping chair:

This is one of the item you use the most in a camping trip so getting a good one and good quality is a must! Check out the Coleman chair here

10. Sand free towel

This is another must have during my camping trips: a sand free towel. Useful for anywhere you go. For outside the camping tent or when camping close to river or beach and have it handy. I use this towels all year long and specially during camping trips. Find this sand free towel here now at 10% discount.

San Free towel for your tent here

Save up to 50% on CGEAR SAND-FREE Products! Click here for details.

Family Camping Checklist: Camp kitchen gear


One of the most busy and fun parts of camping is cooking. Some people enjoy ore than other however is always a. must do. To make it easy having a proper stove is very important. Whether small or two burns is up to you and it depends entirely on you and your budget.

If you take a gas stove, make sure to keep extra gas storage. Here are few different options according to the storage space you have to bring them. Think how fast you will like to cook them

Here are few suggestions:

This is a propane stove with 2 burners and cooking power up to 22000 total. It has a push button ignition and adjustable heat. I love the wind blocking panels they are very useful in windy days. Its charmed plated grade makes it easy to clean afterwards!

This is a propane portable grill perfect for car camping or tailgating. Only 12,000 BTU tube burner cooks anything from steaks to hotdogs. This also has removable grease tray and nickel plated grate makes clean up easy that is very nice.

This is a smaller choice in a compact design. Maybe no a good choice for a big family. However I put it here for anyone that needs a smaller choice. This is Isobutane or liquid fuel compatible. Just 1.25lb without fuel and matchless ignition. It includes pot with insulated sleeve and Foldable that comes with a mesh carry bag.

2. Canned Food

An alternative to cooking yourself is taking canned food along. The quantity depends on what you like to eat or how big your family is. 

Moreover, you can either cook and then get that food canned from the market or take pre-made canned edible items from a nearby grocery store. 

  • AIRE 16 Pcs Camping Cookware Set Stove Canister Stand Tripod Outdoor Hiking Picnic Non-Stick Cooking Backpacking with Folding Knife and Fork Set Mess Kit

Introducing Outdoor Kitchen. The setting for any setting. Step right up campers, beachcombers and patio dwellers. We’ve saved you a seat at the new Outdoor Kitchen. Grab a plate. Adventure is served.

Introducing Outdoor Kitchen from Hydro Flask! Free Shipping with code ZERO$SHIP in cart! Coupon Code: ZERO$SHIP

Here are a couple of more kitchen essentials that should take:

  • Match sticks
  • Dish Washing Soap
  • Water Bottles
  • Paper towel
  • Trash Bags 

  • Camp Chef Popcorn Popper find it here

More than essential for cookig camp

Family Camping Checklist: Med kit and basic hygiene

  1. Basic Anti-Biotics and Anti-viral tablets.
  2. Indigestion tablets.
  3. Prescriptions
  4. Band-aids and magic sprays
  5. Hand sanitizers – High priority item in the current pandemic
  6. Face masks- High priority item in the current pandemic
  7. Sanitizing Sprays- High priority item in the current pandemic
  8. Nail cutter
  9. Lip balm
  10. Sunblock 
  11. Moisturizer 
  12. Insect repellent

Emergency First Aid Kit: Add to Camping Gear, Home, Dorm, Survival Gear and Equipment, Hunting, Camping Accessories, Car Survival Kit, Travel Accessories, Tactical Gear. – 180 Pieces | by ResQue1st

Family Camping Checklist: Clothing items for camping

  1. Underwear
  2. Jeans
  3. Shirts
  4. Scarfs
  5. Sunglasses
  6. Raincoats
  7. Socks
  8. Shoes- Joggers, Hiking Boots, Sandals, and casual wears

Winter clothing:

  1. Jackets
  2. Sweaters
  3. Shawls
  4. Warm hats
  5. Gloves 

If you are looking for great camping apparel products check here

Family Camping Checklist: Fun camping items for kids

  1. Cards and toys
  2. Board games
  3. Bikes and Helmets
  4. Backpack for hiking or trekking

Other camping essentials

  1. Umbrella
  2. Folding chairs
  3. Mobile chargers
  4. Earphones
  5. Portable speakers
  6. Duct Tape
  7. Tool kit
  8. Spare car tire

Some tips for camping with kids

  • Make them a part of the preparation process.
  • Leave the electronics at home and try to play out door games and focus on doing recreational activities with them.
  • Pack first aid items.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Bring the bikes so that the kids can enjoy outdoors.
  • Take essential hiking gear.

If you ever happen to visit Yosemite with kids, make sure to check out this blog!

These are all the necessary tips you need to keep in mind and the items you need to pack before embarking on a family camping trip.

In short, first, decide on all the pre-planning pointers mentioned above and then take a print of the family camping checklist in this blog. After adding any item from the list, just check that item.

When you’ve checked all the items, you’re good to go!

If you are looking for are a couple of ideas for different canned food items you can get for the camping trip, visit this link. Similarly, here are some camping stoves you can look into!

Happy Camping!

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I am Rocio

Hello there! Thank you for stopping by. My name is Rocio, and I’m a Latina mother with a wanderlust. I believe that family trips are important in forming well-rounded kids. Even when you have kids, you can still travel, so I help busy parents figure out how. Through my blog, Real world Mami, I want to give you tips that will help you plan epic trips to both well-known and less-known places around the world. Happy Travels!

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