Camping with kids is such a fun experience for the whole family! But, it definitely takes more strategic planning and packing. Along with everything you’d usually take camping, you will want to be sure to pack these seven essentials when you are camping with kids.
Camping With Kids Essentials
Chad and I both had years of camping experience before we even met. Camping was a fun summer activity that we both enjoyed with our families growing up in Utah. After we met, we would plan camping trips every chance we could get. So, it was inevitable that we would continue to camp after becoming parents. We took Eli on his first camping trip when he was only three months old and we’ve been on countless camping trips since then.
If you are just starting to plan your first family camping trip, you’ll want to read this helpful guide on How To Pick The Best Type Of Camping
We put together the following list of essentials for camping with kids from what we’ve learned after years of camping as a family (and camping with our own families when we were kids). All of the essentials are extra items to bring camping that relate specifically to camping with little ones.
With a little extra planning and purchasing some key items before your first camping trip, camping can be so much fun for the whole family.
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Kid-Sized Seating – Essential For Camping With Kids
Although kid-sized seating wasn’t necessary on our first camping trip when Eli was only three months old, we’ve been through several different kid-sized camp chairs since then.
As soon as Eli was old enough to sit in a high chair, camping was much easier because we could bring his portable high chair to hook on the picnic table. It was so nice for him to be able to sit with us at the table to eat in his own chair.
The portable high chair that hooks onto the table is awesome. In fact, we took our portable high chair on all different kinds of vacations, not just camping.
But, the problem with the clip-on highchair is you will need to have a sturdy picnic table. If you camp in campgrounds all the time that shouldn’t be a problem. If you do more dispursed camping you will want to look into bringing a foldable camping high chair.
I wish we knew about the foldable camping high chair when Eli was little! I’ve seen other families using them in the last few years and they look amazing! The foldable high chair would be perfect for kids up to thirty-five pounds.
Once your little one is no longer using a high chair, a kid-sized camp chair is essential. Eli loved having camp chairs that were just his size when we went camping. This Coleman kid’s camp chair is great for kids ages three to eight.
Fun Outdoor Toys – Essential When Camping With Kids
Yes, kids are creative and can play with sticks and rocks and be entertained for a while. But, bringing new and different outside toys makes camping so much more fun for kids. We have toys that we leave on the camper so they are special just for camping.
Here are a few of our favorite outdoor toys, perfect for camping-
A slackline is so much fun for kids of all ages. It folds up small and is easy to set up.
Just be aware that some campgrounds won’t allow you to set up your slackline in the campground. If that is the case where you are camping, you can always set it up in the woods nearby.
Ok, it doesn’t really sound like a toy but seriously, our bug zappers are always the biggest hit with all of the kids when we are camping. Plus, if the mosquitoes are bad, your kids can help take care of them for you.
I really like these because they don’t take batteries, you can plug them in to recharge.
Kids love the glow toys because they are fun and different and adults love them because it’s easy to keep an eye on a glowing kid.
Being allowed to play in the dirt is one of the best parts of camping for little ones!
Rain and Cold Weather Clothes
Always be sure to throw in a rain jacket for your child when you are going camping. If the forecast calls for rain, it would be helpful to also have rain pants and boots.
It gets cold at night even in the summer in the mountains of Colorado. If you are camping at a high elevation, make sure to bring a jacket and stocking hat for your little one. With all of the fun glow toys, they are going to want to stay up and play after the sun goes down so it’s best to be prepared in case it gets chilly.
We love the water and have always had water toys (boats, SUPs, Kayaks). Since Eli was a baby, he has spent a lot of his summers wearing a life jacket. If you are camping near the water make sure to bring comfortable life jackets for your kids.
A first aid kit is always something I have brought camping. I have also had to use the first aid kit many times over the years. Even if you just need bandaids, a first aid kit is absolutely essential when camping with kids.
*Make sure to stock your first aid kit with kid-friendly medications!
My parents gave me a first aid book years ago and it has been a great addition to our first aid kit. When camping, you don’t always have cell service. It is so handy to have a book to reference in case of a first aid emergency.
Wet Wipes – Absolutely Essential When Camping With Kids
Wet-wipes are one of those things you always remember when your little one is still in diapers. But, wet wipes are absolutely essential to bring camping with kids of any age.
Having wet wipes on hand when you are camping makes cleaning little hands (and adult hands) quick and easy.
Toddler Potty Chair
When you are potty-training, you want to avoid reverting back to diapers at any cost. But, you also don’t want to stay home and miss out on camping. Bringing a potty chair on your camping trip is the perfect solution. It is also one of those things you might not think of until you get to camp and it’s too late.
Although many campgrounds have bathrooms, they aren’t always near your campsite. When you are potty training and your toddler needs to go, they usually need to go right away. Having a potty chair at your camp will make it so camping doesn’t stall or reverse your potty training progress.
I know, they are gross to clean out, but it is well worth it.
If you are camping at a campground with pit toilets, it might also be a good idea to bring a toddler toilet seat that fits over the toilet seat. The toddler seat makes the toilet seat smaller so your child doesn’t feel like they are going to fall into the pit.
We went camping with some friends who had older kids when Eli was a toddler and they brought so many good snacks! Eli was constantly going over to their camp to see what snacks he could score. Since then, I’ve always been sure to bring lots of quick and easy kid-friendly snacks and drinks when we go camping.
Running around and playing outdoors makes kids extra hungry and it’s always good to have quick and easy snacks on hand.
My go-to kid-friendly snacks for camping are go-gurt (or yogurt drinks), string cheese, grapes, goldfish crackers, pretzels, and trail mix. I also like to pack special treats that Eli doesn’t usually get at home on a regular basis.
Don’t forget some special kid-friendly drinks too!
If you are prepared and pack all of the camping with kids’ essentials, you will have a great family camping experience.
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