Planning a camping trip? Here’s a family-friendly camping checklist

We put together a comprehensive camping packing list for you and your kids so you can focus on family fun – instead of wondering what you might forget

10.20.2021

We welcomed fall last month and with that we are relishing the change in seasons. Cooler temps and crunchy leaves signal a lot of things from bonfires to cinnamon apple donuts. This time of year always makes us want to get outside – but a camping trip can be intimidating without a packing list or camping checklist! Look no further, we’ve got you covered.

Whether you were able to squeeze in a last minute summer vacation or have holiday travel plans coming up, getting away with your family this autumn and unplugging with them is still a great idea to do now. Read on for a comprehensive camping checklist and packing list so you can get outdoors and focus on spending time with your kids instead of worrying about what to pack and what you forgot. Let us do the heavy lifting so you can unplug (yes - go screenless if you can) and make memories with your family by going camping with your kids.


Things to Consider When Making Your Camping Checklist: 

Family calendar helps with work life balance
  • Probe.
    You want to seek out basic information. Where are you going? How far is the trip? Make sure there are places you can actually set up camp, as campgrounds can fill up quickly – especially the ones that are most accessible and kid friendly. Buy the pass in advance and make sure you know how the process works. It could require an in person purchase that works on a first come, first serve basis. Cash or credit card is a good question to ask too! You can have a time in mind, but doing this research first allows for the best possible outcome before nailing down an exact date and time. One great resource for you: The Dyrt, a free camping app that has lots of this important information included!
  • Plot.
    Once you have your location and know when you can go, put it on the calendar. We have talked about it before, but putting it in writing or placing it on your digital calendar (like Hearth Display) means it is more likely to happen. This will serve as a visual reminder that it is coming up and build excitement for the time away. To learn more about using your family calendar to ensure memorable moments, click here.
  • Plan.
    There are logistics that aren’t necessarily on a camping checklist that you should consider. What about traffic? You’ll want to leave and be able to arrive before dark – what time is the sun setting? What about food? You’ll want to consider meals and prep and pre-package as much as possible, so it will be less work in the moment. Make ahead what you can and think in the simplest of foods. Kids often enjoy these the most, so don’t feel bad about a purchased package of muffins or hot dogs with chips. It’s all about the memories anyway! Don’t forget to double check the weather, so you know if rain is in the forecast or how many warm layers you might need. 

CAMPING WITH KIDS CHECKLIST

  • Tent and accessories (poles, stakes, ground tarp, etc)
  • Tent repair kit
  • Sleeping set up per person (sleeping bag, mattress, blankets, etc)
  • Pillows per person
  • Chairs per person
  • Flashlights (double check the batteries and bring extra!)
  • Lanterns
  • Wood
  • Matches (and/or lighter) – look for waterproof matches 
  • Food (remember, the lower maintenance, the better!) 
  • Stove and accessories (fuel, pans, pots, roasting sticks, foil, etc pending food plan)
  • Coffee (and hot cocoa!) equipment
  • Knives and cutting board
  • Eating utensils
  • Plates, cups and bowls
  • Water and ice (some campsites don't provide any potable water, so make sure you look ahead to prepare) 
  • Trash bags (pack in, pack out!)
  • Cooler
  • Blankets 
  • Cleaning Supplies (soap, sponge, hand towels, paper towels, bin for soaking, etc)
  • First Aid Kit (including basic medicines like ibuprofen)
  • Maps (you can download the surrounding Google maps ahead of time if you don’t want to bring paper maps)
  • Campsite Information (you will likely lose service, so print out and have the information you need)
  • Camera
  • Compass
  • Outdoor Toys (hammock, bike, binoculars, etc)
  • Pet Needs (or boarder’s information just in case)
  • Sunscreen
  • Personal Clothing (make sure to bring layers, including hats and gloves – and waterproof clothing in case of rain) 
  • Bug Spray
  • Prescription medications
  • Sunglasses
  • Towels

Don’t forget to utilize your Hearth Display when you can. It was literally made to help with things like this! We like to make our checklists in advance and add things to them as we think of them. The above list is a great starting point, but chances are you will need to personalize it a bit. Since everyone in your family can access Hearth’s software, they can add to the list whenever they think of something, regardless of where they are. We hope this travel packing list has made your life a little easier. Happy Trails! 

Family camping checklist