Top 10 Essentials for Camping with Kids!



Who doesn’t love the sound of the wind blowing through the pines, or the sound of the creek rippling over rocks, and how about that fantastic campfire smell that seems to go home back home with you on EVERY article of clothing. Ah yes, the smell of camping. I don’t know about you all but our family loves to camp. I grew up camping all the time and so did my husband! We love the adventure and the freedom to just explore non-stop. We had talked about going camping together once we were married, however, we were pleasantly surprised just 5 months into our marriage with our first pregnancy and there was no way I was going to try and “rough it” while pregnant. As soon as our Gracelyn was born we continued to talk about it but things always came up. “She is too little, she won’t be warm enough” or “How about we wait until she can walk on her own”. Then, before we knew it we were pregnant with our second and went through the whole list of “Maybe we should wait” until this past summer. With our girls ages 3.4 and 5.5 we were FINALLY ready to “rough it” together as a family!


I read so many articles and lists to make sure we didn’t miss anything and in the end we really didn’t need it all! So! if you have younger kids and are wanting to take the plunge into the fabulous life of camping with kids (it really is so much fun) then look no further! I have complied a list of my family’s top 10 camping essentials:

1) A tent that adequately fits your family! We took our little four person tent… more like TWO Person tent. We had to keep all our gear and luggage in the car since there was barely enough room for all four of us to lay out our sleeping bags. Since then we have upgraded to a large cabin tent (with room to stand) and we were able to take four air mattresses… a much better sleep for us all! We were given a Coleman Instant tent and it seriously takes minutes to set up! Everything is one piece and it is so easy to set up! This is the one we have and LOVE it!

2) Something soft to lay your sleeping bag on. Air mattresses, cots, yoga mats, foam pads it is nice to have something between your sleeping bag and the bottom of the tent. One, to keep the cold out and two, to sleep comfortably. Our first trip we got a bunch of those interlocking garage mats to lay on the bottom of our tent. The second time we took air mattresses but make sure you have a blanket between the floor and the mattress or you will end up sleeping on VERY cold air Brrrr!

3) A sleeping bag that’s warm enough! We brought the girls little princess slumber bags and even WITH blankets on them we ended up bringing them into our sleeping bags since they were too cold.  Our favorite is the Kelty Ridgeway. You can choose ones from -10 all the way up to 50 degrees, just make sure it coordinates with the weather!

4) Camping chairs! Some campsites don’t have a picnic table, so having some great camping, sports folding chairs is fantastic. You can sit and talk, eat and some of them even have cup holders and shades! GENIUS!! This is the one we have!

5) Bug Spray. If you are out in the woods then you are most likely camping with some friends. By friends I mean BUGS !! The one thing I do NOT like about camping are the bugs! If you are looking for a safe bug repellent then “Repel Natural” is our go to! It is safe for kids sensitive skin and keeps those blood suckers (mosquitoes that is) and others away!

6) BABY WIPES!!! I can’t stress this one enough. Even if you don’t have babies… these are great for cleaning dirty hands and faces, wiping dirt off of fallen soda cans, cleaning your shoes before you enter your tent and more! THESE.ARE.A.MUST!

7) Water shoes! For those families that like to fish, catch crawdads or just hop from stone to stone along the creek, these are very much a necessity! My oldest wore rain boots but that only lasted so long before they were filled up with water! My youngest wore her water shoes and not only was she able to walk safely IN the creek, the grip helped her walk across the stones without slipping!

8) NETS! not for keeping bugs out but for catching things. You can get them at the dollar store or any Wal-mart. The kids loved being able to catch things floating down the stream or if they were brave enough even a craw fish! I will let Daddy help them with THAT! This little activity can entertain the munchkins for hours and if one gets away and floats downstream no biggie since they were so cheap!

9) Tap Lights. Seriously, these are awesome! We got ours at IKEA but you can get them at the dollar store or walgreens. If you have to find something in the night, get shoes on to go to the bathroom, or change into jammies, these light up the whole tent instead of a direct beam from a flashlight! A lantern will work just as great too but if you want something light and cheap and easy then tap lights are the way to go!

10) Finally last but not least my personal favorite… a headlamp! As silly as you think you may look sporting a cute headband with a BRIGHT light attached instead of a flower… it is so necessary when needing to carry or help little ones at night. Your hands are free, and you can aim the light down as your footsteps so you don’t trip. I use mine when I am making hot chocolate. My hands are free and I can see what I am doing so not to spill. However, we used ours definitely the most carrying sleepy children to the out house!!!


So there you have it ! MY list on the top 10 essentials when camping with kids!! Now that you have these tools in your “camping tool belt”, are you ready to try out a family camping trip? I promise you won’t regret the special memories made!!

For those veteran camping mamas out there… what are some of your favorite camping essentials?!

In addition to the items listed above we consulted with our glamping expert Jen’s list and we put together a list for you HERE!


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Born and raised in the valley, Mandi has been married to the love of her life David since 2007. They have been blessed with two beautiful girls, Gracelyn born 2008 and Briella born 2010. Mandi finds so much joy in being a stay at home mom and enjoys hosting play dates, dinner parties and organizing get togethers with her friends. When she isn't busy studying for her Doula certification, you can find her tied to her hot glue gun or elbow deep in ribbon designing simple, elegant girly hair accessories for her little online store Jolie Fille Bowtique. She is loves fancy coffees, good storms and outdoor adventures! She looks forward to every holiday and loves to celebrate big as each one approaches. When she’s not playing dress up with her babes, she loves DATE NIGHTS with her man, thrifting with friends, and thinking up creative ways to make and capture fun memories! She feels so blessed for this life God has given her and desires to share His amazing joy with everyone she meets! You can keep up with her family on their blog


  1. Amazing !! We need to take special care while we go for campng with kids.

    Wherever we opt to go camping out, there are many basic regulations to adhere to. Very first, depart as little affect on the territory as you can. You should also training excellent fireplace safety when putting together your campfire and cooking food place. And you also need to make sure your meal doesn’t bring in bears and also other critters. Needless to say, you need to choose a campsite prior to any one of these rules utilize, so please read on for our own guide to making a secure, comfortable campsite where by you may get a great night’s rest


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