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The Ultimate Family Camping Supplies List

The Ultimate Family Camping Supplies List

Don't let a missing item derail your next family camping trip. Bookmark our essential camping supplies list to enjoy your next trip to the fullest!

Summertime is (almost) here and the living is easy! The kids are out of school and it is probably a good time for a little vacation from work for you, too. 

camping supplies list

Camping is a popular summertime activity for many reasons. You get out of your comfort zone and have the opportunity to bring the family together away from any distractions. 

Nature offers a never-ending adventure and unforgettable memories waiting to be made. 

If camping is on your summer bucket list this year, make sure you have everything you need. Things can easily slip through mental cracks, and no one likes to be all set up just to realize you forgot that one last thing.

To help you out, we have prepared the ultimate family camping supplies list for old-timers and newbies alike.

Here are some of our favorites:

Survival 101 On Your Camping Supplies List

Tent

Do not leave home without this. Your tent is your home away from home. It is the center of your campsite and your safe space in case of rain, heavy winds, or unbearable heat. 

Tents come in many sizes. You can opt for a cozy 2-person for the adults and another for the kids, or go big with a family size. 

Consider investing a little extra money here. There are reasons some are more expensive, like an easier setup and break down or better durability. We recommend doing your research for the best option. 

No matter which tent you choose, do not forget this. It isn't much of a camping trip when you have nowhere to sleep. 

Fire

Of course, we are not saying to bring a live flame. But do you have the tools to make and keep a fire going?

Firewood should be available on-site, you are in some form of the wilderness after all. The most important thing here is lighter fluid and matches. StarterLoggs are a great tool as well. 

Check your destination's policies on fires as some will have designated areas already set up. This can be a standing small grill or enclosed area somewhere on your site.

You might also be at liberty to determine an area for yourself. Either way, reading up on fire safety would be a good idea.  

Food 

Some would say this is as important as the tent! No matter if you are camping for a few nights or a whole week, you will need to stay fueled up.

The food you put on your camping supplies list is up to you. The key here is how you store it. 

The  YETI Tundra 110 Cooler is designed for long day trips like rafting, which makes it perfect for exploring from the campsite. For a pop of color, Seafoam Coolers are a great option. 

Drinks

What goes well with food? Something to wash it down. 

Remember this rule - water is your friend, and hydration is important. Take what you think you will need and then some. Also, check if there is some sort of refill option at your campsite. 

No matter how you bring your water, and whatever else you plan to drink, reusable containers are highly recommended. These are perfect for hanging out at camp or going for a walk to explore the area. YETI Ramblers do a great job of keeping everything cool or keeping coffee in the morning warm. 

Make sure to put enough on your camping supplies list for everyone in the family. 

Sleeping Well 

Sleeping Bags 

Remember - your tent is #1 on your camping supplies list, but you will need a couple extra things for a good night's sleep. 

Sleeping bags come in many shapes and sizes. Consider weather conditions, the length of your stay, and if you plan to do any overnight excursions from site.

A sleeping bag can be as light and simple for backpacking or heavy and comfortable to almost feel like home. Almost, but that's the point right? 

Blankets

Perfect for relaxing around the campfire or taking a walk under the stars, you will not regret bringing these. Extra blankets can double up as padding underneath your sleeping bag or offer comfort after a long day. 

Curl up in a lightweight fiber or bring something nice and thick, but make sure this does not get left behind on your camping supplies list. 

Hammock

If you plan to stick around your campsite for most of the trip, make it cozy. Nothing is better than returning from a morning hike to some lunch and a mid-day nap in a hammock. 

These days, many are lightweight and made with camping in mind; it is hard to find a reason to not bring one along. Many families find this becomes a great lounging area for tired children and even pets! What could be cuter than that?

Personal Care

First Aid Kit

Camping is all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Hopefully, this won't be the case for you and your family. But, you can never be too prepared. 

Kits can range in size from adventure to minor emergencies. Are you planning to float down the river with your young children or maybe some rock climbing with your teens? Pack accordingly. 

Bath Items

Regardless of if your version of camping is "roughing it" or pulling up to a site with your car nearby, you don't need to smell like you've been in the great outdoors for weeks on end. 

Take proper grooming tools in a compact container. Research where your closest shower will be, if any. If you are really roughing it, dry shampoo is the way to go.

Trust us, you will enjoy your vacation much more when you aren't worried about how you smell the entire time. Make sure towels make it on the trip, too. 

Sunscreen

Yet another essential for your camping supplies list no matter where you plan to go or what you plan to do.

At some point, the sun will be shining and it will likely be strong, and no one likes a sunburn on the first day of a vacation. Keep it in a backpack or fanny pack during day excursions and leave it somewhere you won't forget in the morning.

We can't stress this one enough. There is never too much sunscreen in the great big out there.

Other great items in this range of your camping supplies list include lip balm and bug spray - gotta love bug spray. 

Sufficient Clothing

Pack light, but pack well. Choose items that can be used for multiple uses or outfits.

Consider all of your activities. Will you be in the water a lot and require more changes of clothes? Do you plan to go on long hikes and need comfortable walking shoes? 

Are you doing extreme sports that will need breathable clothing, or can you manage with your favorite pair of broken-in jeans?

Heavy Clothes

This one may come as a surprise for the summertime. You expect hot, sweaty weather and are probably eager to jump into some form of water to cool off. 

That is a great plan for the day, but at night the temperature can drop significantly. Beyond the comfort of a warm fire, tossing in your favorite old hoodie or long-sleeve shirt will come in handy. 

Bonus - this can protect from the sun during the day and double up as a makeshift pillow in the hammock we recommend to bring. 

Extra Items for Your Camping Supplies List

The basics are covered above, but below are some things you may not have thought about.  

The Little Things

The little things are often the easiest to forget, and that is why they make a big difference. This includes everyday items like sunglasses and hats.

Camping specific items include lanterns, flashlights (with extra batteries), cooking materials and an extra tarp or canopy.  

It also refers to items for any vacation. Think cameras, books, umbrellas and ponchos. Maybe even some card games and a portable phone charger, just in case.  

Random, but Important

Cover your bases. It is better to come over prepared than under prepared. 

Bonus - all your camping supplies list items do not have to be practical! Toss in a frisbee or a football. Walkie-talkies would be great for family hikes and kites are a fun idea if the weather allows. 

Be creative with your packing ideas, and also remember at the end of the day it is about the experience. As much as you want to plan a good vacation, once you set up shop it then becomes about experiencing the vacation.

Give yourself a pat on the back for taking the time to make this trip happen for you and your family. Then, indulge in that nap in the hammock you have been dreaming about, or go for an extra swim with your family.

Do the longer hike, and stay up to tell one last ghost story. You won't regret it. 

Vacations are ultimately about creating lasting memories with the people you care about. Going well-prepared ensures you can do that with peace of mind. 

Are you planning your first family camping trip or looking to make this year's better than the last?

Let us know any useful items you always bring in the comments below or tell us how our list was helpful! 

  • John says...

    Don’t forget to bring some rope! You really need to hoist your coolers high into the trees. I know bears can climb, but putting it up high makes it less desirable and often not easily smelled.

    On June 23, 2017

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