10 Must Haves When Camping With Kids

Table of Contents

​We went on our first camping trip together as a family several weeks ago and little did I know what to expect to pack for my little ones. I have gone to many camping trips growing up but none with my little ones so this was a new one for me. I was literally making a list, rewriting the list, and making new lists trying to remember everything my dad used to pack for us on our childhood camping trips.  I did grab tons of stuff and probably over packed, or so I thought. I even unpacked and repacked several times. I probably stressed it more then what I should have. Typical me! Always overthinking everything but still forgets to bring something. Who else is like that??

 Well as of now it’s been 2 camping trips that we have been on and the second one went so much better. I felt like we were much more prepared. So here’s 10 things that are a “Must Have” when camping with kids and all the products are eco-friendly.

1. Insect Repellent

 As we all know, mosquitoes are a sucker for everyone. This is one item that I did bring for sure. I actually bought a candle to repel them as well as bug spray. Some eco-friendly and natural options are like Cutter’s Natural Bug Spray or Cutter’s Lemon Eucalyptus Spray. You can also use a candle with citronella and lemon in it. One good option is Cutter’s Citro-Guard Candle. Another option are mixing lemon and eucalyptus essential oils and putting them on your skin.

2. Sunblock

Being outdoors means being out in the sun. Both times we camped it was by a lake so this not only meant mosquitoes but also exposure to the beautiful yet brutal sun. Some eco-friendly options are Raw Element or SunBum.

3. Extra Clothes

As a parent, we all know how messy kids can be and how dirty they can get in just a matter of a few minutes. I highly recommend bringing extra clothes. Accidents are always destined to happen with little ones. Spilled drinks, muddy play times, food messes, you name it. I brought 3 extra outfits (including underwears) and though I didn’t use all the extra clothing, it gave me peace of mind to know that if anything happened I wasn’t going to run out of clothes.

4. Extra Shoes

I would definitely put this one down. Just how they can be messy, they can get very dirty or their flip flops may come to an end. My daughter’s flip flops came to an end on our last camping trip and if it wasn’t for bringing her sneakers, she wouldn’t of had any shoes to wear.

5. Shower Shoes

I’m sure this one is a given. I made sure both of my daughters and I had flip flops to use while we showered. There was no way I was letting their cute little feet touch that disgusting shower and bathroom floor.

6. Snacks & Hydration

 Going back to all the running and playing around. This not only makes our children hungry but also very thirsty, especially on a hot summer day, and in the cold don’t let your lack of thirst fool you cause you can still get dehydrated in the cold winter months. Hydration is a must. I brought a few gallons of water along with PowerAde or Gatorade to refuel their electrolytes.With all the running and playing around that our little ones do they get hungry quicker. This means snack time for them rather then preparing 5 or 6 meals a day to keep up with them.  Read more about some healthy snacks for your little ones here such as the amazing energy bites that my daughters love so much or even the granola bars.

7. First Aid Kit

Kids tend to be everywhere, in holes, climbing trees, and running around. With their crazy little adventures scrapes, bites, and bruises are something us parents worry about. I have a pretty small first aid kit but it gets the job done. This is one you can purchase for a descent price (click here). I also added a few other items to my first aid kit such as: Benadryl spray  or gel for insect bites, Triple Antibiotic, Steri-Strips, Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide, and any other small bandages, gauze, alcohol wipes, etc. If you have certain family health issues and need other things such as an epi-pen, inhaler, etc. make sure to pack these with you and have extra ones in your first aid kit.

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8. Warm and Cozy Blankets

Don’t let the summer days fool you. When that sun goes down that chill comes creeping in in the middle of the night. It may feel amazing to you but these quick chills is what can give your child or even you a little cold after the trip or the next day. I prefer to play it safe. You can use a small thin blanket and then in the middle of the night throw a warmer blanket on. Another option is using a thermal blanket. These are awesome as they maintain the heat you need to give you a comfortable sleep. Check out this awesome blanket from Columbia. 

9. Entertainment

I know most people hear entertainment and immediately think TV, movies, tablets, video games. Well no!!! By this I mean bring toys or something for them to do. You may want to sit there and stare at the trees or the lake for hours but that is boring for them. Bring them an outdoor game to play, play hide and seek with them or even tag. You can also bring some binoculars and a bird book and look for birds with them and mark off the ones you find. You can even go around and see how many bugs you can find. We played catch with our little ones and then looked for frogs and grasshoppers by the water. As long as their little minds are going and happy, you’re camping trip will be very pleasant.

10. Head Gear

I don’t have a little boy but I’m sure this goes for both. For both of my daughters, I made sure to keep their hair up in a pony tail (this wouldn’t last long though). Other options you can use is using a hat, or some other sort of protection. This will help with the sun beating on their cute little faces and with keeping the hair out of their faces. I didn’t use a hat much but did try my best to keep their hair up and out of their face. Doing a simple braid can work well too.

These are some of the few items that I personally “must have” in my bags for camping with my girls. I’m sure everyone has different items or a few other things. If there’s something I didn’t mention above that works great for you and your little ones I would love to hear about it down below in the comments.​I hope that this article helps you and your family get ready for your next camping trip. Happy camping little adventurers.

​Disclaimer: All opinions and experiences are my own. I have not been compensated for this post. There are affiliate links posted. If you make a purchase through one of my links I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. This commission goes to the website maintenance so I can continue to provide to you a free website to visit. 


10 must haves when camping with kids

Hi, I'm Jessica!

I am a wife and mother to three amazing kids. A coffee addict and wine lover. I also have a huge love for the mountains and the the ocean. Through my blog I hope to inspire families to spend more time outdoors. 


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10 Responses

  1. I spent my child hood camping and this is spot on! Although he did have a tiny black and white tv powered by a car battery to keep us entertained when we had the rainy day arrive!

    1. haha I never had a TV. My dad always said to enjoy the outdoors as God intended it to be. Would of been real nice though during those rainy days when we got bored. haha

    1. Thank you. Yes I quickly learned after my first camping trip what all I really needed. It’s crazy how much you have to pack when camping with kids but it’s all so worth it. 🙂

  2. Honestly, I think this goes for camping in general! Child or not… sunblock, insect repellant and snacks/hydration are always a must! Too many people forget the important stuff, helpful list..

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