What To Bring Camping With Kids

Knowing exactly what to bring camping with kids is a difficult one. It can depend on were  you’re going, the age of the cubs in your family and how long you’re even going for. 

A night out in the wilderness can survive one or two forgotten items off the family camping  checklist. But a few nights under the stars without vital equipment like toothbrushes might  make the trip a little harder for everyone. There won’t be much talking to each other, that’s  for certain! 

So, we’re here to save the hassle and provide you with the ultimate family camping checklist  of 16 so you know exactly what to bring camping with kids!

We’ll first touch on a few tips  about survival with the cubs on the trip as well as a hint for how your everyday carry items  might change before getting onto the family camping checklist.  

Because, even if you’re a seasoned camper, if it’s the first time in the wild for your little ones,  you’ll need a few extra plasters and juice boxes to get through the adventure. 


Grab our FREE camping checklist here!

Family Camping Checklist

How to Survive Packing for a Family Camping Trip 

Well, the first tip is already checked off the list because you’re here and doing a bit of  light reading before moving onto the next step. 

Really, all the other tips are about planning ahead, getting the checklist going, making  sure the weather is going to be sunny and bright for the trip, getting the road map  sorted out, having meals planned and stuffing the boot with a boot-load of  entertainment.

In fact, if there’s a choice between a sleeping bag for you and extra  toys for the kids, we’d go with the latter in your family camping checklist.  

We’re kidding. There are so many ways you can entertain the camping cubs that are  travelling with you just by packing a couple of extra things and making use of what  nature’s already got in store.  

Also see: How to pack food for camping

Get Your Everyday Carry in Check 

It’s important to have an EDC in mind separate to your general family camping  checklist, as this kind of stuff typically gets to sit comfortably in your pockets rather  than at the bottom of the never-ending bag.

It’s especially important when you’re hiking from the car park to the place the sun  touches just right at sunrise (Wheems Organic Farm at Orkney Islesis perfect for this!).  This is because you never know what you’ll need instant access to or if you somehow  misplace the giant camping bag in the woods. 

When it comes to camping, your everyday carry (EDC) naturally changes to suit the  mood, the weather and the kids tagging along for the ride into the British sunset.  

For example, you may normally only do the pocket tap looking for things like your  phone, your keys and your cash but when you’re camping with the kids, the pockets  have more of a job on their hands.  

They need to be the snack holders, the repair kit, the plaster holders, and pretty much  anything else you could think of needing immediate access to when out and about in  the British wilderness with kids. Of course, it might be a little difficult taking an entire  TV and BT box in your EDC for entertainment along the way, but if you can squeeze in  some playing cards when packing for a family camping trip, it should be enough to  keep everyone entertained for the hike. 


Here’s a list of items you should have in your pockets as part of your camping EDC: 

  • Phone 
  • GPS Device
  • Keys 
  • Cash 
  • A Mini Torch
  • Tissues 
  • Survival Watch
  • Water Bottles 
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Thermals  
  • First-Aid Kit 
  • Snack 

Yes, the EDC might sound like a lot, but with camping cargo pants, you can pretty much  fit the kitchen sink into them, anyway!  

Grab our FREE camping checklist here!

The Ultimate 16 Items on the Family Camping Checklist 

And we’re finally onto the bit you’re really here for: what to bring camping with the  kids.  

In reality, there isn’t much difference apart from the extra weight and a couple of toys  for entertainment. But that is definitely one thing to keep in your noggin before  bunging everything into the back of the car. Make sure you’re happy with the weight  and the little ones are able to carry a sleeping bag or two without getting pooped-out  before arriving at the campsite. 

For example, one quick tip for the little campers who want camping chairs is to  consider subbing-out a chair for a yoga mat. This way you’ve got the tools for some 

fun activities, there can be a swap-and-change arrangement and it doesn’t have the  harm the back of the unlucky carrier. 

12L Bin Bag 

Especially if you’re heading out for a wild camping adventure in the highlands  and lochs of Scotland (or Devon), then you’ll need to make sure you have a bin  bag or two to carry rubbish along the way.

If you want to find out a little more  about wild camping, take a peek at our other piece: Where Can I Go Camping  for Free in the UK?


A Fire Blanket 

When you’re making a campfire, no matter where it is or how contained the  flame, it’s super important your family camping checklist features a fire  blanket to place over the flames in case anything goes wrong. This ensures you  have both the precautions and the peace of mind that your little camping cubs  are safe. 

A Fire Starter 

In the same vein as needing a fire blanket, you’ll probably want something that  is small, safe, affordable, lightweight, reusable and good for the environment  to help you get the campfire going. Then you can relax with the family, cosy up  in front of the “The Top 15 Camping Movies for Kids” and laugh the night away  at the unrealistic camping expectations! 

A Large Torch 

You may have a small torch in your EDC but having a large torch tucked away  into your actual camping luggage will help you manoeuvre around in the dark.  After all, there aren’t exactly streetlampsto help guide the way to the lake, the  lookout, the car or even the toilet! But, if you’re taking the big torch, don’t  forget the big batteries, too. 

A Tent (or two) 

It may sound obvious, but even if you’re one to enjoy a bivvy bag or go full-out  by laying under the stars, your little ones might not share the same level of  enthusiasm. So, when thinking about what to bring camping with kids, consider  giving them options. If this means keeping them separate in a couple of small  pop-up tents or taking a family-sized hotel of a tent, pop it onto your list. 

Bug Spray

This is the piece-de-resistance for any family camping checklist. We remember  our smallest being frightened of the masses of midges surrounding the  campsite one year (the camping trip didn’t last as long as planned). So, lessons  learned, take bug spray when packing for a family camping trip. For more on  flying pests, read “How to Keep Midges Away When Camping in the UK”. 

Camping Chairs 

Camping chairs are a must-have. After all, there are expectations about being  able to cook-up some American style s’mores on a stick while lounging back  into a couple of camping chairs. If you’re not sure on which chairs to take for  the trip, have a look at “The Best Camping Chairs in the UK”, we’ve plonked  our tush into a few different types to save you the hassle! 

Plenty of Water 

This one is the most important one of all. Especially if your family adventures  aren’t taking you anywhere close to bodies of water and you don’t have those  fancy water filtration bottles (which are actually lifesavers!). According to our amazing NHS, if we’re heading out camping, we should take at least one gallon  of water per person per day. 

Grab our FREE camping checklist here!

Pre-Prepared Food Portions 

When you’ve got kids coming on the family outing, you need to have prepared  food in small snackable portions to eat in the car, on the transport link, while  out hiking and when lazing around the campfire enjoying the great outdoors.  Because, even if you know how to make the best BBQ at the tent, picky eaters  might have other ideas on the day.  


Let’s face it, we’re in the UK. We get around 2 weeks of outstanding blue skies  and melting hot sun rays. Plus, the weather reporter seems to always get it  wrong. So, it’s best to stay prepared. There are some great lightweight and  fold-away ponchos available, we got ours from Amazon, but you can go pretty  much anywhere. They often fold into a small ball and can clip onto keys, too. 

Sleeping Bags 

Another given in the family camping checklist is to increase the number of  sleeping bags you’re taking. Although, there are plenty of lightweight  children’s sleeping bags that are made to be carried by the little ones,  themselves. This helps to get them ready for carrying some of the bigger loads  when they get older while not putting too much on your own back!

Packing For A Family Camping Trip

 Small Toy Favourites 

Earlier, we mentioned staying prepared by keeping small entertainment  possibilities in the list of what to bring camping with kids. Their minds are  bouncing all over the place and while we’re still taking in the views, they’re  getting bored. So, camping with kids means taking toys along for the ride (but  make sure they’re compact!) as well as any night-time teddies for sleeping. 

Sun Factor 50 

We can’t stress this enough. Even if it seems overcast and the sun isn’t coming  out from hiding, the rays can still get down to us. And this means potentially  harming their skin. Heck, even if it’s due to rain and you’re still wanting to  venture out into the British wilderness, still take some factor 50. The higher  the factor, the longer the protection lasts! Plus, it’ll be more protecting, too. 

Toothbrushes and Toothpaste 

This takes us all the way back to the beginning of this article where we  mentioned that forgetting this off the list could bring a swift end to the family  outing. So, it wouldn’t be great if we went ahead and forgot it off the family  camping checklist. Be sure to keep everyone’s toothbrush in their own steri 

pod for hygiene and then a tube for the family to share is perfect (and light). o. Towels 

Nobody likes a wet tent, wet clothes, wet hair or anything wet without actually being submerged into a crystal blue lake or the sea. So, we’ve found it’s always  best to hike up the trails with some spare hand towels to help dry off in case  the weather reporter really did get it wrong or if the kids do fancy a dip. In  other words, when packing for a family camping trip, be prepared for anything! 

Wet Wipes 

This one is more of a packing tip for what to bring camping with kids for a  weekend or long-term get away.

But it goes without saying, there aren’t any  showers or baths in the middle of a field and wet wipes will become your best  friend in terms of hygiene and keeping everyone smelling fresh for the  adventures ahead. Plus, you can get travel packs with key-rings for each cub! 

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