Camping with kids – a packing checklist

We love camping as a family now, who would have thought that when this towny first gave it a go on a bloggers press trip a few years ago.

Fast forward a few years and we have all of our own kit now (although we do now need to replace the tent I only purchased last year due to mice nesting in our shed and biting chunks out of it to use as bedding – I’m sure you can imagine the joy I expressed when I was checking all of our equipment ready for the summer last week!) and the kids just love helping to set up camp with us.

After a few camping trips with the kids now we have learnt which pieces of kit needed to be changed, adapted or just didn’t work with young kids in tow.

Of course, there are the essentials which you would take with you on any camping trip such as the tent, cooking equipment and something to sleep on, there is no point in me adding those to a checklist, what I will do is list the items which you’ll need for camping with kids.

Essentials to pack for camping with kids

  • Comfy bed – this could be a camp bed with an inflatable air mattress/roll mat on or even just an inflatable bed. We made the mistake of using the children’s ready beds a very years ago and they were SO noisy inside the tent whenever the kids rolled over that no one really got any sleep.
    If your children wake a lot in the night you may want to consider a double here and sleep with them, this saves playing musical beds in the middle of the night when it’s dark and you can’t see and believe me 2 people on one camp bed means you’ll have the worst nights sleep you’ve ever had.
  • Warm PJ’s – even in the height of summer the temperature really drops inside a tent at night and there is nothing worse than feeling cold
  • A pillow – kids sleep with a pillow at home so hoping they will sleep with just a sleeping bag and no head support really won’t end well
  • A good sleeping bag or a duvet depending on how much room you have in your car. Duvets are bulkier so sleeping bags are a better option if you are limited on space. Simply Hike has a really good selection of sleeping bags to choose from, you can opt for the box style or tapered style – my children really don’t get on with the tapered as they feel very restricted. I also like to make sure I go for a style with can be completely unzipped for children as mine are fidgets when asleep and get tangled otherwise.
  • Night lights – We have a lightbulb style one in the sleeping area of the tent so they can pull the cord and turn on when they like. We also use glow sticks which are sun during the evenings and help to provide a little light for them in the tent after lights out
  • Head torches – not only fun but means they have their hands free when walking around at night
  • Bucket or toilet – finding out the hard way that the kids are too scared to head to the toilet block in the dark really isn’t fun – plus if you are camping alone with kids you won’t want to leave them in the tent alone once they are sleeping to go to the toilet yourself.
  • Cups with lids on – they will spill their drinks all over the tent no matter how much they say they won’t
  • Dustpan and brush – kids are messy!
  • Entertainment for the mornings – that could be colouring, card games or even tablets if you wanted to because NO-ONE wants your children running around outside the tent at 6 am as they are awake with the birds.
  • Wet wipes – kids are messy and they really don’t want to shower every day
  • Slip on shoes – you don’t want to be lacing up shoelaces just to pop to the toilets
  • Warm socks for at night
  • Spare clothes – being damp and wet is horrible and with nowhere to wash and dry wet clothing means that you’ll have to stay in them so pack extras (and leave them in the car as they can end up feeling damp inside the tent)
  • Coats – it will be cold in the evening
  • Marshmallows – well you are camping after all!!
  • Electric coolbox/coolbox – this was the best thing I purchased last year, it meant the kids could have milk at bedtime and cereals in the morning without having to leave the tent
  • Insect repellant – this can be a spray or we use bands which are put on at the start of the trip and just left on
  • Medicines – I take calpol with me wherever we go, also plasters and a basic first aid kit
  • Camping chairs and a little table – this makes meal times far more comfortable
  • Electric hook up – we’ve camped with and without electricity and would NEVER choose without again

All other equipment you’ll probably be packing for yourselves anyway but the above should make sure the kids are comfortable.

Are you heading off on a camping trip this year?

**Posted in collaboration with Simply Hike**



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