Roughing It With the Fam: Camping Essentials for Your Next Family Trip

man and child hiking

Millions of Americans pack up and go camping every year. The growing trend is becoming increasingly popular. 

Are you looking for an affordable alternative to your expensive family vacations in hotel resorts? Or, do you just want to get out into the wilderness? Either way, camping could be for you. 

When you pack your camping gear, do you always leave something behind?

Follow this list of camping essentials that you need to take on your next camping trip. Here we go. 

1. Tent 

While you could be planning to camp in either your car or an RV, most campers take a tent with them.

Unless you’re expecting to lie down underneath the stars, you’re going to need a tent to keep yourself warm and dry during the night.

Even in the summer, you can get rather cold during the night while sleeping. 

2. Sleeping Bag

You want to be warm and snug in your sleeping bag during your camping trip. Trust us!

But, consider the temperature and conditions when you’re camping. If you’re camping in cool temperatures, then you need to get a suitable sleeping bag. However, in the summer months, anything will do the job.

If you have a high-quality tent, you can even bring along your normal bedding to enjoy your home comforts away from home. 

3. Tarps 

Pack tarps (or tarpaulin) with you!

This is a water-resistant sheet of strong canvas or polyester which can protect you from the weather elements. 

When the sun is shining, tarps can provide you with refuge. When it is raining outdoors, you can find shelter under the tarps as well.

It also provides you with somewhere to store your dirty boots and shoes so you don’t get the tent wet and muddy.

You could also buy a portable gazebo to keep the sun or rain off your heads. Shop now here for more. 

4. Matches or Lighters

Are you going to be sitting by the campfire singing camp songs? 

Make sure you don’t forget matches or lighters to get the fire started. Otherwise, you could be left out in the cold.

If you’re expecting rain, then you’ll also need to pack waterproof matches.

5. Sleeping Mat

You don’t want to return from your camping vacation with a backache. That’s what can happen if you’re not used to sleeping on the ground. 

Bring along a sleeping mat to provide support between yourself and the earth. This should also prevent you from catching a chill from the ground beneath you. 

You can also purchase blow-up beds or camp beds which also suspend your body off the ground while you sleep. 

6. Cushions

You can always roll up a bunch of clothes to put under your head at night. However, if you need a cushion to sleep, then you don’t want to leave it at home.

You can also purchase inflatable cushions or small cushions which can be stuffed in a small for storage for camping.

7. Camping Chairs 

You may want to sit on the grass for a while. But after some time, you’ll be ready to sit in a comfortable seat. 

Once you’ve set up camp, you’ll be ready to sit back in your camping chair and enjoy the evening. 

If you pack a collapsible camping chair, you’ll be able to store it conveniently in your vehicle on your journey to the campsite.

8. Insect Repellent 

Mosquitos and other insects can be a nuisance of your camping vacation. You need to be prepared for these pests.

Start with buying some inspect repellent so you don’t get bitten from head to toe. However, you can also buy citronella candles to keep away bugs while you’re eating your picnic or BBQ.

9. First Aid Kit 

Whether you have packed your own emergency kit or ready-made first aid kit, it’s an essential item on your camping vacation.

If a camper falls, you’ll need a band-aid. But you should also pack a bunch of painkillers and other essentials.

Hopefully, you won’t need to take out. But, if you’ve got an emergency, you’ll be thankful that you brought it along with you.

10. Personal Care Products

You may be roughing it. However, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid washing altogether. 

Most campsites provide well-equipped bathroom and shower facilities for you to use. However, you’ll need to bring along your own soap and shampoo.

If you require any other additional personal care products, then bring them with you as well.

But, keep in mind that you’re camping. You won’t be doing anything fancy so leave the perfume and jewelry at home.

Wet wipes and hand sanitizer is definitely a helpful item to have at hand. Every time you eat, you’ll want to make sure your hands are clean.

11. Games to Play 

Camping is about spending time having fun together as a family.

You can take a baseball bat and a ball to play a game. Or, if you want a more relaxed evening, then a pack of cards is always a campsite favorite.

This is what camping is around about. So make sure you pack some entertainment and fun with you.

12. Cooking Equipment

Unless you’re planning on going out for dinner every night, then you’re going to need to take some cooking equipment with you.

If you’re trekking to your campsite, then you’re going to want to small and lightweight cookware.

You could take a Dutch oven or a cast-iron skillet to cook food. 

If you don’t want to eat out of your hands, also bring plates and bowls. You’ll also need knives, spoons, and forks too.

You should gather plastic or lightweight items when possible. This makes it easy to carry around and reduces the risk of breakages. 

13. Food to Cook

There is no point in taking cooking equipment without food. Make sure you think carefully about the kind of food you can cook on the campsite.

Whether you’re preparing BBQ steaks or camping French toast, make sure you have all of the right ingredients prepared. 

14. Some Reading Material

After you have set up camp, played some games and eaten food, it may be time for some alone time.

Find a quiet corner of the campsite and open up your book for some reading time. Whether you’re reading a recent best-seller or the daily newspaper, this is an essential item to have on your camping trip. 

15. Cell Phone and Charger

Just because you’re escaping to the countryside for camping, that doesn’t mean you want to escape civilization altogether.

Even if you want a “digital detox” on your vacation, it’s important to make sure you can charge your cell phone in an emergency. 

You might need to bring an extra battery pack to charge your cell phone. If you’re expecting rain, make sure you bring a waterproof cover as well. 

16. The Right Footwear

Leave your stilettos at home for your camping trip. You can ruin your family camping experience with inappropriate footwear.

You need to be able to trek to the campsite in your shoes. You make even need to bring along hiking boots for particularly muddy ground.

If you’re camping during the summer, sandals are definitely recommended for going to the shower rooms in the morning. 

17. Garbage Bags 

When you’re packing up after your camping vacation is over, you need somewhere to put your trash. 

There are usually high fines for leaving your trash around on the campsite. So make sure you have garbage bags to keep everything clean and tidy after meals. 

Also, if you have a rainy time, you can also cut a couple of holes in the bags to create a poncho to shield you from the raindrops.  

18. Music Speaker

Music is extremely important for most campers. While your cell phone may play tunes, you need a Bluetooth speaker to share the songs with the rest of the family.

You can take in turn to choose the song as you pass the music player around the campfire. If you really want to evoke the feeling of being in the wilderness, you can also play bird songs.

However, make sure you keep limits on the volume of your music. You don’t want to disturb your camping neighbors. 

19. Camping Multitools

These handy gadgets are really helpful when you need small tasks done on your camping trip. 

Someone struggling to open a bottle of beer? Do you need your packaged food cut open? A camping multitool has everything you need to get you out of a hole while camping.

20. Coffee 

Over 60% of Americans drink coffee regularly. We won’t be ourselves if we don’t get our cup of Joe. 

While coffee might not appear like a camping necessity, it definitely is if you’ve got an addiction to caffeine. 

Camping Essentials 

Next time you go on your camping trip, you should remember to check this list of camping essentials.

Make sure you have everything you need to ensure your camping vacation goes to plan. There is nothing worse than remembering you left something behind before you arrive at the campsite.

Do you want more tips and advice on travel and vacations? Check out more of our blog here

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