Your Essential Guide to Camping with Kids

Are you planning a weekend camping trip with children? These tips will help you gather the necessary gear and entertainment items for a fun-filled family time.

If you’re planning a camping trip with the whole family you may have already seen our camping checklist, which provides you with important items to remember for any camping trip. But, there are some additional items that can come in handy while you spend a few days in the wilderness with your kids.


Camping should be fun, especially equipped with nature walks, hikes, fishing and campfires. Unfortunately, a beautiful day for a hike can turn into a stressful, frustrating time for all once someone is hungry, thirsty or too tired to walk anymore.

Hydration packs can really come in handy on hikes and, even better, some are made specifically for kids. These can have a straw that your kids can sip from, which can help to make sure they stay hydrated, while also preventing you from stopping every five minutes to dig for the water bottle.

If a toddler or preschooler is coming on your trip, he or she may eventually become too tired to walk. In order to avoid sharing piggyback rides, try using a child carrier that doubles as a backpack. Your child will fit snugly between you and your backpack with extra space so you will be able to carry your snacks, first aid kit and camera in your bag as well.


After a long day of activities and once the campfire has been put out, everyone needs a good night’s rest to be ready for the next day’s adventures. Proper camping equipment for the kids will help them, and you, to sleep well.

Cots, air mattresses and ground pads are your options when it comes to sleeping in a tent; however, there are some aspects of each to consider to be sure you have exactly what suits your specific needs.

Although cots will keep you off the ground, some might say they are not the most comfortable option and, if your kids are small, you run the risk of them rolling off. If you prefer cots, consider adding a cot pad to help keep everyone rested through the night.

Air mattresses might feel like the closest thing to your child’s bed at home, but they often require electricity. If your campsite does not have an outlet nearby, self-inflating pads can be a convenient back-up plan.

You will also need to be sure the kids have a comfortable sleeping bag. Depending on the time of year and location for your camping trip, you can find a bag in their favorite color, or even with their favorite superhero on it.


Kids like to play, as they should, especially while on vacation. You cannot prevent every bump, scrape or bruise, but it’s important to talk with your children about boundaries. Identify a noticeable location around your campsite that they are not allowed to pass, whether it is a tree, your car, or something else.

Even after you have discussed boundaries, give your child a whistle and, perhaps even a headlamp or small flashlight with a wrist strap. If he or she ultimately leaves the area and gets lost, the whistle can be used for him or her to blow on until you can locate them. You will need to instruct your child ahead of time that if they wander off and do not see anyone they know, they need to sit, turn on the flashlight (if it is dark outside) and blow the whistle.


Any family vacation is really about building memories for you and your children to look back on. While hiking, fishing, swimming or biking might take up some of your time, it’s a good idea to bring along some games to play, right near your campsite.

Cornhole, ladderball and badminton are great games to play with the whole family. You can also grab a football or baseball and your gloves to play a game of catch. If your kids are smaller, coloring books, crayons and stickers always seem to be crowd pleasers.

Regardless of whether your camping trip is to the beach, mountains or even your own backyard, you want to make the best of it. Using these tips should help you to do so. We hope you have a great time.