Ultimate Guide to Camping with Kids

Daydreaming of an escape to the mountains with your family right about now? Now is the time to prepare for those outdoor excursions. Plus, it’s definitely never too early to start camping with your kids. The outdoors deliver such a unique experience, and a family camping trip is a great way to get your kids familiar with the outdoors. From star dotted skies to campfire meals, camping can open your kids eyes to their natural environment. 

We put together a few ideas like recommended kids camping gear, food ideas for camping with kids, keeping kids warm at the campsite, and fun ideas for your kids to have the most fun while camping along with some other essential information to help you prepare for a much deserved (and long-awaited) family camping trip. Check out our camping with kids hacks below.  

Different Ways Camping Can Look

Camping can take shape in many different forms. There are countless ways to experience the joys of camping such as camping at home, car camping, backpacking, and glamping. While they each share their differences, they also have a lot in common. Before you embark on camping with a toddler, consider the below to figure out what type of camping is best for you and your family. 

camping toys for kids

Home Camping

Camping at home is a great way for you and your family (especially your kids) to hone in on their camping skills while still being close to home and modern comforts. Practice can make perfect, so camping at home with your family is a great way to test run and teach important camping skills. Got a backyard or a large living room? If so, camping at home seems like a suitable option for you and your family. If you’d like to camp at home with your kids, consider the following:

  • Set Up a Tent
  • Explore Your Yard
  • Make a Nature Collage
  • Get Active
  • Cook Outside
  • Go Stargazing


Car Camping

Car camping or RV camping with kids is the perfect way to get your entire family outside and still give you a sense of adventure. Whether the adventure comes from ensuring your kids do not pick up a cactus or from getting after a big hike, is up to chance. For many families, car camping takes a lot of trial and error. The art of car camping is a sought after skill and we are here to provide some guidance to make car camping with kids a bit easier. 

  • Make a Gear List 
  • Start Packing Early
  • Consider Something with 4WD
  • Camp Within a 3 Hour Radius 
  • Stay As Organized As Possible 
  • Camp Through The Rough Spots

kid and dad backpacking








If you’re checking this section out, you are already familiar with the incredible feeling of waking up in a tent on top of a mountain. Backpacking is an incredible experience and if you want to share that extraordinary feeling with your children but you must make sure they are prepared for the steep trails, cold nights, and windy weather. 

  • Plan carefully
  • Rehearse
  • Start simple
  • Adjust your expectations
  • Share chores
  • Be safe



If your ideal version of camping involves kicking back, relaxing, and little to no mess -- glamping with kids might be for you. Glamping is less intense than backpacking and car camping so it serves as a great camping option for making it comfortable for kids so they want to go again. While it’s more relaxed, there are still many teachable moments that your family can take advantage of while glamping.

  • Pack camping books for kids
  • Bring camping toys for kids
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Keep your site organized
  • Share responsibilities 
  • Have fun

Things to Consider Before Camping

The best way to prepare your children for their first camping trip is to practice before you hit the road or trail. Megan Hunter has the ultimate guide for camping with your little ones, from where to go, what to bring, and even how to dress. If you’re wondering how to get your kids involved in setup and takedown, you should consider practicing your routine at home before embarking on it IRL. Consider these 7 things before and during your camping trip.

  • Practice at home
  • Let your kids help you pack
  • Pack food that your kid(s) like
  • Research activities near your campsite
  • Make sure your gear is organized
  • Dress your children in layers
  • Find teachable moments

The Gear 

No matter what form of camping you are doing with your family, there’s a lot of gear you are going to need. From camping gadgets for kids to camping supplies for kids, it is important that you consider each and everything you are packing for your outdoor excursion. If you’ve ever wondered mattress vs. sleeping pads or what type of soap is environmentally friendly, check out the list of kid-friendly camping essentials to make your adventure a success.


Packing camping stuff for kids isn’t as daunting as it may appear. They are just smaller versions of you and require almost the same things you may need during your camping trip, especially at the campsite. Make sure to include a tent, sleeping bags, headlamps and/or flashlights, and a camp chair on your list. Other things that are good to include with camping with kids is a camp table, multi-tool, and kids camping high chair.


Mealtime can be a struggle at home, so it’s no wonder it could prove to be a fuss while camping. In order to be successful, it is important to remember to pack kid-friendly camping meals in addition to essential kitchen gear. If you have questions about camping food ideas for kids, we suggest you keep it simple and pack some of their favorite foods. Keep everything organized in separate clear bins while packing. Don’t forget the stove and fuel, cooking pots, cutlery and utensils, plates and bowls, mugs/cups, and trash/recycle bags. 


Clothing & Footwear

Camping clothes are important. No matter what camping things for kids you pack, make sure you bring water-friendly, warm, and easy options for clothing. Moisture-wicking shirts, quick-drying pants, and lightweight jackets are good to bring in case the weather changes quickly. Slip-on shoes make running from the campsite into the woods easy and make the little ones ready for any adventure. Socks, sleepwear, long-sleeve shirts, and boots are always essentials as well.  


Safety Considerations

As always, safety should be the number one concern when camping. Consider packing these things to ensure you and your family are safe out there: First Aid Kit, toothbrush/toothpaste, hand sanitizer, Toilet paper, sunscreen, and insect repellent.

Times are weird right now and if you’re daydreaming of getting outside with your family, you are not alone. Preparing for an outdoor adventure with your kids should be fun and not stressful. Consider this list the next time you think about heading outdoors.

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