Prepare for a Family Camping Trip

Photo courtesy of Carolyn Fox

Camping with family comes with significant responsibilities. But if you prepare well, you are sure to have a fantastic experience. You will be out there in nature with lit skies accompanied by your loved ones. There’s nothing like it!

Not just that, you and your dear ones will also get to see some stunning mountain views, making wonderful memories along the way!

Before you take on this journey, here are a few tips and tricks on how to prepare for a family camping trip


Identify Your Ideal Campsite

Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park

First and foremost thing to do is to find your ideal campsite that will suit your family. This will require a lot of research from your end, based on where you will live, what you’ll drive and where you’ll drive.

You can find myriads of scenic sites, national parks, drives, campsites, campgrounds, etc. on the maps. Take your time and choose your ideal location by comparing which area suits your needs best.

Most of the campsites require pre-booking, as space is limited and there’s a rush on weekends.

  • We would suggest amateur campers to choose a campsite that is close to your home and not secluded.
  • Several organized campgrounds, state parks, and national parks provide basic amenities such as barbeque grills, showers, toilets, water source, etc.
  • Beginners should opt for such campsites, as it will make their trip easier, especially if you have young kids with you.
  • Experienced pro campers or families with elder children can go for more challenging, remote campgrounds


Go for Trial Camping

Novice campers must avoid going for an extended camping trip, especially when you bring the children along. The best thing is to plan for a day or overnight trip, just to get that experience.

Make a reservation at a local park, beach or lakeshore, where your family can spend the day and have fun.

Duing this time, you can teach your children about the do’s and don’ts of camping. You can teach them how to set up a tent, how it works, how to make room for the entire family, how to place sleeping pads, etc.


Prepping up for Meals

Plan about what your family will eat during camping, how you will prepare the meals and what kitchen setup you will require on the campsite.

Prepare your menus beforehand and pack the necessary ingredients in the required measurements.

Think about whether you will need fuel and stove, or you’ll cook over a campfire. Or, you can just choose not to cook at all.

Whatever food items you’ll carry, make sure to keep them safe and cold. Moreover, bring your necessary cooking utensils such as bowls, spoons, knives, frying pans, pots, plates, cutting board, etc.


Packing the Right Gear

Another essential factor to consider is, what to pack for a family camping trip? Which clothing is ideal for camping?

Once you select your ideal campsite and take care of the food items and fuel, now it’s time to think about packing clothes.

Take a backpack that is spacious enough to hold your camping essentials. No matter what the season is, it is always good to dress in layers so that you can add or remove clothing as per the weather conditions.

Make sure you carry all the accessories such as socks, rain gear, camp shoes, sunglasses, hat, etc.

For overnight or multi-day camping, here are a few important things you will need:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping pads and sleeping bags
  • Camping pillows
  • Water, Water containers/water filter
  • Bug spray
  • Bear Spray
  • Extra Batteries, power bank
  • Flashlights
  • Cooler (learn more)
  • Snacks such as trail mix, granola bars, etc.
  • Tarp

Make sure to carry the necessary amount of blankets, camping cots/mattresses or pads for the tent floor. If you are going to take a sleeping bag, make sure it suits your body’s temperature.


First aid kit

Carry prescription medicine for you and your children as well. Take first aid kit with you comprising of bandages, antiseptics, insect repellant, etc. This will help you cure of scrapes, cuts, or bug bites.


Pack Extra Gear

Don’t forget to carry extra items that you might require during camping. These include books, glow-sticks, camping chairs, hammocks, a table cloth to put on campground table, camping lantern, whistle, sunscreen, lip balm, etc.


Don’t over-pack

Once you start packing, you might go with the flow and fill up your car’s trunk with a lot of things.

But you need to remember that every item you pack will need to be unpacked and stored on the campground. Keeping that in mind, one needs to pack only that which is necessary and leave behind the luxuries.


Kids Essentials

Pack a few toys and games to keep your children occupied during camping. Also, carry an extra pair of clothing for kids for uncalled situations.

Teach your children to keep the items in their designated bag after use. This way, all your essentials will be easy to find. To make it more fun, plan different activities for your family to do on the campsite.


Storage Containers

Take storage bins with you, where you can keep your camping gear and access it quickly at the campsite. You can even label bins to keep separate gear in them such as one for toiletries, other for cooking equipment, food items, etc.

If the bins are sturdy enough, they can also double as camping stools.

In the Yellowstone area, also be aware of the food storage regulations to keep you and the wildlife safe.


Kids’ Safety

Teach your children about ground rules for camping. Tell them the boundaries they shouldn’t cross and what should they do if they get lost. Give them a whistle, so they can call for help if they get separated from you. Keep the flashlight or headlamp handy during night. Place the travel toilet right outside the tent, if your child is potty-training.



Above all, don’t forget to have fun!

For beaches or lakeshore, you can bring pool toys or swimsuits.

With trial and error, one day you will understand what works best and what doesn’t for camping.

Eventually, over the years, you will get used to the “camping experience” with kids. Just make sure you enjoy and make the most out of your trip!

Hope this post on how to prepare for family camping trip elucidates everything you need to know about this experience. These tips will surely make your camping with kids a memorable experience!



Since the age of 10, Tim, a writer at Outdoor With J, has enjoyed camping in the great outdoors. Although he loves the peace and quiet of the outdoors, he also likes his creature comforts. Tim’s mission is to make camping a fun and comfortable experience for all.