Camping With Kids: Expert Tips And Tricks For A Stress-Free Trip

Camping with kids can be a great way to create memories as a family, but it’s also important to manage your expectations. 

You want everyone to have fun and enjoy their time together outside of the house, but there are still some challenges that come along with camping with kids. Camping is often less relaxing than an at-home vacation and more active because you’re out in nature. 

There are bugs, animals (both cute and scary), weather conditions…let’s just say that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows! But don’t let these challenges scare you away from taking your kids camping; I promise it can be done well! 

Here are some expert tips and tricks for making sure your trip goes smoothly:

Family Style! // Tips for Camping with Little Kids
Camping with kids requires extra preparation
Research the campsite thoroughly and take necessary safety precautions
Fun activities like scavenger hunts and stargazing keep children entertained
Essential gear for kids includes appropriate clothing, sleeping supplies, and portable crib or playpen
Simplify food preparation with pre-made meals and easy-to-use equipment

1. Divide And Conquer

There’s no doubt that camping with kids is a lot of work, especially if you’re a solo parent. If your kids are old enough to help out with some of the tasks and responsibilities, assign them some jobs that they can do on their own or with the help of another family member. 

It’ll take some time for them to get used to doing these chores, but once they learn how much fun it is, they’ll be eager to pitch in every day!

You could also divide up the packing duties among family members so one person packs food while another packs supplies like clothing and toiletries. 

The more organized you are about this process before you head out for your trip, the easier things will be once you arrive at campground or hotel room (if applicable).

Looking to plan a camping trip with your kids? Our guide on how to plan the perfect camping trip with your kids offers essential tips and tricks to make your family adventure stress-free and enjoyable.

2. Pack Light

It may seem obvious, but don’t pack too much stuff for your kids. It’s hard enough to carry your own stuff without also having to lug around a ton of extra weight in their bags. 

Kids have small backpacks, so don’t overload them with too many toys or clothes. If you are unsure how much room they will need, bring a large duffle bag along that can be used as an extra storage space if they fill up the backpack before heading home.

Pack clothes appropriate for the weather and season (i.e., rain jackets during spring showers). Don’t forget to pack socks and underwear (and PJs) as well as toiletries like toothpaste, toothbrushes and hand sanitizer all of these things are easy to forget when packing! 

If you plan on swimming in the lake or ocean then make sure your child brings a towel so they can dry off after returning from their adventure at the beach.

Lightweight Camping Gear Options

Gear CategoryBrand & Product ExampleDescription
ShelterREI Co-op Half Dome 2+ TentLightweight and easy to pack tent that accommodates 2+ campers
Sleeping BagNorth Face Cat’s Meow Sleeping BagLightweight and warm sleeping bag with compressible insulation that packs down easily
Sleeping PadTherm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping PadLightweight and compact sleeping pad that provides exceptional warmth and comfort
Camp StoveJetboil Flash Cooking SystemCompact and portable stove with integrated burner and cooking cup for easy meal preparation
BackpackOsprey Atmos AG 65 PackComfortable and lightweight backpack designed for extended camping trips
Water FiltrationSawyer Mini Water FilterSmall and lightweight water filter that removes bacteria and protozoa for safe drinking water
HeadlampBlack Diamond Spot 350 HeadlampCompact and durable headlamp with adjustable brightness settings

Note: The suggested title for the table is “Lightweight Camping Gear Options”. This table provides examples of lightweight camping gear options from well-known brands, including REI, North Face, Therm-a-Rest, Jetboil, Osprey, Sawyer, and Black Diamond. T

hese products are specially designed to be lightweight and easy to pack without sacrificing functionality and durability.

3. Get Tech-Free Time In The Car

The car is an essential part of any camping trip. It’s how you get to your destination and back again safely, but it can also be a great place for some tech-free time with your kids before they become glued to their phones at the campsite.

Here are some ways to make this happen:

Let them play cards or another game that doesn’t require technology (or even paper). My kids love Uno and Phase 10 because they can learn new rules each time we play.

Bring along some books on tape so everyone can listen together—this will also help pass the time during long breaks at campgrounds or rest stops! I recommend listening to audiobooks through Audible; it has free trials for anyone who wants one!

Camping with kids requires extra preparation and caution. Our guide on 10 essential tips for camping with kids in the USA provides parents and caregivers with expert advice on ensuring a safe and fun camping experience for the whole family.

4. But Leave Room For Electronics

Electronics are important for kids, but if you don’t have them for long periods of time, they will be bored. To combat this, make sure that their electronics are charged and that there is a place for them to store them. 

They can also be used in your tent or RV as long as you pick up an extension cord with a heavy duty enough cable that it won’t trip over easily or get cut by rocks (and if possible, one that has two outlets so you can plug in more than one device).

Also consider having some sort of organization system within the tent—whether it’s just a few plastic bins or something more elaborate like hanging cubbies with Velcro straps on each side so kids can organize their stuff without having things floating around everywhere and getting lost when it rains (or worse yet when they leave!).

Camping-Friendly Electronic Devices

Device CategoryBrand & Product ExampleDescription
Portable Power BankAnker PowerCore 10000Lightweight and compact power bank with high-speed charging capabilities
Solar ChargerGoal Zero Nomad 7 Plus Solar PanelCompact and portable solar panel with charging capabilities for USB and other small electronic devices
Rechargeable LanternGoal Zero Crush LightCollapsible, lightweight, and rechargeable lantern with up to 35 hours of run time on a single charge
Bluetooth SpeakerJBL Flip 5Waterproof and portable Bluetooth speaker with long battery life and quality sound
Handheld GPS DeviceGarmin GPSMAP 66i GPS ReceiverWaterproof and handheld GPS device with inReach satellite communication and emergency SOS alert
Action CameraGoPro HERO9 BlackDurable and waterproof action camera with a variety of shooting modes, including time-lapse and slow-motion

5. Have Fun With Food

You want to make sure you have a variety of food to choose from. If you’re camping with children, it can mean the difference between a fun trip and an uncomfortable one.

Think about what you like to eat and what your kids will eat. If someone doesn’t like something, they don’t have any options!

You should also plan ahead so that if there’s something special that one of them wants or needs, they have time to get it before leaving for the campsite. 

For example: if one child has an allergy or is vegetarian, it may be difficult or impossible for them to find anything on their diet at the local grocery store during campground hours! You might need some backup snacks just in case!

Make sure everyone has enough water too—not only while camping but also while driving there and back home again afterward when all those extra bottles are still waiting around taking up space in those coolers after being opened only once before being shut tight again because no one wanted something else instead but now there’s none left over anyway because we’ve already eaten breakfast twice today by lunchtime

When is the best time to take your kids camping? Check out our guide on when is the best time to go camping with kids in the USA to find out the most suitable season to plan your family camping trip.

6. Keep It Clean

In addition to the cleaning supplies you brought along with you, there are some other things that can help your family stay clean while camping. A wet/dry vacuum is a must-have for cleaning up messes on the ground and in your tent. 

You’ll also need a dustpan and brush in case you spill anything on the floor of your tent or camper, as well as a broom for sweeping away dirt and leaves from around the campsite. 

In addition to these tools, it’s helpful to bring along some mops (especially if you have kids), spray bottles of disinfectant spray, antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer gel packs or wipes that are safe for use around children (and adults!), trash bags—you get the idea!

Camping Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning CategoryBrand & Product ExampleDescription
SoapDr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid SoapOrganic, biodegradable, and versatile liquid soap that can be used for dishes, body wash, and laundry
Biodegradable WipesSurviveware Biodegradable Wet WipesEco-friendly and extra-large wipes that are gentle on skin and biodegradable
Hand SanitizerPurell Advanced Hand SanitizerAn alcohol-based hand sanitizer that effectively kills germs and bacteria
Trash BagsColeman Recycling and Trash BagDurable and large-capacity trash bags specially designed for outdoor use
Portable Hand Washing StationSereneLife Portable Hand Washing StationCompact and easy-to-set-up hand washing station with a 3.3-gallon tank
Water Purification TabletsPotable Aqua Water Purification TabletsPortable and reliable water purification tablets that eliminate bacteria and viruses

7. Be Prepared For The Weather, Not Just Rain But Also Sun And Cold, Too

There are a few things you can do to prepare for the weather.

Bring food and water. You may not have access to electricity or refrigeration, so it’s important to bring food that doesn’t need to be cooked or kept cold. 

For example, almonds and granola bars are perfect since they’re high in protein and contain lots of energy. You’ll also want plenty of water on hand—one gallon per person per day is recommended. Make sure everyone has their own bottle, so there’s no fighting over who gets what when!

Pack a first aid kit with bandages and tape, antiseptic wipes (these work great!), gauze pads in various sizes, medical tape rolls (plain white) — most importantly: an emergency blanket/sleeping bag!

If you’re packing a separate cooler for food/drinks then make sure it isn’t too big because you don’t want anything else being ruined by melting ice cubes! 

Many campgrounds have showers available which means shower shoes aren’t necessary unless you plan on going swimming later that day instead

Keeping kids entertained while camping can be challenging. Check out our guide on 15 fun activities to keep your kids entertained while camping for some creative and engaging ideas to keep the little ones occupied during your camping adventure.

8. Rely On Gear That Can Do Double Duty

If you’re packing for your trip, the best way to make sure that your gear is versatile is to choose items that can do double duty. 

Take a tent, for example. Instead of packing a separate sun shelter and a regular tent, choose one that can be used for both purposes. Another option is to pack a sleeping bag with an attached blanket instead of two separate items. 

And if you’re bringing a backpack, consider using it as your pillow overnight—it’s lightweight and easy to carry around when not in use!

If you have any spill-proof water bottles lying around (like this one), they are perfect for taking on hikes and outdoor activities because they can be used as cups as well as storage containers. These reusable bottles are great!

9. Start Small And Easy

Start small and easy. If you’re new to camping with kids, don’t try to tackle anything too challenging on your first trip. Instead of heading out into the wilderness for a weeklong excursion right away, start with something more manageable: a short weekend getaway where your family can get used to being outdoors together in nature. 

Once your kids are comfortable with this new experience, they’ll be more likely to follow along with whatever plans you make next!

The same goes for the small details that make up every trip: use these trips as an opportunity for training (and for fun). 

A good example of this would be packing up the car—rather than worrying about getting everything perfect now (and stressing out over how much space there is), teach them how important it is that everyone has enough room in their packs so that nobody gets cut off from water or snacks during their hike later on.”

Family-friendly national parks in the USA are plentiful, but how do you know which ones are best for camping? Our guide on the top family-friendly national parks for camping in the USA offers suggestions on family-friendly parks with camping options to ensure an enjoyable and memorable family vacation.

10. Lend A Hand (Or Two Or Three)

If you want your kids to learn something about camping, teach them how to pitch in and help out. Children learn by doing—teach them to pitch in and help out. 

They can help with dishes, cooking, cleaning up trash from around the campsite and other outdoor areas. This is good practice for life outside of camping as well. When we go on car trips I expect my kids to do their fair share of the driving—if they aren’t practicing now, then when will they?

In addition to teaching children how to pitch in with chores around camp or at home (be sure not to take advantage of this; don’t ask them for too much), encourage them also teach themselves new skills by watching what others are doing around camp or at home (be sure not to take advantage of this; don’t ask them for too much).

11. Play Games Instead Of Watching Movies At Night (Or Even During The Day)

There’s no doubt that kids love movies, but they can be a little monotonous to watch over and over. Try playing games instead! Games are a great way to keep kids entertained and engaged, especially when they involve different ages (e.g., younger sibling versus older sibling). 

Card games work particularly well because they’re easy to learn and play, require very little equipment or space, and can be played anywhere—on the car ride home from camp or at home during down time.

12. Reconnect With Nature And Explore Your Surroundings As A Family Unit To Make This A Trip To Remember!

As the sun sets on your first night of camping, you should all be feeling pretty good about your new adventure. 

You’ve managed to get everything set up and ready for sleeping, and your family has enjoyed some time together exploring their surroundings. Now is a great time to take advantage of the remaining daylight and reconnect with nature as a family unit!

This is where having a fully functional fire pit comes in handy it allows you to cook dinner over open flames while also providing light so that everyone can see what they are doing (and keeps bugs away). 

If it’s safe enough outside, gather around the fire pit while roasting marshmallows or making s’mores; if not, bring out flashlights and make sure that everyone gets their fair share of chocolatey goodness before returning inside for bedtime (but don’t forget about those roasted hot dogs!).


We hope these tips and tricks make your next camping trip more fun and stress-free. It’s important to remember that the most important thing is to have fun and that you don’t always have to have everything planned out in advance. 

In fact, many of our readers said that their favorite memories came from spontaneous moments that took place on accident or by chance. So have fun, and be ready for anything!

Further Reading

For more information on camping with kids, check out the following resources:

Travel Mamas: How to Camp with Kids – a comprehensive guide on camping with children that covers packing tips, setting up campsite, and fun activities to keep kids entertained.

Thimble and Twig: Easy Hacks and Tips to Make Camping with Kids Stress-Free – a useful article that provides practical tips, packing list, and tricks for camping with children without added stress.

The Pragmatic Parent: Great Tips for Camping with Kids – an informative post that offers advice for camping with children of all ages, including recommended gear and activities to keep kids engaged.


What age is appropriate to take children camping?

There is no definitive age for when it’s appropriate to take children camping. Many parents feel comfortable taking babies and toddlers, while others wait until children are older. It’s important to consider factors like weather, accessibility, and your child’s personality and needs when deciding when to take them camping.

How can I ensure that my child is safe while camping?

Safety should be a top priority when camping with children. It’s important to research the campsite thoroughly and take safety precautions, such as bringing first aid kit, practicing fire safety, and keeping your child within your sight.

How do I keep my kids entertained while camping?

Keeping children entertained while camping can be challenging. Some fun activities to try include scavenger hunts, nature hikes, storytelling, and stargazing. Bringing along toys and games is also a great option for keeping children occupied.

What gear do I need to bring for my children when camping?

The gear you bring will depend on the age and needs of your child, as well as the destination and type of camping you will be doing. Some essential items to pack include appropriate clothing, sturdy shoes, a sleeping bag, and a portable crib or playpen for babies.

How can I make food preparation easier when camping with kids?

Food preparation while camping with kids can be simplified with pre-made meals, non-perishable snacks, and easy-to-use equipment like a portable stove or fire ring. Don’t forget to bring along utensils, plates, and cups for each family member.