Are you new to tent camping? Check out these family camping essentials!
I didn’t grow up camping.
In fact, I went camping for the first time in college! Thankfully, my friends didn’t mind sharing their gear — since I only had my duffel bag and a sleeping bag.
When our girls were little, we found an affordable tent at our local thrift store. We camped in our living room, in our backyard, and at quite a few campgrounds before we decided to upgrade to something a bit roomier.
This summer, we took a ten-day trip around the western United States, camping at National Parks along the way. Since we could only bring what we could fit in the trunk of our Honda Civic, we had to focus on the true essentials.
Before we left on our journey, we did a trial two-day campout at a local state park. After the first night, we decided to upgrade our sleeping bags and grab a base layer to wear under our PJs for the second night. (I underestimated how cold it can be in a tent after the sun goes down, even in May.)
Check out our first family camping trip at the Ingalls Homestead in DeSmet, South Dakota.
I wouldn’t say that I love tent-camping, but my kids sure do. Plus, it’s an inexpensive way to travel, which means I can upgrade to a nice hotel room after a few days of roughing it in the tent. 😉
There is so much gear available these days, and it can be so overwhelming to know exactly what you need — especially if you’re a camping newbie.
Hopefully our list of family camping essentials can get you started!
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More must-haves for family camping:
Don’t forget these items — dishpan/tub, dish soap, washrags, cutting board, and paring knife! I would also HIGHLY recommend a two gallon water jug (with spout) for ice water.
Everyone says you need layers! But what layers do you need?
- On top: waterproof puffy coat, fleece zip-up sweatshirt, UV-protecting long-sleeve shirt, quick-drying athletic tops, quick-drying sports bra
- Bottoms: fleece leggings (not tights), zip-off pants, jeans (optional), sweat pants for sleeping, athletic shorts, quick-drying socks, waterproof shoes
- Accessories: fleece hat, UV-protecting hat/ball cap, sunglasses, waterproof gloves
Oh, and don’t forget: sunscreen, bug spray, a hammer, bungee cords, clothespins (5-10), handkerchiefs (bright colors), sweep broom/pan for the tent, and trash bags!
(We attach bright handkerchiefs to our tent/rain fly ropes so the kids don’t run into them.)