The Family Camping Checklist You Need Before You Go

A Checklist for Family Camping with Kids

Going camping is an age-old family pastime. It’s one of the best ways to spend quality time together, explore new areas, and indulge in some physical activity at the same time. As you begin making plans, it’s helpful to create a checklist of essentials so that you don’t leave anything behind. It’s easy enough to remember the basics, like sleeping bags, tents, and flashlights, but other items are easy to overlook. Here’s what you should keep at the top of your camping packing list.

Rain Jackets

Even if the forecast doesn’t call for wet weather, it’s a good idea to be prepared instead of using a hoodie or sweatshirt for cover instead. The best raincoats are resistant to wind and water and feature adjustable hoods that help lock out water and keep you dry.

For the sake of convenience, it’s also helpful to look for packable jackets. Many fold into their own hoods or pockets, so you can quickly stash it inside and toss it into your bag or tote. There are many styles and lengths available as well. Shorter styles are a little better for camping if you plan to go hiking or walking and don’t want to deal with excessive fabric.


Are you planning to camp near a lake or a river? Make sure everyone has their swimsuits! Look for versatile styles that prioritize functionality. All suits should dry quickly so that you can keep them on undershorts and T-shirts, for example, or your hiking pants.

In addition to fast-drying fabrics, look for suits that are free of excessive ornamentation. Elements like beadwork and heavyweight self-ties just add to your bulk and make it difficult to wear underneath camping gear. Always make sure that the material is comfortable; it shouldn’t chafe, as that can quickly put a damper on the camping festivities.


Vests are among the most versatile garments you can add to your wardrobe. They wear well year-round and are even practical to bring along on your summer camping trip. That’s especially true of regions that tend to get a little chilly when the sun sets. A little extra wind is all that you need to warrant an extra layer of comfort.

Look for styles that are designed specifically to handle everything that the weather might bring. A cozy women’s fleece vest, along with those for men and kids, are great layering pieces that wear well over long-sleeve tops and T-shirts alike. Vests are also easy to pack, so they’re perfect for your warm-weather excursions.


Women’s summer shirts are essential, along with those for everyone else in the family. Make sure to focus on that seasonal element; T-shirts designed for warm weather are distinctly different from those you might wear at other times of the year.

Key among those features are fabrics infused with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). It’s important to wear sunscreen no matter what you do, but there’s always room to double up on the protection and shield your skin from those potent ultraviolet rays. Another key element is odor control, which will help all of you stay fresh, cool, and confident while the sun beats down on your skin as you navigate the hiking trails or relax around the campfire. Even better is a wrinkle-free material that retains its smooth appearance for the duration of your trip.


Don’t forget about a great pair of long shorts for everyone in the family. You can mix it up — shorter lengths over bathing suits, for example, when you’re drying off. A longer length is a great choice for your camping activities, however. You’ll feel pulled together with a little bit of extra coverage, but you won’t have to sacrifice your comfort or worry about shorts that are too short.

Look for features like a hint of stretch to avoid restricting your movements, along with moisture-wicking fabrics that keep you cool by pulling moisture away from the skin. Wrinkle-resistance is another valuable feature that will ensure your clothing looks its best, even if it’s all crumpled up inside your bag. As with your tops, it’s also smart to consider shorts that feature a UPF. You’ll double your protection by applying sunscreen, which is crucial whether you’re spending just a few hours outside or the entire day soaking up the sun.

Be Prepared for Anything

It’s easy to forget a few things when you’re packing for an entire family. Make sure that you’re prepared with absolutely everything that you may need, including batteries, charging cables, cooking utensils, binoculars, hats, sunglasses, and bug repellent. Check items off your camping checklist as you pack and you can be sure that you won’t forget a thing!

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