With two young children I’ve learned there are a few necessities when camping and some ways I can make camping less work and more enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong, camping is indeed lots of work but being organized and prepared helps our weekend adventures run smoothly.
The first thing is first you need a plastic tub. Yes, a plastic tub that you most likely have a million of stacked and labeled in the garage with baby clothing, holiday decorations, etc. Try donating some items to empty one of those tubs so you can reuse it for camping items. Stack this with necessities that you use for every trip so your packing and preparation time on a Thursday or Friday (generally when we depart) is greatly decreased.
Items I have continually packed:
1. Towels, Rags and Washcloths
After each trip and I wash, fold and add these back into the tub. I pack one towel and washcloth per person and a stack of rags for wiping down towels and feet!
A must for hanging the wet suits, towels and rags and if you’re camping too close to another tent, use it to help create privacy! We often hang a sheet over the clothesline to create a wall between us and another campsite if we’re too close.
3. Bare Necessity Bag
This includes medicine for late-night fevers, tweezers for slivers, and first aid kit, and sunscreen, insect repellent and small bottles of shampoo that are leftover from my travels. In addition, I include baby wipes for sticky hands and soap for washing hands or dishes. This remains packed at all times so I’m never without!
4. Two Buckets
One bucket is for clean water and one is for recycling. Yes, we even recycle when we go camping!
5. Trash Bags and a Rake
Our camping tub always has trash bags that are biodegradable and next to our filled tub is a rake. Raking the area before we lay out the tent helps prevent us from sleeping on sticks and rocks but we’re also a firm believer in raking our campsite before we leave.
6. Welcome Mat
We take our shoes off when we enter our home and our tent! This helps to keep the dirt and “stuff” out of our tent.
7. Rain Coats and Sweatshirts
I make sure our tub has an old sweatshirt for everyone in the family and a few rain ponchos, or even a rain jacket. It’s easy to get caught in the rain or need some extra warmth. I wash when we get home and add these items right back into the tub.
8. Paper towel
At home we don’t use a paper towel but when we camp I find it to be handy and so a package always remains in our camping tub.
9. Lanterns and Batteries
We have two lanterns and extra batteries packed so we’re never without light! When it comes to walking my daughter to the bathroom in the middle of the night I’m thankful for the lantern!
10. Activity Bag
I have a small backpack full of small items to keep the kids busy if it rains or they get “bored”. Playing cards, crayons, coloring books, Polly Pockets, mazes and other small trinket toys. The children have added items to this bag they’d like to have but we keep it small and limited because we really want them exploring and using their imagination when we go camping.
11. Camping Gear
This is more a list of the things you want to camp in. Like your tent and sleeping gear.
- Tent (with poles, stakes, and rainfly)
- Tarp (ground cloth)
- Sleeping bags
- Sleeping pads
- An outdoor watch for navigating
12. Cooking Gear
- Camp stove & Fuel
- Pots & Pans
- Cutting board & knife
- Other Utensils
- Plates & Bowls
- Cups & Mugs
- Water bottles
- Corkscrew & Bottle opener
- Aluminum foil or an alternative
- Plastic bags for cleaning up
- Cooler if you are going in warm weather, or just to keep things fresh
So what do you pack when you go camping? How do you stay organized and prepared?
For other articles I’ve written about camping visit: