Ultimate Camping Checklist for Families

Ultimate Camping Checklist for Families

We recently went camping and it was super fun! Instead of flying to a destination this year, we are planning fun roadtrips. Check out these 12 roadtrip ideas with kids for summer.

Now, I don’t mind roughing it a bit, but I do like my camping to have comforts like a pool and/or a lake for swimming, clean bathrooms, and a cabin instead of a tent. My husband is from Europe and it was his first time going camping in America. As we pulled up to the campground he said, “This is like a resort! Nothing like camping where I’m from.” So yeah, Americans are guilty of glamping but when you’re more comfortable and have a variety of activities to do, it’s much more fun and easier when you have kids.

It was also our four year old’s first time camping and he loved it! Everything went smoothly except for the one time we just had showered in the bathhouse 100 feet from our cabin and as I was holding all the toiletries — in our ZizzyBee Bag of course (best eco travel bag to hold toiletries and more) — my son dropped his towel, booked it out the door, and ran butt naked all the way up the hill to our campsite. I freaked out at first but then as I looked up towards our cabin I saw a naked toddler running to Papa so I had to laugh about it after. All that quarantine hiking truly paid off!

We ended up packing everything we needed and did not forget anything so here’s the ultimate camping packing list for families if you are staying in an RV or Cabin like we did. If you are tenting it, of course you would need to bring your tent and inflatable mattress for comfort.

Keep in mind, this was also for two nights only so adjust the items according to how long you will stay:

Ultimate Family Camping List – What to Pack

  • Medicines (we are a holistic family but I have asthma so I always put my inhaler first on the list)
  • Paper towels, wipes, and cleaning spray 
  • Backpack / Beach Bag
  • Small Beach Cooler (we love this beach cooler by Lock N Lock although the turquoise color we have is sold out)
  • Large 70 quart cooler – we got this one at Home Depot and love it.
  • 1 big water jug (the Poland Spring one with the spout or three gallons should be enough for a few days)
  • Food (see food list below)
  • Bottle Option or Bottle Keeper with bottle opener (this was a gift for Father’s Day – bottle holder that keeps beers cold for 4 hours and protects glass beer bottles from breaking – plus has a built in bottle opener)
  • Wine opener (or get twist off wine bottles)
  • First aid kit (peroxide spray and band-aids)
  • Tick spray / Bug Spray (Ya-Ya Tick Repellent is the best eco tick repellent and is AMAZING – we use it for hiking and never have a tick (We got it because we had three ticks on us beginning this spring — not one issue after we used it and we hike deep in the woods. AND it keeps mosquitoes away, too!)
  • Bug candle (we grabbed our patio bug candle)
  • Sunscreen (click to see the best eco sunscreens for kids and adults – we will say that our all-time favorite is ThinkBaby eco sunscreen – cool tip: put a tiny, tiny dab on your fingers, rub together and use to style and spike your son’s hair!)
  • Goggles (adult pair and kids pair)
  • Dino float – we got this huge dino float from Grammie and it was a huge it – all the kids wanted to try it!
    giant kids trex float
  • Air pump for float – we ordered one off Amazon with a car adapter – it’s easier than blowing it up manually!
  • Wearable swim tube for toddlers and babies – our son cannot quite swim yet so he wears his swim tube and this keeps him safe near water. He cannot take it off and if he jumps in, he doesn’t go under.
  • Flip flops for shower – any public shower you must wear flip flops!
  • Big lighter to light grill and campfire.
  • Paper – newspaper or printer paper to help start fire.
  • Bathing suits – I bring two for me and two for my son but my husband just brings one.
  • Towels – bring a lot! We brought 5 beach towels and three bath towels.
  • Pillows – our cabin required bedding
  • Sheets
  • Blankets
  • Water bottles
  • 3 beach chairs (great to sit around the fire too)
  • Table cloth
  • Lanterns/flashlights (make sure new batteries and everything charged up)
  • Hoodies
  • Grill basket (we cooked shishkabobs in this on the camp grill)
  • Regular Cards (we played cards during naptime)
  • UNO (we played as a family)
  • Olive Oil spray (for grill and burgers not to stick)
  • Paper plates, cups, silverware, sharp knife, aerated knife, big spoon 
  • Tin foil
  • Clothes, pants, socks (a ton of extra socks for kids – they get wet and dirty quick), sneakers, undies, shirts, tanks, dresses, shorts, PJs, sneakers, extra sandals – mine broke while I was camping…tripped on a rock.
  • Wood chips and coal
  • Printed spooky stories to read around campfire (our 4 year old’s idea)
  • Roasting sticks (those long marshmallow ones – great for hot dogs too)
  • Marshmallows (we get the healthier ones in the organic section – check out Dandies – organic healthy marshmallows)
  • Graham crackers – I get these healthy, gluten-free graham crackers
  • Chocolate (I get organic dark chocolate – Endangered Species Chocolate is so good!)
  • Napkins
  • Toilet Paper
  • Tiny fan – in cabins with electricity and no A/C this helped a ton to circulate the air at night while sleeping and during naps – we used as white noise for our son)
  • Toys – so we always pack our ZizzyBee Bag with travel toys – these are the best eco travel bags.
  • Water shoes – it’s easier to put kids in water shoes – we bring crocs and then these other pair that are like sneakers
  • Dish soap
  • Sponge
  • Old pan for fire cooking (if you plan on cooking breakfast on the fire – we made blueberry muffins and had these instead)
  • Plastic ziplock bags (large) – We don’t use plastic as a rule but to put food in and protect against critters these were a big help. For non food storage we use ZizzyBee Bags – cords/chargers, toys, toiletries, etc.
  • Phone charger
  • iPad (our campground had free wifi throughout)
  • iPad charger
  • Toothbrushes + toothpastes (our son has his own)
  • Toiletries including kids bath soap (bring a cup to wash your kids hair in the stand up shower) – makeup, deodorant, comb, shampoo, conditioner, soap, hair styling products, shaver
  • Face Masks
  • Sanitizer spray  – we stay away from the toxic stuff and instead use this natural hand sanitizer spray called Everyone Hand Sanitizer – the lemon coconut is my favorite. They are sold out but they have the wipes right now and hopefully back in stock soon. You can also make an essential oils sanitizer -here is a DIY recipe for a non-toxic natural hand sanitizer.
  • Trash bags – we used four in two nights so bring a lot.
  • Big ice packets from freezer – so we use EveryPlate to get affordable dinners 3x a week – only $30! Saves us $100+ a week from not making an extra grocery store trip. They ship food with these giant freezer packs – eco and reusbale! So we keep them in the freezer for our cooler. Try EveryPlate for just $10 using this link. (3 dinners for two for $10!)
  • Little skewers – if you want to skewer veggies these are nice to have
  • JBL speaker – we have a splash resistant portable speaker that works via bluetooth so we can play music.
  • Beach bucket and shovel for kid
  • Raincoats just in case
  • Metal spatula for flipping burgers
  • Tongs for grabbing corn or hot dogs
  • Big grill fork
  • Grill brush to clean grill
  • Cutting board
  • Vitamins

Food and Drink

  • Booze: Bon & Viv spiked selters (I love these – no carbs and no sugar), beer, and wine.
  • Water was on the list above and we brought fizzy water too – water is all we drink in our house.
  • Chicken – marinated the day of
  • Pork for kebobs – marinated the day of
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms (for skewered veggies)
  • Cucumbers
  • Mayo
  • Ketchup – we use this agave based gluten-free ketchup – it’s amazing! Corn Syrup ketchup is the worst especially for kids.
  • Graham crackers – gluten free
  • Chocolate – organic dark chocolate
  • Marshmallows – Dandies organic healthy ones
  • Butter – we use Ghee!
  • Snacks (veggie straws, chips, pretzels, chips and salsa)
  • Turkey Hot dogs
  • Burgers
  • Chicken burgers
  • Rolls (hot dogs and burger)
  • Cheese slices
  • Vegan cheese slices (my husband eats cheese and I eat no dairy so I love these Go Veggie dairy-free cheese slices that melts well)
  • Mayo
  • Red onion
  • Lettuce
  • Potato salad (I made before and brought with us)
  • Broccoli Crunch Salad (I picked up from the deli – so good!)
  • Berries
  • Apples
  • Watermelon – cut up ahead of time so it’s easy
  • Blueberry muffins – I made these delicious, moist paleo blueberry muffins with no wheat and no sugar. Came out great!

So our menu consisted of blueberry muffins and fruit for breakfast (one day we ate at the diner close by), and for lunch hot dogs or burgers, and for dinner we had chicken with potato salad; pork kebobs with fresh cut up veggies; and burgers to choose from. Plus snacks and s’mores (guilt-free because of the healthy substitutions).

Even though we had a cabin we had to walk to the bathroom – not too far away and the facilities were clean enough. Next time however, we will go camping at a place that has cabins with bathrooms and kitchens inside. The cabin we stayed in was $96 a night and the cabins at other places with a bathroom and kitchen inside are only $140 to $150 a night so it’s worth the extra luxury.