We have been camping with our kids since they were in the womb. Over the years we have become experts at what to bring and what not to bring on a camping trip. Many people think camping with kids is difficult. They are absolutely right, unless you have the right gear!
I am going to share some of my favorite kid-friendly camping gear as well as tips and tricks to make your family camping experience a positive one to remember.
1. Portable Toilet – All you need is this toilet seat and a 5-gallon bucket. We keep this “make-shift” toilet inside of our tent. We use this for late-night potty-breaks so we don’t have to leave the tent. I absolutely love this (probably more than the kids).
2. Wash Tub – I can’t find the exact one I have since it was purchased on clearance from TJ Maxx. This particular one would be perfect, because it is collapsible. That makes for even better packing. When you have kids, you have a LOT of dishes. Using a wash tub makes cleaning up super easy.
3. LED String Lights – we have been using these for YEARS. The kids love having the extra light to see at night. We wrap these around trees or hang across our campground. It makes our spot feel very homey. Sometimes we will wrap them around the outside of the tent so there is just a bit if light for the kids at night. These run off of a USB charge so you will not need their own batteries.
4. Battery Back-up Options:
Power Bank Portable Charger (Option 1 – $) – if your kids are anything like mine, they will still want their Nintendo or iPad at some point. This battery pack charges devices super quick. We also use this to power our LED lights. Our favorite brand is Anker and get atleast 20,000 mAH if you plan to charge multiple devices.
EcoFlow River Pro (Option 2 – $$$) – this charging station will keep you charged for the entire weekend. You can charge up to 10 devices, charge appliances (we run our 12v Dometic 60L fridge off of this all weekend). It can recharge using solar energy, AC outlet, or car adaptor. It is well worth the price. We have used this many times when we have lost power at our home as well. Ecoflow makes a far superior product than other cheaper brands like Jackery. One difference is the Amps on this unit. (EX – the Jackery we used wasn’t able to power the pump on an air mattress.)
5. Double Sleeping Pad – Once your kids are old enough to actually feel that they are uncomfortable sleeping in the ground, they will want an air mattress. For a little under $100 this easy to set-up and pack sleeping pad is such a deal.
6. Glow Sticks – These are amazing. What child doesn’t like a glow stick? We make necklaces and our girls wear them around at night. It makes it fun for the kids and easier for us to spot them.
7. Headlamps– Headlamps are super helpful rather than carrying a flashlight at night. Like the glow stick, it makes it easy to spot your child at night. This also makes tasks easier, like making s’mores or getting up to use the potty at night because they are now hands-free.
8. Portable Booster Chair – This is for babies-toddlers (6 months – 2 years old).
Although, the website says it can be used up to 4 years old, there is no way my 3 year old would sit in this. We used this with both of our girls and it was so helpful. You can set it on the ground or on a picnic table, strap your child in it and not have to worry. Must have for those younger kids!
9. Camping Couch – We all know you can get a camp chair from Walmart for around $5, but this couch is no match. We found this Kelty Lowdown Couch in an outdoor retail store in NC this past year and fell in love. A little on the pricier side, but we have used this thing SO much. Not only for camping, but in our backyard and at our daughter’s soccer games. It is SO easy to set up and pack up. I truly can’t say enough about this couch. The best part is that it fits our family of four.
10. Gazelle Tent – We have been through many tents over the years and finally bit the bullet this past year and bought the Gazelle. We have the two-room tent, but the one linked is the four-person (one room) tent and it will be just fine for a family of four. We got the larger tent because we wanted to have our own room, and we love it! This is hands-down one of my favorite purchases we have ever made. It is $$$, but so worth it.
I hope this helps give you some ideas on what to bring on your next camping trip with (or without) children. Stay tuned for more blog posts on camping hacks and other tips!