A Parent’s Guide To Planning A Camping Trip

When you first think about going camping with your kids, the idea might seem overwhelming. However, it is possible to take your kids on an enjoyable camping trip, even though it takes some planning and preparation. 

A lot of trial and error goes into camping with children. Don’t expect everything to be perfect on your first try. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, as that is what helps you learn.

Mistakes and forgotten items tend not to be as devastating as you might think. It will only take practice, making mistakes, and finding your groove before you are confident about camping with kids overnight.

In the meantime, some simple tips can ensure that your family camping trip is a success, whether it is your first time or if you are experienced campers.

Selecting The Right Tent Options For The Family

When you are selecting a camping tent, it is always better to get an option that is a bit bigger than recommended for your family. A tent that can accommodate four people would be a tight fit, with no space to store luggage or any other creature comforts. Families of four should choose a tent that can accommodate six people. The result will be a larger space for bedding and a smaller area for clothing storage.

How much you spend on your tent will depend entirely on how much use you will get out of it. Casual campers should only consider purchasing an expensive tent if comfort and convenience are paramount. However, a costly tent is an excellent investment for serious campers due to its lighter weight, better weather resistance, and longer lifespan.

Preparing Your Essential Camping Checklist

While there are many things you can do without in the great outdoors, several essential items will put a real dampener on your camping trip if they are left at home. Here is your checklist of essential items so you can make a checklist and head off camping with confidence:

  • Waterproof tent and warm sleeping bags for each family member
  • Lighting source (solar or gas-powered lanterns work well)
  • Folding camping chairs and a table
  • Sunscreen
  • Well-stocked first aid kit that has been checked before you depart
  • Basic toolkit (including a Swiss Army Knife is a good idea)
  • Shovel
  • Toiletries (including plenty of toilet paper and soap)
  • Compass
  • Cooking supplies including everything you need to prepare meals and eat and drink with
  • A large and reliable cooler or fridge
  • Tarps (in case of rain)
  • Toys and games (spoiler alert, your kids will get bored at some point)
  • Waterproof matches
  • Water bottles and plenty of fresh water
  • Garbage bags

Have A Test Run In The Backyard

If your family has never camped before, you do not want to wait until halfway through your first night to learn that your children are not happy and comfortable with the experience.

It is also not a great idea to discover you have forgotten an essential item when you are in the middle of the outback or at a remote camping ground.

In your backyard, close to the comforts of home, you can see whether your children will take to camping and practice packing your camping kit for the first time.

Then set up your tent in the back of your yard, turn off all the lights in your home, and prepare to rough it for the night. You will get a first-hand perspective on whether your children are interested in camping or not, and you will get to see whether they are warming up to the idea.

Speaking of warming up, one final piece of advice. Check with your local council before lighting any fires in your backyard and if you do, only use an approved fire pit to avoid any dangerous accidents.


I have been camping and going outdoors for over 15 years! My first experience was when I joined the scouts. There I learned a lot. From building a campfire to set up a really big tent. Then I know this is awesome. Around 2005 I also started Geocaching. This is a lot of fun. And every time we go camping we look at the map to see if there are some nice caches around.

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