For the Best Adventures Read Our
Camping Essentials Guide

Camping Essentials-What you need for family camping.  Every spring we start getting that "can't wait for camping" feeling.  We research where we have and haven't been as a family and reserve one new spot and one favourite to get ourselves started.

There is something about getting out into nature, breathing in the fresh clean air that is so inspiring and relaxing.

Yes I said relaxing and by summertime I really need it! We're a busy family with kids, cats and a dog and a pretty intense after school schedule during the year. So it seems that as soon as we arrive at our first campsite of the season the stress just seems to melt away.

I have to say that one piece of clothing I can't live without is my black fleece jacket from Columbia.  I've had mine for years and wear it camping, hiking and at home.  It's very well worn but is very lightweight (perfect for hiking), keeps me warm, wicks away light rain so I don't need a rain jacket and insulates me when I'm sitting around the campfire at night.  This jacket below I highly recommend and the day when I need to replace mine I will be buying another Columbia fleece.  So perfect for year round comfort.

Once we've set up and are sitting up around our campfire looking up at the big sky and staring into the stars we eventually crawl into our camping tents and fall asleep to the sounds of crickets, owls or loons (one time it was cows!) I can't remember being stressed at all while we're camping.  

However, the only thing that brings back any stress or takes away some of the joy of camping is when we've forgotten one of our camping essentials.  For us we need to bring things like our portable shower and very comfy sleeping pads along with our camping kitchen basics.   The needs are different from family to family and depend on a few things such as length of trip, type of campsite, ammenities on site, weather forecast and the activities you are planning on while camping.

Portable showers are great if your campsite doesn't have a shower

Additionally  there are different types of camping and here we are talking about car camping. This is the most flexible type of camping there is for families.  Easy and simple camping to create a lifetime of memories. Getting out into nature has a wonderful way of boosting anybody's spirit and refreshing the mind, body and soul.

Use these suggestions for camping essentials as a guide, they are what we need and take with us for our car camping trips and keep in mind that if you do forget something you can always improvise.

Before you head out check the weather forecast of your camping destination because this will help your planning.

Camping Essentials

Camping essentials can be broken into simple categories.

Sleeping gear which consists of sleeping bagssleeping pads, sleeping pillows,camping tents and lights or lanterns.

This creates your bedroom and possibly the play room of your outdoor home.

Camping clothes

Packing clothes for car camping is really pretty simple. I live by the layers principle and bring up my more rugged clothes from the closet.

Depending on where you are camping the temperature can really dip once the sun goes down.  Having  enough warm clothing to layer up and stay warm makes everyone happier.

Make sure you pack rain gear with you. A good rain jacket with hood and rain boots will usually be enough.


Make a list of what you'll need for your kitchen. This includes your food, drinks,stove and cooking supplies.  I highly recommend writing out your meal plan to make sure you have all the ingredients you need while you are camping. Keep your cooking simple too.  

You'll need cold storage for your food and a good cooler is a great investment.  Look for a cooler that can hold its temperature for a long time.  A great cooler is a very smart investment. 

Decide what you're going to use to cook over, either a campfire or a propane stove.  If you are going to cook over a campfire make sure you bring your own grill with you.  You'll need a good supply of propane for your stove too.

Your camping cooking supplies should be kept pretty simple. Think about what you are going to cook and only bring the utensils you need.

Tools and devices

You will also want to bring a camping first aid kit, a pocket knife, extra batteries for flashlights or other devices (or a solar panel), a small shovel and axe.

I strongly suggest that you create camping lists based on each of these categories and you won't forget any of your camping essentials.

We always gather up our camping equipment at least the day before we plan on leaving. You'll know what you're missing with time to pick up anything you still need.


There is so much to do when you're camping but sometimes it's nice to spend some time together playing board games, card games, reading a book or throwing a frisbee around. If you are camping with kids have them help decide what they want to bring to play with while you are away from home.

If you've never gone camping before I'm sure you'll be hooked after your first trip. Make sure you have all your camping essentials with you and your experience will be that much better.

Return from Camping Essentials to Home Page

Camping with Kids

Camping Toys

Camping Tents

Camping Sleeping Bags

Camping Kitchen

Build a campfire

Cooking Supplies

Making Smores

Making a Solar Oven for Kids

Camping Hammocks

Camping First Aid

Swimmers Itch

To receive our monthly newsletter please fill out the info below! We'll send you the latest on family camping and hiking info.

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Family Camping and Hiking E-zine.