Camping with Kids: Essential Checklist

28th March 2017

The key to camping is to make sure you are prepared for all eventualities, but when you throw kids into the mix it starts to get a tiny bit more stressful, to say the least.

Will they be okay camping outside for the first time? Will it be safe for them? Do we have the correct gear to make sure that they are comfortable, warm and secure during the night?

Camping with the kids out in the back garden will give them a taster of what it is like without the risk of being in the middle of nowhere, and also helps you to add to the list of gear that you will need to take with you.

Your kit will depend on how you are travelling to the campsite. Whether it is by foot, bike, car or public transport. We have produced an essential checklist of gear to take with you if you are going camping by car.

Check out our full range of camping gear and accessories.

Camping Checklist

To have the perfect camping experience you’ve got to set up the perfect camp.

To do this you’re going to need to hunt out your perfect pitch, pop up your tent, and kit it out to make it your little den for the weekend to keep you and the kids happy.

If you would like to check out our digital checklist find it here – Camping Checklist.

Tent & Tent Accessories

So whether you’re a family of 3, a single parent, 2 dads, 2 mums, or even cheaper by the dozen sized – you’re firstly going to need a tent.

Depending on where you have camped, you may want a separate tent for the kids, pitched close by your own tent. We have a number of two, three and four person tents that would be perfect for this situation.

If you are camped beside your vehicle then you can store your kit in there overnight, but if you are off the beaten track then your kit will need to be stored inside your tent. Remember to think about the size of tent(s) you want and the room to store your gear.

Camping Checklist Tent

TIP: A cute way to make your tent look more cosy and fun is decorating it with fairy lights or bunting. Not only does it look great but it will even help you locate your tent in the dark. Use solar powered lights for a safer choice.

TIP: Bring spare tent pegs! A necessity as accidents happen all the time when kids are running about playing games. Tent pegs will break or go missing, so pack spare pegs in your kit to replace those damaged or lost.

Sleeping Bags, Pillows, & Mats

Make sure everyone is as snug as a bug when you finally get some well earned shut eye in the best sleeping bags.

Depending on where you are off to you can decide what level of insulation you might need, but as we know the British weather can be fickle so sometimes it’s best to plan for the worst.

Prices can range from 10 quid all the way up to £500. But as you won’t be halfway up Everest we can safety suggest the Trespass Doze Sleeping Bag as a perfect lightweight yet cosy choice for you and these Bunka Sleeping Bags for the kiddos. Kids may also be more comfortable with a pillow rather than constructing one from bags or clothes which can end up a bit of a mess, so why not check out the Trespass Sleepyhead Pillow for only £6.99.

And don’t forget to throw down a simple sleeping mat or if you have the room an inflatable mattress to protect against the cold underground and give you tons more comfort when you sleep. No one wants cranky morning kids.

TIP: Bring some foldaway camping chairs so you have the freedom to relax outside your tent – that is if you get to relax!

Rucksacks, Backpacks and Baby Carriers

RUCKSACKS

I know we all want to make use of the hundreds of carrier bags crammed underneath the sink, but the best way to easily bring everything you need to your campsite in one fell swoop is a rucksack.

The best way to decide which rucksack is for you is to get one that is lightweight and the smallest size that is capable of easily and safely carrying everything you need.
We have a huge range of rucksacks with all the bells and whistles to go with it, so why not check them out right here.

BACKPACKS

Perfect for the day hikes when you can safety leave all your gear behind and only need the essentials.

One of our favourite is the Lowe Alpine Ignite 15 Backpack that comes in a range of colours and is versatile enough to carry snacks, wipes, sunglasses and pretty much anything you and your family are going to need during your time on the trial. All at only £24.99!

Lowe Alpine Ignite15 Backpack

Lowe Alpine Ignite15 Backpack – £24.99

And for the Kids? There is none better than the LittleLife Toddler Backpacks. These fun and bright character backpacks are not only amazingly cute but they are also amazingly practical – even coming with child safety reins to keep your little one safe by your side.

Clownfish Toddler Backpack

LittleLife Animal Character Toddler Backpack – From £14.00

BABY CARRIERS

Child Carriers are perfect for the youngest of the group, ideal for carrying your 3 month to 4 year old safety on your back, just like a rucksack.

We’ve already written a full blog post on the amazing benefits of these so why not check it out here: Child and Baby Carrier Guide: What’s Best?

Tip: We  have a current amazing offer on LittleLife Child Carriers with a massive 25% Off the S2 Adventurer and S2 Ranger

Camp Life Essentials

Ah camp life, these are the little things to make the slightly, maybe a little, teeny bit awkward and uncomfortable parts of camping run smoother.

PERSONAL

We’re talking toiletries! This is a given, can you even imagine going camping without wet wipes. Whether it is to clean dirty hands after going to the toilet, getting rid of sticky fingers after dinner, or just wiping the mud off after going on an adventure, wipes come in handy when there is no water supply at hand. Also if you will be staying a number of days you will need to bring some towels along with your travel wash accessories to clean off after those hard days on the trial.

LIGHTING

Hopefully most places you will be will be pretty well lit at all times, but as Dumbledore says ‘happiness can be found in even the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light’. So, if Dumbledore says so, make sure to bring some torches. A head torch may be more appropriate if you are on a night time walk or going to the toilet as it keeps your hands free.

TIP: Check out these handy Glow Markers that are perfect to give to your kids. Fun and luminous but always perfect for keeping little ones safe. Only £4.99.

glow markers festival family

LifeSystem Glow Markers – £4.99

SAFETY ESSENTIALS

When heading away with your family, safety always comes first.

So along with making sure everyone knows what to do and where to meet if something happens you should make sure you have some other essentials with you too.

First things first – a first aid kit, LittleLife do one perfect for the family. Check it out here: LittleLife Family First Aid Kit.

And don’t forget to make sure you keep protected from the sun whether that be with sun creamsun hatssun covers, or a combination of all. 

If you or your children have any health issues or underlying medical conditions then it is imperative that you take enough medication to cover your trip. You may be in the middle of nowhere and getting medicine at short notice may be difficult, to say the least, so it is best to stock up in the event of worst case scenario.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY

Don’t forget other essentials that you might not need, but boy if you do you’re going to want them.

  • Batteries to make sure you’re fully charged in the event of an emergency.
  • Duct tape can be a total life saver in the event of a leak or tear in your tent.
  • Everyone’s favourite – the trowel. You may need to dig a hole for the toilet if your camp site is a little on the wild side. Oh and don’t forget the loo roll!
  • Pack a number of plastic carrier bags or even rubbish bags into your kit to put your rubbish in as well as your dirty and wet clothes.
  • Bug repellent if you want to tackle the mighty midges.

TIP: Select a location downwind from your camp for your make-shift toilet– it won’t be a pretty smell if the odours of your rustic loo make their way back to the campsite. And more importantly, it should not be within 200 yards of a water source to help prevent contamination of water.

Cooking

Water bottles: Keeping you and your family hydrated and refreshed when it is hot is important when you are out and about. Collapsible water bottles will fit in your kit no problem taking up next to no room at all.

Coolbox: Back at the camp site your coolbox is ideal for storing drinks and food that you want to remain cool and fresh. Don’t even consider bringing one of these along if you are not taking your car with you.

Matches: Unless you are Bear Grylls and can light a fire using two bits of wood, having matches or a lighter will be necessary to light that barbeque and/or camping stove to cook your meals.

Plates/Bowls: Again you could eat your meal out of a mess tin, but a number of dishes to cover your breakfast, lunch and dinner is a better option. Although there will be more washing up.

Mugs/Cups: For that morning cup of tea or coffee, or some juice to get you ready for what the day holds in store for you. And at night, sit back and relax with a nice mug of hot chocolate.

Fuel: Whether it is charcoal/firewood or fuel for your stove, without it, you won’t be doing any cooking. Some camp sites sell charcoal and firewood for those with barbeques, but it is advised to bring your own in the off chance that the site you are heading off to does not provide this.

Cutlery: A spork would be the basic option, although if you want to keep up appearances then you could always bring a cutlery set.

Pots/Frying pans: Mess tins may be a basic option to cook your meals in, but if there is a group of you, it will be time-consuming and somewhat tedious to cook each meal separately, so a good pot or pan would come in handy to cook one big meal for everyone to share.

Swiss Army Knife: Whether it is a food tin or bottle needed opening, getting one of these will come in very handy throughout the time you spend camping.

Cooking utensils: An important piece of cooking kit, otherwise, your food will remain on the barbeque burning to a crisp or in the pot burning to the bottom of it.

Camping Stove: There may be food outlets around the camp site or within walking distance, but you could always go self-catering by bringing a camping stove. Remember to obey the campsite rules when it comes to using camping stoves and following the product’s instructions to prevent accidents, injuries or worse.

Steel-wool scrub pads: After the cooking and eating part of the meal, next up is the cleaning up after yourself. That means putting the rubbish away into the appropriate bin and washing the dishes. A steel wool scrub pad will come in handy when some dishes need a bit more elbow grease than others.

On top of our essentials checklist, you will have your own preferences of gear to take with you. Some like to rough it, some like a little bit of luxury, while others want all the mod cons, but the essentials are just that – essential.

Check out our full range of camping gear and accessories.

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