What to Pack When Family Tent Camping

Some friends of ours asked us a while back to write out what a family needs to remember when tent camping. It’s so much easier to make that list when packing for a trip, & since we didn’t camp this summer, the list is a long time in coming. But better late than never, right? So here it is. A list of what a family needs to remember to pack for a fun tent camping experience…

tent (don’t forget the poles, tarp, stakes, and a mallet), mini broom & dust pan to sweep out tent.
for the fire: kindling, torch or matches, roasting sticks, chairs, s’more fixings! Don’t bring wood if you’re going out of your county. Buy your wood there.
bathing: soap, shampoo, etc. (in small bottles to save space), toothbrushes & paste, whatever other toiletries you use, contact stuff if you wear them, towels, flip flops for the shower, clothesline & pins for hanging wet towels & wet clothes, small container of laundry soap & dryer sheets if you’re camping for a week, any hair pretties for the gals, etc.
cooking/food: can opener, pans, stirring/serving spoons, hotplate, cans of gas for hotplate, spoons, forks, plates, bowls, cups, a sharp knife or army knife, small dish soap, baby wipes for wiping hands, paper towels, dishtowels, washcloth, bucket (like an ice cream pail to wash in), a pitcher to haul drinking water or mix up a powered drink in, formula, liners, & bottles if you have a baby along. (For what it’s worth: We’ve mostly camped with canned/boxed foods due to space an ice chest takes up. Obviously think through meals & pack all needed ingredients & an ice chest if needed.)
sleeping: pillows, sleeping bags, mats are wonderful!, Pull-Ups or diapers if you have young’uns.
clothes: depends on weather, but always bring along a jacket for each person no matter what time of year & sunglasses for the driver. Keith always has to have his visor, too, so any hats people might need.
Don’t ever pack clothes you want to keep nice – word of advice!
For the road: crayons, coloring books, journals, pens, camping books (bird books, ones on tracks, animals, plants, trees, etc.) trail mix, meat sticks, jerky, apples, cereal, etc. along with plastic cups with names marked on so you can pass the snacks back, etc.
Technology: cell phones, cords & adapters for, camera, CDs or iPod with Adventures In Odyssey or some such listening entertainment, atlas &/or mapquest directions for where you’re going if needed, campsite reservation information/proof.
Other odds & ends worth packing: trash bags, band-aids (Bring plenty just in case. They’re small.), pain killer (Ibuprofen) for adults & kids, q-tips, toothpicks, table &/or seat coverings, some cash, flashlight or lanterns, Bibles, scooters or bikes for the kids if you have room, guitar if someone plays, bug spray & sunscreen if it’s summer, playpen if you have a toddler (We got a Graco Pack ‘n Play Sport that is perfect for this kind of thing a few years back. I guess they discontinued it?! You can still get them on ebay, though.), front pack or back pack to hike with infant.

Just remember, if you forget something, part of the adventure is improvising. Using your creativity to “make do” without is half the fun of camping!

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