Camping With Kids: The Ultimate Packing Checklists


My family loves camping. Our summer goal is to spend as many nights in our tent as possible. As many days and nights outside, rambling in the forest, exploring lakes and rivers, singing around the campfire, and counting as many stars as possible. And we want to eat s’mores, lots of s’mores (or at least smear sticky marshmallow goodness through every inch of our hair).

The first camping trip of the summer is always daunting. It takes me days and days to get the camping checklist compiled, make a menu, shop for said menu, put batteries in the headlamps, and make sure we have enough toilet paper and garbage bags. As I rush around, alternately ignoring the kids and imploring them to help, I wonder why I am knocking myself out for this.

We could so much more easily go for a day hike, hit up HUB Bike Bar and their great patio and call it a good day in the out-of-doors. But then, we get to our camping spot, settle in, my body relaxes and I remember. It’s bliss to watch my girls digging in the dirt with no agenda other than digging in the dirt. It’s bliss to just sit and watch the dappled sunlight and hear the river. Bliss. So I created the ultimate camping checklists to use each time when packing for our next trip. Lists that help you get to the bliss!

Camping checklist, camping with kids, family camping checklists

Camp Box List

If you are going to do this camping thing, you might want to make a ‘camp box.’ It doesn’t need to be fancy, just a large plastic tub will do. Here’s what’s in my Camp Box. (Pssst: Even if you’re not making an official box, you’ll still want this stuff, so check out the list.)

Menu & Shopping List

We eat the same things on every camping trip. At first I thought this would be boring, but it turns out kids like to eat the things they like. Over and over and over again. And grown ups like for it to be easy. Here’s what we eat, and a grocery list to get you there.

Sleep & Extra Fun List

We like to sleep comfortably, and we all know if we’re well rested, it’s easier to keep your precious monsters kiddos occupied should the weather be inclement or if they need a break from digging in the dirt. Here’s a list to help you keep them entertained, and catch plenty of zzz’s.

I didn’t compile a clothing packing list because you know what your family needs and that list is highly weather-dependent anyway. However, remember the bathing suits, warm coats, and of course, DO remember that you live in Oregon and you might just want to throw in the raincoats!

Alright, get out there and explore. But don’t forget to double check your camping checklist. Because, well, bliss sometimes takes planning.