The Best Camping Gear for Families to Enjoy the Outdoors

Camping is a fun family activity for all ages, and it’s even more fun when you have the right gear. Here’s how to make a family outing outdoors a resounding success.


Camping is an experience that parents and kids can share together to build lasting memories. It’s also a good way to teach your children about the great outdoors and wilderness survival skills that may come in handy someday.

Camping gets the whole family away from the hustle and bustle of city life and takes them into the heart of nature. Children love to marvel at trees, lakes, rivers, and all of the woodland creatures that call the expanse home.

Unplug Kids From the Electronics by Camping

PBS Parent’s reports that a 2010 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation Study showed that children between the ages of  8 to 18 spend  7 hours and 38 minutes each day engaged with media and technology.

That is a staggering amount of time to spend in front of a television, computer, or video game so sometimes it’s nice to just unplug kids from modern technology and get them back to nature.

Reasons to Plan a Camping Trip

Here are several reasons why you should take your kids’ camping:

Camping instills a lifelong love of nature in the hearts of your children.

  • Children learn to love and appreciate nature.
  • Gets kids away from the electronic world such as computers and video games.
  • It breaks families out of the daily routine of everyday life and creates an adventure to be enjoyed by everyone.
  • Camping is a great option for families on a tight budget because it is usually cheaper than other vacation options.
  • Getting out in the great outdoors on a trip is a great way to burn off energy and enjoy physical activities.
  • The kids get the opportunity to observe and learn about animals in their woodland habitat.
  • Most campsites are located near creeks, rivers, or lakes so kids can play in the water and fish.
  • The quality time that you spend together as a family while camping is priceless.

How to Start Preparing for a Camping Trip

Many newbie camping families start to stress out over the fact that they do not have a fancy recreational vehicle to use to embark on their adventure. However, don’t stress because you don’t need a modern motorhome to commune with nature.

A good, old-fashioned tent will suffice to protect you and your family from the elements so you can all enjoy a sound sleep and protection from the elements. However, if the thought of sleeping in a tent on the ground is just too much ‘roughing it’ for you and your family then you can rent a motorhome for a weekend or a week.

Camping Preparation

Even if you have gathered all of the required camping gear that you are going to need for the big trip, there are still other things that you need to do to be prepared.

  1. Reserve a Campsite: Many parks require advance reservations for their camping sites.
  2. Fire Safety: If you plan on having a campfire then you should always pack a fire extinguisher.
  3. First Aid Kit: Accidents happen but if you are hours away from a store then having a well-stocked first aid kit is crucial. Even a tiny scratch requires a bandage. All moms know the miraculous power of a bandage on a boo-boo. It can instantly stop all crying and make the pain go away for a little one.
  4. Water: Always pack lots of water for drinking and cooking. Some campsites have fresh water but others do not. It is always a nice safety precaution to have a ready supply.
  5. Food: You are going to need lots of food because camping works up an appetite, especially in kids. Fresh fruit and veggies make great snacks. You should pack a cooler with other foods so you have enough for each meal. Some parks require you to put your food in a bear bag or bear box to deter bears from rummaging through the park to reach your tasty food supplies.
  6. Light: Flashlights and lanterns are a must. It gets dark in the woods at night!
  7. Toilet Paper: Many parks have modern facilities and others have outhouses. Some campsites have no facilities. No matter where you camp, you will want to make sure you have toilet paper on hand just in case.

Camping Gear Must-Haves for Families

Best Camping Gear for Families

Okay, the big day is almost here and you probably want to stock up on some camping gear that is must-haves. Here is a list of the top five things that you are going to want to take on your big trip.

Family Tent: REI Kingdom

Best Camping Gear for Families Tent

You need a tent for the clan to sleep in so you are going to want to choose one that is spacious and user-friendly. Switchback Travel picked the REI Kingdom as their top family tent choice for 2017.

Things to Keep in Mind

The tent features a center divider with very large doors at each end to get in and out. It easily sleeps six. The peak of the tent reaches 75 inches in height and the design of the tent features hub poles so the walls are vertical which gives ample headroom when inside. There are rain flaps that easily secure at the sides with Velcro. During warm weather, the sides of the tent can be rolled up to create airflow.

Who’s it Best for?

This tent is wonderful if you will be camping in an area that suffers frequent rain storms. Even the door of the tent is weatherproof so if the rain comes in at a slant because of the rain the tent’s inhabitants will still not get wet.

This tent features a modest price tag and is sure to last year after year.

Camping Stove

Best Camping Gear for Families Propane Stove

In order to enjoy wholesome family meals on your camping trip, you will need to purchase a camping stove. Outdoor Gear Lab picked the Stansport Outfitter Series 2-Burner as their top choice for 2017.

Things to Keep in Mind

This tough little cook stove features  50,000 BTUs of cooking power that spread equally across two burners. You can quickly boil water or a cook a steak. It is constructed so the back and side panels protect the stove’s burners from wind gusts so your cooking will continue even if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

This stove can easily fit full size pots so you can make large meals for a big family. The grate lifts completely off to easily clean the unit.

Who’s it Best for?

This cookstove is ideal for anyone who wants to go camping but it’s really great for big families and moms who like to cook. It has a reasonable price tag so you won’t break the bank buying the stove.

Sleeping Bags for Kids

Best Camping Gear for Families Kindercone

Okay, the chances are good that mom and dad have sleeping bags but the growing kids are going to need their own for the trip. One of the best child’s sleeping bags is the REI Kindercone according to the Wirecutter.

Things to Keep in Mind

The Kindercone is a plush sleeping bag that provides full comfort even from the hard ground. It is ideal for all seasons and will keep your little one nice and cozy.

Who’s it Best for?

One of the truly fun things about the Kindercone is not only its adorable name but also the fact that the sleeping bags are available in bright colors that are sure to appeal to kids. The sleeping bag also boasts a reasonable price tag which will appeal to mom and dad.

Ice Chest

Best Camping Gear for Families Yet Tundra

The Yeti Tundra is a rugged cooler that comes in several sizes. Best Cooler Reviews by Luke and Greg picked it as one of their top choices.

Things to Keep in Mind

The Yeti Tundra comes in sizes that range from 20 to 65 quarts. It has lid latches that secure it even from a marauding grizzly bear. The gasket also helps keep food cool even on a hot summer day.

Who’s it Best for?

This cooler is great for a family who plans to go camping over and over again because it is built to last. The latches and hinges don’t break on this model. It is also reasonably priced.


Best Camping Gear for Families Coleman

It gets dark when the sun sets and the little ones might get scared and restless, especially if you opt to tell ghost stories around the campfire. Outside Pursuits picked the Coleman Quad LED Lantern as their top lantern choice for 2018.

Things to Keep in Mind

The innovative Coleman Quad LED Lantern is not just one big lantern but four which makes it perfect for families. Four individual lanterns can be easily removed from the large lantern base if someone needs to run to the outhouse in the dark and needs a light. When all four lanterns are placed on the large base it becomes a 360 degree lantern.

Who’s it Best for?

This light is ideal for families. It’s base relies on 8 D batteries to operate but the individual four lanterns are rechargeable off the base. Each lantern will last for about an hour and a half of non-stop light when removed from the base. The Coleman Quad LED lantern is reasonably priced and the perfect light choice for any camping expedition.

Camping trips are a great way to get away with the family and enjoy some quality time together. Having the best camping gear for families makes the trip even more enjoyable and easy.


Kimberly Sharpe

Based in Florida, Kimberly Sharpe has been a full-time writer since 2006. Her writing has a strong focus on travel, parenting, outdoor sports, gardening, health issues, pets (both domestic and exotic), home improvement, DIY, and business promos. Her work has appeared in USA Today, MORR Gear, Hipmunk, Travelocity, Livestrong,, Hydro Live, Maximum Yield, eHow, Yahoo News, SF Gate, Garden Guides, Whitefence, S.F. Gate,, and numerous other publications. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe, India, and Sri Lanka in an effort to expand her knowledge and enhance her writing skills.

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